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Changing An Accepted Industry Title

MPS. A TLA (three letter abbreviation, sorry, couldn’t resist) likely known to many a business administrator.

It stands for Managed Print Services.

As a construct, it’s been around for almost two decades now.

I fondly recall clients in that sector back then.

The development of what became termed MFD (Multi Functional Devices) and its unleashed ability to combine a printer, fax (I know…), scanner and copier loosened the grip of photocopier vendors.

It began to place machines in all corners of offices, liberating cubicle dwellers.

A new name for this explosion was needed. So they borrowed handily from the recent post-BPR (business process re-engineering) boom of willing outsourcers and their pitch of unbridled Managed Services joy.

So a generation-and-a-half apart, I found myself asked to help in changing the label.

Now, if you are unfamiliar with this as a concept, that doesn’t really matter. Suffice to say, that exponents think it a clear winner. Here’s one such rosy HP-promoting view;

Most businesses can see the efficiencies of moving CapEx to OpEx, streamlining business processes and reducing the burden of support. Partners, meanwhile, can see the advantages in playing in a market where recurring revenue is high and add-on services an easy fit. In MPS, everyone can win.

My point is rather, that this concept has been around a fair old while. The ‘MPS’ tag is well-known. I wouldn’t be surprised if it features on accountancy and business courses the world over. Teaching terms like ‘run-rate’, FM and the fact that Xerox even own the url, with its wholly unsubstantiated business case claim that you could cut maybe 15% of your entire company spend by up to 30%.

Now. This particular task in hand. There was a raft of reasons behind why they fancied a refreshed designation.

I warned that these were notoriously tricky to create. I’ll skip the early work and focus on a middle stage;

Take the existing phrase and slightly amend it.

Bear in mind, this was not salespeople overrunning the marketing brief.

Such phrasing was meant solely for conversational differentiation. Not headlining any glossy ad campaigns.

I suggested the entry point of changing one word first.

It turned out one reseller in the sector had already done so (swapping M for X, denoting ‘expert’).

Various other new-Ms were rejected; controlled, scalable, flexed. (Did someone also mention B for Brexit?!) As were more modern takes on ‘print’ as an output.

Next, we considered simply adding around. We chuckled as we dismissed the deliberately jokey iMPS, MPS 3.0 and MPS-S Class (sorry, Mercedes!).

Although in jest, it is this specific point that I revisited later. If you were in such an industry, where would you want to pitch yourself on the scale? From MPS Lite to MPS Deluxe?

It can be treacherous to alter a widely understood descriptor. But ever-so slightly tweaking? Well, that can be a useful way to help set you apart. In a way that’s closer to your prospect’s aims.

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