Thursday, July 30, 2009

First Magic Paper, Now Magic Fabric - One more nail(futuristic) in the Coffin of the Copier

One step closer to the Death of the Copier - "Magic Fabric"

The Propeller-Heads at M.I.T. are perfecting an "optical fabric" that can be used to "gather and image".

These professors have created a polymer fiber that can detect the angle, intensity, phase, and wavelength of light hitting it, information that can be used to re-create a picture of an object without a lens.

Without A Lens.

Digital or analogue. A4 or A3. Copier, Fax, MFP, MFD, Mopier, plotter, scanner, Edgeline or ColorCube - they ALL HAVE A LENS.

When we remove the lens, we kill the copy part of a copier - or do we?

Original article, MIT, here.




Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Greenpeace Trespasses, Paints and Decries HP's Environmental Stewardship

I almost joined Greenpeace as a freshman in my college days.

Back when Springsteen was on the "No Nukes" tour and Greenpeace was out saving the whales.

Yet, by senior year, I was wearing and selling "Nuke The Whales" T-shirts.

Proceeds going to the floor "beverage fund".

I'd like to think I've grown up. It's clear, Greenpeace hasn't.

In a remarkable display if ingenuity - an act of "Mission Impossible" proportions - Greenpeace operatives breached security, scaled the walls to HP's roof and vandalized the technology producers property.

Judging from the large, all capitalized, block font and the lack of South LA-like hieroglyphics, the roof graffiti was most likely produced by young, suburbanite, some-what educated hooligans with excellent penmanship and way too much time on their hands.

We assume the colorant used is water soluble and non-toxic.

All this over PVC and BFR's; elements that HP will remove by 2011 instead of 2009.

A statement from G-Peace -

"Earlier this year, HP postponed its 2007 commitment to phase out dangerous substances such as brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic from its computer products (excluding their server and printer lines, (GoIPG!)) from 2009 to 2011,"

Not only did G-Peace scratch out their display for the benefit of everyone above the altitude of 400 feet or so, in a cunning application of high-technology, they also dispatched automated phone calls to HP from non-other than Captain James Tiberius Kirk!

Bill is urging HP to phase out toxic chemicals in its products.

DeathOfTheCopier's DOUBLE-DOG-DARE to G-Peace:

There is a place I hear of, seven to eight thousand miles West of
Palo Alto. A land of great growth and pollution and many, many corporate HQ's with roofs - Communist Red China.

The double-dog-dare is simple: go there and tag any one of their roofs - hell, tag a wall or corporate driveway.

And then, if you can, come back home and tell us all your great tale. Like Beowulf and the Grendle.

Most likely, you will be sharing space with Tank Man and his family in a dark, musty cell.

Locked up and forgotten.

Interesting footnote. HP has been "Green" since before it was "hip"(1957), before the word "Green" applied to anything anti-human and well before G-Peace even existed,1971.




LAT

HP Defends

Canon Quarterly Profit Plunges 86% - YIKES!








By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: July 28, 2009

Filed at 3:10 a.m. ET

TOKYO (AP) -- Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ) said second quarter profit sank 86 percent as the global economic malaise weighed on sales of its copy machines, printers and digital cameras while a stronger yen took a bite out of overseas earnings.

The electronics manufacturer said Tuesday its net profit was 15.6 billion yen ($164 million) for the April-June quarter, down from 107.8 billion yen a year earlier. Revenues declined 28 percent to 793.8 billion yen, from 1.11 trillion yen last year.

For the current fiscal year through December, the company cut its revenue target to 3.20 trillion yen from 3.33 trillion yen. It held its profit target steady at 110 billion yen, which would mark a 64 percent yearly decline.

Canon, which brings in three-quarters of revenues from overseas, was hurt by the stronger yen compared to a year earlier. The company said the rise in the Japanese currency has taken about 151 billion yen from its revenue over the first six months of the year, compared to last year.

A stronger yen means sales abroad are worth less when repatriated to Japan.

A lone bright spot for the company was its SLR, or single-lens reflex, cameras, where demand was steady. But its overall camera business suffered as selling prices of cheaper digital models continued to fall rapidly.

Unlike many Japanese companies, Canon's fiscal year matches the calendar year. The company reports earnings under U.S. accounting rules.




Monday, July 27, 2009

Destroy Your Printer Contest - HumanKind Strikes Back


For decades they watched us.

Observing our habits. Infiltrating every aspect of our lives - soon, they determined our happiness and added to life's frustration.

Ignored by IT Professionals, enshrined by 9 to 5 receptionists and personal assistants all over the globe, their presence grew, barely noticed.

Until one day, humankind woke surrounded by millions of life sucking monsters.

Hellions of our own creation - Gremlins/Frankenstein/Desepticons inhabit our corner offices, corporate cube farms, our bedrooms, kitchens and dens.

Thousands of their brethren hibernating in basements, garages, attics, and on the shelves of hundreds of IT rooms.

Waiting.

There are some brave souls refusing to give in to the machines. Armed with little more than axes, log splitters, front loaders, gravity and ...high-explosives, they fight.

Florists, ceramic makers, cottage builders and yes, brew masters - from the grass roots of humanity they carry the banner against tyranny and oppression; mysticism and paper jams.

Recovered from a bunker -"a buried bus out back" - is the video story of one team of hero's - submitted for your review.



More stories of heroism, here.



Friday, July 24, 2009

Age Old American Tradition: Movies About Selling


You know them all by heart:

Glengarry Glen Ross - "...hold this watch..."

Boiler Room - "...done and done..."

Cadillac Man - "...I love the sale..."

Tommy Boy - "...fat guy in a little coat..."

Wall Street - "...greed is good, greed works..."

And of course, on the small screen, The Office - "...that's what she said..."

