Friday, November 28, 2008

Xerox Set to Release Solid Ink MFP -2009

11x17, from BLI...

Xerox is releasing a new MFP based on the solid-ink technology it purchased along with Tektronix in 2000.

From the BLI report,

"...Xerox is readying an A3-class color MFP based on its solid-ink technology as a competitor to 11" x 17" color laser engines and HP’s Edgeline inkjet-based offerings. Pioneered by Oregon State University researchers in the 1980s and commercialized by printer maker Tektronix (Xerox acquired the color printing and imaging division of Tektronix in 2000), solid-ink engines are currently used by Xerox in some A4-class printers and MFPs such as the Phaser 8860 family (which includes the 8860 and the 8860MFP). The technology uses melted ink sticks, as opposed to toner particles or liquid ink, to render an image..."


The technology is good- ease of use in terms of adding "toner", and the Green value with no empty bottles or cartridges.

I wonder if Xerox has figured a way to prevent the color pie chart from melting off your proposal while it sits in the car on a hot summer's day...

Something Completely Different - "Hydropolis"

20,000 Leagues Beneath the Sea - Hydopolis

Currently under construction in Dubai, Hydropolis will be the world's first luxury underwater hotel. It will include three elements: the land station, where guests will be welcomed, the connecting tunnel, which will transport people by train to the main area of the hotel, and the 220 suites within the submarine leisure complex. It is one of the largest contemporary construction projects in the world, covering an area of 260 hectares, about the size of London's Hyde Park.

"Currently under construction in Dubai, Hydropolis will be the world's first luxury underwater hotel."

"Hydropolis is not a project; it's a passion," enthuses Joachim Hauser, the developer and designer of the hotel. His futuristic vision is about to take shape 20m below the surface of the Persian Gulf, just off the Jumeirah Beach coastline in Dubai.

The 220-suite hotel was due to open by the end of 2006 but has experienced delays and is now scheduled to open in 2009. It will incorporate a host of innovations that will take it far beyond the original blueprint for an underwater complex worthy of Jules Verne.

There are only a few locations in the world where such a grandiose dream could be realised. A high proportion of today's architectural marvels are materialising like fanciful mirages from the desert sands. We have come to expect extravagant enterprises to be mounted in the Middle East, and especially in Dubai. "This venture could only be born here in Dubai," says Hauser. "It [has] a very open-minded, international community - and that's what makes it so special."

The land on which Hydropolis is being built belongs to His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai. It was his last free beach property on this stretch of coast. The project is a fantastic one, yet Sheikh Mohammed's success record with comparable schemes instils confidence that science fiction can become fact. With his support, several companies have been formed to kick-start this phenomenal project, and around 150 firms are currently involved.

"There have been many visions of colonising the sea – Jules Verne, Jean Gusto and several Japanese architects – but no one has ever managed to realise this dream," says Hauser. "That was the most challenging factor, and that's what makes it so fascinating. Despite being a dream of mankind for centuries, nobody has ever been able to make living underwater possible."


UNDERWATER HOTEL DESIGN

The original idea for Hydropolis developed out of Hauser's passion for water and the sea, and goes much deeper than just building a hotel underwater. More than just curiosity, it is a commitment to a more far-reaching philosophy. "Once you start digging deeper and deeper into the subject, you can't help being fascinated and you start caring about all the associated issues," he explains. "Humans consist of 80% water, the earth consists of 80% water; without water there is no life."

Hydropolis reproduces the human organism in an architectural design. There is a direct analogy between the physiology of man and the architecture. The geometrical element is a figure eight lying on its side and inscribed in a circle. The spaces created in the basin will contain function areas, such as restaurants, bars, meeting rooms and theme suites. These can be compared to the components of the human organism: the motor functions and the nervous and cardiovascular systems, with the central sinus knot representing the pulse of all life.

The ballroom, located at this nerve centre, will have asymmetrical pathways connecting the different storeys along ramps. A large, petal-like retracting roof will enable the staging of open-sky events. Staircases, lifts and ramps will provide access to the ballroom, while flanking catering areas will supply banquets and receptions.


HYDROPOLIS LAND STATION

In order to enter this surreal space, visitors will begin at the land station. This 120m woven, semicircular cylinder will arch over a multi-storey building. On the lowest level passengers board a noiseless train propelled by fully automated cable along a modular, self-supporting steel guideway to Hydropolis. A just-in-time and on-demand logistical system will facilitate efficient supply of goods to the hotel.

The upper storeys of the land station house a variety of facilities, including a cosmetic surgery clinic, a marine biological research laboratory and conference facilities. On the lower levels are the staff rooms, goods storage and loading areas, and hotel and parking areas.

The land station also includes a restaurant and high-tech cinema screening the evolution of life in the ocean and the history of underwater architecture. As a finale, the screen will open to reveal the real-life Hydropolis. A viewing platform at the front opening of the spanning roof will allow views of the architecture as well as the light shows of Hydropolis.

MARINE ARCHITECTURE

This structure promises to be a conceptual as well as a physical landmark. While human beings accept the existence of water, we have only a superficial appreciation of its significance. "We waste it, go swimming in it and generally take it for granted," says Hauser. "Humans could actually live self-sufficiently underwater, generating energy, nurturing food supplies and so on. This is why we are starting a foundation to demonstrate something of the importance of water in our lives.

"My general plan was to create a living space in the sea. My initial proposal was a deep-sea project, which looked very different. I had to adjust to the local reality of the natural surroundings and change to a shallow-water construction.

"We want to create the first ever faculty for marine architecture because I believe that the future lies in the sea, including the future of city planning. I am certain that one day a whole city will be built in the sea. Our aim is to lay the first mosaic by colonising the sea."

Hauser plans to incorporate many different elements associated with the sea. The cosmetics will be ocean-based, the cinemas will screen films that focus on aquatic themes and a children's seaworld will educate as well as entertain.


He views his creation as a place where those who do not dive – or do not even swim – can experience the tranquillity and inspiration of the underwater world. "We are expecting around 3,000 visitors a day in addition to the hotel guests. The aim is to inspire people to develop a new awareness of the sea."

As well as emphasising the positive aspects of water, Hauser also believes we are systematically destroying marine life, and thus wishes to draw attention to various dangers and problems, such as the loss of algae and the destruction of the coral reefs.


Article here.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

HCL Technologies Hosts Over 500 of the Top Minds

HCL - Unstructure 2008, "...an annual compendium of thoughts..."

I posted earlier about the HCL/Xerox partnership, and managed print services. The following is a rather long press release regarding HCL's annual meeting.

The speaker list is impressive and the goals of the get together capacious. The overall theme is Green, Sustainability and the Global Economic landscape.

Press release

ORLANDO, FL -- (Marketwire) -- 11/25/08 -- More than 500 of the top business minds in the world discussed, debated and collaborated in Orlando last week about how to engage in a successful, sustainable, environmentally conscious business in the wake of the current global economic slowdown as HCL Technologies Ltd.(HCL) hosted its fourth-annual Global Customer Meet. Dubbed Unstructure 2008, the concept is an annual compendium of thoughts compiled from both the physical event and an online forum (www.unstructure.org) where participants have and will continue to exchange action-oriented ideas.

"The global economic slowdown has taken center stage and our physicalenvironment continues to deteriorate as businesses face the most challenging times since the Great Depression," said HCL CEO Vineet Nayar."We were fortunate at Unstructure this year to have high quality conversations to generate positive action that will help organizations and practitioners to reinvent their strategies for sustaining growth while also playing a significant role in saving our environment."

Highlighting HCL's global customer meet this year was a keynote address byformer U.S. Vice President Al Gore, who received the 2007 Nobel Prize for Peace for his efforts to enlighten the world community about the effects of global warming. During his address titled, "Thinking Green - Economic Strategy for the 21st Century," Gore hailed U.S. President-Elect Barack Obama for his support for the Green movement and told those in attendance that environmentally sound practices, once thought to be a draw on the bottom line, are today viewed not only as economically sound, but also as a necessity for sustainability of businesses.

