Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Copier Model is Sinking

Print volumes are down, businesses continue to shed devices, MpS providers are evolving from marks on paper to IT services and what do our OEMs do?

They release more than 20 'new' devices, each; fighting for every, last print, click, and cartridge.

To the end.

They're jostling for deckchairs nearest the pool - on the Titanic. What's worse, they expect you to fight with them - never mind that gushing sound.

"Better" toner, special ink, embedded keyboards, 'intuitive' user interfaces, digital on-ramps, document management software (tied to an equipment quota) will not save the vessel - 'rebates/kickbacks' and special hardware pricing is and always has been a 30 day approach.  Nothing can stop the water - people will not print as much as they once had.
There are no new "clicks."

It's refusing to believe in icebergs after being gouged from bow to stern.

But a few of us know. The Signs have been there, the writing was on the wall, and icebergs have been easy to spot.

We've paid attention to the quarterly earnings reports, understood the consolidation of our industry is now the disintegration of companies:
  • Paper plants have long shut down.
  • HP split in two; too big to fail?
  • Lexmark consolidated, then sold.
  • Xerox fading; too big to purchase?
  • Dealers coagulating then sell to investment groups.
  • Leveraged toner remanufactures closing all watertight doors, polishing the brass, then hoist the "For Sale" sign - as a whole or in pieces.
  • Who know's the truth with the offshore OEMs, they're steaming off into the fog, oblivious and happy.
Do not believe the tired old lines of "print is not dead".  It's the crew's way of not spreading panic.  Phrases like, "...its business as usual...", "...we see this merger as a way to better serve our customers...", "...we're excited about the opportunity to inject cash into new ideas..." are delivered to placate and numb you to the truth - "this ship will sink".

Recognize that your OEM wants more shelf-space and will wrap their machines in solutions, apps, rebates or warm, apple pie to get you to place units.

This Gregism is as true today as it was back in 2007,
"On the first of the month we sell solutions, after the 15th, we move machines."
This is a losing argument.  Today's technology prospect understands "the cheapest image is the one you never print".

We've got lifeboats, but you remember about the lifeboats, don't you? There are only so many.

Lifeboat One - Sell out. If you can, do it.

Lifeboat Two - Stay and swim. Good luck, Jack.  It took nearly a decade before Kodak went away, maybe you'll have the same luck.

Lifeboat Three - Find your way and survive to thrive. If you can sell copiers, you can sell anything. MpS practitioners can apply the same skills; assess, analyze, recommend and implement - to ANY 'As A Service' offering.

"As a service" offerings are materializing faster than print is dying.  Now is the time to look beyond the assessment, quota, clicks, billing scheme, and the old copier model.

We can help.

We have ideas, and tools to help you find your Way:

Reach out to me.

But hurry, there's water over the bulkheads, its only a matter of time.



"The Ship Will Sink"

Click to email me. 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Case Against TCO tools: They Don’t Work

Feathers, prepare to be ruffled.

I know people who know people who have created some of the best Total Cost of Operation/Ownership calculators in the business. Indeed, collecting historical cost figures for such a wide variety of output devices, then applying mathematical formula's to the data, is a daunting task - it can take years to build a good TCO tool.

I've seen the biggest and the 'best' tools available; each time I've walked away thinking,

"Am I the only person who sees how complex and burdensome these things are?"

In the past six months, I have heard folks express frustration over TCO tools -"...too complex, time consuming and unreliable..." No, I am not the only one feeling TCO tools are losing relevancy.

I see three reasons for this:

  1. TCO Tools are Wrong
  2. TCO Tools are designed for Us, Not Them
  3. TCO Tools focus on cost

The Tools are Wrong -

There once was a tool designed and utilized by the largest printer manufacturer in the world. Because the company had been around forever, they had a detailed and in-depth data set of real costs. The database was huge; including figures on just about every printer or copier in the market. It was an experience scrolling through the reams of data - impressive.

The tool was Excel workbook, required 3 days of training to understand and prove more effective if used daily and supported a specialist.

One day, I was putting together a TCO report for a prospective 50 devices. The fleet contained multiple printer and copier manufacturers.

The Tool was awesome.

 I was able to find every device and all related cost components - this was going to be great.

I had high hopes.

Determining TCO for single function printers was a snap and accurate. But when I was establishing cost figures for copiers, I ran into a peculiar issue; all the cost of supporting a copier were rolled into the TCO - rollers, springs, scanning units, ADF’s, paper-tray elements, toner, fuser oil and so on. The information was detailed, correct and to the copier user, irrelevant.

The majority of copier customers do not recognize ANY of these costs. Clients with an “all inclusive” service agreement, never see a charge for rollers or fuser oil - these are covered under the service agreement.

This was a major flaw. If I were to present this figure to a client as their total cost of ownership for copiers, he would have laughed me out the door.

In a second and more familiar scenario, I once presented what I believed to be a solid projection of another prospects TCO. I utilized a tool, found every device in question, applied the known data points and calculated a monthly cost. When first queried, the prospect had no idea how much he was paying for toner and service, but unbeknownst to me, he rustled up some invoices before my presentation.

My figures were grossly exaggerated when compared to his actual cost.  Has this ever happened to you?

I know, I know your TCO tool is easy to use and always accurate, so I must be referring to everyone else's TCO tool, not yours.

Designed for Us, Not Them -

As a practice manager, I've utilized TCO tools to tell me how much MY cost would be if I were to include an “off” brand device under my MpS engagement.

In this case, the TCO tool worked well.

And that’s my point, these tools are designed from the viewpoint of a provider, not the client.

When we suggest to a prospect, how much he's paying, it is us telling them.  Sure, they might agree with your methodology and even your derived cost figures.  But the days of clients believing any sales statement, unchallenged, are waning.  Fewer prospects are comfortable being told what they do not know.

Today, a business worth its salt, can easily determine how much they've spent on toner and paper and services calls - entry level accounting systems track and report this information with the click of a mouse.

Here's the real dirt - most of the designers, creators and providers of TCO tools have never sat across a prospect and proposed a sale.  They've never had a customer challenge the numbers and they've never depended on commissions to pay for food or diapers.

Focus on CPI-

We never leave a proposal at the front desk.
We never discuss cost, except in round numbers, over the phone.
We never make price the only factor.

Sales 101, right?

Then why, oh why, do we boil a sale down to cost per image/machine/unit lead with a TCO?

You see that, right?

When you install the DCA,  run the TCO calculating cost per image, and propose a solution that reduces your client' TCO you've accelerated the commoditization of our industry.


One more thing - It is Too Late

Not only are the tools inaccurate, anti-client and sales-stunting - everybody is or has a TCO tool in their sales-bag.  This has been going on for decades, we say and believe one thing at the beginning of the month and by the 15th, we're all back to selling as many boxes, images, seats, users, licenses as possible, at a "competitive" price.

