“Know what’s in your toolbox.” My calculus teacher was fond of this mantra. Sometimes, an equation could be simplified with a basic algebraic concept instead of a more complex formula. But if you didn’t know what “tools” you had, getting stuck for days became a very real possibility. By being aware of all of the things at your disposal, finding a solution becomes a more routine exercise.

Meeting the challenges and needs of your clientele is another exercise in knowing what’s in your toolbox. Beyond that, it’s recognizing an opportunity to use the right tool at a time when your client may not even know it’s needed. I’ve heard from numerous solution providers that a managed print offering is exactly that: a useful, valuable approach to a problem that many businesses don’t even know they have. Printing, document management, versioning and cost control easily slip under the radar. The waste of resources and inefficiencies tied up in unmanaged print can really have an impact on their bottom line, as well as your invoice!

So, how does one figure out if managed print services is a tool available to you? And if it’s a bit rusty, how can you sharpen it? An invaluable resource for helping you understand the value of a managed print offering is your vendors. They can support your team and help solve your customers’ needs with education, guidance and operational expertise.

Another great new resource is the CompTIA Channel Standards for Managed Print Providers. This self-assessment document will help firms identify and align with the best practices for business generation, delivery, operations, customer relations and overall management of a managed print solution. By applying these recommendations for staff, infrastructure and management, businesses can better capitalize on their opportunities. The Channel Standards for Managed Print Providers Workbook provides a number of questions for you to consider; whether evaluating the usefulness of a potential print offering or reviewing the support options and processes in your existing print business.

Referencing the best practices identified in these Channel Standards allows you to leverage the experience of peers and those who have already been down this road. The program will help your company optimize sales, marketing, operations and strategic plans. These best practices can be readily adopted to improve account management, customer satisfaction and employee retention, as well as provide repeatable processes that will connect all phases of the client experience.

The CompTIA Channel Standard for Managed Print Providers is designed to be paired with the CompTIA Channel Standard for IT Solution Providers. Together, these documents carve out a framework for any IT business, moving from demand generation, service execution and delivery to setting strategic direction. Examples of what the Channel Standards address include establishing lead generation and closure processes, such as proposals, requirement gathering, transparent and simple billing, and creating specific collateral that speaks to the business value of a managed print solution. It can take a number of partners to support a managed print service and a key role as the IT solution provider is to manage all of them and be a single point of contact for your customer.

Recognizing staff capabilities, placing them in positions to succeed and supporting them with effective processes is essential for any business. The CompTIA Channel Standards are a free resource to help you do just that. And if you’re looking to take it a step further, apply for the CompTIA Managed Print Trustmark and earn a “badge of distinction” based on a vendor-neutral review of your operations, service delivery and workforce for that part of your business.

Adopting a managed print offering may be a great fit for your business’ particular customer strategy. But without examining what’s in your organization’s specific toolbox, you may be leaving a great opportunity on the table. Check out the best practice details included in the free CompTIA Channel Standards for Managed Print Providers to see if it makes sense for you.

Miles Jobgen
Miles Jobgen

is director of education for CompTIA.