In closing, Gore noted that in the future, our children will look back on the first years of this century and either say "what were you thinking, why didn't you act," or, "how did you find the courage to rise up and solve the problem?" "I hope they say the latter," he closed. "We have everything we need to solve this problem except political will but political will is a renewable resource."

Gore's keynote underscored HCL's larger Go Green! Initiative, which was omnipresent at Unstructure. In addition to the green-focused keynote, HCL made Unstructure both a paper-free and carbon-neutral event, the latter accomplished by purchasing carbon offsets from Carbonfund.org to compensate for the estimated 1,500 metric tons of carbon emissions that would be emitted by guests and HCL employees in attendance. HCL also arranged to plant 650 oak trees -- roughly one for each guest and HCLite in attendance-- on 2.8 acres of land in the Western Himalayas to help sustain the natural habitat of the oak silk worm, whose open-ended cocoons become "FreeSilk" -- meaning it was harvested after the moths had abandoned their cocoons -- which was used to create the hand-crafted silk scarves that were presented to attendees as gifts.

In addition to Gore's discussion, Unstructure participants listened to keynote addresses by Xerox Chairman and CEO Anne Mulcahy, and world-renowned author and Management Educator Gary Hamel. In her address, "Sustainability: A New Business Paradigm," Mulcahy described how to balance economic and environmental priorities, noting that creating a holistic balance between these goals is now the key to long-term sustainability. Hamel spoke about the "Future of Management," including innovative new ways of mobilizing talent, allocating resources, and formulating strategies.

"There's a company whose entire management model is built on the principle of reverse accountability; that is a pretty radical thought," said Hamel."I think Vineet Nayar has said, 'The value is created at the interface between employees and customers. Our job as leaders is to do everything we can to enable that value to be created, and to do that you cannot have an old command and control kind of management system.'"

Unstructure also served as a platform for a number of key news announcements released by HCL and its partners. Among the announcements made at Unstructure were:

-- HCL Advances Go Green! Initiative with Carbon Neutral Global Customer Meet: announced HCL's plans to offset carbon emissions with carbon offsets purchased from Carbonfund.org and to plant 650 trees in the Himalayas.

-- HCL Technologies and TIBCO Expand Global Alliance: announced the expansion of HCL's strategic alliance with TIBCO Software Inc. (NASDAQ: TIBX) to include new and updated HCL solution frameworks for Business Process Management (BPM), Complex Event Processing (CEP) and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA).

-- Xerox and HCL Technologies Announce Global Partnership: Xerox announced a strategic global alliance with HCL where HCL will serve as a systems integrator for Xerox's managed print services offering, which helps companies control office print environments to achieve continual cost savings and productivity gains.

-- Raiffeisen International Becomes the Latest Financial Institution to Benefit from Misys and HCL Development Partnership: Misys announced that its partnerships with HCL will provide Raiffeisen International with an outsourced, flexible resource to support development needs of its new banking products and more efficiently maintain its existing products as it grows its global business.

Misys and HCL have now agreed to expand the partnership to the Americas, Europe and the rest of the Asia Pacific region following the success of the alliance. The companies signed a Go to Market agreement, at a signing ceremony at Unstructure in Orlando, Florida.

While the event was punctuated with A-list speakers and important news, the majority of Unstructure was devoted to panel discussions focused on topics that included surviving and thriving in the global economy, management innovations and environmental issues. Some of the panel discussion highlights included:

-- Aligning IT to Business: discussed not only the threats, but also the opportunities created by the new models rising out of the economic downturn with an eye toward the practices businesses should follow to ensure sustainability

.-- Taking Advantage of Emerging Markets: addressed the increasing focus in recent years on the opportunities and challenges posed by the E7, or emerging market economies, such as China, India, Brazil, Russia, Indonesia, Mexico and Turkey, to the established G7 economies in the U.S., Japan, Germany, UK, France, Italy and Canada. The panel discussed the different approaches companies must take in terms of R&D, supply chain, manufacturing and the entire front office to optimize business opportunities in these emerging markets.

-- Unlocking and Monetizing Innovation: looked at whether employees should be encouraged to contribute to the betterment of their professions, even though such efforts very often do not have direct impact on their current jobs and employers, and whether or not this is the type of practice that makes innovation possible.

-- Creating a Lean Business: discussed how lean principles being applied to manufacturing today have resulted in tremendous efficiencies without sacrificing quality or superior market positions for their proponents and questions whether IT companies can apply the same principles to reverse their trends of misutilized computing power, wasted software spending, reduction in quality of infrastructure support and general inconsistencies in performance.

-- Aligning Employees with Business: looked at the incongruities of employee self-interest versus the interests of the organization and tried to answer not only if the two could be mitigated, but also if a more egalitarian form of management that places the employee first is the key to optimizing business outcomes.

While the physical event of Unstructure 2008 concluded last week, its second platform -- the online discussion -- will continue indefinitely.Those interested in the presentations, discussions and ideas that were generated from the physical event can learn more about them or continue intheir discussion by visiting www.unstructure.org.

The output of the event will be the "Unstructure Ask Book" -- a compendium of insight and action ideas collected for businesses to use as an"Evolution" manifesto.

For more information on the Global Meet, including the detailed agenda,please visit: http://www.hcltech.com/global-meet2008/.

About HCL Technologies

HCL Technologies is a leading global IT services company, working with clients in the areas that impact and redefine the core of their businesses. Since its inception into the global landscape after its IPO in 1999, HCL focuses on 'transformational outsourcing,' underlined by innovation and value creation, and offers integrated portfolio of services including software-led IT solutions, remote infrastructure management, engineering and R&D services and BPO.

HCL leverages its extensive global off shore infrastructure and network of offices in 19 countries to provide holistic,multi-service delivery in key industry verticals including Financial Services, Manufacturing, Aerospace & Defense, Telecom, Retail & CPG, Life Sciences & Healthcare, Media & Entertainment, Travel, Transportation &Logistics, Automotive, Government and Energies & Utilities.

HCL takes pride in its philosophy of 'Employee First' which empowers our 52,714transformers to create a real value for the customers. HCL Technologies,along with its subsidiaries, had consolidated revenues of US$ 2.0 billion(Rs. 8300 crores), as on 30th September 2008. For more information, please visit www.hcl.in

About HCL Enterprise

HCL is a $5 billion leading Global Technology and IT Enterprise thatcomprises two companies listed in India -- HCL Technologies & HCL Infosystems. The 3-decade-old Enterprise, founded in 1976, is one of India's original IT garage start-ups. Its range of offerings spans Product Engineering, Custom & Package Applications, BPO, IT Infrastructure Services, IT Hardware, Systems Integration, and distribution of ICT products. The HCL team comprises over 56,000 professionals of diverse nationalities, who operate from 19 countries including 360 points of presence in India. HCL has global partnerships with several leading Fortune1000 firms, including leading IT and Technology firms. For more information, please visit www.hcl.in

HP announced profits of $2.7 billion on sales of $33.6 billion


PALO ALTO, Calif., Nov 24, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) --

--Fiscal 2008 net revenue up 13%, or $14.1 billion, to $118.4 billion

--Fourth quarter GAAP operating profit up 4% to $2.7 billion; $0.84 earnings per share, up from $0.81 a year earlier

--Fourth quarter non-GAAP operating profit up 21% to $3.4 billion; $1.03 earnings per share, up from $0.86 a year earlier

--Fourth quarter cash flow from operations of $3.3 billion; fiscal 2008 cash flow from operations of $14.6 billion, up 52% from a year earlier

--Closed EDS acquisition; integration on track

HPQ 35.70, +1.06, +3.1%) today announced financial results for its fourth fiscal quarter ended Oct. 31, 2008, with net revenue of $33.6 billion, up 19% from a year earlier and up 16% when adjusted for the effects of currency. Excluding EDS revenue, net revenue grew 5% year over year or 2% when adjusted for the effects of currency.

Imaging and Printing Group

Imaging and Printing Group (IPG) revenue declined 1% to $7.5 billion. Supplies revenue grew 9%, while Commercial hardware revenue and Consumer hardware revenue declined 10% and 21%, respectively. Printer unit shipments decreased 8%, with Consumer printer hardware units down 8% and Commercial printer hardware units down 9%. Operating profit was $1.2 billion, or 15.5% of revenue, versus $1.1 billion, or 14.5% of revenue, in the prior-year period.