It is the way of things.

The train is off the tracks, gravity has taken hold, the bottom is rushing up - margins tumble, OEM's disintegrate, clicks vanish.

Chang the way you sell? It just doesn't matter.

What to do -

I've been there, I've watched this shift occur over the years, not just in printing/copying but in technology, entertainment and the auto industry.  Things change.  Everything dies, baby, that's a fact.

Except and move forward:

  1. Solidify you existing business - use new, simple tools applicable to other niches
  2. Pivot into new areas - you know this
  3. Get rid of your OEM - don't be afraid, let them wear the albatross, not you

Just because something didn't last forever, doesn't mean it wasn't perfect.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Can You Simplify Your Managed Print Services Life?

"Life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Your managed print services sales life is crowded. Cold calls, ridealongs, training, demos, deliveries, proposal generation, customer service, assessments, DCA installations, customer questions, follow up, complaints and emergency toner delivery. How many devices do you need to understand and articulate the benefits of? Do you own your elevator pitch, value prop and sales script?

Do you have a smartphone, tablet, and laptop? What, two phones? Busy, aren’t you?

I bet you use all the software they can throw at you — email, Excel, Word, PowerPoint. Don’t forget your CRM entries, funnel and forecast reports, account diagraming and those important meetings: Monday morning sales, Wednesday lunch and learns, Friday weekly recap, and on and on and on. Today, the skillset required to sell, manage or offer managed print services combines all of the above and then some. In addition to asking the standard copier questions about lease expiration dates, monthly equipment and service payments, duplex, color or mono, and why copy in the first place, you collect equipment, usage and the costs associated with printers.

All this before asking, “Why print?”

Read the rest, here.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

MWA Intelligence, Inc. Announces Winner of The Jillian Fund Motorcycle Raffle

Congratulations, Danny Terril, Owner of OES-Solutions

Scottsdale, AZ - June 22, 2016 - MWA Intelligence Inc. (MWAi), a master value-added reseller (MVAR) and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for SAP Business One and leader in enterprise resource planning software (ERP) concludes their motorcycle journey, traversing across the country in a teamed up effort with Clover Imaging Group and The Jillian Fund.

The Jillian Fund honors Jillian Gorman, a young woman diagnosed with an aggressive form of blood cancer that tragically ended 4 years later. The Jillian Fund provides financial support to parents with children who are suffering life-threatening illnesses that require critical care. They also award academic scholarships to young women who portray extraordinary faith and leadership within their communities. With donations they receive, The Jillian Fund is able to provide families in need with monetary support covering: household and child care expenses, lodging, transportation and meals. As of to date, the charity has raised over $355,000 with more and more donations pouring in.

“You get a real sense of fulfillment when you decide to partake in something bigger than yourself. To have the opportunity to raise money for a worthy cause for Jillian, a brave young woman has been nothing short of an honor,” said Michael T. Stramaglio, President and CEO of MWA Intelligence, Inc. “The amount of support that families have received is tremendously incredible from The Jillian Fund and it has been amazing to have association with this charity. On behalf of all those involved, including the donors, it has been an extreme pleasure.”

In total, the motorcycle trek encompassed 10 stops starting with MWA Intelligence, Inc. in Scottsdale, AZ and ending at Des Plaines Office Equipment in Chicago, IL. The duration of the trip lasted 10 days, from May 23rd, 2016 to June 1st which included visits to the following dealerships and manufacturers: Muratec, Datamax, Memphis Communications Corporation, Advanced Office Systems, Cobb Technologies, Stones Office Equipment, Perry proTECH, and Des Plaines Office Equipment.

While in Washington, D.C., the riders participated with The Rolling Thunder, a nonprofit organization dedicated to publicizing positive causes and to educate the American people. Each year The Rolling Thunder organize an annual ride in Washington, D.C. where up to 1 million participants partake in such a cause.

Generously, Clover Imaging Group donated the customized 2011 Harley Davidson Fat Bob for a raffle. The proceeds from the ticket sales went directly toward The Jillian Fund.

A very appreciative and grateful thank you to all who were involved in the ride and to those who donated for such a worthy cause. The updated total raised from donations and from the ticket sales surmounted $120,000 and growing which would not have been made possible without the efforts from all those involved.

“As a pancreatic cancer survivor myself, OES-Solutions was beyond happy to support such a great cause. I could not fathom having to go through what I went through alone and I truly believe that no one person should ever have to endure that. Without organizations like The Jillian Fund, some families would not be able to spend the necessary time with their loved ones in their time of need. I thank all the people involved at the Jillian Fund, it’s an honor both personally and professionally to be a part of such a great cause. I have to admit that winning the Harley Davidson this year was extremely exciting but the real prize is the relationships that I have developed working with Mike Stramaglio and everyone involved so once again from everyone here at OES-Solutions we thank you and look forward to working with you in the future” said Danny Terril, Owner of OES-Solutions, cancer survivor, and supporter of The Jillian Fund.

MWAi FORZA with SAP Business One is a complete, integrated ERP that provides transparency and instant visibility into operations. The FORZA solution helps dealerships to better unify, manage, and control their entire business across financials, sales, customers, and operations. Together, MWA Intelligence and SAP will provide office technology and imaging channel businesses the ability to make smart IT decisions, improve future performance, and achieve long-term success.

About OES-Solutions:
Founded on the highest standards of integrity, reliability, and flexibility, OES-Solutions provides an array of OEM printers, multifunction copiers, fax machines and consumables from several of the industry’s top manufactures. With over 15 years and $150 million in sales and experience, OES - Solutions offers products, programs and support that cater to the needs of independent office equipment dealers throughout the United States.

For additional information, please visit OES-Solutions website:

About The Jillian Fund:

Jillian Lauren Gorman was the embodiment of strength and encouragement to others, and recognized the importance of a parent’s presence and support during difficult times. The Jillian Fund believes that children facing life-threatening illnesses should never face them alone. Each day, thousands of critically ill children face long hospital stays without a parent by their side because the parent is financially unable to leave work. The Jillian Fund is dedicated to uniting families in need during their most critical times and providing academic financial support to young women who demonstrate Jillian’s legacy of living by example and conquering fear with faith. The Jillian Fund is a 501(c)(3) Organization.

For additional information, please visit The Jillian Fund website:

About MWA Intelligence, Inc.:

MWA Intelligence Inc. (MWAi), an SAP Business One OEM partner, delivers enterprise-class and leading-edge Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and Machine-to-People (M2P) solutions to better serve the imaging industry. MWAi’s intelligent service, workforce, assets and GPS solution suites deliver mission-critical information in real time to the hands of customer-facing employees and into companies’ back-end ERP systems including the powerful MWAi FORZA with SAP Business One. The MWAi solution automates all of the business intelligence management, meter collection, consumables and service alerts and also offers an integrated pre-sale MPS tool.

