(Industry analyst Clint Bolte sent the following comment in response to the thread, "PIA Says It’s Wary of New Managed Print Services Offerings by HP." We're also presenting here it as a stand-alone post. Our thanks to Clint for his input—Ed.) Michael J and Chuck understand this new market niche that is being pursued by the 16 different digital print engine manufacturers with their array of multi-functional devices (MFDs) or multi-functional printers (MFPs). The market is corporations who buy copier fleets of remotely distributed MFDs for their various plants and campuses throughout the world. Think hundreds of units typically networked in a geographic location. Go to http://www.managed-print-services.com to learn more about this niche and the new trade association that is being formed to help users, vendors (HW & SW), consultants, and the support media better understand the dynamics. The inaugural Managed Print Services Conference was held April 26-28, 2009 in San Antonio. Highlights of this gathering with case studies and success principles can be downloaded as a courtesy from my website (www.clintbolte.com) under conference highlight articles. Now for the opportunity that national trade associations could be focusing on… Corporations universally are having a difficult time making the transition from the Purchasing Department’s economy of scale copier fleet purchasing (hardware as well as expendables) mind set to that being envisioned as Managed Print Services. There literally is a major corporate cultural shift to getting the entire white collar work force to print “less” off their networked MFDs (while literally giving up their desktop printers, scanners, and fax units-all of which are more expensive!). The print “less” comes from imbedded software that defaults to duplex printing, encourages PDF “printing” and distribution via e-mail. The corporate responsibility for implementing the new MPS concept is gravitating from the Purchasing Department to the IT Department. This is often a mistake as few IT folks are heavy into “interpersonal corporate cultural change.” IT is typically into standardization and do-it-my-way. The logical partner for the IT Department to pull this winner off is the in-plant printing operation. The thorough training, hand-holding, and customer service that has become second nature to good in-plants is the missing link that corporations of all size need to make this work. PIA and NAPL both have many in-plants as members and MPS can be a bonanza for these folks. IPMA, ACUP, NGPA, and the other various in-plant associations are no doubt getting up to speed quickly to help their members be prepared. Hopefully the printing industry will learn much more about this new niche arena, Managed Print Services, at Print ‘09 and possibly at the Executive Outlook Conference held the day before Print ‘09 starts.