"HP capped off a strong year by delivering another solid quarter led by strength in our services segment and disciplined expense management," said Mark Hurd, HP chairman and chief executive officer. "Our global reach, broad portfolio, numerous cost initiatives and consistent execution differentiate HP in the current economic environment."

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Xerox and The Magic Paper -

"Re-usable" paper -

Recently, from an article in Newsweek, I read about Xerox and magic.

Magic Paper. To be precise - ultraviolet light paper.

Sophie Vanderbroek, who I wrote of back in May, presents this paper by writing an 'x' with an ultraviolet light pen and the 'x' appears - then she heats the paper with a hair dryer and the 'x' dissolves; just like the old Xerox logo...

It's another effort by Xerox to someday help people conserve paper because the Magic Paper is reusable.

Says Sophie, ""We're the company that created information overload," For years everyone one has talked about the paperless office,but as most of us know, consumption of paper has increased 40 percent. "We're looking for radical solutions [by] asking ourselves, 'What does it mean to be radically green?' " Vandebroek says.

Here's the "411" on the technology behind the Magic Paper -

"The paper developed by Xerox includes photochromic compounds (such as spiropyran) which exhibit heliochromic properties. That is, they darken when exposed to U.V. radiation and fade in the absence of U.V. light. Photochromic compounds are used in the manufacturing of certain sunglasses due to their ability to darken and regain their transparency quickly. However, a distinct difference from sunglasses is that Xerox’s erasable paper can remain darkened for many hours. The U.V. light source, called a light bar, is integrated into a printer which illuminates specific parts of the erasable paper, creating the desired text or image on the paper. The printer can also erase the paper using a different wavelength—making the paper reusable..."

It's all About the Molecules -

The paper contains specially-coded molecules that create a print after being exposed to ultraviolet light emitted from a thin bar in a printer. The molecule readjusts itself within 24 hours to its original form to delete the print, or heat can readjust the molecule instantly. The molecule was developed by Xerox - Agam Shah, Techworld

And It's all About Being Green to Make Green -

In an expanding effort for companies to "out green" each other it looks like all things business can be "Greenified" - and all green projects will save money.

From the Newsweek article -


"Some of the savings arise from pretty simple stuff. Instead of giving each worker a desktop printer, for example, companies can consolidate and use networked printers. They'll install multifunction machines that can replace separate printers, copiers and fax machines. Another trick: create a print-on-demand system for brochures, forms and other corporate literature, to avoid printing up thousands of copies and storing them until they are needed—or thrown out when they're not. Owens Corning outsourced its print operations to Xerox and saved $1.5 million a year by adopting a print-on-demand strategy. Its system now lets building contractors go online to print customized brochures about Owens Corning products. That saves money for Owens Corning and also lets contractors deliver material that's tailored to each customer..."

"I'm in a funny business—I'm looking for ways that companies can print less," says John Kelly, president of global services at Xerox. "Printing is not going to go away, but we think you have to print more efficiently, and when you do print, print stuff that's relevant. We know that if we do that we can continue to grow."

And Wall Street agrees, "We care about how it positions them competitively, and customers are asking for it. So at the very least it's good marketing," says Shannon Cross, analyst at Cross Research, an independent stock-research firm.

The biggest reason that green solutions are popular is that they're really about saving money, says Angèle Boyd, analyst at researcher IDC. "Frankly, what the customer is benefiting from is a reduction in cost, but at the same time they get the benefit of a reduction in their carbon footprint," Boyd says.

Vandebroek says, "It's still a research project," and she is also the one who said, "...within the research and development community at Xerox, we no longer do any work on photocopiers..."

Friday, November 21, 2008

Five Reasons HP Is OutPerforming The Market

I grabbed this post off of the Blog over at Channel Web

BLOGS
The Channel Wire
November 18, 2008

Five Reasons HP Is OutPerforming The Market

With many technology companies posting disappointing results in the midst of the economic downturn, Hewlett-Packard Tuesday released an upbeat preliminary fourth-quarter forecast.

The world's largest supplier of IT products and services said its expects that revenue for the quarter ended Oct. 31 jumped 19 percent and earnings grew 4 percent. HP shares were up 10 percent or $2.96 to $32.31 in midday trading on the good news.

HP gave no details on specific product segments or geographies but said its revenue for the period ended Oct. 31 reached $33.6 billion, a 19 percent jump over year-earlier sales. For the year, net revenue was up 13 percent to $118.4 billion. The sales figures exclude the impact of HP's recent acquisition of EDS.

Here are five reasons HP is outperforming the market.

1. HP CEO Mark Hurd

He isn't infallible or the new Messiah, but he is pretty darn good. He's made a string of key acquisitions this year, capped off by EDS and LeftHand Networks. But his most important trait is that he's constantly visiting and listening to customers. And he keeps his closest counsel with his biggest customer: the channel. Hurd regularly makes one-on-one visits to solution providers both large and small. He asks questions. He listens. He motivates. No other CEO of a major technology company keeps as close to the channel as Hurd.

2. HP's Diverse Product Portfolio

From the desktop to the data center. From printers to routers. From network management to asset management software. HP products span the technology spectrum. At $118 billion, this is truly a one-stop shop. And now with its $13.9 billion acquisition of services giant EDS, HP has the people power and services muscle to do it all. Take note that even with the biggest and broadest portfolio in the business and a boatload of services people, HP embraces the channel. Bottom line: HP gets that it's a solutions game. And solutions means channel.

3. Committed Channel

HP has worked hard over the past several years to hone its channel strategy to focus on a mutually profitable relationship with solution providers. It hasn't always succeeded or delivered on its promises, but it's shown a willingness to fix things on the fly rather than letting channel problems fester. it is the biggest and yet it is the most channel-cognizant. One big reason is that Hurd views the channel as an extended sales force. He understands sales and he wants his partners out there in the front lines winning over new customers.

4. Maniacal Focus On Profitable Growth

No other company right now has a sharper focus on profitable growth than HP. Hurd is closing out his fourth year at the company and his drive and determination to do things more efficiently and profitably in everything HP does has resulted in a new and more inventive HP. That "profitable growth" mantra has everyone at HP working toward a common goal. It's a, 'Hit your number or hit the road,' proposition. That is a good thing, especially as we come into what looks like the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Look for HP to buck the trend and beat the bad news blues.

5. Full Speed Ahead With R & D

Based on his long list of acquisitions, some observers might think Hurd's R&D budget consists in snapping up smaller, innovative companies. Not so. HP has remained on top of the technology heap in part because of its willingness to invest in product innovation. The company's multibillion-dollar R&D effort and the company's cultural legacy of building better products is a huge differentiator. HP products are more often than not better engineered, designed and performing than the competitive product sets. Take Blades. "Blade everything" isn't just a marketing slogan at HP; it's a technology commitment.

---------- End Post ------

Points 1 and 3 resonate- Hurd and the Channel, great combo...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ricoh and IBM into InfoPrint and Now, rIKON -

Pssst...their going after the guys in I.T, not Purchasing...What? You didn't see this coming?

Back in Time - Friday, June 8, 2007

Ricoh counts on InfoPrint Solutions for growth...

Ricoh Co. Ltd. foresees job growth and increased market share for InfoPrint Solutions Co., its new Boulder hub for Ricoh's high-volume printer business.

That's notable at a time many computer industry mergers end in layoffs and closed facilities.

In the past two and a half years, Tokyo-based Ricoh bought the high-volume printer units of Hitachi and Danka Europe, now Infotec.

Its $725 million purchase of controlling interest in IBM Corp.'s printer division in Boulder -- renamed as InfoPrint Solutions -- is its biggest yet.

The move promises to give Ricoh a shot at a leading market-share position in sales of high-volume printers after years of being a behind-the-scenes manufacturer of parts for machines sold by other companies.

"We want contact with end-users -- customers -- so we can understand their needs to improve our offerings and grow our market share," said Katsuya "Kevin" Ochiai, InfoPrint Solution's vice president for strategy and business development.