For additional information, please visit the MWA Intelligence corporate website:

# # #

For more information:

Jenna Stramaglio


MWA Intelligence, Inc.

(480) 538-5969

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Why can't you see open and closed tickets, toner shipped, and revenue generated by client, contract, location and device? How about your clients' non-print assets?

Under your MpS engagements, which OEM is most profitable?  Sharp? HP? Kyocera?  What model?

Which client is costing you the most to support?

For your enterprise customer, can you determine the most active floor, which devices are generating a high number of help desk calls? Can you see lease payment and expiration date for those devices?


Displayed on your phone?

Atlas - MpS can help you.  Not just print, everything.

Join us for a simple discussion around this complex and cluttered issue:

ATLAS - MpS More than a Map


Thursday, June 30, 2016 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM (CDT)

Eventbrite - ATLAS - MpS More than a Map

Find Your Way.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The End Of MPS, The Beginning of MpS

Recent market data for the global hardcopy peripherals (HCP) market saw a 10.6 percent yearly decline, though MPS growth has continued across the world. HP shows an 18.6% decline in unit shipments, Y/Y. - IDC, 2016

It doesn't need to be said, does it? The office environment has been moving away from print for the past decade. I know it, the OEMs know it, and in your heart, you know it too.

Managed print services is a trailing indicator, 'growth' is a statistic anomaly - expanding in a shrinking pool - there are no new clicks.

You want to survive and thrive in the technology industry. It's easier to sell copiers and implement a managed print services practice than it is to bring a managed services practice but the IT world represents growth and opportunity.

What should you do?

"...Come With Me Now..."

Years ago, I preached the coming of managed print services as the wave of the future.

Then, I saw managed print services as an on-ramp to business process/workflow optimization, teaching simple, workflow analysis embedded in the standard assessment.

Next, evangelizing managed services as the new frontier for copier/printer providers, I recommended third-parties like Collabrance and Continuum.

Today, I've come full circle and looking at managed print services basics. The tools I've seen, and I've seen or worked with almost all of them - are impressive.

Here are some of my observations:

  1. Heavy - cumbersome to use, demand time from MpS practitioner
  2. Print-data, intense - print only, some end-user, but no outside asset data
  3. Sales static - the 'map' and client data remain in the sales silo, or not easily transportable into contracts or service
  4. The Tool 'does the thinking for you' - plug the data in and out comes a current and recommended state in a 300 page Word doc
I see lots of TCO tools, column reports, graphs and dashboards and I think we can do better. I'm looking at how I conduct assessments and the tools I would use in the field. Additionally, I'm taking a holistic view - I'd like to know how the fleet is performing in terms of service calls and profitability. 

Finally, I'd like to be in a position to offer my clients an engagement that includes ANY asset type.

With this in mind, we've designed a tool that:

  1. Collects data from multiple databases: DCA, service desk, dispatch, accounting system
  2. Helps you easily conduct assessments and present mapped proposals
  3. Enables you to create, and doesn't do the thinking for you

Point #1
Atlas - Mps displays ANY asset; printers, copiers, desktops, laptops, phones, projectors, oxygen bottles. But more impactful, is our ability to draw together related, yet disconnected data. For instance, we show the number of service calls placed on an asset, the install date, number of toners delivered, revenue and profit generated; for the universal MIF, client fleet, or individual asset.

We've designed Atlas - MpS to work within your managed print services ecosystem - the 'map' not only supports new sales, but integrates through sales to service to management to ownership; sales people engage and asses, service utilizes mapping, and management looks into real-time financial information with the tap of a screen.

Point #2
With or without a DCA/Thumb drive, a practitioner conducts interviews and records findings. Manual entry of device data(manufacturer, model, volumes, etc.) is achieved through the use of the onboard survey tool. Machine data files may be uploaded or a directly integrated, but is not necessary.

Plotting devices and manual data collection is simple and easy. Floor plans are uploaded but when unavailable, practitioners may utilize Atlas - MpS floorpan templates.

Displaying current and optimized environments is as simple as tapping an on-screen icon.

Point #3
Some existing systems deliver everything from a prospect's total cost of operation to a final proposal in Word leaving the "specialist" with nothing more to do than email the proposal, or deliver pie.
We've designed a tool that I would use in the field as a practitioner. I don't want anything 'heavy' and cumbersome and I sure don't want somebody else doing the thinking for me.

Atlas - MpS is not a substitute for your collective knowledge, sales savvy or sizzling charm.

It is a tool that spans the landscape and is useful for the field practitioner, the practice manager, and the owner/principle. Atlas - MpS works the way you do, fitting into your workflow.

I cannot tell you how often I’m asked for an ‘assessment’ or ‘mps contract’ sample. I’ve conducted assessments on paper, laptops and in my head but I still use a basic outline of questions. We’ve incorporated something to orient the new practitioner and keep the seasoned vet on track.

“We interviewed 25 employees and 62% of them responded that service calls are not being completed within 72 hours. 87% felt ordering toner required three to four hours to complete.” 

Atlas - MpS. Assessment Logic*
We’ve incorporated a survey function that can be administered for each asset. In the case of a non-integrated - no DCA software - simple machine data collected on one screen. This isn't a data dump, the questions included collect relevant information you need to create a compelling proposal. I’ve also included basic workflow questions and sales related queries.

Once the survey is completed, the data is attached to that specific asset - the answers can be used as analysis. For instance, “We interviewed 25 employees and 62% of them responded that service calls are not being completed within 72 hours. 87% felt ordering toner required three to four hours to complete.” could be one of your compelling arguments for change.

Atlas - MpS. Contract Completion*
The sales and service teams rarely communicate but an integral part of a great customer experience is the effortless transition from proposing to implementing. One important issue is to correctly communicate data proposed, like existing device serial numbers, location, point of contact, beginning meter reads, CPI, etc. The information is captured during the assessment and proposal stage - why not simply populate a .PDF of your engagement?

Why not have the digital version of your contract available for signature immediately after the presentation? Atlas - Mps has this capability to complete your contract. Print it if you like, or have your client digitally sign right then and there. Email the completed form to your contracts department and have the account set up before you get back to the office. Ring that bell.

Atlas - MpS. Print Policy Framework*
Ultimately, a fully engaged, high level managed print services engagement results in a Print Policy.
Atlas - MpS, will create the blank Print Policy template and present data to support the generation of content.