Yes I like both corny and intense selling based movies - so do you.

I think there is on the horizon, another selling movie classic.

Hell, the title sold me even before I checked out the clips - "...Live Hard, Sell Hard..."

You gotta love a trailer with "Fox on The Run" in the background.


I don't smoke, but I swear, someday a study is going to come out saying tobacco is good for you as long as your don't inhale through a filter - "...Smoke one for America..."

This is the Rated PG trailer, there is more realistic, R rated trailer on the movie's site or here. You gotta love his business card.







"Building Cars Nobody Wants To Buy..." Ford Posts $2.3B 2Q Profit - Beats Estimates

"The One" has killed 2 of the 3, but FoMoCo is still standing.

And what's this? Profiting?

No Way.

This must not stand!

Not long after Ford tells the government to Pound Sand the boys in the Glass House pull one out for the Dirty D - what next?

Lions in the Superbowl?


The auto maker reported a net income of $2.3 billion or 69 cents a share, compared with a loss of $8.67 billion, or $3.89 a share for the same period a year earlier.

The company refused U.S. federal aid and filing for bankruptcy, which may have created consumer goodwill but has allowed Chrysler Group LLC to merge with Fiat SpA (FIATY) and General Motors Co. to dump about $40 billion in debt.

Precarious is Ford's financial position and for them to be the come back kid, to succeed IN SPITE OF THE OBAMA PLAN, they will need to scratch and scrap for every penny - especially with Canada and the Unions supporting one of their primary competitors, GM.

Sales and Selling...Earth and Water..that's what it's all about..

Full article here.




Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Why Your Customer Should Re-Write Your Lease Agreement: It's About Them, Not You.


One More Dead Cow, in the Summer of No Sacred Cows - with another List of 22 at the end of the article.

Read on...
-------

For two decades, I have been helping prospects and clients understand, digest and work around lease agreements.

Cutting my teeth back in the 80's on technology leasing with IBM and Compaq.

I got the gist when working for CINTAS , reviewing uniform service contracts with my prospects.

At CINTAS, I was witness to the most one sided, legal extortion schemes. My competitors, usually, small time, local "linen" service company contracts were stunning.

Evergreen clauses that would never end. Price increases that where arbitrary and whimsical.

And closing statements that go like, "... just sign, don't question, or you will be sleeping with the fishes - ifyouknowwhatImean, andIthinkthatyoudo..."

The companies I sold for implemented decent agreements. So it was always one of my selling approaches to review competitors agreements and compare to mine - line by line, before signing.

That's how it all started.

Fast forward to present day, and it's like Deja Vu all over again. Just last week, I sat down with a prospect to review their existing lease.

We had a very nice discussion, we used lots of nice words talking around the subject when I straight out told him,

"...dude, you're screwed for the next 28 months. How the hell did you let this happen and what are you going to do to insure it doesn't happen again?"

The same old argument, same result.

"It's Standard For The Industry"

Dozens of times, the poor fellow across the desk from me says, "the copier rep said it was standard leasing procedure...standard for the industry...we all do it..."

Wow, that must have made you feel "special" - as in short-bus special. Did you say, "thank you sir, may I have another?"

Speaking of standard, I pull out lease agreement after lease agreement, guiding my prospect through the labyrinth of "guarantees", automatic renewals, termination and lease end responsibilities, shipping, property tax, processing fees, lease payment dates; on and on and on.

The subject changes to Capital Expenses vs. Operational, 60 Month vs. 36 Month, FMV vs Dollar out and combined lease/service agreements.

Pretty standard stuff.

And then we open up to the philosophical -

"...What, precisely is an equipment lease, anyway?" I ask.

Glazed eyes, a moment of awkward silence and then, "well, to me, it is a way for me to use equipment and not pay for the whole thing all at once..." he responds. Of course, I nearly fall out of my chair - I think he may just get this, there is hope.

Specifically, a lease agreement is a means by which a company (or person) gets to utilize leased items, paying an agreed, recurring amount over a predetermined, agreed period of time.

The benefits can be many, but the primary reason is to use equipment without a huge cash outlay.

The cost of this luxury - a "fee" similar to interest. This "fee" as I call it, is incorporated into each payment. For a lessee, that's lease jargon for "customer", to determine this amount, simply multiply the number of payments by the monthly amount and compare this figure to today's purchase price.

The difference is what you are paying for the ability to utilize equipment, over time.

There are a great many details involved with leasing and lease agreements - I won't go into all of them now - for some clients, just knowing the above can mind-shattering.

So once we agree that the basic function of a lease is for people to use equipment over time without purchasing the gear I ask,

"...should a lease be used as a customer retention device? Or should the quality of the relationship determine the future?"

- again, blank stare and crickets. Just when I think his head is going to explode like in Scanners,

"No Greg, it shouldn't. A lease is not a customer retention technique"

I think he's got it!

Anything more then payment amount and length of term(other than the "if you don't pay us, we will come get you, clause) is marketicture.

Our conversation dwindles to the mundane. I promise to keep in touch with him, he promises to negotiate "very vigorously" over his bloated service agreement and we part ways.

He on his 28 month journey of pain - which will be punctuated by him finding out there is a HUGE amount due at the end of the lease in the form of shipping charges - charges that can magically disappear when he re-ups for another 60 months.

Me, I get to go find someone else to help.
---------------

For those about to get into a lease - take heed, there are many things you can do to maximize your position as a lessee.

Of course I have a list.

A list of 22 steps/insights you can review and ignore before jumping into your next 62 month sentence.

Here are three:

1. Prior to your very first meeting with a prospective copier vendor, request he bring a copy of his lease agreement and service agreement to LEAVE BEHIND for your review.

This will set the tone for the rest of your relationship.

