Berlin-headquartered print management services provider ThinPrint has kicked off VMworld by making a pair of announcements, which are connected. Specific to the event itself, they are announcing that their ThinPrint Mobile Print secure mobile printing solution is now available for VMware Workspace ONE. They are also announcing a new strategy, which at this stage is more a marketing and communications initiative, designed to broaden their appeal to customers as a broader solution consultant, that transcends their present image as a break-fix specialist.
“Both of these announcements go together,” said Henning Volkmer, ThinPrint’s President and CEO. “When we developed our mobile print product earlier in the year, that gave us an impetus to see how we were positioning our products. These discussions led to the endpoint print management strategy, and to the new VMware solution. It’s a good way to tie different story lines together, to give customers an idea of what we are trying to do, and give the market an idea of what to look for.”
The mobile print initiative from earlier this year saw ThinPrint, which had earlier separated their mobility solutions into Cortado Mobile Solutions, a separate company that Volkmer also runs, re-emphasize their own mobile solutions again, and launch a new ThinPrint Mobile Print offering for the management of on-prem printing from mobile endpoints, which became available at the end of April. The new Endpoint Print Management initiative ThinPrint is announcing is designed to get customers to see them in a broader context than they have in the past.
“At this point, it is a marketing announcement, that will with time become a strategy announcement,” Volkmer said. “While we have been successful as a company, what we have been missing is a concise story line. We also had ideas about what we should be doing on the product roadmap side, to change things compared to how we have done things in the past.
“Many of our customers still look at ThinPrint as a break-fix solution,” Volkmer emphasized. “If they have an issue, we can fix it. We love doing that, but the limitation with that approach is that it doesn’t let us talk to people who have no printing issues, who think that everything is fine. It’s still worth having a conversation with them, even if they don’t have an issue.”
The idea, expressed by ThinPrint’s ‘Printing for Innovation’ slogan, is that ThinPrint can help these customers as well.
““In the past, we have been very technical and very feature-oriented,” Volkmer said. “We want to give customers a better idea of how printing can drive their business and be more innovative. We want to convey to them that we can help them innovate, and can make things more seamless for them. We are a super-easy interface to a digital application. We can show them how printing fits in those strategy discussions, and think that it is best done in an Enterprise Print Management context.”
ThinPrint Mobile Print is a core component of this broader solution, along with their ThinPrint Hub endpoint print appliance that manages on-premises printing from mobile endpoints, and their ezeep cloud offerings. ezeep Dash manages local printing for PC and MAC endpoints from the cloud, while ezeep is a complete cloud printing service for all endpoints, including PCs, Macs, Chromebooks, smartphones and tablets.
“All of these components exist today, as we have had the technology, but what has been missing is the story line,” Volkmer said. “We are now emphasizing what ties all this together, and will be offering more features and more refinements.” ThinPrint Hub, for example, will soon be manageable through a Web console soon, likely early next quarter, Volkmer indicated.
“The ThinPrint Mobile Print for VMware Workspace ONE extends what we have been doing, and is a different angle with VMware than what we have typically done,” he added. Previously, the VMware Horizon View virtual desktop piece used a small portion of ThinPrint technology licensed as OEM piece, and we had add-on solutions for those who wanted more than what VMware was willing to do. On the mobility side, we were focused more on the AirWatch side.”
ThinPrint changed its perspective as more and more customers rolled out native applications to mobile devices, and need a way to connect those physical adventures to the physical world.
“We want to enable them to manage print and manage mobile devices in the same enterprise grade way that you can do on a Mac or a PC,” Volkmer stated. “Those enterprise options really have not been something that could be done before. Both the Google Print and AirWatch functions that enable printing are consumer grade solutions that gives everybody on the network access and limits the ability to restrict features with appropriate permissions. This is a cool piece because it gives us an opportunity to add value to the VMware ecosystem.”
The expanded relationship with VMware is a technology one, not a go-to-market partnership.
“Life would be very easy if VMware sold it as well, but we haven’t gotten quite that far yet,” Volkmer said. “However, we do have a good working relationship with them. so we aren’t entirely alone. We know who their important partners are, and they know who we are, and we have regular conversations with them. So we are giving their channel an opportunity to go to market with us.”