Once the print policy is in place, Atlas - MpS helps you managed the engagement against the goals set forth in the policy. The information is real time, specific data points are monitored and statused as either “in or out of policy”.

No more quarterly reviews - review the fleet and goals of the program at any time.

One More thing…

Atlas is adept at integrating disparate databases and managing IT assets. Once you begin to utilize Atlas - MpS, the door opens into the IT realm. We’re not suggesting you invest in a data center, or engage with a third party to provide help desk, end-point monitoring services. We suggest talking with your IT contacts about “Asset Lifecycle Management”. You help track their IT assets, manage technology upgrades and equipment refresh with Atlas all for a monthly subscription. We can help you.

Atlas - MpS is different, simple and dynamic, helping managed print practitioners solidify their position in imaging, while opening opportunities outside of print.

Find Your Way.

Reach out to me.


Monday, June 13, 2016

Managed print Services Assessment Software: The 'Tinder' of Imaging

Do relationships ever start face to face?

Not such an odd question, considering the low barriers to entry provided by today's social networks.  

Indeed, relative to a decade past, the platforms available for connecting - Tinder, Plenty of Fish, Match, the scandalous Ashley Madison, even LinkedIn - is ever expanding. 

Barcode scanners made check out faster, today's 'dating' apps get more people hooked up, quicker.

These tools suck the 'art' out of introduction, pairings are built on the assessment of a witty sentence and attractive photo. We've commoditized the foundational stages of relationship building.  I can't help but wonder if this results in hollow, unfulfilling, short term espousals.

Similar to personal relationships, print services engagements begin with an introduction and assessment. The success of every managed print service agreement depends on correctly assessing the current state.

Before Tinder, there was...

In the beginning, around 2007, the MpS tool-set ignored assessment functionality so MpS practitioners created individual tools and processes to accomplish three primary data points: cost acquisition, usage history and physical location. Clip boards, graph paper, color sticky-dots, and calculators were the kit of the time.

As MpS expanded, so too, did our tools.  The data collection agents, like PrintAudit, PrintFleet and Webjet Admin, added more capabilities.  Toner management companies like Supplies Network, LMI and Clover, created managed print services programs and attached algorithmic analysis, simulating precognitive skills for supply orders.

Years marched on. In an effort to accelerate MpS opportunities through the selling cycle, the tool set mushroomed from data acquisition to automated analysis, pricing, and proposal generation.  MpS specialists simply load software on a prospect's network and in minutes, a full proposal, with maps, is produced.  

Often, the tools are pitched as a 'no brainer'.

But you have a brain, don't you?  

So what to do?  Stop dating all together, just because the landscape rests under a digital haze?


I recommend three steps:
  1. Get back to basics
  2. Do not engage technology for technology's sake.
  3. Don't let them scare you.

Relationship is everything and in MpS, its easy to forget about the human touch and let your software tools take over. So imagine you do not have a piece of software installed(DCA). What would you do? How would you determine existing costs, number of units, number of users, and geographic location? 

You would ASK and record the answers on a piece of paper.  Just like the olden days, when a man saw a woman he was attracted to, he would simply engage in conversation and ask her for her phone number(digits).  It was that simple.

Just because we can, doesn't mean we should...
We all love technology, right? But just because we can watch movies on our phone, doesn't mean we do.  Just because end-uses think it would be nice to print from a tablet, doesn't mean they do.  And even though we can generate huge proposals with reams of data, dozens of graphs and thousands of words, doesn't mean we should.

Three slides. Two page proposal. One page agreement.

No fear...
In the old days, it took guts to approach a stranger, establish quick rapport and ask for a dance.
Today, in MpS, it takes moxie to buck your internal systems when performing assessments and engage your prospects as colleagues, not masters.  Utilize the tools, just don't use them as a crutch.

Have no fear, you know everything you need to know without print Big Data, or complicated TCO algorithms.

You're inquisitive, experiential, like talking to people, and a passionate problem solver, aren't you? At your core, one reason - the only reason - you're in sales is the joy of being accepted for creating something special for your clients.  

Think about it.  Beyond the "Put That Coffee Down" bullshit, I'd venture you feel the thrill every time a prospect turns into a customer.  For you, it isn't conquering, it's sharing.

So why be tethered to an overbearing hunk of software?  Why use tools that demand hours of training and spit out reams of numerical gobbledygook?

Make it simple, get back to basics, hone and use the tool between your ears.

Read, from 2008.  The single most important tool in Managed print Services and check out the next and Last Stage in managed print services, Atlas-MpS.

Find Your Way.

LinkedIN & Microsoft: One World, One Rule.

Trump, gun control, politics, multi-level marketing and bikini's - oh, how the mighty have fallen.

...and concerns about censorship on LI were just starting to boil...

LinkedIn and Microsoft are well on their way to creating the second biggest "Brother" - ever.

"Pulse" concerns, missing or deleted posts, robo-suspended accounts and warnings about content are on the rise or at least being exposed.

This merger bodes darkly for the future.

From the email to LinkedIN employees, today:

"Massively scaling the reach and engagement of LinkedIn by using the network to power the social and identity layers of Microsoft's ecosystem of over one billion customers. Think about things like LinkedIn's graph interwoven throughout Outlook, Calendar, Active Directory, Office, Windows, Skype, Dynamics, Cortana, Bing and more. "

I sounds great, right? I can have all my LI contacts connected to my Skype and whenever I search on Bing, my 'network' will be searched for relevant connections(and their connections and so on). My email will be searched for relevant discussions. My account listing in the accounting system will be searched, bubbling up customers who may have parallel or direct influence on the subject in question. The web of connectivity runs deep.

Everything connected to everything, machine-like. One platform to support, one company to rule.

But as the past few months have shown, LI users are beginning to flex their creative and humanistic muscles.

Content is shifting from all business to all but business. People are becoming more 'human', on-line. Matches are being made, love connections paired. Political discourse, a seasonal turn, is on the rise. "Chat" room intercourse often sink into insults and name calling.

People being people, deviant. A centralized machine does not condone deviance.

I am a fan of technology and I believe the Universal Internet of Everyone is inevitable if not upon us now. Great things are possible when the minds of the world focus on a vision.

But who molds that vision? In a centralized, monolithic realm, the masters of the account/comment/newsfeed, rule.

"They" control the picture.

LinkedIN, AoL, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all the other 'free' platforms are not without cost.

We, the users, carry the world of LinkedIn(and every other social media) on our shoulders. Occasionally, we shrug.

In the end, congratulations are in order for Jeff. He built a great product and sold it(out) to a huge concern. Formula.

Next Play.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Next Managed print Services

From Los Angeles over to Davidson, North Carolina up to Oconomowoc, Wisconsin; from IT to corporate identity programs to copiers, back to IT, then managed print services, managed services, and back to Managed print Services.

