Friday, April 18, 2008

I Know One Name - Canon

Should Canon buy IKON ? The rumor has been around for at least 4-5 years; Canon is going to buy IKON. I have no facts to back this up. Only guess work and conjecture.

Imagine:

The mature copier industry is consolidating; more mergers and acquisitions will take place. Kyocera? Sharp? Toshiba? Panasonic? We all know Oce is partly owned by the Dutch government, so very unlikely to be purchased.

Consider Canon - CBS:

With the purchase of IKON CBS becomes the largest provider of Electronic Document Management software and solutions in the US - with a very large staff of highly trained Professional Services people.

And don't forget the small, Canon facilities management presence - with the addition of the IKON FM client list, Canon FM becomes a large force to contend with.

And consider Ricoh - Canon could in one motion, force Ricoh to lose it's largest distribution channel. Both Canon and Ricoh have stated the IKON (at one time) represented a majority of their business. As in nearly 50%.

Of Course, the price. Apx 3.0 billion?

What about the investment firm that owns some IKN stock ? I wonder what they think...

More to come...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

KonicaDankaIkonHP - Fallout?

IKON - the only large, nation wide, independent distributor of printers, copiers and MFPs in the U.S.

From one of the most respected industry analysts in the world, "...This deal, which comes just one year after Xerox's $1.5 billion dollar acquisition of Global Imaging Systems, will have significant ramifications throughout the U.S. enterprise print market.

HP is not likely to stop distributing its products through Danka (although its long-awaited Edgeline products could be affected; HP is reliant on Danka with these products, which have a high-touch sales model).

But Canon USA can be expected to stop selling products through Danka. Though Danka accounts for 5% of Canon USA's revenue, such a move would be consistent with Canon's stance when Xerox purchased Global..."

The report goes on to recommend to existing Danka customers, "...You must soon choose to:1) stay with Danka and switch to Konica equipment, or 2) keep your equipment and switch your service and supplies to someone else (Canon direct sales or dealers or IKON)..."



Tuesday, April 15, 2008

For Those of Us In Managed Print Services - Wow!

I.T. is taking over the fleet...This article is very revealing and confirms pretty much what I and my collegues are seeing in the field every day.

I have taken some excerpts - the data was revealed after interviews of both MPS providers and clients; approximately 100 companies interviewed in the first quarter of '08.

Ed Crowley Founding Partner and CEO of the Photizo Group -

“Perhaps the most interesting detail is what is happening within brands. Each brand’s dynamics are unique, and it is important to understand what levers to pull -- awareness, consideration or product offering -- to improve your brand’s performance,” said Crowley... “For decision makers in both IT and non-IT roles, HP is the leading brand in terms of unaided awareness and consideration for printers and MFPs. While HP and Xerox are very close in terms of brand consideration rates, HP has almost twice the unaided awareness of Xerox as an MPS vendor among IT decision makers...”

And something that reflects what I see all the time:

“...It is important to note that the decision making process is less collaborative than might be expected. The market is shifting to an IT-controlled, printer-based MFP-centric environment, and study results indicate that IT is winning the battle to make the MPS decision for the entire fleet, including printers, MFPs and copiers..."

Interesting...



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.

Click to email me.





Monday, April 14, 2008

How Green Is My Money..."Will Going Green in Business printing go the way of OS/2?"

"Green is In" If you call it "Green" or "Sustainability" people listen. Some listen with a smirk on their face until you point out the savings as a result of going "Green".

Here is a quick 3-Step recommendation by Dan Costa at PC Magazine. And I bet there is a 12 Step Green Program out there somewhere. (if not, I shall create one)

Does it feel like "Green" is the fashionable thing to do right now? With fashion, one season open silk shirts are all the rage at the clubs, next season it's
T-shirts made from organic materials.

The question is, "Will Going Green in Business go the way of OS/2?" and "What is the SUSTAINABILITY of the Going Green movement?"

Remember when duplexing was sold as a way to save paper? It really wasn't about saving paper, it is about saving money. And this is the trick. We aren't becoming Green to save the world, the whales or the Cheerleader - it is now and has always been about making more money by saving more money. Capitalism not Environmentalism.

There is a convergence of "Buyers" and "Technology" and "Profit" driven towards reducing costs. And specifically the cost of Energy. Profit is driving the Green movement - NOT corporate world citizenship.

What I find interesting is how long HP has been going green - prime example, Instant on fuser - it's been around since 1993 and is often a target for the competition. The argument would go something like, "why would you want your printer to draw power all day long?", the copier pitch would continue, "my system truly sleeps and is only on when you need it."

Bah! Since 1993, the HP "Instant on Fuser" has reduced Co2 emissions by 4.1 million tons! This is the equivalent to removing 870,000 cars from the road for one year. Since 1993.

Check this HP page out.

Click to email me.




Friday, April 11, 2008

More On The Konica Minolta Danka thing...