If you get ANY resistance at all, if he doesn't bring the document or let you keep it or uses phrases like, "...it's our corporate/legal policy not to release this information until executing a lease..." or "...I can let you read it, but I need to take it back with me..." or the best ever "...it's standard in our industry..." tell him you don't want to do business with him.

2. Have him explain the benefits of leasing vs purchase.

This will be revealing even though you already know why you want to lease. Most copier newbies don't really know why, they have just read the GE Capital or IKON Financial
"Why Leasing is Good" memo.

3. Then ask if he recommends a 48 or 60 month lease and why.

He should come back by saying he never recommends anything over 36 months.

Want the complete, DeathOfTheCopier list?

Hit me up with an email, use that Contact Me button thingie on the left - and I will send the list to you directly.

Want to Learn More?


Managed Print Services Appointment - Another Ticked Off Konica/Minolta Client:Leasing and "Integrity"


de lage landen: Copier Lease Gone Bad - in a city called "Homer"


Leasing Your MFP Fleet -


Bad Experiences with Leasing - Toshiba, IKON, Canon, Saxon









Too Big to Fail - A Review of Xerox ColorCube Print Advertising

With a plethora of Xerox ColorCube reviews available, Death Of The Copier tracked down a review of Xerox's print advertisement for ColorCube.

I was struck when I opened my June edition of Wired - the first page ad was for BMW, followed by Visa then Breitling and four pages in, Xerox.

I felt then, that it didn't matter if the ink melts in your car, Xerox has a consistent, appealing message.

Apparently, I am not the only one who sees this.


Images attract and invoke response which is the critical first step in the selling process.

From the article:

"... Xerox Corp., ... serves up an ad that stops readers via the strength of the primary colors dominating it. There's nothing gratuitous about the blocks of red, blue, yellow and black—which look like they belong in a child's playroom—because they are the product, which Xerox calls its ColorCube..."

Agreed - "Color Sells" and K.I.S.S

But words matters as well. In this case, 35 words, what the advertising people call "copy" -

“The new Xerox ColorCube multifunction printer uses unique cartridge-free Solid Ink technology, which is nontoxic, mess-free and reduces waste by 90%. Better yet, you can save up to 62% on color prints. The ultimate win-win.”

35 words - very simple, easy to understand, non-threatening(no FUD) - the ad is engaging and interesting and takes about as much time to digest as a Tweet.

Here is the article:

Compelling and relevant

Story posted: July 20, 2009 - 6:01 am EDT

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Typewriters Still Used at NYPD - To the Tune of a New, 3 Year, $1 Million Dollar Contract


In article in CIO, it is reported by the Post, that even after a major technology overhaul at the NYPD, officers "still use typewriters to fill out property and evidence vouchers, which are printed on carbon-paper forms..."

- that's right, CARBON-PAPER FORMS.

And we worry about taking somebody's DeskJet 500 away?


The NYPD has updated and connected all of their 76 precincts by a videoconferencing system that ties into a command center and all offices have real time access to major databases.

The moral of the story is that even though you have the biggest budget and a most deserving technology project, some things just can not be changed.

I wonder what the commission was for what has to be that Last Typewriter Salesperson in The World.

Enjoy the article here.



Monday, July 20, 2009

Toxin Detection As Close As An Inkjet Printer - Introducing Bioactive paper


"...researchers demonstrated the concept on the detection of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors such as paraoxon and aflatoxin B1 on paper using a "lateral flow" sensing approach similar to that used in a home pregnancy test strip.

The process involves formulating an ink like the one found in computer printer cartridges but with special additives to make the ink biocompatible..."

OK - HUH?



I found this article over the weekend and because we here at DeathOfTheCopier care about all things printer and nano-technology related I had to delve in.

The article goes on, "...An ink comprised of biocompatible silica nanoparticles is first deposited on paper, followed by a second ink containing the enzyme, and the resulting bio-ink forms a thin film of enzyme that is entrapped in the silica on paper. When the enzyme is exposed to a toxin, reporter molecules in the ink change colour in a manner that is dependent on the concentration of the toxin in the sample..."

Essentially it's this - certain elements can be placed in ink and utilized in ink jet cartridges. The ink is then applied to paper.

The special components in the ink will react in a certain way when exposed to particular substances/toxins. The ink will change color depending on the amount of toxin.

Just like a pregnancy test.

But this application will be used to assist in detecting toxins, pathogens and viruses, without the need for sophisticated instrumentation.

"...Portable bio-sensing papers are expected to be extremely useful in monitoring environmental and food-based toxins, as well as in remote settings in less industrialized countries where simple bioassays are essential for the first stages of detecting disease..."

Hang on to those DJ500's.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Death of The Copier and MFP Solutions Blog - Coast To Coast


7/2009

A little self promotion - article written by Scott Collen and published over at BERTL.

WHAT’S THE DEAL?

TELLING IT LIKE IT IS

By Scott Cullen

The truth is out there and it’s only a few clicks away on of the imaging industry’s cutting edge blogs.

Blogging is nothing new, but feet on the street sales reps in the imaging industry that blog are certainly something you don’t run into every day. Meet two of the most prolific and opinionated bloggers in the imaging industry-- Greg Walters and Art Post.

Walters works in the managed print services division of a West Coast IT integrator and HP value-added VAR. His “Death of the Copier” blog (http://thedeathofthecopier.blogspot.com/) is hip, happening, and sometimes irreverent, and a must read for anyone doing business in the imaging industry.

Post is a self-proclaimed “docusultant” with a Ricoh dealership in Highlands, New Jersey who, like Howard Cosell, tells it like it is. He started his blog, (www.mfpsolutions.blogspot.com) 15 months ago and the hits just keep on coming.