What a checkered, varied and wonderful path. The journey continues.

I met Dave Westlake years ago when he was pitching his print security package - back then, nobody cared about security and printers. So he pivoted into asset management. His mapping tool created interest, and received traction in the IT realm, not the print world.

One day, Dave called me up asking for my advice. He was working with a client who wanted to build an MpS practice and was wondering about the hiring criteria for a MpS Practice Manager, inside a $300M VAR. After a 20 minute outline/oration, I simply stopped and said, “Dave, there is nobody out there with this level of experience in BOTH imaging and IT - except me."

One thing led to another, interviews conducted, offers made and accepted. Five months after our initial conversation, I was on my way from Ft. Meyers, Florida(87 degrees, sunny) to Oconomowoc, Wisconsin(12 degrees, cloudy) with a mission to first see if MpS made sense for the organization and then build a practice.

My consultations revealed this VAR, just like many others, did not hold print as a very high priority - for the organization or their clients. The sales people were accustomed to quoting million dollar hardware deals, not $4,500.00/month service contracts. The money was too little, the effort too involved.

So nine months into an engagement, I got the call into HR. “Print is not a strategic initiative of the company. Your position has been eliminated.” All righty then - nice to have met you all, it was a thrill helping you discover you didn’t need me or my expertise. Have a nice day.


While employed, I pitched Dave’s software to the VAR as a great way to help IT customers integrate different software systems onto a single screen, and was roundly rebuffed. “Oh, it’s just an asset management package…” The interpretation was incorrect, but for some reason, I didn’t waste time or breath on the argument.

They missed the point. I had customers begging me for a solution like Atlas. IT Directors from large financial institutions and one of the largest healthcare providers in the world were asking me for a way to integrate data from dozens of disparate databases.

Red flags fluttered in my toner-fused mind. I kept my mouth shut.

Days after being let go, I called Dave. Remember, if it weren’t for his phone call 14 months back, I wouldn’t be freezing in Oconomowoc, a gajillion miles from the Pacific. We decided to work together and double our efforts in the already proven niche, IT Lifecycle management. He may have felt pity or guilt - not sure.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the IT Department - we started to see Atlas as a natural choice for copier and print providers looking to pivot from MpS into IT. It’s easier to talk about tracking hardware than outsourcing the help desk or configuring hybrid BDR solutions.

Looking at the different mapping, assessment, ROI, proposal generating, and TCO tools left me exhausted and mystified - I would never purchase or inflict any of those tools on a sales team. We can’t get reps to type information into SalesForce or Oracle, how the heck are to expect them to operate and drive these behemoths?

I’ve managed and built MpS practices. I’ve created and helped institute managed services practices inside copier dealerships. In my own practice and in every other MpS organization I’ve been involved, the tools to sell, service and run the business is a large, complicated, hodgepodge of strung together software packages.

If by chance, an organization had moved forward with an integrated platform, a system that generates everything from TCO to before and after maps, the system is cluttered, complicated and heavy. Lot’s of dealers and most customers do not need or want to review a plethora of charts, graphs and spreadsheets crunching print related data.

 I’ve heard them tell me so.

Atlas isn’t any of these things. I can conduct a simple walk through and interview, plot devices, capture machine data, document workflow involved, etc. right on my tablet or phone. MpS Practitioners can conduct assessments, utilize their wisdom and close more deals. It doesn’t matter if a DCA or thumb drive is utilized. Move forward with end user interviews, collect the data, plot devices, present your solution and close.

As a Practice Manager, I was always downloading invoice and toner costs out of EAutomate, collecting dispatch data from ConnectWise, merging Crystal reports and .CSV files in an Excel spreadsheet. After a few hours, I had a pretty good profit and loss presentation ready. Back then, I wondered if I would ever be able to boil all that data into a single screen, reflecting live data.

One can dream.

This is good stuff. Atlas helps MpS sales people, Practice Managers, Owner/Principles and customers managed and visualize the entire environment. What’s more, the system is designed to work inside existing workflows, organically optimizing processes and steps - not replacing existing tools in a ‘rip and replace’ manner.

For print specific providers, Atlas offers more than just toner/ink device management - out of the box, Atlas can track ALL assets, not just SNMP/MIB based. Manage the printers and copiers for 12 months, then move the conversation to IT Lifecycle management of PC’s, monitors, and phones. That’s just one

I’ve evaluated all the tools even working with some few know exist. I like simplicity. I like low overhead. I like tools that are implements, not replacements for creativity and thought.

That’s why I liked Printelligent. That’s why I picked Preo/Printelligence back in 2011 and promoted PrinterLogic in 2014 - simple, effective, relevant. I’m looking forward to evangelizing Atlas as an easy to use, scalable tool. A tool to be used in the field and in the board room.

Atlas - Mps, Find Your Way.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Is Managed Print Services Making a Comeback?

Back in the day, about four years ago, every OEM, large dealership, consultant and training house had a managed print services program. Indeed, the big concerns tossed millions of marketing dollars at prospective MPS practices — remember the great Oki motorcycle giveaways and those Ricoh MPS roadshows? How about the Photizo conferences?

Times changed. More importantly, misaligned expectations, shortsighted hiring practices, and lack of ownership commitment killed many practices. The final blow came as OEM after OEM applied shell-game tactics, pitching themselves as services-led, but hamstringing dealers in the form of equipment quotas. How can ANY manufacturer promote a philosophy which endeavors to reduce the number of machines in the field?

So they didn’t. Instead, MPS corporate programs grew like weeds, defining optimized fleets as “machines carrying the same logo” and promising 30 percent savings

Relegated to “supplies and service” management, MPS slid to the background. Especially when the new “shiny object,” Managed Services, took center stage. But a funny thing happened on the way to the NOC — turns out, managing PCs and end users and selling to IT folks isn’t as easy as it was expected to be. Indeed, quoting, presenting and closing IT deals is downright difficult — more so than MPS. The selling is different, prospects act differently, and the infrastructure to support service agreements can be daunting. Once again, a great idea gets bogged down in the real world.

So we tried managed services, didn’t like the results, and now are looking at MPS from a different perspective.

“Maybe MPS isn’t so difficult, after all.”

Read the rest, here.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Is Managed print Services experiencing "the third day..."

Yes, MpS is coming back.  I know dozens of successful MpS practices engaging clients, supporting MpS and making a profit today; it isn't that we've completely abandoned the idea.

But, I'm observing that we've left MpS to pursue the latest shinny object, managed services.  I'm not deriding that effort - worthy is the quest away of print.

And no, clients haven't fallen prey to our hypnotic social media or cold call campaigns - they've heard the "30% savings" mantra and see through the "optimized fleet" scheme.