Ochiai is one of four executives transferred from Ricoh offices in Japan to Boulder the week of May 28 to run InfoPrint Solutions.

Ricoh owns 51 percent of the Boulder-based venture. Its stake will grow in the next three years until it's InfoPrint Solutions' sole owner.

The new company, which designs production printers used in print-on-demand publishing and mass-mail billing, is based at IBM's campus in Boulder and employs 550 people there. Its worldwide payroll includes 1,200 people in 18 countries. InfoPrint Solutions will bring on another 1,000 IBM employees in a year, most of them involved in maintenance.

IBM (NYSE: IBM) received $725 million June 4 and expects to record $250 million in sales in the next three years, it said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Ochiai predicted InfoPrint will maintain 7 percent to 8 percent annual growth. If things go well, the company could double its $1 billion in annual revenue in five years, he said.

The company will use IBM's global sales force in the next three years while InfoPrint cultivates its own, and how well that goes will drive its near-term success, Ochiai said.

...acquiring InfoPrint gives Ricoh access to enterprise-level clients it didn't have before and products with a lot of customer loyalty behind them, he said.

"How you see this deal has a lot to do with your perspective," Hamilton said.

InfoPrint has a good chance of meeting its growth goals, he said. The key will be the company's ability to maintain IBM's reputation for quality and establish an effective sales force, he said.
-------

Friday, February 2, 2007

Selloff of IBM printing division could mean good news

IBM announced on Jan. 25 that it will sell its printing division to Ricoh -- creating a separate company that will be based in Boulder.

Richo initially will acquire 51 percent of the joint venture, called InfoPrint Solutions Co., for $725 million in cash and

will progressively acquire the remaining interests from IBM over the next three years as the company morphs into a fully owned subsidiary of Ricoh.

With Boulder becoming the worldwide headquarters of InfoPrint, the office will likely create more positions related to development, marketing, product management and maintenance, Paterra said.
------
2007-06-14

Ricohs InfoPrint Ready for Print Market By Patrick Hoffman

InfoPrint Solutions Company, a joint venture between Ricoh and IBM, has announced it is ready for business.

InfoPrint Solutions Company, formerly IBMs Printing Systems division but soon to be owned by Ricoh, announced recently that it was ready for business.

Ricoh is buying IBMs Printing Systems division over the course of three years, an arrangement which gives Ricoh access to IBMs production printing software and provides Ricoh a way to market their MFPs (multifunctional products) and printer-based products. Under the terms of the agreement, Ricoh will own 51 percent of the joint company and IBM will own the remaining 49 percent.

"Our focus is to provide solutions that focus on quality of output and total cost of operations that improves a customers environment whether it be an office or commercial environment," said Bob Kilcullen, senior vice president and general manager at the Boulder, Colo.-based InfoPrint Solutions.

Kilcullen pointed out that although IBM had been involved with the printing industry for a number of years, it was not their main focus.

"It was a question of focus as IBM has been involved with the printing industry for a number of years, but it was not their main stream of activity," Kilcullen said. "Printing is the core business for Ricoh so it made a lot of sense to move the printing business to Ricoh."

According to Susan Lyon, research director of Hardcopy Peripherals and Document Solutions at the Framingham, Mass.-based technology research firm IDC, the IBM-Ricoh arrangement has two main benefits for Ricoh.

"[Ricoh] now has access to the services and solutions expertise that will especially be attractive to IT decision makers in all types of enterprises,"

she said, "as well as access to future transaction print high-speed color products and workflow solutions that IBM was developing with partners and internally."

Since InfoPrint Solutions inception, the company has released a number of new products including the IP5000 high-speed, full-color offering for the production environment that produces more than 900 full-color images per minute as well as a new family of light production cut sheet products ranging from 90 to 135 images per minute.

"We want to deliver broader solutions to the marketplace and we are in a position to extend in the print business," Kilcullen said.

"With InfoPrint Solutions, Ricoh will have added a strong product pipeline of production equipment and related services and workflow solutions," Lyon said. "It will be great for the industry that there is a player with a keener focus on the printing industry. As in any industry, stronger players make the marketplace stronger."

-------

Is Ricoh/IKON poised for a major thrust into the IT and transactional printing space?

Will InfoPrint be enveloped into the rIKON PS world?

Will IKON A/E's be trained in the art of talking to IT or will this fall to Professional Services?

Can Ricoh use the existing InfoPrint client list to build upon?

How will IBM and HP respond to having a "copier company" targeting the same prospects and contacts?

How drôle...

PC Magazine Dropping Print for Online -

Dr. Egon Spengler lives on...

PC Magazine has been reporting on the personal computer since 1982- I remember the first time I saw an issue - it had something to do with printing...

Today, the magazine announced it was dropping its print edition next year - you will be able to find the magazine, online only.
"Moving our flagship property to an all-digital format is the final step in an evolutionary process that has been playing out over the last seven years," Ziff Davis Media chief executive Jason Young said.

"Since 2000, online has been the focal point where technology buyers get their information and technology marketers are directing their dollars to drive demand and build their brands.

"We have been carefully preparing for this step and are fortunate to have a digital business that has the scale, profit, and opportunity to carry the brand powerfully into the future," he said.

PC Magazine is the latest US publication to drop its print edition and jump to an on line format.

One of my previous posts,
The Death of Print - 12,000 Layoffs And Counting outlines a 100 year old magazine moving online.

HP reports that around 95% of ALL the Printing in the world is ink based. This is primarily due to magazine and newspaper print.

With this trend, the printing of magazines and newspapers is being transferred to the customer along with the costs...

the death of print

The death of Print



Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Xerox and HCL Technologies Announce Global Partnership - Who in The World is HCL?


ROCHESTER, N.Y., Nov 19, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Xerox Corporation (XRX:
Xerox Corporation


XRX 5.58, -0.48, -7.9%) today announced a strategic global alliance with HCL Technologies, a leading global IT services company. HCL will serve as a systems integrator for Xerox's managed print services offering -- which helps companies control their office print environment to achieve continual cost savings and productivity gains.

"The partnership with HCL will open new opportunities for Xerox in this high-growth market while bringing sustainable business benefits to more customers worldwide," said Stephen Cronin, president, Xerox Global Services.

The joint, go-to-market offering combines Xerox Office Services and systems with HCL's desktop management and infrastructure expertise to help enterprises gain control of printing, copying and other document-related costs. Effectively managing the office can lead to reduced print costs; faster and easier management of documents; lower compliance and security risks; a higher level of service to end users; and environmental benefits.

"This partnership represents an opportunity to transform the way enterprise print environments are managed," said Anant Gupta, president, HCL Technologies Infrastructure Services Division. "With the collaborative efforts of two market leaders we will create new, value-added solutions that will drive additional efficiencies throughout the office setting."

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I find this very interesting. Can you see the pattern?

EDS and Xerox had a relationship until HP bought EDS. HP has direct inroads to IT departments. Leveraging this position into MPS opportunities.

And now, on the surface, it looks like Xerox may be trying to chip away at MPS engagements via the IT department -

until I looked at HCL.

Off their site, "...HCL focuses on 'transformational outsourcing', underlined by innovation and value creation, and offers integrated portfolio of services including software-led IT solutions, remote infrastructure management, engineering and R&D services and BPO..."

"Transformational outsourcing"? The definition, here.

So, let me get this straight - HCL is a "transformational outsourcer" from India...right...ok...sure...

I guess we may need to wait and see on this one.


P.S. - Here is a post by Vineet Nayar, the CEO of HCL about Leadership - it's a good read.






Webster's Xerox plant will soon produce a new kind of toner


In a post earlier this month, I reported Xerox shutting down toner production in Oklahoma City - Today, reports of new toner production at the Webster Plant.

Six, 25,000-gallon tanks were seen hoisted up and lowered into position at the Xerox plant in Webster.

The tanks are needed for the production of Xerox's new, Ultra Low-Melt EA toner.