From the press release -Danka Business Systems PLC Signs Agreement With Konica Minolta to Sell U.S. Business Operations

Published by Webmaster at 9:48 pm under Konica Minolta, News

Business Systems Office Imaging Company ("ST. PETERSBURG, FL, Apr 08, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX News Network) — DankaPLC (Danka) (OTCBB: DANKY) (LSE: DNK.L), a leading supplier of office imaging equipment and support services in the United States, today announced it has signed a definitive agreement with Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc. ("Konica Minolta"), to acquire the company’s wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary, DankaDOIC"), through which Danka conducts its business operations.

"In addition to continuing support for the entire Danka customer base with a complete range of products and service capabilities," said A.D. Frazier, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Danka, "I am pleased to say the new organization will also provide the added benefit of direct access to Konica Minolta’s world-class technology, distinctive product offerings and financial strength. Customer relationships will grow ever stronger as a result."

Frazier credits Danka employees for accomplishing a remarkable competitive transformation. "They redefined the manner in which document workflow solutions are managed and serviced in small-to-medium sized enterprises and in the extremely competitive high volume production print marketplace. Their success, achieved against a backdrop of having to overcome the company’s daunting corporate legacy issues, translates to new relevancy and value for the Danka approach."

Frazier added, "Nevertheless, the costs associated with trying to remain an independent player in an extremely competitive industry are imposing. This transaction represents, by far, the best outcome for Danka’s organization and staff. It preserves the DOIC organization, allowing us to serve our loyal customers while addressing the holding company’s burdensome financial obligations. We are confident that Konica Minolta’s stated desire to invest in, and grow, DOIC’s business will be rewarded in the customer marketplace."

The acquisition by Konica Minolta is designed to build and expand upon the foundation established by DOIC. "Konica Minolta’s acquisition of DOIC will further enhance our leadership in the color and high volume production print markets while complementing our overall growth strategy with our independent dealers and branch network," said Jun Haraguchi, President and CEO of Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc. "We’re excited about the prospects that this strategic acquisition will create, and believe the combined strength of the new organization will be beneficial to our customers, the DOIC customer base and the DOIC employee family."...

Edgeline -

When Xerox bought Global, it didn't take long for both Canon and Ricoh to pull out of the Global channel, leaving lots of locations with no support.

Canon, Kodak, Toshiba and Edgeline all appear on the front of the Danka equipment page. I would imagine that HP would love to remain on that page. Will Konica continue the relationship?

Konica Minolta's color Biz-Hubs are in the same space as the 8050/60 - we are replacing Xerox and K/M with Edgeline's all the time.

I wonder how the sales staff at the "new" Danka will respond. Everyone knows sales people are lazy and take the path of
least resistance. (I sell for a living) And if presented with prospect interested in 50ppm color, will it not be easier to direct that interest into a Konica sale over the "new and unproven" Edgeline?

Or how about learning a completely new technology to sell AND support vs selling the "zero-graphic" process as "proven" and "reliable"?

No matter what the corporate line may be, this does not bode well for the only national distribution channel for
Edgeline. Danka presented little value in the first place and now that value has been reduced even more.

But wait, maybe it is good for Edgeline - Perhaps a headline like,

"Konica Minolta buys DANKA for $240 Million - Adds Edgeline to Product Mix"

"In a stunning move, Konica Minolta and HP and announced a "partnership in understanding" opening all of Konica Minolta's existing and newer dealers access to the new CM8050/60 with Edgline technology..."

Very interesting times.




Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ok, I was wrong...again....

In one of my prior posts, I mentioned some ways of increasing the speed existing Edgeline platform

Some of this conjecture was incorrect. Changing the orientation of the page as it enters the printing engine was, in theory, allowing one more page to be printed during each printing cycle.

After further research, this will not work.

In the present configuration of the Edgeline the print heads cover only 8.5 inches. When an 11x17 copy or print is generated, the page needs to be passed under the heads twice, decreasing the throughput speed very significantly. So, if paper is injected in a portrait orientation, the page would need to pass under the heads twice.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

It's True, I was Wrong

Konica buys DANKA I am feeling a little Deja Vu, as far as HP is concerned, "Danka Named First National Distributor of HP Edgeline Color Printers". I am thinking of the HP/Global acquisition that Xerox swooped in on.

So far the timeline goes like this:

1. HP and IKON team up to put the Hawks(9055, 9065) in the field.

- HP and IKON split.

2. HP looks to work with Global.

- Global is purchased by Xerox.

3. HP signs DANKA as a national re-seller.

- Konica Minolta buys DANKA.

...you can't make this stuff up...

And for a TimeLine on DANKA, check this.


And a very good article by Chris Hundley of the St. Petersburg Times about the difference in companies, and the subsequent acquisition of both check this out.

How this will effect the Edgeline one can only guess.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

PurchasEdge

Think of it like earning "miles"

One of my pet-peeves is not using devices or programs to their full capacity - like when end users print a large document out on a laser and walk it over to a connected copier and make 12 copies. Instead of printing directly to the device.

This is why I bring this little program up and encourage every HP customer to check into it.