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29 November 2023

Print industry poised for change in 2024

Print industry poised for change in 2024

The print industry is poised for change in 2024 as businesses embrace workplace transformation, AI, and sustainability

Quocirca predicts that the rapidly transforming workplace and accelerating introduction of AI, automation, and collaboration tools will shape the print industry in 2024. Vendors and channel businesses will need to adapt fast to get ahead of the curve and capture business opportunities for print infrastructure modernisation and digitisation.

As businesses strive to support today's hybrid workforce, they will seek to modernise their print infrastructure. With many organisations accelerating digital transformation initiatives over the coming year, driven by cost-efficiency and sustainability goals, print volumes will continue to decline. Traditional MPS (Managed Print Service) providers are well positioned to extend their products and services to support digitisation, while ensuring businesses operate a secure and sustainable print infrastructure.

Quocirca CEO Louella Fernandes predicts:

"The coming year will see companies accelerate on multiple fronts, from digitisation to AI adoption and security to sustainability. They are keen to embrace new technology that will deliver cost, efficiency, and productivity benefits. They are also open to new buying channels and supplier models, meaning the convergence of MPS and Managed IT will gather pace. Vendors and channel partners need to position themselves to respond by building partnerships and developing expertise across all areas.

"2024 will be a time of change for print vendors and the channel, reflecting the changes their customers are undergoing. It's important that the industry capitalises on opportunities and moves beyond its core business to build capabilities that meet customer needs."

Quocirca has identified the following 10 key trends that will shape the print industry in 2024:

1. AI takes centre stage.

56% of organisations plan to increase investment in AI and machine learning technology in the next year. While generative AI adoption is now mainstream, it will continue to be hindered by privacy, security and ethical concerns. Print suppliers will need to carefully evaluate how they can embed AI into existing products and services that help augment workplace productivity. Intelligent Document Processing is a key area where vendors can draw on existing expertise and build out AI solutions.

2. The office is redefined.

The changing purpose of the office will continue to focus on collaboration and connection, with 37% of participants in Quocirca's Future of Work study saying in-person collaboration is the most important benefit of the office. While return-to-office policies will help print volumes recover in some sectors, the opportunity for print suppliers will be around delivering workplace technology that supports hybrid workers.

3. Digitisation continues to erode print resilience.

Only 11% of organisations currently operate a paperless environment, but 75% are accelerating paper digitisation initiatives. This will create new opportunities for integrated digital workflow automation and tailored digitisation solutions that correspond to the customer's digital maturity.

4. The cybersecurity battleground intensifies.

The threat landscape continues to grow, and the print infrastructure remains vulnerable, with 61% reporting a print-related data loss in the past year. With organisations struggling to keep on top of print security challenges, suppliers will need to deepen security service offerings, embrace AI-enabled security to help customers better detect, protect and monitor the print environment.

5. MPS transformation boosts modernisation strategies.

2024 will see organisations continue to refresh and redesign their print environment to better support the hybrid workplace. Addressing cost challenges around hardware, consumables along with a need to reduce wasteful printing will create more demand for next generation MPS that helps organisations operate a secure and sustainable print infrastructure. MPS remains a key enabler for digital transformation helping organisations better integrate print and digital workflows with 36% of organisations saying it is very important to their digitisation initiatives.

6. Sustainability transparency drives progress.

Customers are demanding more insight into the environmental impact of their print environment and their print suppliers. 70% of organisations say it is important their print supplier provides a range of sustainable products and services and 69% say it is important print suppliers show they are reducing their own environmental impact. This will create opportunities for suppliers to deliver more value-led sustainability focused assessments, products and services to support their customers' environmental goals.

7. A break in the clouds impacts cloud print adoption.

Despite a shift to cloud print management, organisations will continue to experience print server sprawl. This along with a fragmented market with many players will hinder cloud print adoption. Suppliers will need to overcome the top barriers to adoption, which are security (36%) and lack of clarity around cost benefits (29%).

8. Industry leaders embrace data innovation.

Data will be key to competitive advantage in the mature print market and we can expect to see leading vendors enhancing AI-driven analytics capabilities. This will primarily be used to enhance predictive maintenance but will also extend to the use of AI to improve customer service, detect and identify security threats, and better analyse and predict print and scan usage to uncover opportunities for new products and services.

9. MPS and managed IT convergence gains momentum.

2024 will see more managed IT providers moving into print and vice versa. More than two-thirds of respondents to Quocirca's Managed IT Services 2023 study are open to using a single provider for IT services and MPS, anticipating cost and efficiency savings from using a single supplier. However, MPS providers have more work to do to establish credibility in the IT services space and partnerships will be key to achieving this.

10. Marketplaces unlock new opportunities.

The acceleration of cloud adoption is leading to increased use of cloud-based marketplaces by B2B buyers, with Quocirca research indicating that 50% now use them for cloud print technology procurement. Marketplaces provide an opportunity to create added value for customers and channel businesses should explore diversifying their sales models to capitalise.

Quocirca's full Print Industry Trends 2024 report is available to clients. An excerpt can be downloaded here

Source: Quocirca

Quocirca is a global market insight and research firm providing strategic market analysis and intelligence to print industry business and technology leaders. Quocirca specialises in analysing the convergence of print and digital technologies in the future workplace.

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Kyle Jardine
Kyle Jardine
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