“With the new tanks, we expect the Webster plant to start producing the Ultra Low Melt EA Toner sometime next year,” said Edouard Langlois, project manager for the Xerox Consumables, Development and Manufacturing Group. “Installation of these tanks will give this plant the flexibility to meet the demand for both first and second generation EA toners, and it will help Xerox deliver the most energy-efficient document management solutions for its customers.”

As with most of the newer, advanced toner, this Ultra Low-Melt is chemically grown instead of the older method of air-jet, pulverizing plastic.

EA (Emulsion Aggregation) Ultra Low-Melt is made of a combination of plastics and wax.

This toner melts as much as 45 degrees lower than Xerox's standard EA toner, resulting in devices using less power; between
15 percent to 30 percent less.

“This was the most difficult toner design we ever worked on,” said Hadi Mahabadi, Xerox vice president and manager of XRCC. “We had to push the envelope to the limit to achieve lower melting temperature and higher gloss while keeping other performance the same as or better than current EA toner.”

Ultra Low-Melt was developed by Xerox researchers in Canada in collaboration with Fuji Xerox Co., the Tokyo-based joint venture between Xerox and Fuji Photo Film Co. Xerox had been purchasing the toner from Fuji Xerox but is doing the addition so it can produce its own, Xerox spokesman Bill McKee said.

Xerox Laying Off - Ceases Toner Production




Tuesday, November 18, 2008

HP Really Doesn't Like it when you Fool With Their Ink - Really.

HP Resolves Ink Cartridge Patent Infringement with LexJet Corporation

HP (NYSE:HPQ) today announced that it has resolved the dispute and dismissed a patent infringement lawsuit against Florida-based LexJet Corporation and LexJet Southern California, LLC, regarding inks used in certain remanufactured HP large-format ink cartridges.

On May 22, 2008, HP filed a lawsuit against LexJet in the U.S. Federal Court for the Northern District of California.

HP and the ink manufacturer supplying ink to LexJet have developed a solution to avoid legal action. LexJet’s ink manufacturer has agreed to reformulate the inks in question and pay HP an undisclosed amount of money.

"HP is pleased to have resolved this matter quickly, and we remain committed to vigorously protecting our investment in intellectual property,” said Stephen Nigro, senior vice president, Inkjet and Web Services Business, Imaging and Printing Group, HP. "As part of HP’s ongoing worldwide testing and enforcement efforts, we will continue to monitor LexJet and others for possible patent infringement.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Death of Windows 3.0

Ah yes...I remember it well...

Microsoft launched Windows 3.x in 1990 and set a minimum configuration level of 64K of RAM, 7 megabytes of hard drive storage, and a graphics card capable of handling CGA, EGA and VGA graphics.

Although Microsoft stopped supporting the version in 1990, I did not know "the OS has quietly survived in the world of embedded systems, powering cash registers, ticketing systems and in-flight entertainment systems for Virgin and Qantas 747s, according to a recent report in the BBC News..."

I remember seeing Windows on the Blue/Gray, gas plasma screen, of a Zenith Laptop - but it may not have been Win 3.0.

But the first time I saw Windows boot up on a color gas plasma - Wow! It sure beat Dos 4.0. And the Solitaire card faces moved!

Well, all good things come to an end, and nothing is real until it's gone.

Article Here.

Photizo Group Releases First-ever Study of Western European Managed Print Services

Photizo Group Releases First-ever Study of Western European Managed Print Services

Research reveals significant differences in MPS requirements across countries

(PRWEB) November 17, 2008 -- A new study from the Photizo Group captures the nuances and preferences of the Western European Managed Print Services (MPS) market. The Western European MPS Decision Maker Tracking Study™ is the first dedicated research into managed print services in France, Germany and the UK. The first-of-its-kind study is available now.

"The practice of managed print services can be adopted by companies anywhere, but priorities, concerns and preferences can and do vary, according to our research. As vendors pursue MPS opportunities, this information can guide their efforts in productive directions. Companies in these countries considering MPS contracts will also benefit from understanding how others in their markets are evaluating and adopting MPS," said Ed Crowley, founder and president of the Photizo Group.

Photizo gathered data from over 300 MPS decision makers in IT, facilities management and purchasing roles, representing France, Germany and the UK. The research has two major components. The brand study assesses brand awareness, consideration, familiarity, and satisfaction. The purchase study closely examines MPS decision drivers, the scope and breadth of MPS agreements, and the profiles of MPS decision makers.

The brand study helps decision makers identify how their brand is performing in relation to competitive brands. Key metrics such as brand awareness and consideration are key leading indicators of the brand's future market share and competitive position. The Photizo Group has developed a proprietary "Brand Strength Index™" measurement, which identifies the relative strength of major brands using brand awareness, consideration and familiarity metrics. In addition, the firm has created a "Brand Experience Index™" measurement, which is based on MPS decision makers' satisfaction with their MPS provider and their willingness to recommend this provider to other firms. The study has found that the "Big Three" brands have significant distance from the rest of the pack in terms of brand strength. At the same time, most firms have relatively high Brand Experience Index scores, indicating a high overall satisfaction level with MPS providers.

The purchasing study identifies 23 specific MPS offerings such as:

* Automatic supplies replenishment
* Recommendations on device deployment and installation
* End user training
* Maintenance actions
* Device utilization monitoring and reporting
* Help desk services
* Supplies replacement onsite


While requirements in North America and Western Europe are similar in many respects (18 out of 23 criteria), there are significant differences on key service deliverables. In fact, there is a greater degree of variability within Western Europe than between Western Europe and the United States. Of the European countries studied, 13 of 23 requirements were significantly different.

The implication is that each region requires uniquely crafted MPS solutions; a "one size fits all" approach is not the best answer. Pan-European programs must allow for country-level flexibility in order to meet country-level requirements. There are clear differences between regions that must be understood in order to craft effective MPS programs and marketing campaigns.

Sharp Imaging and Information Company of America Expands




With Sharp expanding their "...direct regional sales operation...", just like all the other manufacturers, it is a wonder there are ANY independent dealers left at all.

All of us here at Death of The Copier wish the folks at Kearns all the best with Sharp. We know Sharp made out well by aligning with Kearns and the strong track record in Managed Print Services they bring to the table.

Here is the PR -

Sharp Imaging and Information Company of America Expands Direct, Local Sales Operations with Sharp Business Systems in South Carolina
Greenville-based Kearns Business Solutions now part of Sharp Business Systems; combines high-end management and local service with the industry's leading MFP technology


Last update: 11:50 a.m. EST Nov. 14, 2008

MAHWAH, N.J., Nov 14, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Sharp Imaging and Information Company of America (SIICA) today announced it has once again expanded its direct regional sales operation with the opening of the newest Sharp Business Systems (SBS) branch in Greenville, SC. SIICA's SBS unit has purchased Greenville-based Kearns Business Solutions from The Pater Group, to serve the Upstate South Carolina market.

Sharp Business Systems in South Carolina will be managed by current president Tom Pickens, who will serve as branch president, and brings vast knowledge and industry experience to Sharp.

"We take great pride in providing our customers with the highest quality service and support. As a part of Sharp, we are very excited to represent some of the most innovative document imaging products available today. We will continue to provide our existing customers with the same level of service, but now with the full range of Sharp hardware and software for all document management needs."

Kearns Business Solutions has served the Upstate South Carolina market for 27 years and in that time they have garnered a reputation for excellent service and commitment to its customers. They also have a strong track record of success in managed print services, particularly in the education market. Kearns Business Solutions brings all of its 70 employees to Sharp Business Systems and will offer customers the newest and most advanced Sharp office products and solutions while continuing to serve existing equipment and contract agreements.

"After a successful tenure with The Pater Group, we felt that the combination of Kearns sales staff working in the Sharp Business Systems model was the best opportunity for the employees of Kearns," said Tony Pater, Chairman of the Pater Group. "We appreciate Kearns' hard work and commitment to excellence and wish Tom, and his entire team, the best of luck as part of Sharp Business Systems."

Friday, November 14, 2008

Edward Crowley, CEO and founding partner of the Photizo Group, to Speak At Lyra 2009

The 2009 Lyra Imaging Symposium: Collaboration, Customization, and Innovation in the "New" Imaging Industry features two days of illuminating industry information and primary research results, helping attendees to critically examine how the industry will change over the next five years.