The inspiration for Walter’s blog, at least its eye-popping title, was the introduction of HP’s Edgeline technology, a technology that was going to be the death of traditional copier technology as we know it. Well, we all know what happened there.

“The Death of the Copier was because we had the Edgeline engine and it was going to take over the copier world,” recalls Walters. “That’s how it started and very quickly evolved into content and information about managed print services, the print industry in general, copiers, printers, and all that stuff.”

It’s all that stuff that makes Walter’s blog a fascinating read. He knows what he’s talking about having been in the imaging industry 20+ years, including a stint at IKON. He’s no shill for any manufacturer, including HP. Honesty is Walter’s best quality and his blog does indeed make for scintillating reading even when he’s sharing stories from other sources.

Walters’ blog gets 14,000 views a month, which is pretty darn good considering the topic. Are there really that many people who want to read about the imaging industry each month? Guess so. He has no idea why so many hits, but isn’t wasting time figuring it out. When he’s not integrating and providing added value to customers in his day job, he’s blogging, and he’s making appearances at industry conferences and events. From the looks of it, Walters’ 15 minutes of fame is just beginning.

The Death of the Copier blog focuses primarily on print management, but Walters reports that his most popular topics encompass anything to do with copier manufacturers. Indeed, hits pile up whenever he mentions the likes of Konica Minolta, Xerox, and HP.

“If you want to get any views, just write about anything that’s going on in the industry and drop the names,” he says.

Leasing, anything to do with financing, and copier crime are other hot topics as is managed print services.

“Anytime I have a headline that has to do with managed print services, it gets a lot more attention than it did before,” says Walters. “That’s the new hot button.”

Similarly, Post’s greatest hits include anything that mentions Ricoh, IKON, Canon or HP.
For instance, one post had 565 visitors in one day and 901 page views. The big topic was Ricoh being Ricoh.

Some of Walter’s and Post’s best readers are related to the major OEM’s both in the U.S. and in Japan. Walters estimates that about one third of his readers are upper management, one third support, and one third sales even though he says that independent dealers are a bit more difficult to track on the blog.

For Walters the best thing about writing a blog is the people he meets. Although he acknowledges it’s not always easy coming up with something to write about, he keeps plugging away. And the blog continues to evolve. He’s now on Twitter and is presenting podcasts.

Post’s blog gives him an opportunity to let off steam. It makes sense since he’s a salesman plying his trade in a high-pressure industry.

“After a tough day at work it gives me a medium where I can vent when I want to vent, but my ultimate goal is to get more members on my message boards,” says Post who is the online proprietor of the Print for Pay Hotels with various message boards devoted to key imaging industry manufactures such as the Ricoh Family Group, Canon, Konica Minolta, and Xerox.

Post has been selling copiers for more than two decades, which enables him to provide readers with a grittier perspective than those typically wielded by your average dealer principle or imaging industry consultant.

“I’m the guy on the street,” boasts Post.

Post’s blogs aren’t always focused on a specific manufacturer or product, and many of the issues and concerns he writes about are those affecting sales reps/docusultants like himself--pricing, prospecting, and other issues related to sales and service reps are common blog topics.

Post’s blog is surprisingly well written and includes news updates, and his commentary. He’s also on Twitter, so those looking to keep up with what Art’s doing even if it isn’t exactly related to the imaging world, can stay informed. Good to know that he just picked up his Swine Flu masks.

What makes Post’s blogs stand out is that he’s especially clever in his presentation and has found creative ways to present information about various solutions such as eCopy and PrintAudit and how the average office worker can save time and be more productive by using this software, using a character called Eric the Office Worker, modeled after the infamous Joe the Plumber. One area Post stays away from is print management. He leaves that topic to Walters.

Post admits he’s a loose canon and will write about whatever he wants when the mood strikes. If a product stinks, Post isn’t shy about posting his opinion, so damn the manufacturer trying to foist a feeble product on their dealer channel.

Anyone who evaluates products, covers the industry, and dares to venture an honest opinion, is bound to offend someone on the manufacturer side of the business sooner or later.

“I’m not concerned with offending anybody,” says Post. “I have a disclaimer on my Website that it’s only for educational purposes.”

When wrong, he’ll correct himself, but more often than not, Post is spot on.

The imaging industry is changing as is the way information is presented. With bloggers like Post and Walters, it’s refreshing to find two industry veterans willing to cut through the hype and tell it like it is.

# # #


Click to email me.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Oki Printing Solutions Launches Total Managed Print: Stage One - "PageStart"

Details of Oki's MPS programs are beginning to take form.

Today, Oki announced their Total Print Management MPS program for re-sellers.

A three level offering, the first of which is active today, PageStart, will be followed later this year with FleetAssist and FullAccess.

This first level is designed to get interested resellers into the MPS niche with little risk or cost.

Oki reportedly has simplified a pricing structure making it much easier for a provider to quote a CPC engagement with confidence.

But, what exactly is, "...the industry's only MPS Ready line of color and black and monochrome single function printers..."?


PageStart is a simple, turnkey program that provides the fastest way to start supporting MPS opportunities.

Partners requiring more support or those requiring complete support will benefit from the two other levels, which look to go live later this year.
-------

DOTC -

A big couple of weeks for the manufacturers and Managed Print Services programs. And compared to the recent Ricoh and HP announcements, Oki's could go unnoticed.

But MPS is for everyone - there is plenty of room.

What I find interesting is Oki seems to be either pacing the reluctance of their resellers, introducing MPS to the willing in baby-steps or Oki's programs haven't completely "baked" or Oki Print Solutions is itself wary of the MPS niche.

So they tip toe into the water.

But is this "only MPS ready printer" aspect?

What does that mean?

Are the cartridges "keyed" to the reseller?