What I see is that we've come full circle.  MpS programs, benchmarks, best practices and philosophies have rooted and everyone has logged their "10,000 hours. 

Today, we've got programs and associations:

CompTia's Managed Print Services community, Xerox PagePack, Canon MDS, Ricoh MDS, HP MPS, Toshiba Encompass, Lexmark MPS, Sharp MPS, Muratec MPS, Kyocera MDS, Okidata MPS and the grand daddy of them all, your Managed Print Services Association.

Today's software, unavailable in 2008, reads devices and spits out proposals in the blink of an eye. 

Like cities in the dark, MpS programs dot the landscape: Supplies Network, Digitec, LMI, Clover, Synnex and more provide sales training, assessment/TCO tools, and automatic toner fulfillment. 

These managed print services pillars are proven, standardized and in place.  In other words, managed print services is the status quo.

The establishment is MpS.

Consider the following:

MpS is part of a stale and complacent offering.
Is there anything more stale than copiers, printers and paper? No.  There is nothing more old-fashioned than marks on paper.  Don't believe me?  Ask your customers.

The providers are not in touch with customers.
While we've been promoting OEM specific solutions and telling prospects about our 14 new models,  businesses have been shifting from copying to scanning, relieving themselves of those big, nasty A3 copiers and going paperless - without our help.  

Think I'm wrong?  Check Xerox's earnings for the past 3 years; review HP's numbers for the same period and feel for those Lexmark CxO's, crash-coursing Mandarin.  They all lost touch years ago.

These shinny offerings are wedged into old business models.
I've had paying clients tell me, "...if it(managed services) doesn't fit into the 'blah, blah, blah', copier dealer business model,  it will never work..."  Indeed, even successful managed print services practices utilize yesteryear's example; contractual services tied to equipment placements.  What once was our strength, is now our greatest weakness.

"Complacent, out of touch, old business models"-
I challenge you to google, "How to Recognize an Industry Ready for Disruption" - you'll find that we are sitting on the bubble.  

The niche is primed for major turbulence; bigger than experienced in the beginning of MpS, and separate from current consolidations(OEM/Dealer).

I suggest that you and I are on the cusp of a Revelation and Revolution. The MpS 'third day'. Resurrection.

This time, the MpS revolution will be carried forward by in-the-field, MpS practitioners, free of stifling processes and discombobulated compensation plans...

This time, executives who've forgotten how to sell, aren't fashioning a strategy designed to secure more self space, create equipment quotas then calling it 'managed print services'...

This time, we help our clients move away from ink, away from printers, away from copiers, without the promise of 30% savings...

Who's coming with me?  

This moment will be the moment of "....something real and fun and inspiring in this God forsaken business and we will do it, together..."

Click to email me.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Universal Constant: Are you the "Historic-Denier"

"Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it."
- Winston Churchill

The Earth rotates, our Moon orbits, both circle the Sun, the solar system flows within the Galaxy and the Milky Way drifts through the Universe.

Nothing stands still.

Some observe "change" in patterns - our lifecycle, ocean tides, seasons, sunrises and sunsets - there is a basic rhythm and circular order. Though seasons repeat and the Sun always rises, each Summer is unique, every Sunset, one of a kind. Flow patterns have similar signs, yet every journey is singular.

Even though we live within the turbulence, recognizing the past in our future is challenging.  The establishment doesn't like change.

"Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
- George Santayana

Business systems abide the same laws yet it's difficult to recognize the signs of change, turn of seasons.  Arguments are historically similar, the signs as prominent, examples clear, but buried in the status quo:

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." - Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation

"It’s time we wake up from the pipe-dream of the paperless office..." - Wired

"Tsk. Death of the Copier? Come on, the OEMs will be around forever and people need to make copies.  Who let this guy in?" - Some print/copier dude, Lyra, 2009.

We've all been here before - as a society and as the human race - today it's the internet, a century ago it was the telegraph. Today it's iPADs, yesterday it was chalk.


There have always been visionaries, there will always be Ludittes.  As further illustration, consider the following list discovered years ago via Fred Kemp, a professor in Texas, by way of Collins and Halverson and originally presented by Dave Thornburg and David Dwyer.  

They're describing resistance to change. I know you'll see parallels.


  • From a principal's publication in 1815: "Students today depend on paper too much. They don't know how to write on a slate without getting chalk dust all over themselves. They can't clean a slate properly. What will they do when they run out of paper?"
  • From the journal of the National Association of Teachers, 1907: "Students today depend too much upon ink. They don't know how to use a pen knife to sharpen a pencil. Pen and ink will never replace the pencil."
  • From Rural American Teacher, 1928: "Students today depend upon store bought ink. They don't know how to make their own. When they run out of ink they will be unable to write words or ciphers until their next trip to the settlement. This is a sad commentary on modern education."
  • From FTA Gazette, 1941: "Students today depend on these expensive fountain pens. They can no longer write with a straight pen and nib. We parents must not allow them to wallow in such luxury to the detriment of learning how to cope in the real business world which is not so extravagant."
  • From Federal Teachers, 1950: "Ballpoint pens will be the ruin of education in our country. Students use these devices and then throw them away. The American values of thrift and frugality are being discarded. Businesses and banks will never allow such expensive luxuries."
  • From a fourth-grade teacher in Apple Classroom of Tomorrow chronicles, 1987: "If students turn in papers they did on the computer, I require them to write them over in long hand because I don't believe they do the computer work on their own."
  • From a science fair judge in Apple Classroom of Tomorrow chronicles, 1988: "Computers give students an unfair advantage. Therefore, students who used computers to analyze data or create displays will be eliminated from the science fair."

Breathtaking, isn't it? "Deniers" from 1815 to 1988.

I remember business owners back in the 90's exclaiming, “Why would I ever need a computerized accounting system?” Three years later, most of those suppliers were gone.

Do you hear similar comments? Yes, everyday.

OEM sponsored ‘studies’ reporting how office print is rising or a blog projecting paper as the preferred knowledge transfer medium appear almost daily; more signs lamenting "pen-knives" and "store bought ink".

I hope you're not telling your employees or prospects, they don't know how to "write on a slate without getting chalk dust all over themselves" or "Ballpoint pens will be the ruin of education in our country..."

Robots are replacing jobs like never before, and that's okay.

The business world is evolving away from paper - processes are quicker and more efficient when utilizing digital conveyance of information, and that's okay.

Technology will be the great equalizer, women will be paid the same as men, minimum wage may end up at $40.00/hr, but cashiers and order takers will be replaced with the aforementioned robots.  And that's okay.

Study history, recognize the signs, see the future, flow through the now.

Don't be the historic-denier.

