Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I.T. and Facilities and Your Copier

Big companies are learning what the SMB market has known for a few years: the people who purchase the unit should be the one's to support the unit.

"Convergence"

All copiers connect to the network "just like" printers. In the beginning, the decision criteria for copiers was the sole responsibility of either a facilities or purchasing department. That is to say, the people in charge of finding the cheapest roofing contractor at 9:00AM are the same people determining what device is going to hang off the corporate network, copy and print and scan at 1:00PM.

Purchasers have the company's best interest at heart; choosing a copier isn't Brain Surgery it's Rocket Science! But in some P.A.'s world, vendors fit in a cell on a great big spread sheet and with copiers, one column on that spreadsheet is labeled, "first copy out speed". And the lowest bidder, the Winner, is highlighted in yellow.

Once the P.O. is issued, the agreement signed, and delivery scheduled - IT is notified. And then one day, "poof" and shiny, new Bland Brand copier shows up waiting to be connected, configured, end-users added, authentication, scanning installed and tested, user folders setup on the copier, user folders setup on the network somewhere, and drivers installed at each workstation. And then end user and admin. training scheduled.

Who is in charge of ordering supplies? Who do the end-users call with a print questions? Do we call the vendor directly or do service calls go through the corporate Helpdesk?

"...you better start swimmin', or you'll sink like a stone. For the times they are a-changin'"

So why are I.T. departments moving into the "copier" decision process? Basically,

- The units are Networked
- I.T. needs Central Control
- Network, Document Security
- Standardization - "one throat to choke"
- Compliance
- End User support- "PC load letter...what the heck is that?"

What is new to I.T.?

Cost Per Copy programs.

- Most laser printers have a one year on-site or can be upgraded to a 3 or 4 year i.e., HP's Service Packs. What I.T. people are not familiar with is an agreement that includes all the supplies and the service calls and the maintenance parts for a monthly amount. Most information service departments are use to the "buy, connect, forget about it and let the departments order the supplies" model.

Leasing.

- Why lease an HP laser printer? And how does that leasing thing work? Check this post.

Output management, scan job management, Color management

- These new systems can do an awful lot of "stuff", is this good for the network?

Right Sizing the print fleet

- Faster machines, volume changes and machine refresh or retirement

Service Calls

- The concept of printer jam support calls has got to throw a chill down the spine of helpdesk operators everywhere.

End user driver support

- A possible increase in ID 10T support calls

Last but not least:

- End User Culture Shock - Sales VP to IT tech, "no way are you taking my DeskJet 500 off my desk, no way."

Here's the challenge in a nutshell.

Purchasers know how to get the most out of vendors for the least amount of money.

I.T. folks have the depth of analysis and technical savvy to sort out the "riff-raff" and match first level end user requirements to technology but don't know that a "Dollar-Out" is going to cost more monthly then a FMV lease. And overages are routinely discussed in the Purchaser's world but are as strange to an I.T. person as a Tribble is to a BSG fan.

Fear Not

Just like everything else new, things have a way of sorting themselves out. This change in the business world is driving changes in the IT Services realm as well. Managed Print Services is the hot subject right now and lots of very good players are getting into it. And to fill this need, IT Firms are brushing up on the "copier" world dynamics - look out. This is just a sample of what the copier sales people requirements might be.

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