Do the machines only report meters to Oki-based collection agents?

And once again, what about "blended MPS engagements"? Certainly, there will be other manufactures' machines in an Oki fleet - correct?

Interesting.

Now, the only two left are Toshiba and Canon - so I guess that really only leaves one.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Okidata Into the Fray: A Three Level Managed Print Services Offering For Dealers


Oki is in and is approaching dealers. Especially those who are tentative about entering the MPS arena.

"The channel is struggling to learn MPS, there's a little bit of a handicap there because they're just focusing on printers and copiers," Krentzman, President and Chief Executive Officer at Oki Data Americas, Inc. said. "Partners have to rethink the way they do business from "hardware centric" to "service centric."

Details are sketchy at this point, as always. There are two different pricing plans; monthly flat cost and a cost per image.

Dealers can either dip their toe or jump in head first - Oki appears to have different levels of commitment each with a higher access to all of Oki's MPS tools.

The market is certainly crowded and Oki has stiff competition. Citing Xerox's MPS program, Okidata said that there are some major options that its program offers that Xerox doesn't, including hardware training and proactive service alerts. I wonder how factual that statement really is.

Remotely interesting announcement, relative to the last few days - Ricoh, HP.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Odds are, One Day You Will Not Get Your News/Information in Print or On Your Computer

2009 -

Hyper-Local information - Point your smart phone at a building, take a picture and receive every piece of data available on that building.

"We're finding that an increasing number of young people are getting their news from smartphones," says Geeta Dayal, a Ford Foundation Fellow who teaches a class on mobile phones and journalism at University of California, Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism. "And the more people use their phones to access information, the more they want to know what's happening where they are right now."Imagine the face recognition applications.

Picking someone up at the bar will be wild - aim, shoot, download everything - Facebook, Twitter name, blog, work website, phone, email addy - even background checks.

No need to exchange business cards, simply snap a pic and rock and roll.

No print, all your output presented on bended plastic, not bio-mass.

"We're finding that an increasing number of young people are getting their news from smartphones," says Geeta Dayal, a Ford Foundation Fellow who teaches a class on mobile phones and journalism at University of California, Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism. "And the more people use their phones to access information, the more they want to know what's happening where they are right now."

I suggest a day when there is very little being printed at all.

As we know, the primary reason for print media is cheap portability - but cheap comes with a cost - static versus dynamic, old news versus late breaking, news/information for everyone, edited by strangers versus custom and personal- analog versus digital.

Submitted for your consideration, a "Minority Report" view from Microsoft.

In this world of 2019, there is no "print", no CPC, CPI or MPS.

Caution - when you think you see a newspaper, you are seeing an iteration of the Kindle.

Enjoy.

Inspiration Here.

Canon Joins the Rest of The Imaging World: Announces 12 Steps To Managed Print Services: Wait, That's not Right...

As the rest of the industry stumbles, tumbles and clamors their way towards MPS nirvana, Canon stays the course - announcing that they will introduce a new line of copiers.

In light of the recent forays into MPS by Xerox, HP and other manufacturers, Canon's relative quiet, is deafening.

What is going on?

In a statement made today, Canon announced that their first new line in nine years will consist of three series composed of 12 machines. These units will be sold under the "ImageRunner Advance" nameplate.

The machines will be geared toward 12,000 images/month. One unit, the C7065 will produce color, A4 images at 60 ppm and prices out at around $35k(retail).

These sound like great boxes - I can't wait to include them under my MPS Engagements.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Strange Twist - Managed Print Services is Redefined Again: Printing Industry of America


In an unpredictable and amusing way, HP's announcement today regarding the Printing Payback Guarantee, triggered negative reaction from the PIA.

You will remember the PIA is the Printing Industries of America.

They bill themselves as "...the world's largest graphic arts trade association..." and today chastised HP for leaving it's core business to start printing greeting cards.

Hang on, this is going to be fun...


From the PIA Press release...

"...It is with disappointment, therefore, that Printing Industries of America learned of HP's latest offering -- managed print services, which was advertised with great fanfare in this morning's Wall Street Journal. "We are always concerned when a major vendor in our industry deviates from its core offerings to venture into managing print solutions, which the private sector has competitively provided for hundreds of years," notes Michael Makin, President and CEO of Printing Industries of America..."

Go ahead, read it again...

HP is deviating from "its core offerings to venture into managing print solutions..."?

Whiskey...Tango...Foxtrot!

LOL! The PIA are the folks printing your wedding invitations, posters, handbooks,etc.

What is your definition of Managed Print Services?

I am pretty sure it is not online customer job tickets, soft proofing of files on line, job status, retrieval of jobs and files, instant notification of job arrivals and proof approvals, and a product catalog.

Wait. It might not now be, but maybe it SHOULD be someday---?

I was in absolute shock - stunned actually.

I didn't understand when murmurings appeared on Twitter about "PIA's negative reaction to HP's announcement" - who the heck is PIA?

Did Ben kill a fly during the press conference?

How could anyone respond negatively to a simple guarantee?

Alias, a PR was issued, and the third ugly head of ignorance around the definition of Managed Print Services spewed forth.

I doubt very much that my comment will be posted on their board - I have been accused of sometimes being "blunt".

The PR is here. Go now, enjoy. My comment, that will never see the light of day, or smell the sweet scent of ink, is below:

OMG!

There is no way an organization that has been around for "100 years" can be so stupid...right?

"HP...Compromising their position..."

LOL! Bufoons!

I would urge all PIA members to re-evaluate their membership if this is the kind of direction the PIA leadership hands down.

Stunning...absolutely stunning...

You could have at least Googled "Managed Print Services" - even on dial-up the correct information could have saved you this embarrassment.


Too much, do you think?

