Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Clouds of Misfortune Rolling in On The Winds of Change: Copier Industry Next to Fall

12/2009 -

"It's the End of the World as We Know It."

"The Future Ain't What it Use to Be."

"Fail to study history, doomed to repeat it."

"See, I told you so."

"I shaved my legs for this?"

The other day, I read a post over at Callinan's blog, here. It's good, it's about changes in our industry.

And Ken Stewart has a pretty good grasp on the subject as well, go here, and see his newly re-minted theme - it's to die for!

I've run into a flurry of statements, lately, like these,

"...copier dealers need to change or die..."

"...MPS is not getting the return we expected..."

"...the best way to sell MPS is to start with changing people..."

"...how can we adopt MPS when one of the MPS goals is to reduce MIF..."

"...this will kill the industry..."

Callinan's post and observations are correct. I am not sure I agree with his allusion that the copier dealer is going to be in trouble if we all start providing real MPS.

I do think he is beginning to see that the copier industry is not in as much control of its destiny as it had once been.

For those who have been reading me for a bit now, and for those who are new, remember the name of this blog?


Here is a slice from Tom's article. Nestled inside a paragraph about how Tom's firm is better then some,

“… we aren’t a manufacturer trying to keep their factories churning out boxes and the trailing supplies and parts in an ever decreasing space that already has significant over capacity. We aren’t telling you go out there and replace all of their “Brand A” printers with “Our brand” printers or MFDs.

We aren’t suggesting that you turn your sales force into change management consultants. That is a really tough sell that will be embraced by a small segment of the business population.

Let’s thank God for that because if everybody out there reduces their device count by 60% or 70% we had better find something else to sell…..and fast!”

I agree with Tom – if you are not the ones reducing your clients’ device count by 60% or 70%, start selling something else – FAST.

This sounds like he believes that if we go out to sell MPS intent on reducing the number of machines or number of prints to reduce costs, we are shooting ourselves in the foot as an industry.

I know that Tom is not the only person who thinks this.

As a matter of fact, I faced this issue last year at the Lyra conference when folks read the company off my name tag - "...what do you mean Death of the Copier...do you know what we all do here...?" WOW.

I want clients. I want customers who will work with me and pay me.

Simple.

And if reducing the number of copiers my client buys by 30% is the right thing to do, I will do it.

I don’t think of it as shooting myself in the foot, I think of it as shooting my competitors’ in the foot.

As an MPS Professionals, our goal should be to partner with clients who recognize the significant savings and value resulting from a partnership; and we should get paid for this.

And it is my opinion, that if your intent is high, you can help prospects:

1. Shift and reduce their current spend
2. Reduce current spend by reducing the number of devices required
3. Reduce the total number of prints

Nothing about upgrading old machines to new ones and nothing about 1:1 fleet refresh.

Tom get’s it.

What we are witnessing in our industry is a truly “transformational” stage – I have teased that someday, HP will not manufacture or sell printers.

Someday, when you call your help desk, an HP employee will guide you through setting your default to duplex. Some day, when you call your VMWare help desk, the employee on the other side of the line will collect his check from Xerox.

You think that's wrong?

A while back, some, including me, were looking toward HP to pick up a channel for their vaulted IPG - and what did Hurd do?

Instead of buying IKON for $1.6 billion, HP bought EDS for $14 billion.

EDS doesn't make a thing; EDS provides SERVICES.

And then there's Xerox.

Sure they've got ColorCube - but could the hot-wax machine have the same future as Edgeline someday ending up in K-Mart and Wall*Mart, spitting out Christmas photos?

Who did X spend it's money on?

Oce? Nope. Canon? Nope again.

And did X dump more money into photocopier research? (See TheDeathOfXerography) Nope.

Xerox bought Affiliated Computer Services, for $6.4 billion. Again with the SERVICES.

Let me add to this outrage, someday Canon won’t make copiers anymore and someday, all the smaller guys will be gone; no more Toshiba, Konica Minolta, Sharp, Kyocera, Mita, Panasonic, Oce – the world only needs so many copier manufacturers.

How’s that for TRANSFORMATIONAL?

Think I’m off? Think this could never happen?

I grew up outside Detroit, I remember the malaise of the 70's. Do you remember when the “D” was the automobile capital of the world? The 70's were transitional for the auto industry, this new century, TRANSFORMATIONAL. Does anyone remember the Matador or AMC?

What other "niche" markets have gone through this sort of radical change?

Perhaps if we look to the past, we may see our future.

I recall a time when there was an INACOMP or MicroAge or ComputerLand or one of thousands of independent computer dealers on every street corner.

Retail, home user, customers would walk in the front, and B2B deliveries went out the back. We would scoff at the notion of WAL*MART someday selling PC’s and could never imagine a home without an IBM PC.

HA!

When was the last time you saw a ComputerLand?

Something changed along the way; where the once were many, few remain. Maybe nobody saw the change coming, but they should have.

There are by some accounts 14,000 office equipment dealers in America today. How arrogant can we be to assume this won’t happen in OUR industry? It’s a basic economic reality.

We who are surviving are not sitting still. During this time, the strong are retooling, re-aligning, re-positioning – TRANSFORMING. (Hybrid Dealers anyone?).

- Those Who Stay, Will Be Champions -

It's the End of the year, the end of a decade. Time to let the old go, to fade away, to burn in the fire that is Time.

What should we let go of? What should we who stay, who stand, who sell - what should we leave in the dust pan of 2009?

For starters - how about all the antiquated copier beliefs.

The old thoughts of maximizing your profits over the needs and concerns of your clients. How about we forget about the old paradigms of service, MIF and slamming gear by month's end.

Let's say we stop thinking of our clients as the competition and stop perpetuating tired and run down sales stereotypes like the "Farmer and the Hunter".

Some say MPS is "struggling, and maybe failing" - I say we are going through the ultimate weeding out of the rif-raf, the chum. I say, the challenges and missed expectations are due to the ignorance and stubbornness of a by gone era.

You owners and principals and managers and "leaders" are starting to figure out that this "MPS thing" is difficult. It's challenging to get your head around and nearly impossible for you to visualize.

You believe your own delusions; you can never be wrong. And if you can't be wrong, then the fault must lie at the feet of all your "lazy sales people".

