DataMaster Lab gazes at 2022

16 December 2021

Let us hope that 2022 will give us the opportunity to enjoy some stability. The pandemic has changed many aspects of business forever; and this in a business context still grappling with the IoT, artificial intelligence and climate change.

This tide in our affairs is delivering some of the best opportunities ever – to help customers adapt to the “new normal,” now that there is some consensus about what “normal” is. 2021 preliminary figures are stable enough for some rational decision making, some futureproofing. But most businesses are still operating in recovery mode. You can help new and existing customers to concretize the temporary solutions put in place in 2020 to become secure and cost-effective.

Plus, you need to work with equipment manufacturers offering sustainability, and deliver this to your customers.

Our channel is facing severe commercial challenges, further complicated by supply challenges. The causes of supply problems have not gone away. Some of the issues are, quite literally, piling up. Despite some innovative adaptations (Kyocera Europe!) – problems with product supply might bite our rears all through 2022.

Global crises accelerate existing trends.

Intermittent homeworking has proven to be the death knell for old IT strategies, where data and systems were locked in local networks and local services. To be available to everyone, data and services have to be 100% cloud-based. In 2022, an organization needs to move digital documents seamlessly and intelligently among connected users on much, much wider and more disparate networks. This is a huge opportunity for most vendors – but these changes need to be managed well, and businesses are looking for solid and secure solutions with the flexibility to meet dynamic, “hybrid” needs.

This is true for MPS too. Customers need print management providing visibility on home-based equipment, and to be able to control both their costs and to mitigate the risks of data breaches.

Print Tech Trends

Before the pessimistic IDC figures were published, A3 copier manufacturers were presenting sales figures suggesting that things are not as bad as we thought they were a year – or two - ago. OK. Would someone please tell us which of the many changes we are facing is leading us to a world in which everyone prints more?

A market with declining volumes is ripe for two things, and the first is consolidation. Some manufacturers might quit some markets; some might quit print altogether. It is only going to get tougher for print sales, with homeworking pushing documents to pdf and companies taking aim at their print volumes to attain sustainability goals. We still see the same logos on the factories as we do on the sales team’s cars, but this is likely to change as larger mixed-brand resellers with lower cost bases swallow up the competition. We will see more and more regional and national brands’ logos, representing a level of service, not a manufacturer. Xerox saw this coming.

The second is a hitherto-unthinkable technological disruption like that promised by ink tanks, for example. They are very green (does this pun still need pardoning?), easy and cheap both to use and to dispose of. Their sales are skyrocketing. So far prevalent in the low end of the market (Epson, Canon and HP), watch them roll out to the SMB market in 2022, and watch those bottles get bigger and bigger.

Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility

The increased attention to climate issues is helping to sell products with green credentials, not just those offering heat-free printing but also those with long consumables lifetimes, with recyclable components and warrantees running up to six or seven years.

The trend to more closely examine service providers’ wider business activities and everyone has to demonstrate social responsibility – and products manufactured with sustainability. It’s not quite time to recruit a snowflake for sales manager, but it may be time to consider what your company looks like to one.

Happy Holidays everyone, from all of us to all of you
– we wish you all the best for a healthy and successful 2022.

Printer Benchmark : DataMaster Lab gazes at 2022

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