HP Managed Print Services Guarantee Announcement - The Ben Stein and Bruce Dahlgren - Show Simple Analysis

Special guests, Intel, ST, and InfoTrends.

My impressions.

The HP Printing Payback Guarantee -

Simply put, HP guarantee's an amount of savings, based on analysis and implementation of a new HP Managed Print Services Agreement.

Companies will be required to complete a detailed, fee based assessment.

The agreement also requires a hardware/supplies/service agreement for a minimum of 3 years.

After a year, HP conducts another assessment to determine past savings. HP will credit the difference between projected and actual savings.

Although most of this is re-hashed, I think the Guarantee is new - which is probably a bummer for Intel and ST; or is it?

Here's the deal with this guarantee:

First, there is a low probability that HP will ever need to credit any client. There is practically now way that any company will not be able to save money after implementing MPS, anybody's MPS, because most have no idea and no control of printing costs.

Also, HP will perform an in depth, detailed FEE BASED, assessment before offering the guarantee - they will know where all the skeletons are buried and exactly how much they can save their client. Ratchet that number back 10% and savings can be guaranteed.

Third, this is a great marketing technique(opposed to a marketing scheme) for a the client to be offered the guarantee, a three year hardware/supplies/service agreement must be initiated - delicious.

Fourth, after the first year HP performs another assessment, not sure if this one is fee based, to determine the delta between projected and actual savings.

If the projected is less then the actual, HP issues a credit - not a check.
You tell me, if HP knows they need to find $100,000 of savings, they will find $101,000 - genius. One can only wonder what happens if the proposed savings ends up being more then actual - will the client issue HP a credit?

I am sure this move will be dissected ad nauseam.

This is a Enterprise Account issue - and for most of the channel, this announcement won't effect day to day activity.

Details Here.

HP to Re-Org IPG - Again - Focus on Managed Print Services - Again

A new division specific to the MPS market will be formed, head up by Bruce Dahlgren, the former Lexmark vice president and general manager of North American Printing Solutions and Services.

You may remember the Dahlgren case back in 2006; it seems HP and Lexmark sued each other over Dahlgren's defection from Lexmark to HP.

Last week Ricoh, today HP - wowzie.

Or is it?

Industry insiders, pundits and observers have been waiting to see how and when Bruce will begin leveraging his experiences with Lexmark.

Game on.


The press release is sketchy on detail but does mention HP's interest at the "Enterprise" level.

So this does not appear, at first, to be a channel program.

There was no creation date given for this new division HP saying more information will be released over the next few months.

Also, from the PR:

"...It(HP) also launched a program Monday that it said would help to guarantee savings for companies that sign up for its print services. HP will assess a company's imaging and printing environment and calculate how much it thinks the company can save using HP's managed services. After a year, if customers haven't realized the savings, HP will make up the difference with a credit that can be used for their next printing services contract..."


Here is the full release:

July 12, 2009 — IDG News Service —

Hewlett-Packard is stepping up its efforts in the area of managed print services. The company plans to form a new group dedicated to this area, and is also launching a program that it says will help guarantee savings for customers who sign up for the services.

The new group will manage printing environments and help companies reduce the printer hardware they need to use, said Bruce Dahlgren, senior vice president of worldwide sales and services at Hewlett-Packard's imaging and printing group (IPG). The company already offers printing services, but HP will be able to give the area more focus by giving the business its own unit, Dahlgren said.

HP said it would help enterprises to consolidate their printing hardware and reduce the cost per page printed, Dahlgren said. Customers will be able to negotiate service contracts with HP, which will manage their hardware and software printing infrastructures.
Click here to find out more!

HP didn't say exactly when it would form the new unit, but said announcements will follow in the coming months.

It also launched a program Monday that it said would help to guarantee savings for companies that sign up for its print services. HP will assess a company's imaging and printing environment and calculate how much it thinks the company can save using HP's managed services. After a year, if customers haven't realized the savings, HP will make up the difference with a credit that can be used for their next printing services contract.

"With all the expertise, we should provide a guarantee," Dahlgren said. The company thinks it can help companies cut 20 percent to 30 percent of their costs, he said.

HP may be looking to stimulate growth in its printing and imaging group, which saw revenue decline more sharply in the last quarter than some other divisions. Revenue from the group dropped 23 percent in the last quarter to US$5.9 billion, compared to a drop of 3 percent in revenue for HP as a whole.

Printing services are a big opportunity for HP, said Gilles Biscos, president at Interquest, a research and consulting company in Charlottesville, Virginia. Some areas of the printing business, such as billing and the production of legal documents, have been relatively unaffected by the rise of the Web, and there remains a big market in helping companies to find ways to cut their printing costs.

Large companies could potentially save money by consolidating copiers, fax machines and multifunction printers, Biscos said. Simple steps like shutting down printers when they are not in use and printing on both sides of pages can dramatically cut costs, he said.


Link Here.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Thursday, July 9, 2009

RiKON/Ricoh Blazing Into Managed Print Services - Four Stages, 23 Modules - WOW


A couple weeks back, while off the grid, I had an epiphany of sorts. I wish now that I had written it down then.

As the tedious and fatiguing debate "raged" around the definition of MPS, someone asked me what I thought a perfect MPS Practice would look like.

I didn't have a quick answer, but I did give an answer.

Later, around midnight, I pondered, weak and weary, remembering back to the good aspects of IKON, there are plenty, when it struck me - "if Ricoh got their act together, and combined the IKON trifecta, Professional Services, Equipment Sales and Service, & Facilities Management into one MPS Practice, they would be unstoppable..."