What's worse is you owners, you titans of the office automation niche, you pay "yes-men" to feed your delusions - weekly.

How do hapless fools adjust to new opportunities or adversity?

You hire consultants stuck in the 80's.
You buy into magic MPS programs.
You send your sales people to "MPS Sales School" taught by people who haven't sold in over a decade; who can't answer basic questions MPS reps face everyday in the field - questions from prospects, not managers or Consultants.
You change the comp plan, in mid stride.
You flood the want ads with MPS Sales Position openings - and you still can't define MPS outside of CPC.

See your future, be your future, right in the lumber yard, Danny.

It's a new decade and times are tough for the MPS Selling Professional - what are you going to do differently?

My suggestion - take care of yourself.

Improve yourself for you, not your boss.

If you truly believe in this crazy thing called MPS, seek out like minded people. Make contact and rub elbows with other in MPS Professionals, your peers.

Find colleagues.

Get to know your customers beyond the revenue stream and understand why they went with an MPS Engagement.

And by looking out for yourself, I mean don't hook your wagon to a falling star.

The copier industry is in a contracting stage, the universe imploding.

Find MPS people who are really figuring it out and not simply rearranging the deckchairs. Look to those who have burned the ships behind them.

The Winds of Change are blowing, again.

Are you going to baton down the hatches, and fill your sails or would you rather stay ashore and draw on white boards?

Happy 2010.










Monday, December 28, 2009

State of California Shuns HP in Favor of ACS - EDS Fallout?

At first the announcement by California Department of Health Care Services, stating it intends to award a $1.4 billion, 10-year contract to Dallas-based Affiliated Computer Services, may not seem to fall within the MPS wheelhouse.

Under terms of the proposed contract, Affiliated Computer Services would process claims for 7 million Medi-Cal beneficiaries, starting early next year.

What makes this interesting to me is the fact that Affiliated Computer Services, ACS, has recently been purchased by Xerox.

And the current provider, for the last 18 years, was not HP but EDS - HP inherited the account when it purchased EDS.

Get use to this battle - HP and Xerox fighting over a "service", not hardware.

Still think I'm crazy about the "Death of the Copier"??

This could possibly effect some 2,000 jobs here in California.

Besides all the Xerox vs. HP intrigue, why is it that my state officials can possibly justify risking thousand's of jobs by not utilizing a Californian company?

I guess MPS is not the only place where logic sometimes does not prevail.

More here.

And here.



Friday, December 25, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

NER to Sell Imaging Supplies and Printer Parts Business Units to Clover Technologies Group


So, let me get this straight.

HP reaches out to NER as a "toner provider" less than six months ago, and that ISN'T enough to save a Division?

NER is selling off it's toner and imagining supplies division to concentrate and focus on Managed Print Services and Data Center Infrastructure.

The toner and supplies division is being gobbled up by Clover Technologies.

From the Clover site:

"...Founded in 1996 and with annual revenue of over $300 million, Clover is the global leader in providing businesses with total environmental solutions, including the recycling and remanufacturing of imaging supplies. Clover is the world's largest collector and recycler of cell phones, inkjets and laser cartridges. The complete line of Clover's quality toner and ink is available through leading office products distributors and resellers and marketed under a variety of private label brands..."
-----

Dropping the overhead intensive to concentrate on services - interesting.

GLASSBORO, N.J., Dec. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- NER Data Products, Inc. (NER) announces the sale of the NER Imaging Supplies division and its wholly owned printer parts subsidiary Image1 to Clover Technologies Group Inc. (Clover). The agreement will transfer all imaging activates including compatible laser toner, inkjet, narrow and wide impact ribbon production, and printer parts to Clover.

Clover will assume responsibility for the NER Denver, Image1 Plano, and NER Glassboro supplies operations that support these business units. Customer and vendor relationships will be assumed by Clover and business will continue at all of these locations. In addition, NER is pleased to announce that over 80% of the NER employees at these locations will become employees of Clover as of the first of the year.

"The decision to sell off business units is not taken without great consideration," said Stephen Oatway, President of NER Data Products, Inc. "Approximately seven years ago, we began the process of strategically transitioning the company from offering commodity products to offering value-added solutions. As a result of our efforts, we have become a leader in both Managed Print Services and Data Center Infrastructure Solutions.

In reviewing the direction of the company it was determined that a concentrated focus on these divisions was in the best interest of the company, shareholders, and customers moving forward. This strategic move allows us to focus resources on those business units that are poised for the greatest growth in the future."

The sale will be finalized December 31, 2009 and terms of the transaction are not disclosed. The newly reorganized NER will be strongly positioned to continue providing industry-leading Managed Print Services and Data Center Infrastructure Solutions to their channel partners and their customers.

Current customers for Imaging Supplies and Image1 products can find information about the business transition on the NER website -- www.nerdata.com






Managed Print Services Survey Over at P4PHotel: Xerox Didn't Sponser It, So Gartner Won't Cover It.

Art at P4PHotel has had a poll running for around a month - interesting and not so surprising results.

I have cut and pasted his entire article. You can find it here.

To me, this is a timely reveal, for I have, at this very moment, two separate "doom and gloom" MPS articles almost ready for post as part of my "Decade's End" run of pontifications.

Enjoy this.

Managed Print Service Poll "Review"

We've had this poll running for about a month now, or is it more like three weeks.

Ah, can't remember it's the end of the month, the quarter and the year and I'm being hammered every day about sales!!!!

Ok, back to the poll. We asked: You're now selling Managed Print Services "Your thoughts now". Basically tell us, it is working for you or not!

Here's the choices that vendors had to choose from and the percentages:

It's been a great success for us 27%
It's been ok for us 26%
It's not reaping the profits we thought it would 37%
If we had to do it over, we would not have gotten into MPS 10%

Very interesting to say the least, it seems to me that 47% or almost 1 out of every two vendors are not happy with the move. I thought it would have been more like 80% would have agreed with "It's been a great success for us".

I'm a follower of MPS, I believe it has it's place, however if 47% are unhappy, why is that? It's obvious that I can't answer that question, so I reached out to a friend of mine Greg Walters with Death of the Copier in Southern Cal, here's what he had to say......check back here in a few hours for the response!!