Curious about your future?  Interested in technology as a catalyst?  Join us for a thrill-packed, riveting, web-event, "The Future of Everything", May 19, 2016.

Monday, April 11, 2016

In the Beginning: One Shade of the DOTC Story

Interview, 7/7/2011, The Imaging Channel.

I dug this up from the underground vault - archives of days gone by, reflections of the future.

Most of us know Greg Walters … or at least we know a little bit about him. We’re familiar with his blog, The Death of the Copier (DOTC), and the scantily clad ladies of said blog. We recognize his bandana and Harley Davidson. We know he’s opinionated and passionate about MPS. But we here at TIC Talk wanted to know more …

TIC: Do you have a “real” job? If so, what is it?

Greg: Yes, I have a “real” job as the MPS Practice Manager at SIGMAnet, a 25-year-old, West Coast VAR.

TIC: Do you wear a suit to this “real job,” or ever?

Greg: OK, that’s funny. Yes, 9-5, I can be found usually sporting a suit, with a tie even. Odd thing is, many days I am the only person in the office in such garb. It’s Cali, and I am originally from the Midwest.

TIC: What’s your background?

Greg: I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii – Pearl Harbor, in that great big “coral pink” hospital in 1962.
I grew up in a suburb just outside Detroit, graduating high school in 1980 – the same year of the Miracle on Ice, Mt. St. Helens’ eruption, the Olympics and Ronald Reagan accepting the Republican nomination in Detroit, at Joe Louis Arena.

After college, I worked at INACOMP, making my way through a few other dealerships and VARs over a decade or so, always proposing computerized accounting systems. Those were wild times – PS/2s, COMPAQ, Novell networks and DOS 4.0. Taking a break from technology, I worked uniform sales – ahem, I mean, “Corporate Identity Programs” – for a great company, CINTAS. They transferred me out to Ontario, California, in 1999 to help open a new plant.

I decided to get back to technology and jumped into a sales position with Océ. From there, I worked with a very nice Panasonic dealership in Anaheim, pushed on to IKON out of Redlands, and ultimately stumbled into a new thing with SIGMAnet, Managed Print Services.

We started from scratch – oh, the stories I can tell.

TIC: When did you get into MPS?

Greg: Well, I started with the MPS practice in September of 2007. But while at IKON, I exposed myself to all the EDM I could and even worked intimately on a rather large FM project – MPS before there was such a thing.

TIC: When did you create DOTC, and why?

Greg: My first post was February 20, 2008, and was about HP Edgeline. I created the blog thinking it would be a good way to put some information up regarding the benefits of Edgeline. We (SIGMAnet) were, and still are, an HP OPS Elite dealer. Edgeline was going to kill all other copiers, hence, “The Death of the Copier” – pretty simple. My second post, made on February 24, 2008, was titled “Managed Print Services, That Hot, New Thing …”

TIC: Did you ever imagine that it would grow into what DOTC has become today?

Greg: Nope. I can still see the looks on all the faces of those copier dudes at Lyra 2009. “Death of the Copier? Just who do you think you are?” LOL!I often comment how happy I was getting just 12 views a day, and most of those from my mom. I built the blog originally as a receptacle for things I was interested in. It evolved into a spot for me to put thoughts down one day and go back to read later. I honestly do write for an audience of one: me — and I crack me up. I must say, I am honored, humbled and thankful for all the great people DOTC has introduced in my life. No plan – just making it up as I go.

TIC: What do you do in your free time?

Greg: Huh – sleep.
And hit the trails, get off the grid in my 2001 LandRover, Disco II – yes, it is a green vehicle. Metallic Forest Green, that is. Ha! By the way, new idea for a bumper sticker on a Prius: “My other car is a … car.” Get it? Sorry, that’s my Detroit showing. Anywho, I also like to get out to the paintball arenas and light up some newbs. I used to golf – had all the stuff. One day I figured I really didn’t need another reason to chase a beer-cart around all day.

TIC: Greg Walters is certainly an interesting and busy person, both personally and professionally. In addition to blogging on DOTC, working at SIGMAnet and sitting on the board of the Managed Print Services Association (he currently serves as secretary), Greg will be joining the TIC Web team as a resident blogger, contributing bimonthly blogs to The Imaging of Greg.

Be sure to check back on Monday, July 11, for his first post.

Posted by Katherine Fernelius on 07/07/2011
Click to email me.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Managed print Services Practice Managers: Whats the new, sexy, Managed print Services?

  • Is MpS the new document management tool?
  • Is it business intelligence and analytics?
  • Is managed print services the future of managed services or the other way around?
Your MpS practice incorporates many tools to satisfy your MpS contractual obligations.

For example, you may be utilizing PrintAudit for data collection, an assessment tool and supplies reporting mechanism. Some of your customers might be reporting through WebJet Admin. Once meter reads are completed through the same or additional tool, your billing system takes over, generating invoices, and collecting revenue.

Maybe you see the advantages of outsourcing the toner supply side of your practice with Great American, LMI, Supplies Network, Axess - you may engage multiple solutions.

When your MpS customer calls for service, technicians are dispatched, service parts installed or ordered and tickets closed. The same for help desk tickets and somewhere, warranties are verified to insure proper credit is received for parts exchange. Lease expiration dates, typically the responsibility of sales, are managed in a separate tool, perhaps E*Automate or SalesForce.

On top of all this, you might be able to run a separate P/L.

Consider how many functions and tools mentioned above: The DCA, help desk, service dispatch, accounting, billing, remote management, toner/supplies reporting and fulfillment - at least six separate data bases which do not talk to each other.

We complain each time we're tasked with presenting a review of the practice to the executive board.

ASCII dumps, Crystal Reports, and pivot tables digesting data from silo's of data then cut and pasted into a nice tidy report. This is both a proven process and staggering hindrance.

What’s the new, sexy Managed print Services? Full-line integration and one-touch information from Atlas.

We integrate disparate databases, present relevant data on single sheet of glass and utilize your existing tool set; no ‘rip and replace’, no expensive and time consuming monolith of programing.

With Atlas, it is possible to manage your business with existing tools and without the pain of creating spreadsheets and pivot tables.

One More Thing -

Your practice is full of silos, but imagine your customers'. Do you think they would like to see IT assets, maybe even printers, with relevant data from databases like WebJet Admin, SCCM, LanDesk, or MobileIron, on one screen?

I know they do, go ahead and ask them.

Once you’ve implemented and seen the positive impact in your business, help your customers by offering to manage their assets. Embed asset management into you managed print services agreements.

Curious? We’re hosting a web session reviewing Atlas in the managed print services niche.

Click to register and join us!

Eventbrite - Atlas - Integrate Your MPS Tools

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Is Paperless-ness a Sexy Result or a Mundane Goal?

