Remember when we talked about how more companies were offering managed print services to go along with their printers? The trend makes sense, especially since it seems as though corporate consumers are less interested in buying the all-in-one printers that do the work and more interested in having someone manage the work for them. Who better to hire than OEMs that understand printers and output better than anyone else? We know HP, Canon and Xerox have made major moves when it comes to managed print services, and now we hear that Ricoh is investing $300 million into its document management business. Apparently the company is shooting for $3.3 billion of annual revenue in managed document services by fiscal year 2013.
Analysts seem to like the move, especially because Ricoh sells its printers directly to its customers, which may make document management services easier to market as a convenient related offering. If there’s any downside, it’s the fact that the increased investment could be a case of too little, too late given the strong positions already held by HP, Canon and Xerox. I’m not sure what would separate Ricoh’s services from the competition, although the official Ricoh managed document services website talks about making sure you get the “right information in the right form at the right price at the right time.” Sounds good to me. In any case, it’ll be interesting to see who jumps into the emerging document management market next, and whether they can compete with the established leaders. Perhaps we’ll find that managed document services are like the new printer ink – an ongoing revenue stream that transcends the hardware itself.