Here's Greg's opine:

You5 study does not surprise me. I know of a few very successful MPS Practices. But I have been taking many, many questions in the past 5 months all around getting an MPS Practice "going".

It seems that most MPS practices are set up on the wrong premise. Whether MPS is thought of as a marketing ploy to move more equipment, a strategic motion to secure existing accounts or a way to capture ongoing, single function volumes, most attention has been focused on "programs" and internal tactics.

We are ignoring or missing the Client in all this.

And...

All the MPS momentum gained from MPS ideas and programs and goals and potential is being bled off before it gets to the Selling Professional. Either the MPS philosophy is so weak, the sales person ignores and continues as always or the MPS philosophy is so complicated and nebulous, the sales person ignores and continues as always.

Here's the secret - Your study does note reflect MANAGED PRINT SERVICES problems, your study reveals basic, selling problems.

Put that on your whiteboard and gaze upon genius...

LOL!

Greg Walters
-=Good Selling=-




Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Danger! Danger! Anyone Who Sells in Our Industry, The Copier Industry: Change or Die. I ain't kiddin either.

I was sitting in on a super-secret, MPS industry insider Webinar the other day.

I admit, because I am all things MPS, little surprises me when discussing the MPS Ecosystem - except the freakin obvious, and blatant issues that have been right in front of me all along.

I was half listening to the presenter answer the question, "how do we, as dealers, go from a Stage One MPS(equipment centric) dealer to a Hybrid Dealer?"

Waiting for the inevitable, "you need Ownership buy-in" or the tried and true, "you need a strong infrastructure to support your MPS Team" and the ever popular, "retrain your Sales Staff", I was half paying attention.

Nope. Nadda, zip.

The answer was,

"CHANGE PEOPLE. It's too difficult to re-train from a transaction based sell to consultative based sell."

Shall I translate?

If you are selling copiers today, you had better change your ways and go with a company that still thinks they can train you into a consultative selling cycle before they figure out it's too difficult to teach old dogs new tricks.

But it's worse.

If the sales people can't be changed then sales management can't be re-tooled, so they must go as well. Up the food chain it goes until it ends with the King Bottle Washer himself, the Owner - on top, and all alone.

Granted, we should consider all factors. For instance the fact that right now, there are likely 7,000 dealers, out of 15,000 or so, who have embraced MPS.

The old statistic (Photizo) stated that 50% of the folks who don't embrace MPS will be gone - but things have changed.

Now, if you aren't changing to the Hybrid Dealership model, not the iTex one, you will be gone.

That means that even if you do embrace MPS, if you aren't all in, you will be all out. Capisci?

I know what you're thinking, "Sure, you big goof, copier sales is changing, but MPS is just the latest marketing scheme designed to sell more units. Everybody will need a copier, for ever."

If you are a reader of mine, you may remember an article or two where I go off the deep end proclaiming that one day, HP won't sell printers. Yeah, right, I'm nuts.

A little History Lesson:

There once was a company, a global company, whose selling model included always sending at least 3 company representatives to every sales call. This company was the behemoth of technology. Large, foreboding, industry defining - they told their customers what to order and how much to pay.

Nearly every person on the planet at one time or another had heard of this company. They were the barometer of American Technology - what was good for them, was good for the country.

America sent men to the moon and the back on this company's knowledge.

It seemed at times, that they would be around forever - selling bigger, faster and more expensive devices. Devices in high demand and built by only this company. Their equipment defined business processes, demanded their customers bend to the needs of the machines.

Who?

International Business Machines, Big Blue, Big Iron, IBM. In 1977, IBM had 300,000 employees.

The PS/2, ThinkPad, System 36, AS400 - OS/2, token ring...all gone. When IBM made the decision to move from hardware business, to business process and finally into Business Services - people thought they were nuts.

Manufacturing plants shut down. Divisions were sold off. Ten's of thousands of employees scraped.

How do you think those "big iron" sales people responded?

Do you think the same people who sold these colossus's one day just decided to offer business consulting?

No. No they did not one day just decide to offer business consulting.

Sure, Big Blue tried to retrain. At the time, IBM's training regiment was known to be the best in the industry, best anywhere; weeks spent in Armonk, NY.

How do you think that went? Well, one day, somebody somewhere looked at this new business model, looked at all the training that had gone on and then, glanced at the net new accounts list - it didn't add up.

So, did they redo their infrastructure or vamp up the marketing? Did IBM hire a bunch of consultants and try one more time to retrain the sales team?

Nope.

They CHANGED PEOPLE.

By the way, the one who let this cat out of the bag, he was with IBM back then. Huh.

This has all happened before, just like the Matrix, in nearly every industry; technology, transportation, entertainment, hospitality, automobile...publishing, music...every niche...airports, filling stations, grocery stores, retail.

Why should our little, 3 decade old, industry be any different.

I for one think we need to CHANGE PEOPLE. If by CHANGE PEOPLE I mean, change the way you are, not the content of the team, which I do.

Copier folks, anyone who sells in this crazy mixed up world of output, are the most resilient and adaptive bunch out here, in the real world.

We can change. You can change.

Study history, or be doomed to repeat it.






Saturday, December 12, 2009

IKON, a Ricoh Company, Could Rule the Managed Print Services Ecosystem - Who?


At the bottom of the page, you may have noticed two graphs.

One showing the number of Managed Print Services Jobs offered and another reflecting Copier Sales jobs postings.

These graphs have been here for a while now.

The other day, I decided to drill down into these numbers and ran a quick query for "managed print services specialists IKON".

Boom. Twenty eight returns, from all over the country, posted within the LAST 23 DAYS.

Managed Print Services Specialst - IKON.

It's no secret I feel and have always felt that, on paper, IKON is the best positioned entity to jump into MPS.


Before RICOH, their position would have been stronger.

But today, with IKON's Facilities Management history and expertise, coupled with an absolutely stunning collection of supported Electronic Document and Workflow Management software packages, all IKON needs is to be a bit more hardware agnostic and shazam, MPS up to the Fourth Stage.

Check out my article back in July, here.

I know that was history - but, lately, for no apparent reason, IKON is popping up on my radar more and more - My MPS'dar, not copier radar.

What gives?

Well, looking at the locations where MPSS are about to be hired, I would say a national wave of MPS is what "gives".