With comprehensive presentations and a full offering of recreational activities, the Symposium is an ideal venue to debate, discuss, network, and challenge conventional wisdom with the industry's leading players. The 2009 Lyra Imaging Symposium arms attendees with actionable insights on the industry today and a top-to-bottom analysis of what lies ahead..."


Managed Print Services -

Steve Reynolds, senior analyst at Lyra, and Edward Crowley(pictured right), CEO and founding partner of the Photizo Group, will join together to examine the role of managed print services (MPS) in the digital imaging industry and discuss why MPS is resonating with customers more than ever before and whether the MPS trend has staying power potential.

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The agenda appears exhaustive and chuck full of interesting issues permeating our industry. It's just down the road from me, perhaps I shall crash it.

Do them proud, Ed.


NanoClusters and InkJet Printing - The Print Process is Not Used to Print But to Manufacture

11/2008

The key to a "bottom-up" production of possibly the first heterometallic gallium-indium hydroxide nanocluster was the substitution of nitroso-butylamine as an additive in place of nitrosobenzene.

LOL!


The above sentence is not made up - it is part of an article here.

But the reason I have been following NanoTechnology as it interlates to printing - is simple.

One day most IC boards, video displays, light sources, and electrical devices will be as thin as a piece of paper and will have the ability to be manufactured on demand - with the help of Nanoclusters, thin film, and Inkjet applications. See "State-of-the-art inks and other materials are opening up new applications for inkjet as a manufacturing tool."


Stop for a second and think - ink is applied onto a surface, if we replace the ink with a substance that could say, conduct electrical current, and we could control the current within the structures "printed" on a surface in a very elemental sense we would be able to "print" fully functional, customed, IC boards.

We could print/spray/inkjet, on the surface of a sheet of paper, shingle or car roof, a solar collector(Konarka demonstrates micro/nano inkjet-printed solar cells). And with wireless power, transfer the captured power to other, flat, "printed" lighting sources - a "light bulb" as thin as a sheet of paper.

Oh but wait, there is so much more.

The computer of the future could be 'painted' into your desk surface, or briefcase, or the lap of your trousers.( see
Inkjet printers could be the chip factories of the future, squirting out circuits made from layers of organic semiconducting ink.)

HUH?

HD video displays "spray painted" onto walls - this would add a dimension to "tagging".

Cell Phones, applied to clothing, tatoos that light up at night, cars that change colors - or show running video all over its surface...

Well, before all this BladeRunner stuff hits, I guess we can look forward to nanotechnologies assisting in regular, boring, photo-prints:

"Photo-quality papers with ink-receptive mesoporous layers that are based on inorganic solids fulfill the requirements of present-day high-speed inkjet printer much better than those based on organic polymers..."

Experiments indicate that the presence of nanosized polynuclear aluminum complexes in the ink-receptive layers of new paper can help to improve the permanence of photo-quality images.Which means colors stay longer on paper containing nanosized ploynuclear aluminum complexes.

I still want one day to be able to change the color of my Rover as easily as I change the color scheme on my Windows...

Interesting? See:

Nano Packs
Click to email me.



Thursday, November 13, 2008

How Many of Your I.T. Contacts Look at All the Print Volume?

11/2008

This IT professional illustrates the internal challenges those on the outside never see, or appreciate. This is a long post, but get through it, its worth the read.

Also, kudos to rIKON: The "IT's Fault" Perception and Karma - Written by Jay Rollins, Off the TechRepublic site, here

"So this week on the new job was interesting. As with many organizations, IT’s arch nemesis, marketing, was having issues. They were trying to print these ginormous files on a teeny-tiny color printer and could not understand why they kept getting errors. Every time they would try to print to this printer the expected “belch…puke…putter” sound was heard and out would come a screwed-up rendition of what they were trying to print. And only one out of the 600 copies they requested. 

The challenge in this day and age is that everyone and their grandmother expect to be able to click “print” on a file and it just magically happens. And because 99.999% of printing is just that, “magic,” it becomes increasingly painful to listen to marketing complain to the CEO that they can’t do something as easy as printing a file. 

Now we all know that the phrase “it depends” comes into play here. My astute colleague at my new job reminded me that any PC has the potential to blow up any printer given the right opportunity. So how do you react? They just attacked you in front of the CEO waving the “incompetent” banner! You can’t come back and say that you can’t print a 10GB PDF to a home office printer and not expect a buffer overflow. That just sounds lame and you can see everyone’s eyes glazing over before you utter the words. Besides, we’re IT. We don’t look for quippy comebacks because we’re solution oriented. We’re all about customer service. Right? 

Here comes Karma. I’m all about root cause. 

We don’t have any desktop publishing expertise on staff, but one of our enterprising senior guys called up a graphic artist buddy of his to get some pointers. But before that happened, one of our other key guys already started looking at outsourcing solutions. Finding the experts in the field and making it their problem was a brilliant stroke of genius. We looked at the volume of printing that marketing was doing and called up our IKON partner. 

They came to the table with a proposal that was about even with what marketing was spending on their newsletters and calendars. But I followed my own advice and reviewed the entire accounts payable for the company. I discovered a ton of other printing the company was doing outside of marketing that actually made the IKON solution stand out. There were challenges. I was trying to keep marketing from chucking the problem over the wall to IT. I sent them the section of my spreadsheet of every vendor that I thought was a printing vendor. For anything that contained or referenced the words “print,” “promotion,” “publisher” or “press,” I asked them to identify vendors. In order to make this proposal work, we needed to establish rules and controls to fully realize the benefits of the IKON solution. 

All printing had to go through the centralized print shop. Accounting needed to be made aware that printing at Kinko’s could no longer be expensed. If the teams could not plan a week ahead to schedule their printing, then the old adage of “Your lack of planning does not mean my crisis” comes into play and there are no excuses. Additionally, one of the top five issues in the helpdesk gets outsourced. We were both stakeholders. But marketing continued to push back. I came to realize that this IT organization was all about customer service. 

They did everything for the business units even to their own detriment. I came from the school where you try to get the business unit to have some skin in the game, but we had our own customer service scores to attend to. So I found myself on the horns of a dilemma. I needed to make the changes in the organization to start making the business units more accountable to their projects, but at the same time, ensure our internal customer service scores did not suffer. 

After all, this was no small sum of money we were talking about.

"Then I started thinking about it. Sure, Marketing is the big customer for this, but we have the opportunity to save $300k per year if we include some of the other printing into this project. It calls for cross-functional coordination and involvement."

This isn’t a marketing project. It’s an IT project. 

Marketing had the opportunity to pick up a huge win for the company, not just for marketing, but they kept pushing it back on IT. But IT can see the true value of the project because we’re not looking within a silo. We are looking at this from an enterprise architecture standpoint. We’re all about killing multiple birds with one stone. Marketing got their dig in at the beginning of the issue, but IT turned that lump of coal into a diamond. 

Short-term claims of incompetence don’t ring true in the eyes of management anymore. We rose from the ashes of adversity! We overcame the obstacles! We….are getting cornier as I continue, but you get the point. Score: Marketing 0, IT 1. So I have had my fun here. This is an illustrative example only. IT will never succeed if there is a scoreboard. The “us versus them” thing is so counter to “team” it isn’t funny. When the time comes, I am not presenting this as an IT victory. 

I am presenting it as a marketing victory. Why? Because I need marketing on my side for long-term success. Marketing drives the business. They generate sales and revenue. I need to make them look good in the eyes of management. These little successes will give marketing courage to try new things and start thinking outside of the marketing silo. They start looking at the company in its entirety and truly start believing that their job makes a difference. They start believing that and great things start to happen. Sales increase, productivity increases, salaries increase, bonuses increase. 

 Karma.

 -----------------End Post "

I know this is a long post, but this as a typical situation. 

IT people think of their users as "customers" and they will do anything to keep those customers happy. Also, you can read that IT is sometimes perceived as a negative in some organizations - ok, a negative in most, and IT people don't like to be the "bad guy"(again most don't but some do like the "Henchman" persona)

InfoTrends - It's All About the Solution

And it's Deja Vu all over again.