Well, I guess I am not the only one to have seen the potential:

Ricoh - "...today announced that it is now offering a robust Managed Document Services (MDS) Program. Managed Print Services (MPS) provides the foundation for this program, which focuses on total cost of ownership, business process improvement, security and compliance and environmental sustainability. While Ricoh has provided professional services for its clients for nearly a decade, its recent IKON acquisition and growing market demand for MPS has allowed the company to enhance its capabilities in this area..." GMTA

This is great - I just have a few questions. Who the hell is Prosci, what is his change management methodology and why did Ricoh decide to use it?

Read on...

From the Press release, 7/9/2009- format changed and links added.

Ricoh Helps Create Positive Organizational Change With Managed Document Services Program

WEST CALDWELL, N.J., July 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Ricoh Americas Corporation, a leading provider of digital office equipment, today announced that it is now offering a robust Managed Document Services (MDS) Program. Managed Print Services (MPS) provides the foundation for this program, which focuses on total cost of ownership, business process improvement, security and compliance and environmental sustainability.

While Ricoh has provided professional services for its clients for nearly a decade, its recent IKON acquisition and growing market demand for MPS has allowed the company to enhance its capabilities in this area.

Beyond conducting assessments, implementing solutions, providing on-site and off-site management of fleets, Ricoh MDS helps customers effectively change their document output practices across their organization, streamlining processes and cutting costs, which is especially critical in today's economic climate. A new Managed Document Services logo with the tagline "MPS and Beyond" helps communicate Ricoh's intention to deliver additional document management services.

Ricoh and IKON both had strong best practices with regard to MPS, but with their combined insights, Ricoh is able to take its services to the next level. In fact, together these best practices set the groundwork for Ricoh's MDS Program.

One of the most important methodologies Ricoh has developed from this fusion of expertise, resources and thought leadership is a strategic four-phase approach for effective managed services.

In the first stage of the MDS methodology, Ricoh utilizes DOCutivity(R) to assess the current document output environment of a business and identify the technologies, associated costs and process workflows in place.

Then, in phase two, system architects design a new document management workflow blueprint that takes into consideration security regulations, process improvement, total cost of ownership and environmental sustainability.

The third step entails the transformation of an old workflow system of a business to a new and improved version that introduces more evolved technologies which reduces risks, enhances efficiency and makes document management easier for the end-user.

Last is the fourth phase -- Ricoh manages the fleet, provides operations, continuous improvement and additional support services. Regardless of the hardware and software solutions implemented, Ricoh offers on-site and remote services to effectively govern the new and existing systems.

Further, Ricoh's support services do more than simply answer questions, troubleshoot problems and install supplies; they work with businesses to change output practices across their entire organization. There are a total of 23 Service Modules that Ricoh can deliver within the MDS Program.

Understanding that office cultures cannot be changed overnight, members of Ricoh's MDS Teams apply Prosci's change management methodology. Prosci has become the leading provider of change management tools and benchmarking reports, working with more than 2,000 companies from 65 countries on research projects in change management.

Prosci's popular ADKAR(R) model is used worldwide. Following this methodology, Ricoh works with a customer's corporate office and end-users to formalize guiding principles of the change management program, which are to be carried out by everyone across the organization. Once these are set, staff training takes place to ensure they understand these principles and why it is essential to abide by them.

Additionally, Ricoh collaborates with the customer to internally promote a branded campaign, which includes marketing materials that generate awareness, develop desire, educate, and reinforce the program principles.

A significant return on investment can be seen as end-users change habits and integrate new workflows into their everyday practices -- helping companies reduce costs, better utilize information, decrease environmental impact, and improve efficiency.

"By enabling control of output-related costs and assets, optimizing the fleet and enhancing the document management environment, customers will see efficiencies across the board with the MDS Program which will provide them a competitive advantage in today's marketplace," said Dan Waldinger, Director, Strategic Marketing, Ricoh Americas Corporation. "We are proud to offer a program that does not provide a temporary solution based on existing needs, but seeks to positively change behavior within an organization to lead to more effective, lasting results. Ricoh has made significant investments in delivery mechanisms and provided continuous improvement for its customers over time. To this end, we are best suited to deliver the benefits associated with an MPS deployment."
---------

- THIS IS IMPORTANT, IGNORE AT YOUR OWN PERIL -

As press releases go, at first blush, this one appears the standard - but upon further review is a bevy of Ricoh/MPS tidbits.

First off - Prosci's Methodology of Change, I bet my friend Ken Stewart knows all about this.
Secondly - the Fusion of IKON strengths. I agree.
Third - 23 Modules. Holy Crap!
Fourth - "...provide continuous improvement ...over time...". Long term Partnerships with clients.
Five - branding, "MPS And Beyond". Getting away from the "P" in MPS.
Six - INTERNAL branding(!) a la, Dow and Nationwide. Ricoh must have been at the MPS Conference in San Antonio. Deeper client relationships.

So we can finally add Ricoh to the herd - Xerox PagePack, Konica Minolta OPS, Samsung, Kyocera, and expected announcements/re-launches from Oki, Toshiba and HP(who?), looks like by summer's end, every "big boi" will have a pound of flesh in the game.

And let's not forget the IBM connection, InfoPrint.

To me, it seems Ricoh has been paying attention over the last 12 months not only to MPS demand, but to the stumbling and misfires of MPS program launches.

Of course, planning, fancy process names, and logo's will get you only so far.

Execution in the trenches is where the rubber will meet the road - we are watching.

Ricoh's Embedded Intelligence System works with IBM's Tivoli Monitoring Networked Multifunction Products- And Why is This Important?

Read More Here. Full PR Here.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

What Makes a Great Management Print Services Customer? The Same Things that Make Any Customer a Great One: You


I know this will be a tough concept for some sales people, because it has been driven into us that the only way to be successful is to be subservient and scared.

Subservient to the unreasonable whims of shallow and weak prospects and scared of rejection.

Fearful of simpleton sales Managers, forecasts, cold calls and missing unproductive sales meetings.

Let not your heart be troubled.

Over the past months, hell the past year, I have told one prospect to 'pound sand', rekindled old relationships and forged great partnerships - partnerships that will follow me- partnerships with Great MPS Clients.

Thinking about this gave me pause, what makes a great MPS customer?

A client who recommends you to others over the weekend. One who will give you the names of his friends and call them for you. Someone you can have your prospects call - anytime. A person you mention in every cold call, every elevator pitch, and every presentation.

How does one find these clients?

One word kid, one word: Qualify.

Two important aspects of Qualification:

1. Qualification is a continuous Process not a Stage.
2. Not all prospects qualify.

Simply put, like most good finds in life, we all dig through a lot of crap before we uncover the diamond.
You've got to go through lousy prospects before you find a good partner.

Your prospect must continually Qualify for your time and attention at each meeting, every discussion - does your prospect Qualify to move to the next step, today?

And of course, not everybody who has a pulse or can fog a mirror is a prospect.

One of the skills to be developed is recognizing a good match. More importantly, paramount even, is your confidence and fearless ability to say to yourself, your manager and the prospect,

"...this isn't going to work, we do not have a match..."

Ok, it's easy to say this if, for instance, the prospect has a real need that you can not satisfy - like when you are selling 75ppm units and the prospect really needs a new fleet of vans.

But what if you see a company that has 2 laser printers for every employee, a fax machine in every other cubicle, $10,000 worth of toner stuffed into multiple supply rooms, and 12 copiers all at lease termination?

Sounds good, doesn't it? Yes, it does.

But, let's say after a brief discussion you find:

The prospect is just too dense to get his head around "value add"?

The C-levels will have nothing to do with you and are all members of the family.

Your primary contact is a Purchaser who is taking on the project because "I.T. is too busy".

He hands you another vendor's analysis, with costs, proposed configs and pricing. And he proudly displays his huge spreadsheet filled with specifications, models and 32 other vendors' pricing.

His desktop is an IBM PS/2 Model 60.

He has been investigating vendors for the last 18 months and attended a dozen demo's.

He states that "cheaper is always better" and wonders aloud why he should ever be required to sign a service agreement.

Finally, the prospect's business model is all about providing his products for the cheapest price.

I know right now, somebody is thinking, "All right. Let the selling begin!"

Ahead of you are months of spinning wheels, false closes and dead ends. When you place this prospect on any type of forecast or enter it into your CRM - to management, it becomes real.

Soon to become one of those eternally forecasted opportunities - you know the one. The one that everybody else in the room but you knows how to close. The one your manager, the owner, or VP wants to see face to face.

"What can I do to help you close this one by the end of the month?"

- I think I just threw up a little, in mouth, just now.

So, I guess it's up to you. Invest hours, months, of your life in this well qualified opportunity...

Or

...let your rookie competitors eat it up. Let your competitor be the one to explain the long cycle to HIS manager, owner or VP. Let that poor schlep deal with all the head-aches.

Pray he gets the deal.

Imagine his service department taking care of this high-touch, low-value customer - while you pursue relationships with margin. Visualize this poor sales guy delivering toner on bended knee, because the customer didn't order any and thinks all copier people carry toner with them everywhere.

See Gumby, the rubber copier guy bend over backwards and jump through flaming hoops.

It comes down to this: do you have the guts, not only to walk away, but to journey beyond the cheap baubles in search of real diamonds? Qualification. It is not only about continuously qualifying the prospect, it's about you Qualifying for better and uncovering Great clients.

You won't find much treasure head down, shaking with fear.

------

Click to email me.





Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Just Doing His Job When Destiny Knocked...

American Hero's are everywhere.

"I happened to have the harness on...part of a team..." - that's what he said in an interview after the rescue, when asked if he volunteered!

"I happened to have the harness on..." -Jason Oglesbee, construction dude, Des Moines.




Is that great or what?

It's an unscripted, Hollywood moment.

A guy who saved another person's life, had his chance at the "15 Minutes", who walked away and WENT BACK TO WORK.

Everyone is going to be beating down his door; from TMZ to Fox News and I bet right now there is someone in "0"'s administration trying to angle this guy onto a teleprompter - I doubt he even has TWITTER!

Out of the Box Thinking - It's No Big Deal

We on the sidelines marvel at this rescue.

The display of heroism. And yet, to the hero it was no big deal. All in a days work. They had a crane, he was already in the harness, seemed only natural, rescue a lady then go back to doing whatever it was he was doing. Gee, maybe someone will buy him a brew after work?

Also, take a look at the picture.

No hardhat - OSHA violation.

No safety chair - OSHA violation.

No seat belt, he used a piece of rope - OSHA violation.

Possible contamination from construction site to river water as his boots no doubt dipped into the river - EPA violation.

Performed "out of job description" activity - union violations.


I Wonder If His Company has Comprehensive Managed Print Services Engagement -






Synnex Beats Q2 Estimates, Looks Ahead To UC, Health-Care Expansion



From an article at ChannelWeb:

"...On the managed print services front, Murai said Synnex had seen continued success with PrintSolv, its managed print services program for VARs, which he said is gaining support even from printer vendors such as Hewlett-Packard, Lexmark and Xerox that have managed print services programs of their own.

"HP has really embraced what we're doing, and we're working very cooperatively with both Xerox and Lexmark, which although they still have their own programs, understand and recognize what we have is gaining exposure and traction," Murai said.

"What it allows us to do is allow our reseller partners to gain much more visibility into the print environment, introduce new products, and consolidate. When we make a bet we go with both feet in.

The solution we have is what sets us apart. We support all manufacturers' print devices..."


See the complete article here.