Have you noticed an increase in "paperless" talk?

Scuttlebutt generated by folks who make a living selling print/copy devices.  Their argument goes something like, "... I've been hearing about the paperless office since 1978.  It hasn't happened yet.  It's never going to happen..."

On the other side, parties are pushing the paperless office as worthy goal. Headlines like, "...Five Reasons You Should Go Paperless..." and "Go Green, Go Paperless..." haunt news feeds and timelines across the internet.

Who will find themselves on the wrong side of history?  Will businesses start printing like it's 1999 or does digital transformation impact everything BUT print and copy?

I'm going with the folks letting go of the past, challenging the present and riding technology into the future.

The paper less office is here, now.  I've seen it in businesses across the country and in varied industries.  My view is supported by the current standing of our Big 3; Xerox, HP, Lexmark.  If the business world is so enamored  with marks on paper, why are the jewels of our industry experiencing years of decline?

  • Is it because the world suddenly realized trees are not a renewable resource?
    • No, trees have always been renewable.
  • Is it because print and copy services are expensive?
    • No, cheaper than ever.
  • Is it because managed print services illuminated decades of overselling?
    • No. Customers do not care.
Business is moving away from printers and copiers because they are utilizing technology to enhance internal business processes.  Businesses aren't going paperless to go paperless, their continuously improving processes resulting in reduced costs and less paper.

One of my axioms:
"The more paper flowing through your organization, the less efficient your processes."
The past illuminates the future - Green columnar paper.

Not that long ago, company financials were calculated on green paper.  Sales, profits, operations plans were reviewed quarterly - 90 day old data was acceptable.

Then VisaCalc, MultiPlan and Lotus changed everything as hand calculations and mechanical pencils gave way to the QWERTY and mouse.

In an instant, general ledger reports could be generated in days instead of weeks.

In less than a decade, sales of green columnar binder paper dropped off a cliff.

Ask your CFO.

We weren't worried about saving trees or the Chewbacca's; new tools streamlined existing, paper based processes.

As a matter of fact,  output skyrocketed as paper-based workers printed everything from invoices to recipes, financial reports, emails and resumes sat abandoned in output trays around the globe - the salad days of office print.

The Internet of Printers? No.  The internet of Processes

Strange and wonderful things occurred over the last decade - 'clouds' support more efficient distribution of technology.  The internet generation occupy cubicles and boardrooms; continuous improvement collides with digital technology every day. Focus has shifted from faster mechanical devices to streamlined processes.

Information flows from one department to another; from human process to human process. Today, the slowest component of business processes is the conveyance of information via paper.

As technology permeates business operations, organic efficiencies eliminate paper as a mode of information transfer.   This is to say, implementing a paperless movement is not as effective as optimizing business processes when it comes to reducing paper use.  It is an 'inside-out' versus 'outside-in' approach.

The theme is simple:  instead of 'reducing paper usage' or saving trees, focus on increasing efficiency.

Have no doubt, as you eliminate redundancies, your paper, printer, copier, and supplies spend will decrease.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Selling Professional of Today

"What do you want out of life, kid?”

I remember the first time somebody asked me that question. I hesitated, a 20-something kid, trying to figure my answer and this guy’s angle. In the end, I stammered out an incoherent response; he was recruiting for A.L. Williams.

“More money.”

His answer to me was the best, “I’ll tell you what you want out of life in one word: More."

More work, love, sex, money, cars, kids, toys. More time.

More. Makes sense, in a 1980s kind of way, doesn’t it?

Let me ask you this: What do you want out of the imaging niche? More sales, more contracts, device, software, services sales, MPS, or managed services? More clicks?

Or just More?

Unlike the sustainable and always-growing pool of life insurance prospects...

Read the rest, here.

Click to email me.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Don't Believe the Analysts, Articles or OEMs: Paper Is Not Relevant

There once was a clever advertisement floating around stressing the futility of going totally paperless. The example was a world without toilet paper.   When the pro-paperless character requests toilet paper, his partner slides a tablet under the door showing a picture of a roll of toilet paper.


I'm sure a bunch of us all smiled and nodded.

My response to the metaphor is a bidet; no paper required.

The fight for paper has been raging since 2007 - around the same time managed print services started going mainstream. Over the last few months, amid the news of Lexmark selling, Xerox diverging, HP splitting, paper plant closures and the massive consolidation of the dealer channel, it's odd to see more blogs and articles with titles like:

"Print Lives"
"Paperless office remains a pipe dream for many"
"Why paper still rules the enterprise"

Article based on information from as far back as 2009, the year before the iPad.  Oddly enough, manufacturers of devices that scratch marks on paper, fund these studies.  That's right, the people yelling "paper matters" and "the death of print has been greatly exaggerated" are the same ones making money off the sale of copiers and printers. Huh.

Surveys sponsored by print OEMs are receiving press coverage like:

"According to a new, independent survey of over 3,600 European employees commissioned by Epson Europe, 64% indicated they’d prefer to read reports and brochures on printed paper, citing the ability to ‘share/handout’ (53%), ‘read’ (44%) and ‘edit/annotate’ (41%) as key factors."
-IDM,  January 29, 2015

How can a study "commissioned" by one of the largest printer concerns on the planet be promoted as 'independent'?

Does one need to draw you a picture?

Everything from green printing, security, print big data, to mobile print is getting a spike of media attention - artificial buzz created by well funded marketing departments.

My response to all this "paper is still relevant" talk is Bravo Sierra. Poppycock.  Horsefeathers.  Bollocks.


I'm saying this to the copier sales folks, the managed print services practice managers and sales people, the toner crews, and everyone in the trenches - listen deeply to the noise, do not ignore the propaganda, analyze the content with a dubious eye.

Remember, your prospects DO NOT READ THESE ARTICLES.  Unfortunately, ownership and sales management are consuming this tripe like it's 1999.

Nod your head when these reports are regurgitated during your Friday evening sales meeting and smile whenever one of your colleagues exclaims with glee, "Print isn't dead."

Clients don't want to be tethered to a copier, chained to a printer or slave to toner cartridges.

"And in your heart, you know I'm right."

The dirty little secret?

Our OEMs knew this back in 2007 and have been concocting ever since.  The progressive manufacturers are reducing sales acquisition cost with a virtual channel; take a look at HP Instant Ink.  Considering most of the buying process is completed without a sales relationship, today's machines rarely require service, and the fleet of vans scurrying all over the country, how relevant is a local dealership?

Now is the time to side with your prospects - sure, sell the shortsighted ones a copier or two - but keep your eye on the horizon.  Dive into all the training you can and develop your personal brand.

The wave is coming, be ready to jump.

Click to email me.