I found this excerpt from an Infotrends article in Europe.

Very interesting but not all that surprising.

— InfoTrends —

Solutions Capture More Pages and Fuel the Office Equipment Market


In years past, InfoTrends has written documents regarding the adoption rate of solutions within the office equipment market. At that time, solutions were really in the early stages of adoption, and OEM vendors and ISVs were in their initial posturing stages as they were trying to determine how best to take advantage of solutions and how they would eventually fit into their overall marketing and sales strategies. While solutions are still in the early stages of technology adoption today, we have seen significant growth in this category over the years and believe that solutions have yet to reach their full potential for penetration within this market.

Although many dealers understand that solutions should be an integral part of their strategy, most are still in the process of figuring out how to incorporate them into their range of offerings. Their propensity to fall back on the hardware products they are used to selling is hindering them from migrating to the next level and fully embracing the true solutions sale.

One of the biggest issues is sales cycles. Hardware sales cycles have traditionally been shorter than a solutions sales cycle. Another problem is that many companies set monthly quotas and sales people are usually trained to focus on hardware as they can bring the numbers in at the end of the month. In reality, a sales person would not be able to push a solution in 30 days; the cycles are getting shorter, but it still may be impossible in such a short period of time. A solution sale is like creating a good bottle of wine. It is a slower process that needs a certain amount of attention and caring before it is ready to be consumed. Nevertheless, within the office equipment market, hardware is becoming more difficult to differentiate as vendors are bringing to the market devices with equivalent functionalities and performances.

There have been some disruptions in the market with HP’s Edgeline and Xerox’s solid ink, but it seems that these technologies need more time before they gain great acceptance in the industry.

One trend is for sure: hardware is becoming more difficult to differentiate.

It is becoming more of an easily replaceable commodity or accessory, and vendors are dropping their margins at a consistent rate to remain competitive in this saturated market. Hardware revenues are expected to plummet in the next five years and, as a result, some vendors have already started to realign their sales focus from “hardware placed” to “pages captured,” from “printers” to “printing.”

Solutions and professional services have been welcomed as the Holy Grail of the office equipment market as they can be a huge differentiator in a hardware sale.

According to Clayton Christensen’s terminology, solutions can be defined as “the disrupting innovations” capable of changing the dynamics and evolution of value in the office equipment industry.

On the wave of Web 2.0, end-users are also increasingly changing the way they create, manage, and digest documents and information. Customers are sitting in the driving seat and they are inevitably looking for a tighter control over their document workflow. They require effective device utilization, reduced costs, and a single-source supplier for their equipment needs. They want to drive their entire document life-cycle and decide how to consume the originated contents and information.

As a consequence, solutions have been deemed strategic in addressing these customers’ requirements as they can help capture more pages, reduce Total Cost of Ownership, and enable a seamless and effective document management. On top of that, InfoTrends has been talking about solutions as a key driver in pulling hardware sales and professional services engagements. The popular chart below shows very clearly the European solutions crossroads, predicting that by the end of 2009, the roster of hardware only players would be cut down to 50% of the field.

The preceding is an excerpt from a report entitled Western European Network Document Solutions Forecast: 2007 - 2012. To learn more about this report, visit our online store or contact Robyn Wuori at 781-616-2100 ext. 103 or via e-mail at robyn_wuori@infotrends.com.

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European report, but the phrase remains the same - All copiers are the same, all of them, every single one.

Be Brave, Be Bold

TIPS FROM THE FAST GROWTH 100

I ran across this article, by By Jennifer Bosavage, ChannelWeb and it seemed pretty relevant -

She mentions three points, the second struck me -

2. Don't Overstrategize

"... some organizations' cultures lead managers to discuss goals and strategies ad nauseum. At some point, action needs to be taken. "We devote 10 percent of our time to strategizing and 90 percent to execution..."

Well. Ok.

Seems to me, that a bunch of Sales Managers and Managers in general should take a look at the way they manage.

And the Selling Professionals too - do we plan our week, all week?

Is it all planning and little execution?

Click to email me.




The Impact of IKON Being Acquired by Ricoh

2008-11-12 17:11:39 - On 27th August 2008 it was announced that IKON Office Solutions had agreed to be acquired by Ricoh,

which was then given clearance from the European Commission on 24­th October 2008. This deal was then made final on 31st October 2008 when shareholders agreed to the acquisition. As a result of this merger, IKON is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Ricoh.­ ­ ­ ­
­
It has been said that Ricoh have had a long standing relationship with IKON. With the amount of area coverage that IKON already have, Ricoh will be able to expand their US distribution ne­tw­ork by a substantial amount. The European Commission, upon deciding that there were enough competitors for all the products concerned, were able to give clearance for the acquisition of IKON by Ricoh. They found that no competitors of Ricoh are dependent on IKON's distribution.

However, IKON is a substantial company, with around 24,000 employees in more than 400 locations throughout North America and Western Europe, so ­the acquisition of IKON by Ricoh is bound to have some effect o­n the industry.

Before the merger, IKON sold and leased a range of products from manufacturers such as Canon, Ricoh, Konica Minolta and HP. It seems that Canon could be the manufacturer that is hit the hardest, as, according to Reuters­ (uk.reuters.com/article/innovationNewsTechMediaTelco/idUKT3216620 ..)­ 60 percent of the products handled by IKON were Canon machines, where as only around 30 percent were Ricoh before the acquisition.

Ricoh have said that they will replace all Canon machines with their own printers, photocopiers and multifunctional devices within 3 to 4 years.

This acquisition may leave some IKON customers in a difficult situation, because, although Ricoh have said they will continue to service other manufacturers of machine, they will eventually be replacing all their machines with Ricoh devices. This means that any customers using Canon machines will either have to change suppliers or manufacturers if they require a new device. For some customers this could be a difficult decision to m­ake as they could be loyal to Canon and very ha­ppy with the machines they already use, but see changing their supplier as a daunting task, especially if they have a large number of devices.

Fortunately there are some Canon suppliers that are prepared to make the transition as easy and as hassle free as possible. Some Canon suppliers are already seeing the effects of the merger, with an increase in the amount of enquiries coming from current IKON customers, perhaps indicating that some customers who already have Canon equipment are willing to stay loyal to Canon, even if this means changing their supplier.

The acquisition of IKON by Ricoh (­http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/Ricoh-Completes-Acquisition-IKON-Office/story.aspx?guid={E4612AE5-D69D-4EC5-B735-AFA902F9197B})­ is bound to have some effect on the photocopier industry as I­KON is such a large company, covering a substantial area of North America and Western Europe. What will be seen ­is the effect this merger will ultimately have on Canon.

Already it has had some ­positive effect on some Canon dealers, especially those, such as Falcon Copiers, that already have a large customer base and are an established company with many years experience specialising in Canon equipment, making the transition from IKON to a new supplier seem an easy choice to make. Jon Tribe from Falcon Document Management says "Many IKON customers with a mix of Canon and Ricoh equipment will see a transition period where Ricoh service base takes president over canon. This is where a Canon specialist dealer can save the day." It is suppliers like these that will not only give existing IKON customers the chance to keep using Canon equipment, but also help lessen the impact on Canon. ­

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Managed Print Services and the Economy

MPS and the economic landscape - what can it all mean?

Even with the financial woes of the 70s, 80s and 90s as a comparison, all indications are that this little "blip" on the financial radar is closer to an E.L.E. than any other time.

"Unemployment surged by 603,000 in October to 10.1 million, the highest level in 25 years, according to a survey of households. In the past six months, unemployment has leaped by 2.45 million, the largest increase since 1975.

"A stumbling economy seems to have been kicked down the stairs," said Lawrence Mishel, president of the Economic Policy Institute. "This is what a deep recession looks like."

Two issues:

What can this mean for output devices and office equipment sales?

And

What does this mean for the
burgeoning Managed Print Services segment?

Not good for the first issue and better for the second.

It's simple really, with the "commoditization" of hardware and the reduction in margins, aren't we looking for the ultimate angle?

The "angle" is lowering costs? Lowering the costs for your customers right now is the most important issue.

