Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Level Platforms Delivers Converged Managed Print/Managed IT Services

Below is the press release from Level Platforms, talking about managing imaging assets.  At first glance, not all that mind-blowing.

Until you research Level Platforms.

"Agentless Remote", "power management", and "Cloud management".

I had the honor of speaking with Peter Sandiford, CEO Level Platforms, last week.  We had a very interesting conversation around IT guys getting into MpS.  A good conversation.  Yes, the MSP's are seeing potential in the MpS arena, and yes, this software will work great for both IT VARs and BTA types.

His software 'abides'.

Who knew?

I did...How Do You Like Me Now?



Level Platforms Delivers Converged Managed Print/Managed IT Services with Managed Workplace 2011 R3 Managed Print Services, enhanced Cloud management, power management, and new agentless Remote Tools expand MSP opportunities Ottawa, ON, Canada – November 30, 2011:

LPI Level Platforms Inc., a global leader in remote monitoring and management software today announced the release of Managed Workplace 2011 R3, which delivers advanced management of print and imaging devices, new power management plans that help cut energy consumption costs, advanced monitoring and management of cloud services such as Office 365™ and Google Docs™, and significant enhancements to real time Remote Tools.

Managed IT Services Providers (MSPs) can now comprehensively monitor and manage printing and imaging assets, optimizing the return on investment of their customers’ document production processes through increased printer uptime, reduced costs and new programs including just-in-time supply replenishment and Cost-per-Copy programs.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Columbia Prof Calls Out HP : “It's like selling a car without selling the keys to lock it,”

“It may ultimately lead to telling everyone they just have to throw their printers out and start over,” he said. "Fixing this is going to require a very coordinated effort by the industry," Stolfo said.

It's Deja Vu, all over again.

First it was security breaches related to our hard drives.  Then it was the toner particles - as dangerous as toast.  Next toner bombs.

Today, a group of Colombia students and one very smart professor are ringing the warning bell.  This time, 50 million devices fall under the scrutiny of The Columbia University Intrusion Detection Systems Lab.

At first, I laughed. ALL HP printers are shipped "wide open" - I've seen it myself when in training, we intercepted print streams, changed the amount and the pay-to-the-order-of name and printed a check.

It's not that difficult, does not exclusively apply to HP and has been a known phenomena for decades.

And then there was the toner particle scare - great headlines, but in reality, toner dust is about as harmful as toast particles...snore...

And who will ever forget the plastic-explosive-in-the-HP-toner-cartridge trick, Al Kinda, pulled - genius.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Managed Print Services in 2012: The Year the VAR's come calling...

Is it too early to write about next year? No, it isn't.

The Death of The Copier calling out the obvious:

2012 will be the year of the VAR.

More specifically:

The year the VARs try to learn meter reads to billing...
The year the VARs try to sell MpS like every other managed service...
The year the VARs make all the mistakes we did, five years ago...

2012 the year we lose the 'p'..
2012 the year the little fish consumes the big fish...MpS devours MS...

Oh my...

Friday, November 25, 2011

"...You're Not a guy...the world is full of guys...be a man..."

Say something...Smart

Say something...Clever

Say something...Honest

Say something...Scary

Say something...Painful

Say something...Meaningful

Say...Anything.




"Kickboxing...sport of the future? I can see by your face...no..."

The world is now full of MpS-Guys.  Much like the flim-flam men of the past. Every corner has a toner house, every sales guy can recite "automated desk side delivery" and "vendor agnostic".

We have our own society and associations. Every trade show, OEM and dealer conference has an MpS session. The MpS market is blowing up to 78 billion by 2015, a 20% increase.

Incredible.

2012 will see another titanic shift as the VARs, the IT guys who hate printers and copiers, dive into our little niche - Battle Royal.

"...by choice man..."

With so many 'guys' out there, so many, empty, curb side pundits - it's time to be a Man.  It's time to hold that boom box over your head, in front of your Malibu and step out on the Edge.

"...I gave my heart and she gave me a pen..."

It's going to hurt and you may only get a pen out of the deal, but you will be whole and you will be your own guy.

"...Say Anything..."
You may not get this, but some will. Say Anything, as long as it's not what "they" tell you to say. Dig deeper, go further than CPI. Do more than 'assess'. Look beyond the 'close'. Stay big, not small. Be.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

12 Questions to Ask When Buying Managed Print Services - SMB

So, you want to buy some 'MpS', eh?

You've come to the right blog.

You see, for the past four years, I have been selling Mps.  For the past 2 years, I have been the Practice Manager at a small MpS practice - I was in charge of the entire infrastructure.  Building it, pulling it out of the fire and evangelizing MpS to prospects, co-workers and executive management.

I have built partnerships throughout the MpS/Imaging Ecosystem.

I know every MpS sales technique, every hook, every mirror and all the smoke.

I've sat in on more MpS training classes than most anyone and reviewed almost every, single OeM MpS program as well as all the independent creations.

Over the past 24 years, I have formed passionate opinions about MpS, sales, and technology.

My views and opinions have made many inside the industry uneasy.  I am an Agent of Change an Advocate for Transformation.

On the Edge.

And today, I will expose myself to you.  Well, at least a bit of me...the MpS me, not the Leopard Thong Me.

But first, determine how much you are currently spending, how many output devices you utilize and how much you are spending per month on lease, toner, service and supplies.

Look at ALL your devices, copiers, single function laser and multi-function devices.

Find all the hidden toner in your organization and get a cost associated with that toner.

Determine and document your internal toner/supplies support processes. How are supplies ordered?  Who performs your service?  When a printer breaks, who calls who?  How is toner ordered?

Next, take a look at the basic workflow in your accounting department and recognize the value of documents.

After you complete these simple tasks, define 'managed print services' for yourself.

Now, go ahead and give your local MpS company a call and invite them in for a chat.

"MpSr's...Come Out and Play..."

The VARs are out and they are all gunning for us.

To get through the maze, to get out of the city, it's going to take all we know, all we've ever been.

We'll lose friends and meet new allies.  Sticking together might get us through.

Being true to who we are, as individuals, traitors, undeniable, unlimited...that's how we make it.














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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

Mobility Print is Dogma. DOTC calling it. No. No way. Nope.

The final gasps of a dying niche - print/clicks/marks on paper.

Mobility Print, means I can print from my Droid or TouchPad from almost anywhere.  But, for me, the numbers are not all that impressive:

Print a hard copy in a hotel? Sure, 12 pages a year.

Print my airline tickets? Sure 52 pages a year.

My mother printing my aunt's recipe for stuffed turkey? Sure, 11 pages a year.

Print a map? Okay, another 13 clicks.

That's 87 pages. In a year. At 12 cents/image, we're talking about a buck a year.

Print People Magazine at home? Nope.

Download a .PDF from Scientific American, for 99 cents? Possibly.

Applying this to the B2B world, when Alaska Air issued each pilot an iPad, they replaced every, single flight manual for every jet in their fleet.

Mobile print philosophy would argue that if the iPad had the capability of printing, each pilot would go home and print a manual the night before a flight.  Wha, wha, whaaaaaaaaat?

Guess who is most interested in mobile print? Go ahead, guess.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Leopard One Speaks Down Under - Press Release








MPSA Executive Committee Leader

Takes a Hard Look at MPS Industry Trends in MPS Conference Keynote

Columbus, OH – November 17, 2011 – Managed Print Services Association (MPSA) Executive Committee member, Greg Walters, recently presented a keynote speech at the 2011 Asia Pacific MPS Conference in Sydney, Australia. In addition to his longtime volunteer work with the MPSA, Walters is creator of the popular MPS blog, thedeathofthecopier.blogspot.com.

As a founding Executive Board member of the MPSA, Walters has been part of the MPS industry throughout its transition. “The industry has evolved more in the last four years than the previous six,” he declared. “MPS has changed everything and shifted influence from the OEMs to the individual.”

In his keynote presentation, Walters focused on several concepts affecting the marketplace:

• Transformation – “From the inside out. Apple transformed by building what they would use, not what the marketing pundits told them to produce.”

• Partnerships and Collaboration – “Advisories will forge new partnerships. OEM to toner re-man, dealer to dealer.”

• The Big Zag, for Today – “Running and managing an MPS practice is challenging. The more who don’t understand that, the better for we who do. Once the ‘P’ is removed, we are left with ‘Managed Services’. If you can run an MPS practice, you can thrive inside an MS.”

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Uniform Company and "Document Management" - From Creation to Destruction

In a past life, I worked for Cintas - a uniform company.

I sold uniform programs which  generated weekly revenue over a contracted time period. We manufactured our own uniforms, like an OEM.

Once a week, our trucks would come out to customer site, collect dirty uniforms, bring them back to the plant and wash them - this was part of our basic service.

Not only did we clean the uniforms, we would inspect and automatically repair or replace worn garments - this was one of our 'value added' services.

For all this, the weekly charge was around  a buck and a half per change of uniform - approximately 15.00/week/employee.  

If the employees paid, we called it a self-funded benefit of employment. If the company paid 100% we called it a company supported, corporate identity program.

The point is 'recurring revenue'.  Each week our trucks would touch every single customer.  Recognizing the potential, the company started adding soap dispensers and air fresheners to their rug and towel programs.  Then the company bought the second largest First Aid kit provider.  I didn't even know there was such a thing.

Soon, in addition to logo'd uniforms, we were renting mop heads, selling embroidered golf shirts and hats out of a catalog. 

You see, the company recognized the value of customer contact AND recurring revenue - at a significant profit.

Not long after, Cintas bought a document archiving and destruction company - that's right, from uniforms to 'document management'.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Qualification is Key

Selling managed print services requires plenty of up-front activity. Not just the “1,000 phone dials get 100 conversations get 10 appointments” kind of pre-sales work.

I am referring to the kind of toil that ranges from assessment, walk-through and configure to price up, present, close and execute.

Today, there are lots of “tools” designed and pitched as time savers, short cuts in collecting data and calculating your cost.

These wiz-bang packages generate proposal templates complete with fleet data and pricing. Even with all these nifty tools a minimum of 15 business days could and should be required to acquire base information about fleet content and rough volumes.

But even then getting the deal is just a

There's More -


Managed Services - Qualification is Very Important.




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Monday, November 14, 2011

Transform 2012 Global Conference - in the city that begins with an "O" and ends with an "O"..

Transform 2012 Global Conference Focuses on Transformation to the Business Services Model


HP joins as first Platinum Sponsor

November 14, 2011 -- Midway, KY -- Photizo Group will lead the print services market in a new direction at the Transform 2012 Global Conference in Orlando, Florida on May 24-25, 2012. Transform 2012 is the next evolution of the popular Global Managed Print Services (MPS) Conference that will focus on the necessary services transformation facing the MPS channel.

“The Transform 2012 Global Conference is managed by the experienced MPS Conferences team and we’ve introduced a new theme into the agenda in response to the shift we’re seeing, across all levels of the technology marketplace,” said Edward Crowley, Photizo Group founder and CEO. “The upcoming Transform Conferences will focus on helping dealers, resellers and other channels transform from hardware-centric business models to services-based approaches.”

HP recognizes the opportunity in service transformation

HP is the first Platinum Sponsor of the Transform 2012 Global Conference. “As our first Platinum Sponsor, HP has shown a strategic understanding about where the MPS channel is heading. We are honored to have their commitment to bringing this important content and education to the MPS dealer and reseller community,” said Crowley.

“The managed services market is evolving and we are excited about the opportunity to have more in depth partnership with our customers. We intend to bring to market new solutions that take advantage of key trends, leverage our channel partners and create world class capabilities,” 


said Mike Weir, vice president, Strategy and Marketing, LaserJet Enterprise Solutions, Imaging and Printing Group, HP “This is an exciting time for HP to be engaged in leading forums like the Transform 2012 Global Conference.”

Content Centered on Business Transformation

The conference program has four tracks, with additional pre-conference workshops on May 23. The main agenda covers the four key areas that are impacting channels today:

• Transforming the Customer's Environment (beginner discussions)
• Transforming Business Processes (advanced discussions)
• Transforming Your Organization (management discussions)
• Beyond Print: Transforming the Market with Technology (market trends, technology, vendor presentations)

Photizo invites applications for speaking opportunities at the Transform 2012 Conference. More information is available at http://www.photizogroup.com/conference/be-a-speaker/.
In addition to the educational events, a Golf Scramble at the Waldorf Astoria Golf Club is planned for attendees on May 22. More information about the Transform 2012 Global Conference agenda and activities can be found at http://www.photizogroup.com/global2012/.

# # #

Misty H. Gonzalez
Director of Media & Publishing
+1 859 846 9830 ext 109


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Things I Learned at the Asia Pacific, Managed Print Services Conference in Sydney: There Is an Unifying Theory

11/2011

What a week. First, I drove from LAX to Charlotte, NC.

After a two day rest, off to Sydney.

My flight went up to Detroit, hometown, back out to LAX, nicest night time approach view around, then out to Sydney - 14 hours away.

On a plane Friday and landing Sunday morning without knowing what time it was, let alone what day ...where in the hell did Saturday go?

That night, I hit the sheets at 6:00PM, local and slept until 6:00AM, local.

Again, what the hell?

Monday morning, sipping coffee from a way too small cup, on a saucer no less, I found myself standing in a sea of grey pinstripes - this sure wasn't LA, St. Louis, Seattle, New York, Orlando or Vegas.  This was Sydney. 14 hours, two hemispheres and one international date-line away.

Oh what fun was to be had, Down Under...

As with all conferences, the first presentation covers the basics: thanks for coming, the rest rooms are over there, we hope you get one good thing out of the next few days and here is our first keynote speaker.

It was a tough crowd for Dom as he took us along the innovation path explaining how the successes of our past can hold us back, chaining us to the old ways.

I got the jokes. But the audience was a bit cold, reserved, dubious.

This changed as one table shot out many different responses to one of his questions. That's when I knew this was going to a very good conference.



First Golden Nugget? - MpS is Universally Spoken

That's right. There is little difference between how MpS is defined down under versus here in the States or North America.

All the challenges we have experienced here, they have down there. Commission structure, toner delivery, cartridge based or CPI invoicing, DCA installations, OEM relationships, "what is MpS" questions...all of it.

Interestingly enough, the S1/S2 successes run parallel to the US and the more advanced firms are expanding into Managed Services.  But they aren't looking to "rip and replace" servers - jus sayin...

I may have expected the A/P MpS'rs would be slightly behind the U.S. on the adoption curve, but they aren't.

There is a unique set of issues, the old copier models still hang on, but the attitude, the 'can do' attitude is prevalent - palpable.  And that was refreshing.  Bold.

The best kind of Zag.

Second Nugget - MpS is open and clear

Wide open.  The players in A/P are hitting everything in sight.  From government to commercial to Education - not unusual, right?  What I got out of their exuberance was a wide eyed wonder not only geared at seeing the huge pool of prospects, but also in the wide array of MpS subjects they would talk about.  Not just toner but networks, documents, storage, workflow and business process. All this under MpS!  No really, it's true.

From the inside out, making it up as they go, not worrying about benchmarks(too much) or best practices(not too much) or their ego.

I did not hear one complaint about OEM toner pricing being too high, or any whining about how OEM so and so is encroaching into SMB.

Hard work gets results, complaining doesn't.

I have attended each North American MPS Conferences so meeting people with different definitions of MpS, infrastructure, pricing and OEM partnerships is common - from Cali to NYC, we are diverse.

There are sectors of the MpS Ecosystem inhabited by those consider themselves above the rest, better, erudite in manner - born into their position.

We all know them; the stuck up consultant, the know-it-all copier dealer, the old-skool, old-man, collector and seller of souls - destroyers of innovation.

None of that here.

Clear.  They can see a carpetbagger coming a continent away.

Another cool Zig.

Third Nugget - Even the OEMs are Runin' and Gunnin', in the Wild, Wild West...

There was a time, not long ago, when I would compare the MpS Ecosystem to the "Wild, Wild, West of Imaging" - no rules, no sheriffs, and lots of Gold. We were ALL making it up as we went.

Those days seem to be gone as the OEMs clearly define MpS as Stage One and Two, leveraged to land more equipment.

They are bringing out all sorts of heartless paraphernalia: Toner portals, shrink wrapped MpS, nameless service networks,  automatic proposal generators, MpS "Agent Fee's".

Controlled. Stifled. Boring.

But not in A/P.  I was fortunate enough to share time with Fuji/Xerox, HP, and Canon MDS folks. Each for about an hour.  What struck me was the absolute willingness to get things done by working the market not their system.  Sure, they want to land more gear, but the MpS ideas and philosophy are truly geared around a vision that works up to Stage 3/4 - they don't stop at toner and service.

There are all building teams from scratch, they are all putting together deals and infrastructure programs from scratch.

And they are flexible.  That's right, I just referred to 3 of the big OEM's as "flexible" and I could easily say, "out of the box".  Smack me in the forehead and call me dumbfounded.

What a Zag this is.

Don't...friggin...ask...
The Big Take Away - Remember to Let Go

Again, we talked about how the successes of the past can hold us back.  I mentioned how now is the time to really look at the world sideways, to be open to new partnerships.  New business models, new employment paradigms and different personal archetype for success.

I pontificated on how now is the time when power is shifting away from the big, centrally controlled entities and down to us, the folks in the trenches.

How this point in history is that unique time when technology truly allows us to control our own destinies - that is if we recognize how the "good ole days" can shackle us to the past.

To move forward, we need to let go the past.  Before we let go, we must first remember.

And that's what Australia did for me.  The people, the vibe, the way, reminded me of our past. Our MpS past.

If you can remember, now is the time to let it go, let go of our MpS past, step over the Edge and into a  future with less toner.



Click to email me.