IKON is on the MPS prowl.

Check it out, here.





Friday, December 11, 2009

The Printer and Copier Sales Decline in UK is "Over": Hurd's Word Tempered

Just over 1 million multifunction printers and standalone printers and copiers shipped during the 3rd quarter, in the UK.

This is down 3% from a year ago, but is not as bad as the 22% and 30% tumbles in the German and French markets, Gartner said.

Tosh Prabhakar, senior analyst at Gartner, was downbeat about short-term growth prospects.

"I cannot see things dramatically improving in the next six to nine months. The hardware is very mature and there are no compelling technologies that will drive the market forward," he said.

Remember Hurd's Words during HP's fourth-quarter financials meeting; he forecast a significant rebound in sales as companies upgraded ageing technology.

Pent up demand may lead to a call to that 800 number,(have you tried flicking it?).

Indeed, if Hurd's word is true, the inventory challenges of the LAST FOUR MONTHS, may be behind us by February, releasing the flood gates and fulfilling months of backed up orders.

Thus, resulting in an apparent, yet manipulated, rebound.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Source article here.


By the way, if you get the reference to "flicking" it, drop me a line.


Chattanooga Court: Judge Implements Behavior Modification, Reduces Copier Cost by 50%



If you are pitching MPS to the Chattanooga Court, the Judges have gotten you beat.

Assessment? We don't need no stinkin Assessment!

Judge Bales said,

"Our copier was breaking down once every six weeks before we restricted it to judges and our staff.

Since then our copier has not broken down in more than a year and we have reduced our maintenance and paper cost by more than 50%..."
----------

MPS can help you maintain HIPPA compliance:

"...We found one attorney xeroxing(ack!) 148 pages of medical reports that was not even related to any case in our court..."
----------

Don't forget how MPS can enhance your output security:

"We were able to restructure the offices of our staff this year securing our equipment and giving them a little more privacy and security."

----------

MPS reduces hard coffee costs and improves your ethical appearance, too:

"...Judge Moon said, "There are also major fiscal concerns as well as ethical concerns in closing access to our kitchen.

We have five judges and three staff members in our General Sessions Court. Only three of the eight drink coffee and yet we have previously had the highest coffee expense in Hamilton County for any office our size.

Our annual coffee bill was approximately $2,600 annually for only three people. After restricting our kitchen to judges and our staff and terminating a very expensive coffee service, the expenditure is now less than $500.

We have, therefore, saved taxpayers more than $2,100 annually..."

I am not making this up...here.






Thursday, December 10, 2009

Self Promotion - Big DeathOfTheCopier Style...

I was asked early on by Ken Stewart, "Why do you write your blog?".

My answer was simple and honest, "Because I like to read what I write."

It was and still is the truth.

Since starting this little hobby, I have met great people, been published more than a dozen times, interviewed and quoted often, elected MPSA Secretary, queried about everything from SOW's to RFP's to MPS SLA's - indeed I seem to have a following.

Some call me an "expert" - believe me, I know the term is relative.

People say I am opinionated (DUUH), readers have challenged my views(always welcomed) and I hope I have ruffled my share of old-skool feathers.

Along this journey, I have met and commiserated with fellow bloggers - we, my group, my cadre of colleagues, have been at this "Internet thing" for just about the same amount of time. We are diverse, pertinacious and customer-centric.

Yup, even the guys who "aren't in sales".

Some readers at first, mistake this blog to be a tool to increase sales, bash Xerox, promote HP and poo poo differing views.

More typical, most get a kick out of dropping in, reading something about their industry and taking a chuckle with them. And that to me, is the best anyone can ask.

So, when recognition comes my way, I tend to tout. Why not?

There is a firm out here on the Left coast, Gap Intelligence, a marketing intelligence organization.

Jake writes their blog.

His latest entry starts with,

"...It is no secret that blogs have become a go-to source for topical news and entertainment in recent years. As both print and online media outlets struggle to monetize their products, the targeted insight provided by some blogs has changed the way that many people, including myself, find their news. Below is a review of my favorite industry blogs..."

Of course he mentions DOTC, but what's interesting to me is that 3 out of the 7 he likes, and one of the honorable mentions, are acquaintances. Some are part of my cadre.

So good company, indeed.

This is an excerpt from his post about DeathOfTheCopier,

”...opinions of writer Greg Walters can range from being a visionary to being dangerous. Regardless of the various opinions, Greg should at least be commended for finding so many pictures of women with copiers or women with fish (why fish?) to go with each and every post. He’s got to run out some day.

Plus he starts posts in ways that always crack me up. This one is classic:

A couple weeks back, while off the grid, I had an epiphany of sorts.”

You can’t make that stuff up and I am sure he was serious. I’ve never spoken to Greg, but I can’t help reading that line in a Christopher Walken voice/cadence..."
------------
Well, Jake, my pic's HAVE indeed raised a few eyebrows. The source is limitless.

I have been compared to John the Baptist and called a Provocateur. Knowing how John found his end, I prefer the later.

The Fish Girls, some of the most popular Girls of DOTC, are window dressing for the Name the Fishie contest.

I give thought to the leads in my stories - the "epiphany" did happen, in the Sierra's, late at night, under the Milky Way, next to a fire, over a few Double Jacks, on the rocks.

Yes, there can always be more Cowbell.

And thank you, very much for mentioning this tome, this odyssey.

Also, I dedicate the above pic to you..."there's Gold in them-thar hills".

Ok, ok, you see, she's painted gold, like the Oscars and the Emmy's, get it?

Check out Jake's post here.




Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Gartner at the Print and Imaging Conference: Take Aways

"Companies are saying that managing print is one of the most effective ways to manage costs," - Frederico de Silva Leon, principal analyst at Gartner.

The Print and Imaging Conference was recently held here in LA and Gartner chimed in with some observations of the MPS Ecosystem.

Based on an article over at Channel Web, Gartner is illustrating information most of us have been living with for two years now.

For instance, Gartner reports,

"Customers are also looking for ways to improve their business processes. Up to half of a knowledge worker's time could be spent printing and looking for documents,...This is a an area where we could see significant improvements."

Huh, who woulda thunk...And welcome to the party!

Maybe I am a little, what's the word, jaded - but isn't this the third generation of "johnny come lately's"? Me being part of the second.

That's fine, the MPS boat has lots of room.

In a nutshell, according to the article, Gartner believes:

- Companies should move to a three year refresh rate on printers
- Employees could be spending up to 50% of their time printing documents
- It is better to purchase a color device if monthly volume is below 5,000
- Printing hardware cost is falling
- Color pricing is falling
- Purchasing color devices that emit 5,000 images a month could save $1,000.00 per year
- Less 11x17 and more A4 devices would be better
- Keep an eye out for "smart MFP's"

Additionally, another principal research ananlyst with Gartner defined MPS as,

"...as a series of steps for cutting print costs, including an assessment of a company's current fleet of devices and printing requirements, technology and processes to optimize the management of that fleet, break-fix and management services, management of the hardware and consumables, and training..."

- I guess we can finally put this little debate aside.

But why stop at defining MPS, why not endulge in creating, I mean describing, MPS best practices:

-Create a strong corporate governance environment
-Carefully manage the transition to managed print services
-Holistic management of the service

Huh, again, who woulda thunk...Yes, I am being very sarcastic.

To be serious, I only ask, "Hey Gartner, where ya been for the last two years? Getting wine'd and dine'd by all those Upper Right Quadrant dwellers?"





Gartner's Magical Quadrant and The Scales of Justice

On December 4, 2009, ZL Technologies filed an amended complaint against Gartner, Inc. in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

The Court granted ZL the opportunity to clarify and augment our earlier allegations of defamation and trade libel.

In the first round of ZL's legal dispute with Gartner, Gartner argued to the Court that its rankings and other statements in the proprietary Magic Quadrant Reports are merely opinions that are not based upon fact, and that they are understood as such by the readers of those reports.

However, Gartner's past statements in marketing materials, white papers, blogs and even the Magic Quadrant Reports themselves, assert that their research and analysts' opinions are based on a body of facts compiled through what is asserted to be a rigorous process.

The amended complaint clarifies ZL's contentions about the inaccuracy of Gartner's reports, the inherent conflict of interest arising out of Gartner's voluminous business with the vendors it reviews, and its subsequent bias towards large and established vendors. The amended complaint also adds new detail about Gartner's repeated claims that its research is based on objective facts a position exactly opposite to the stance forwarded by Gartner in court.

While this case is focused on ZL's dispute with Gartner over the erroneous statements in Gartner's publications, the issues here also implicate Gartner's larger business model.

Gartner plainly admits that it attempts to leverage value from its largest clients, many of whom are also vendors covered in the company's research.

ZL's legal filings describe how that business model causes Gartner to favor those large companies at the expense of identifying the best technologies, thus misleading not just the vendors who are inaccurately reviewed by Gartner, but the consumers who base their IT purchasing decisions on Gartner's biased research.

ZL is seeking injunctive relief as well as compensatory and punitive damages from Gartner.

The amended complaint can be found here:

http://www.zlti.com/courtdocs/docs/First_Amended_Complaint.pdf





Monday, December 7, 2009

Today, I Had Drinks with a Hero...

April 1941, Pearl Harbor.

The newly wed couple fresh from the states live in a one bedroom house. They share the shower, and toilet with 2 other couples. He a Naval corpsmen, his beautiful young bride the homemaker.

After being married a few months and living with family in a small, cramped California house, they journey thousands of miles and half an ocean's distance to finally live together alone.

Together in Paradise.

This is Oahu, April of 1941. Cane fields surround the lazy, sleepy town of Honolulu. Soft, tropical breezes stir through the palms drying out remnants of morning showers. The island was home to 50,000 service men but it still had only one traffic light.

Hawaii is a US Territory, statehood nearly two decades away. The town has one road in and out; no skyscrapers, mega-resorts, or miles of lights, to wash out the stars of the night sky.

A time as foreign to us contemporaries as the surface of Mars.

On the morning of December 7th, eight months after arriving in Paradise, and a mere 30 minutes before "all hell breaks loose", this sailor gives his new bride a kiss on the cheek and heads of to another day doing whatever a corp man does. She expects to greet her husband at day's end, with a home cooked dinner.

At work, a line of gray battleships - the might and power of the United States Navy - are tied off - "Battleship Row". They carry names of honor; Nevada, California, Tennessee, Maryland, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Utah and Arizona.

This sailor will be late for dinner.

His name is Jack and her name is Mary. Jack is my wife's, mother's uncle and is one of the few remaining Pearl Harbor survivors. It is always an honor to share adult beverages (yes, plural) with him. Jack is 89 years young.

His life story includes witnessing and surviving the attacks of Peal Harbor, evacuating his new bride months later on a troopship.

From Pearl he was ordered to Southampton, England to setup a medical facility in preparation for a secret "big push" in Europe - D-Day. His facility receives the casualties from the beaches of Normandy.

Not long after, he is ordered aboard a "tin-can", hunting German U-boats in the North Atlantic. He has a most vivid memory of he and his destroyer shipmates rolling along in swells, seasick and miserable, looking over at the sailors on an carrier, playing ping-pong on the fight deck.

Now a days, he lunches with his pals at Denny's or Big Boys - his "pals" include WWII aces, test pilots, Medal of Honor recipients.

He belongs to organizations whose rosters include men with the names of Yeager, Lindberg, Hoover and Doolittle - Jimmy Doolittle's grand daughter has been to his house often researching her next book.

His life is full of experiences, ghastly visions and terrible smells:

Memories of the battleship Nevada beaching directly in front of him on Hospital Point.

Bremerton bay from the deck of a shattered Enterprise.

The rumble and flashes in the pre-dawn sky of June 6th.

Rolling seas, frigid, arctic salt air, under a gray, troubling sky in the North Atlantic - do those memories sustain him and give him pause? Of course.

Yet, I suspect that those 8 months on Oahu, from April to December, memories of two young lovers in Paradise - I think those memories sustain him to this day.

He is a Hero. He does not think of himself as a hero, they never do.

He offers us his memories, his history, to sustain us, not him.

Jack is a "Living History Speaker".

He and a group of survivors visit schools and tell kids about December 7th and the War - refreshing. Alas, I fear, more kids have been subject to Nobel Prize winning Enviro-mercial, "Inconvenient Truth" than Jack and his pals could ever reach.

Very unfortunate, when considering the biggest risk Al Gore ever took was operating his cherry-picker.

Paradise Lost.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Clarion University Saving Money with The First Two Stages of Managed Print Services


Stage One and Stage Two of the MPS doctrine - but not Stage Three, yet.

The project was led by the university President. (C-Level sponsorship)

Purchasing and IT worked together.(prerequisite to moving forward)

A study conducted. (Assessment)

Machines removed. (Primary Goal of MPS)

CRD revamped. (CRD's can be included)

From 0.12/B&W to 0.035/B&W.(Quick Win, hard cost savings)

Six Million Images in the first year. (Baseline measurement)

Early in February 2010, Clarion University Purchasing, Computer Services, and IKON/Ricoh will be holding a demonstration of methods and equipment for the rest of campus. IKON/Ricoh will be training staff and faculty on the use of new equipment. (On going MPS Engagement)

Partnered with Ricoh/IKON(throw everything I said above, out. Its a CPC not MPS)


Printer changes saving Clarion University money

Clarion University is looking for budget savings one printer cartridge at a time.
President Joseph Grunenwald with the printers and ink
cartridges removed from offices in Carrier Hall.

Printer cartridges, the type used in all desktop printers appears to be a small budget item when purchasing decisions are being made. Clarion University discovered that on a large scale this commonly used product results in thousands of dollars in purchases each year, leading to an effort to curb this expense by moving to centralized print devices.

Led by President Joseph Grunenwald, the administrative offices in Carrier Hall are leading the way for campus. Most all of the desktop/personal printers, including those in the president's office, have been removed. A Ricoh central printer/copier/scanner, for use by the entire floor has replaced the personal printers. One centralized networked printer will serve as backup per department.

"Our intent is to look at how the entire campus copies and prints, and what to do on campus with copiers and printers," said Rein Pold, director of purchasing.

The analysis was eye opening. There were roughly 540 print devices (mostly Hewlett Packard) on campus, which used $60,000 a year in print cartridges. Clarion spends $12-15,000 per year to purchase printers and an additional $4-5,000 per year to maintain the devices. The cost to print from these devices is six to 12 cents per black and white copy and 15 to 32 cents per color copy.

During 2009, a switchover started. Ricoh Equipment installed 27 color/black and white and 44 black and white only copiers on campus. The copy volume during the first year for these 71 machines was almost six million black and white copies and 250,000 color copies. Factoring in the cost of toner, maintenance, and other supplies, the cost per copy was .03 to .035 cents per black and white copy and .08 to .09 cents per color copy.

"We didn't invent this process," said Pold. "Hewlett Packard removed all non-networked printers from its corporate headquarters in 2008 and they make $21 billion per year selling printer cartridges. Clarion is approaching this idea cooperatively so the employees understand going to the right place for the right job is the most cost effective approach. The Ricoh copiers became the default printers for all people working on a floor or in a department, with each employee having the ability to print directly to that copier through their personal computer. The machines can also be used as copiers and can scan printed items so it may be e-mailed or faxed.

"This has been a cooperative effort of purchasing and computer services," said Pold. "Steve Selker, and Scott Bauer from computing services led the efforts to set up the new equipment."

Pold also sees PAGES (Printing and Graphics Express Service), Clarion University's own full-service printing, copy and promotional center, being reintroduced as the shop where volume work for campus can be completed. PAGES will hold an open house early in 2010 to demonstrate new services and equipment.

Early in February 2010, Clarion University Purchasing, Computer Services, and PAGES; and IKON/Ricoh will be holding a demonstration of methods and equipment for the rest of campus. IKON/Ricoh will be training staff and faculty on the use of new equipment.

"What Clarion is doing is unique within the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education," said Pold. "No one else has the cost-per-copy program that Clarion has. President Grunenwald was on board early supporting this process, leading by giving up his own printer."

Clarion University is the high-achieving, nationally recognized, comprehensive university that delivers a personal and challenging academic experience.



Posted by University Relations on 12/4/2009 9:00:00 AM





Friday, December 4, 2009

Comcast Buys NBC or GE Sells NBC: Why does this matter to you?

Twenty years ago, Comcast was new to our area.

Back then, I remember over a few brews, discussing with a cadre of friends, of all things, how computers could bring the telephone, TV, and Cable all together.

At the time, it was called "convergence".

Well, as we see today with the smart phones, and connectivity to the Nth degree, the great Mash-Up is here, has been here, and will continue to expand into every facet of our lives.

This is a big move in many ways, not just about technology and business, its touches every corner of our life - Media.

Press Release:


The following is the full text of the press release regarding Comcast's acquisition of NBC Universal, sent Thursday at 6:16 a.m. Eastern.



PHILADELPHIA & FAIRFIELD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA, CMCSK) and General Electric (NYSE: GE) announced today that they have signed a definitive agreement to form a joint venture that will be 51 percent owned by Comcast, 49 percent owned by GE and managed by Comcast. The joint venture, which will consist of the NBC Universal (NBCU) businesses and Comcast’s cable networks, regional sports networks and certain digital properties and certain unconsolidated investments, will be well positioned to compete in an increasingly dynamic and competitive media and digital environment.

The combination of assets creates a leading media and entertainment company with the proven capability to provide some of the world’s most popular entertainment, news and sports content, movies and film libraries to consumers anytime, anywhere. The joint venture will provide consumers the broadest possible access to content, and support high-quality, award-winning content development across all platforms including film, television, and online. It will be anchored by an outstanding portfolio of cable networks and regional sports networks that will account for about 80 percent of its cash flow, including USA, Bravo, Syfy, E!, Versus, CNBC and MSNBC. The joint venture will be financially strong with a robust cash-flow-generation capability.

Under the terms of the transaction, GE will contribute to the joint venture NBCU’s businesses valued at $30 billion, including its cable networks, filmed entertainment, televised entertainment, theme parks, and unconsolidated investments, subject to $9.1 billion in debt to third party lenders. Comcast will contribute its cable networks including E!, Versus and the Golf Channel, its ten regional sports networks, and certain digital media properties, collectively valued at $7.25 billion, and make a payment to GE of approximately $6.5 billion of cash subject to certain adjustments based on various events between signing and closing.

Comcast Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brian Roberts said, “This deal is a perfect fit for Comcast and will allow us to become a leader in the development and distribution of multiplatform ‘anytime, anywhere’ media that American consumers are demanding. In particular, NBCU’s fast-growing, highly profitable cable networks are a great complement to our industry-leading distribution business. Today’s announced transaction will increase our capabilities in content and cable networks. At the same time, it will enhance consumer choice and accelerate the development of new digital products and services. GE has provided NBCU with a great home and has dramatically and positively transformed the business. We are honored that under this agreement Comcast would take over the stewardship of this important collection of assets and are absolutely committed to investing in NBCU and ensuring that it is a vibrant, financially strong company able to thrive in a rapidly evolving marketplace by delivering innovative programming. We are particularly pleased to be creating this new joint venture with GE and Jeff Immelt and to have their continued involvement.

“For Comcast, this transaction is strategically compelling and will generate attractive financial returns and build shareholder value,” continued Roberts. “It is also expected to be immediately accretive and will also allow us to maintain our strong commitment to returning capital to shareholders– all while increasing the scale, capabilities and value of our cable distribution, content and digital assets.

See the rest here.




Fishies Name Number Three: "Dar"

As in Darwin. Another Red Fish named.

Named by Daniel Ruymann from SIGMAnet, out here on the West Coast.

Daniel is one of those Selling Professionals whose skills come naturally, because he is a natural.

He is a detail-oriented, high energy professional with 21 years of experience in Information Technology; proficient in various disciplines including technical consulting, project management and business development.

An entrepreneurial thinker with master communication, presentation and leadership skills; competent in complex negotiations and a proven talent managing a diverse work force in a collaborative team environment comprised of associates, vendors and clients.
----

All that aside, I have worked with Daniel a great guy.

Thanks for the name.

I believe there is one more name awarded - announced next Friday.


Photizo Group Announces Call for Speakers for 2010 Managed Print


If you don't know by now, Photizo is the leader in MPS related research and stuff; it's all they do.

I doubt very much they will be buying a knitting or supply chain research company in the very near future.

I shall be in Austin, attending, and speaking at the MPS Conference.

Of course, just like all other conferences, the best conversations and discussions occur "after hours" over "adult beverages" but the day-walker sessions are very informative.

If you have something to contribute to the MPS Ecosystem, drop them a line and get behind the podium.

Otherwise, make sure you reserve a spot and a hotel room early - and don't worry, the river isn't that deep should you fall in, you can walk to the shore.
----------

Opportunity to contribute thought leadership in billion dollar MPS
market

Lexington, KY – December 3, 2009 – Managed Print Services end users and channel partners are invited to share their best practices and successful case studies at the 2010 North American MPS Conference May 3-5 in San Antonio, TX. The Photizo Group is accepting proposals for panels and sessions at this premier industry event. The deadline for speaker submissions is January 15, 2010.

The conference is designed for all types of MPS experience and interest. MPS decision makers, vendors and channel partners benefit from the rich agenda of relevant topics. CIOs, CFOs, IT managers, facilities managers and purchasing departments who have implemented MPS or are considering it can learn from best practices, case studies and how-to guides. Vendors, resellers and infrastructure providers gain information on the emerging hybrid channel, infrastructure, best practices, research and market projections.

The 2010 MPS Conference will also include the popular pre-conference workshops for end users and channel partners having limited MPS background and experience. The pre-conference sessions focus on establishing a solid foundation of MPS knowledge.

“We welcome session ideas from anyone in the MPS marketplace. Given the wide range of topics that can be accommodated by the two track format and the pre-conference workshops, we expect an enthusiastic response from speakers who would like to share their knowledge with this audience,” said Ed Crowley, Founder and Senior Partner of the Photizo Group.

The Photizo Group hosts the annual MPS Conference.

The MPS Conferences address the urgent need for information about the fast-growing managed print services market. The Photizo Group estimates the MPS market is now worth over $25 billion globally and projects a $60 billion industry by 2013. Signaling strong market support for the second annual North American MPS Conference, industry leaders OKI Printing Solutions and Ricoh have already signed on as
Platinum Sponsors for the 2010 event. Print Audit has joined as a Silver Sponsor for the event.

Speaker forms and topic information can be found at Http://www.mpsconference.com/forms/2010NA_speaker_app.html.

Applications for speakers must be submitted by January 15, 2010. For information about MPS 2010 sponsorship and exhibiting opportunities, agendas and registration, visit www.mpsconference.com.

# # #

Media contact:
Misty Hamel
+1-617-921-5725
mhamel@photizogroup.com







Thursday, December 3, 2009

Paper industry looks to copier segment for growth - India

An article from The Hindu Business Line, states,

"...for every candidate an IT company takes on, paper manufacturers sell over five reams, about 2,500 sheets, of copier paper directly related to the recruitment process in the form of letters, instructions and training manuals..."

Wow - so every time an IT organization hires an employee, we use five reams of paper?!!

WHAT?

We've talked about this before - India is a fast growing MPS, target rich environment and HP knows it.

More

"...HP sells over 70,000 machines a month and the numbers are growing, says a paper marketing execute..."

Huh.




Gartner to Acquire AMR Research, Inc.


The Magic Quadrant may be looking to encompass more than IT concerns.

AMR conducts research for supply chain and IT Executives.

See, I told you IT Executives were identical to Purchasing Agents.
--------------------

STAMFORD, Conn. - Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT), the leading provider of research and analysis on the global information technology industry, today announced that it has agreed to acquire AMR Research, Inc. for approximately $64 million in cash, subject to certain closing adjustments. With projected full year 2009 revenues of approximately $40 million, AMR Research is a leading research and advisory services firm serving supply chain management and IT professionals. The firm is recognized for its research focused on the intersection of business processes and technology for the supply chain professional.

The acquisition of AMR Research is expected to expand Gartner’s suite of research offerings and also complement its consulting and events businesses. Moreover, the addition of AMR Research’s experienced sales team should enhance Gartner’s ability to further penetrate the vast market opportunity for syndicated research. The combination is also expected to drive operational efficiencies and cost savings.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Xerox Scammed out of Supplies - Customers Buy From Shell Companies


From the City of Brotherly Love - Three guys and some wax.

Three men are accused of ordering supplies from Xerox, through shell companies, and paying for said supplies with false bank accounts.

What do you bet these guys were on the other end of the phone, requesting "serial number and current volumes" from your clients?

Tsk, tsk, tsk...

These three stooges, allegedly ran companies named B&N Group and Huntingdon Valley School of Graphics out of the same office.

They also had a company named Digital Express Graphics authorities reported.

The bootie?

Boxes of ink sticks, $90,000 worth, for the Phaser 7500 color printer - the sticks have not been recovered, police said.

Detectives arrested the men Monday night on several theft-related felonies.

The accused are Nathan Allen Kriegler, 42, of Michael Road in Northampton; Ryan Allan Pollack, 33, of Glen Place in Elkins Park and Evan F. Appel, 33, of Valley Glen Road in Elkins Park.

Each defendant faces six third-degree felonies, which are punishable by up to seven years in prison.

Article Here.

Ricoh Develops the World’s First Biomass Toner

More green Ricoh.

I have been to the Ricoh plant here in Costa Mesa, Southern California.

At the time, the plant had a "zero to landfill" designation.

This was years ago, and impressive. I forget which devices are produced there, it doesn't matter.

Ricoh is another company that walks the walk as well as talks the talk when it comes to green.

The Green Movement may be more puff than fact, but if you believe, you should live by those beliefs.

Enjoy.

Sustainability is crucial to society’s survival.

Ricoh believes that a company must take responsibility for all the materials used in its products. Ricoh does this while focusing on two points: minimizing the amount of resources extracted from the natural world, and finding alternatives to resources at risk of depletion.

Toward this end, Ricoh is actively converting the materials it uses from non-renewable petroleum resources to reproducible biomass as well as recycling its products. Biomass plastic has already being used in some Ricoh products.

In a recent highlight, Ricoh developed the world’s first(*) biomass toner as a genuine manufacturer’s supply item, and released machines that utilize this toner in the Japanese market. About 80% of conventional toner is petroleum-based resin. Our new “for E toner” however, has a biomass content of 25% of the entire mass including the resin.

The “for E toner” will help reduce environmental impact in the following two ways:

1) Suppressing CO2 emissions from burning the toner printed on used paper.
(Including toner elements separated from the paper in the paper recycling process.)

2) Reducing the use of depletable petroleum resources

Ricoh got an early start in using biomass toner in actual products. We will continue accumulating technologies and know-how on the biomass toner, with the goal of preserving the environment.

Please refer to Biomass Toner Technology and Development of alternative materials using biomass resins for detail.

Press Release here.




Tuesday, December 1, 2009

UK's Printing Practices Are Worst In Europe

In the note of international-ism, here's a little article slamming the United Kingdom's printing practices.

Before we all start painting rooftops and all, it should be noted that the research supporting this less then "green", black mark, was conducted by Ricoh.

Could this be an applicaiton of the classic, "create the problem, then solve the problem" approach?

You be the judge.


November 30, 2009
By Sophie Curtis


The UK is the worst country in Europe for sustainable printing, with companies wasting up to five percent of their turnover in printout, according to research by Ricoh.

The UK's adoption of sustainable document strategies is the worst in Europe, according to new research by printing specialist Ricoh, suggesting that British enterprises are unaware of the potential to use green practices to cut costs.
Ricoh's Document Governance Index – which assigns a numerical value to environmental aspects of document governance such as recycling, setting targets, auditing and employee behaviours – placed the UK in seventh place out of seven, scoring only 38.5 out of a possible 100.

France came top the league with 43.5 percent, followed by Italy (42.7 percent) and Germany (41.7 percent). However, none of the countries surveyed scored more than 50 percent of the total, suggesting that there is still significant room for improvement in sustainable printing strategies across Europe.

According to the report, most European organisations are failing to centralise their document governance, with only 33 percent of companies claiming to have implemented a fully developed strategy to deal with paper and energy wastage. This means that many companies are overlooking tactical actions they can take, not only to improve sustainability but to reduce costs as well.

Paper wastage is one of the highest costs to businesses, with the total spend on document management in Europe currently exceeding 14 billion euros per year – up to five percent of annual turnover. Despite this, 32 percent of business leaders allow employees to do what they like with regard to duplex printing (printing on both sides of the paper) and 19 percent are either still in the planning stages or have no plans to implement a duplex printing policy. Only 18 percent have implemented a such a policy company-wide.

One of the main obstacles for companies attempting to develop a green printing strategy is a lack of awareness among employees. The report found that almost half (47 percent) of European business leaders are unfamiliar with their company's recycling policy and 40 percent with their toner recycling policy.

“Despite sustainability being an important fixture on the business agenda, and documents making up an essential part of day-to-day business operations, there remains a lack of awareness of the role that document governance can play in driving both environmental and business efficiencies,” said Tom Wagland, manager of Ricoh's Environmental Management Group. “Businesses need to act now by taking some simple steps to improve the way they are managing and controlling their document workflows.”

One of the ways that Ricoh proposes to combat this problem is with its Pay Per Page Green consultancy service, which it claims can limit the environmental impact of its products by shifting the emphasis to the cost of output, and charging a fixed fee, agreed up front.

“We take a cradle-to-cradle approach to sustainable innovation; offering products and services that contribute to environmental preservation from design to recycling,” said Shun Sato, vice president of Ricoh Europe in a statement in February.

Efforts to sell green printing strategies generally rely on having fewer printers, under tighter central control, with some sort of "pull-printing" service so users can't get their output without a security token, reducing the dangers of a shared output tray. “We must constantly be rethinking current practices in the light of new technologies and sustainability issues,” Lexmark's director of sustainable affairs Béatrice Marneffe told eWEEK Europe in June.

Although printer manufacturers' motives are arguably mixed, since they profit from extra output, they say customer demand is helping the sustainable approach: “It's not in our interest for customers to print less, but it is our business to make a profit from what the customers want,” Graham Long, vice president of Samsung’s European printing operation, told eWEEK Europe in July.

Earlier this year, HP launched a similar service to that of Ricoh, which it says will cut enterprise printing costs by over 15 percent, and reduce carbon footprints, if companies sign up to a total print service managed by HP.