Think about it, if you are reducing your clients' costs associated with printing, on a fleet of machines for a good number of employees - the savings your plan, your idea, your "solution"(gag) brings to the table may be enough to save one persons job - and there by helping to feed that person's kid or mom, or grandmother. Letting that one person go to Wal*Mart, or In-n-Out to spend money. And those Wal*Mart and In-n-Out employees get paid because your end user, and thousands of others, went their job.

You think sales people don't do anything?

You think your "job" isn't important?

You think we need more "change"?

When we sell, we change something, we always have - hopefully for the better.

Go Change Something.

The Economic "Crisis" Hits Home - Americian Express Part Duex

Third-Party Lenders IBM, De Lage Landen Cut Channel Credit

First it strikes customers and prospects, now the channel.

From a Channel Web article, dated 11.10.08, by Scott Campbell -

"Within the last week, Jay Tipton, vice president of Technology Specialists, saw credit lines cut by both American Express and IBM, moves that forced him to scramble to find replacement lines. "It takes time away from selling for me to work on this," Tipton said. "I don't know what I'm going to do. That's what I have to figure out."

Tipton said he got a call from American Express last week informing him that his line, which approached $30,000, had been reduced to about $10,000.

Technology Specialists used the line mostly to pay recurring bills, he said. "It got cut down to where things started bouncing," he said..."

American Express told Tipton it was concerned that his monthly charges were too high. He said a slow summer caused him to delay a payment, but he had caught up by October."

And this regarding an entity I have written about before, De Lage Landen Financial:

"...Meanwhile, Michael Bidwell, vice president of Know Problem Business Technologies, said a $25,000 credit line he had with De Lage Landen Financial Services through D&H Distributing was cut overnight last week.

"I ordered on Monday. I ordered on Tuesday. When I tried to order on Wednesday, they called to tell me it came back refused," Bidwell said.

Bidwell said he called both parties, who blamed each other over the ending of the program. "They point fingers at each other but they never sent an e-mail or placed a call to their dealers," Bidwell said.

It's likely that De Lage Landen pulled the program because it didn't make economic sense for the lender with so few customers utilizing it. Calls to De Lage Landen were not returned..."

For the independents and smaller channel VARs this is an issue.

For your customers, this is an issue.

For the larger hardware providers, K/M, RiKON, CBS, Xerox , this could become an issue - if not already.

Did Ricoh or Canon Win Regarding IKON?

Armchair quarterbacks - from some who have actually been on the field -

Over at the Document Imaging Networking Executives group on LikedIn, a discussion is brewing regarding the buyout.

The question posed by group founder, Jamie Schorr:

"Did Ricoh really “win” IKON over Canon or did Canon make a decision not to play?"

One of the responses to this question from Joe Salkin , Vice President of Sales and General Manager at Duplicating Products, seems pretty poignant:

"Canon made a decision not to play. Canon was given the option to compete for the business but decided not to bid. Canon has never wanted to own IKON or anyone else for that matter however I am sure they didn't want Ricoh to have IKON either. If Canon wanted to buy IKON they could have years ago at a much lower price.

Over the last 3 years IKON's business with Canon had shrunk about 30% based on increase sales of color by Konica Minolta Color products sold by IKON vs. Canon products, and by Canon not replacing the Production Color products that Xerox picked off. 2nd I don't think Canon had much faith in IKON's Management Team, or their ability to manage their sales force. Therefore I don't think Canon wanted the headaches that came with the buy of IKON. Remember just 5 years ago IKON was a $7B company and today they won't do $4B.

I do believe Canon is going to miss the 2500 sales reps on the street, and all the business that IKON got for Canon in National Accounts that Canon will now never be able to get on their own. However over the next 5 years you will see Canon introduce new and better products, get their costs more in line with the competitors, buy up dealers across the country, and open CBS stores across the country to replace IKON/Canon sales. They will take a shot over the next 5 years but each year that will be less and less until Canon makes all or most of it up.

Last but not least Canon made up a huge part of IKON's install base and many of those customers are loyal Canon users, like Canon products, feel Canon products are the best, and will want to stay with Canon products. Therefore while IKON/Ricoh will do everything in their power over the next 4 years to flip that base to Ricoh I can assure you many and maybe most of that base will want to stay a Canon user, therefore those customers will leave IKON/Ricoh and buy from either CBS but most likely a Canon Independent Dealer to stay with Canon.

In other words in 5 years from now the big winner out of all this might just be Canon. They kept 75% of their base, and picked up additional share by opening up new CBS stores, buying up dealers, and being more aggressive on the product and marketing end of the business model and they were not the ones who paid the $1.7B for the mess that Ricoh just got. Canon will lose share in the National Account game but they will get back the placements in accounts that pay more for their products.

The next 5 years will be interesting. One thing I can guarantee you Canon will not lay down and just give up share, they are going to be coming out swinging harder than you have ever seen them. From a person who sell both Ricoh and Canon today its the best thing that could have ever happened."


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

HP Card and Discounts - Total Care Access Card

Interesting...what is this thing they speak of?


I hadn't heard of this, but I saw a quick announcement and decided to pass it along.

In a nutshell, this looks like a "membership" card offering discounts and goodies - if anyone has seen or used it, let me know.

The HP Total Care Access Card provides exclusive access to software, services and discounts from HP and industry-leading vendors, making it easier for small businesses to manage, protect and grow their businesses while saving money.

"Our small business customers have told us they want to work smarter, protect their resources, and grow their names and businesses while simultaneously saving money, and so we've created the HP Total Care Access Card," said John Dayan, vice president, Worldwide Marketing Operations, Personal Systems Group, HP. "By combining HP's strengths with those of select partners, we can offer simple financing, security, energy savings, marketing, online backup and storage solutions in a single package."

Original article, here.

Managed Print Services and the Economic Environment - Good or Bad?

MPS cuts costs - so why are your not phones ringing off the hook?


Jim Lyons and the crew over at Photozio are asking you, me, all of us, how is the world treating you?

From Jim's post:

"...The Photizo Group is taking a ground-level view, too and in addition to more scientific approaches, we're going straight to our web visitors with a simply online survey. The purpose of this study is to gain your thoughts and views regarding how the current economic climate will impact the demand and opportunity for Managed Print Services (MPS). In return for responding to this survey, we will provide you with a copy of our September issue of the MPS Insights Journal, the only publication which focuses exclusively upon MPS best practices, issues, and user profiles..."


Head over and let them know how it's going in the "trenches". It's only five questions.


Ursula M. Burns- Xerox President - Shares Six Lessons Learned

She helped Xerox rebound, now shares six lessons learned, in the face of new challenges.

Burns climbed the ladder after joining the "X" in 1980.

And when Xerox was going through it's "troubles" back in the beginning of the decade - she negotiated with unions to reduce thousands of jobs. Not an easy task.

-"Right when you think you're set ... you get snafued," said Burns, who rose to the No. 2 spot at the iconic company in 2007. "You can hardly ever relax."-

Here are six lessons she learned from earlier troubles at Xerox.

Communicate. "Whenever you're in a crisis you have to talk," she said. And that doesn't mean dumbing down the challenges the company faces. Workers respond when executives are truthful.

Know the culture. Xerox has worked to build diversity of all kinds to gain a wide array of perspectives. That's a key part of its success, Burns said.

But it also has been bureaucratic and slow to change. Burns said navigating tough times requires embracing the best of the corporate culture and stripping away those parts that can hurt growth.

Have a vision. Xerox was beat up by the press amid its financial struggles. So, Xerox wrote a pretend front-page story that showed how it should be portrayed in the best of times.

"That was our aspirational vision," Burns said.

People matter. The best strategy devised by legions of consultants is worthless without a work force willing to adapt.

"When you're really in trouble, the people are what saves you."

Customers matter, too. "The customer is the center of the universe," Burns said. Xerox used to develop technology and expect customers to adjust. That didn't work. Customers aren't always right, she said, "but you can't tell them they're wrong."

Leadership is key. A bad leader will quickly destroy any progress. Good leaders are humble, focused and human. They "put the enterprise before themselves," she said.

Nov 11, 2008 (The News & Observer - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX)