Monday, May 28, 2012

The Underbelly of Managed Print Services & Copier Sales: Last Week'sLanier Rep is Today's Edgeline Rep - Oh, really?


If you've been in this industry for any period of time over 3 years, you either know or have heard of what I call a "Roaming Gnome" - there may even be one a couple of cubes over.

That sales rep who travels form dealer to dealer, employer to employer in search of the perfect sales position. Bringing with him years of experience, a Rolodex chock full of purchasing agents and expiration dates. A pocket full of promises and a wheelbarrow full of "Bravo Sierra".

It's legend - copier reps jump from Ricoh to Ikon to Konica Minolta to Toshiba. Or get out of Toshiba/Ikon/Xerox only to return in a few years.

Old, cromagnum sales interviews start with, "how big of a sales book can you bring with you from "fill in the blank/your current employer"?

Before you go off all half-cocked, accusing me of not understanding, I know this occurs in every industry, especially with sales people. It is not illegal and it is not uncommon.

As a matter of fact, selling expertise and business acumen can only flourish under the light of many different Sun's. And those who grow over time are professionals.

Switching companies isn't normally be a bad thing. I am not criticizing the practice, only the occasional method.

The hacks I refer to as "Travelling Copier Gnome" carry not only baggage but character flaws.

They inflict more harm then good, perpetuating the shady side of selling.

In today's economically challenging MPS universe, many MPS and copier reps are looking for jobs; a quick search reveals IKON hiring MPS specialists like crazy all over the country. A floating deckchair in a turbulent sea?

As with most good articles on this tome, writing from personal experience supplants therapy and, I have found, generates plenty of "the same thing happened to me..." emails.

So, I feel the experience of one of my colleague's may have some relevance.


An MPS Practice I know of has gone through major metamorphosis - to date, its third. This recent iteration characterized as a "bloodbath" resulting in major personnel changes.

People were let go and people left.

It's no secret that I bash the bad in our industry. It's a target rich environment - there is plenty to bash.

However, I hold a special place, a bulls eye, for the "typical copier sales person".

That churn and burn, rip and replace, 60 month lease recommending, sour-grapes, decision challenging, slick, schlocky, box-moving, toner delivering, non-customer-centric, closed minded, square peg in a round hole, never going to change, FUD using, gear slinging, never attracting always selling, jolly, hard-closing, Traveling Gnome types.

Case in point, recently, one of the sales reps, at my colleague's MPS practice, decided to move to greener pastures.

Nothing wrong with that, right?. We've all done it.

As matter of fact, picking up and leaving is a decisive act any one of us can execute. Changing employers is like turning the page, ending another chapter in the book of your life. No biggie.

And when done correctly, there is honor in this; an opportunity to either show some class or reveal to the world your true, sliminess.

Character is what you do when nobody is looking most often exposed under pressure - think about the last time you experienced a death in the family or any other high-stress event. Who remained calm and focused, and who "cracked".

Or how about the last time something went wrong with a customer - who ran around with their hair on fire and who acted like they had been there before?

Character.

Your character is exposed not only in bad times, but also in good. Can anyone remember the last time a running back scored a touchdown and simply handed the ball to the ref?

Act like you've been there before.

Back to my colleague.

He found himself in quite a pickle - all the client files were missing.

And by client files, he means, assessments, SOWs, proposals, spreadsheets, orders, quotes, contact records, notes, databases, laptop.

That's correct, inspection showed very few signed original agreements - nothing left behind, uh,oh.

Again, little surprise, nothing too far out of line, seen it before, been there, got the coffee mug.

But then, they received their first notice of service cancellation.

A quick look into E*Automate revealed this defector-client had been "stocking up" on supplies over the past 3 weeks -capitalizing on confusion and the vacuum - it was obvious the customer had been coached.

And then, this ex-sales ne'er-do-well, started reaching out to "his" old clients who are now part of my colleague's current base. Huh.

Again, sad and unprofessional and not at all surprising.

You see, when we sell with passion and believe in the product, service and company, we can become blinded, falsely believing the client relationship is with us - it's our Ego talking - not reality.

The client relationship, no matter how personal the sales professional makes it, is between the client and company; not the selling professional.

We forget that sometimes, don't we? We fall into the trap of thinking "we" are the only reason clients work with our company.

How foolish, how naive and how very old fashioned - quaint, almost.

So, who is at fault here?

The destructive Sales-schmo, The Roaming Gnome? For sure.

"Greener Pastures and New Beginnings" mean just that; a New Beginning can only happen after an Ending a "period" not a comma. Get over it, move on, begin fresh. Show some class.

The new employer, absolutely.

What kind of loser organization still hires Sales people under these beliefs? Can this really be? Are we still in the 70's? Has Selling devolved? PUT THAT COFFEE DOWN! Did I miss THAT memo? Show some class.

Any client who follows him? These imbeciles are just as unscrupulous.

I mean really, it's just business, I know, but this is pretty lame.

The Lesson, if there is one?

We in the selling profession take a beating from our prospects, customers, sales managers, and family for engaging in something we love to do; meet new people, take on new challenges and create something out of nothing.

It's a shame when some of us lie to clients, trap customers into deals, push our agenda and do harm. The bigger shame is these instances hurt all of us is sales.

This sort of thing may never change, unless we start calling out the evil-do'ers, exposing this ilk for the sham artists and hypocrites they are.





Sunday, May 27, 2012

Monday, May 21, 2012

Are You Thinking at the Speed of Print or the Speed of Content?

Time is compressing.

It was just in 2009, a mere three years ago – or actually, just under 36 months – when MpS started showing up in its current form.

At conferences, show floors were jam-packed with MpS propositions; Konica Minolta, OKI, Xerox, LMI, GreatAmerica, Digital Gateway, ECi, Compass, Strategy Development, M2M, Synnex, NER and many more were “all-in.”

Granted, it wasn’t really MpS.

Fliers plastered with “MPS” stickers; sales classes pushing MpS selling cycles, TCO and the like; but the content was still copier sales, copier leasing, toner cartridges. Desk-side toner delivery/auto-fulfill, just fresh off the whiteboard, was being touted and sold.

What was big back then?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

HP, Lexmark and Xerox - Their Words, In the Clouds

Everybody is going to the Clouds and in that spirit, I went out and created Word Clouds based on two conference call transcripts and one interview - from the horses' mouth, sort of speak.

Word, or Tag Clouds generate a picture based on the quantity each word is mentioned in a given field of text. All I did was C&P transcripts and the application did most of the work.

Entertaining and illuminating.

Enjoy.

Lexmark - Seeking Alpha, May, 2012 -

"...our performance in the MPS segment itself is very strong, but more importantly it’s the way we go to market. So over 70% of our hardware revenue is in that large workgroup category, which is really the Enterprise segment of the market and that percentage is growing and it’s being driven by our ability to deliver high-end services and solutions..."
- John W. Gamble.


Word cloud made with WordItOut

HP Conference Call, February, 2012 -

"...In Imaging and Printing, year-over-year revenues decreased 7% with declines in supplies and hardware in consumer and commercial. And operating margin declined to 12.2%...IPG has been the lifeblood of our company for a long time with great margins and very resilient revenues...But we also have to recognize that the business is being pressured on multiple fronts, and revenues from our adjacent businesses...are doing quite well, but not developing fast enough to replace the revenues we've been losing. We have work to do here and are aggressively exploring ways to build on IPG's leadership given the realities of today's marketplace..." 
- Meg Whitman


Word cloud made with WordItOut

Xerox Conference Call, April, 2012 - 

"...You've heard me say this before, but it bears repeating. Some companies talk about transformation; we're actually doing it. Our results this quarter and our expectations for the balance of this year reflect the shifts happening in our business..."
- Ursula Burns


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Thursday, May 17, 2012

It Begins: H-P to Unload 25,000 employees...

I got a question for you. How many MBA's does it take to get 25,000 people laid-off?  Ignore that.

The rest of the world see's output waning, the largest company in the world builds devices without the ability to print and the smartest people in the room cancel a tablet after 49 days.  Quick, get that drawer statement out.

Right now, it's too easy to kick Mother Blue in the chops - it is good to remember that "25,000" isn't just a figure on a screen - it represents 25,000 fathers, mothers, sons and daughters - families.

Dare I say, believers.  So to mock the poor souls taking early retirement or collecting pink slips, is cruel.

I won't do that.

I will say this - its easy to snicker and sneer at the mighty as they fall - especially the arrogant.  But we do not live in a vacuum and we are no longer islands.

I wrote a quip back in September referring to whenever HP sneezes, the rest of us get Zombie Flu.

I fear the trickle-down ramifications of a larger print OEM contracting Zombie Flu. What the hell is going to happen to all the 'little-people'?

Huh.  No worries, we're ready.

From around the interweb, first reports of this latest disturbance in the Force.

From Houston Business Journal, May 17:

The source told Business Insider that HP wants to downsize its workforce — which totals 320,000 worldwide — by 10 percent to 15 percent, though Business Insider doesn’t expect the company to eliminate that many jobs all at once. Also, manufacturing employees are not expected to be hit as hard as others, Business Insider said.

From Business Insider, May 16:

Layoffs are going to be significant. 


At least, they'll be bigger than what Whitman has said so far. She's said that layoffs would NOT be "broad-based" at least in China (whatever that means), but she didn't say anything about the rest of the worldwide workforce.


Our source said HP wants to trim its workforce by 10%-15%. Given that HP has 320,000 employees, a 10% reduction would be 32,000 workers gone. However, that would include an early retirement program. 


We'd guess that this would include attrition, too, where new hires don't come in when employees leave. That number sounds high and we don't expect HP to promise it next week, because HP will also want to shift some jobs offshore. So, HP's total workforce numbers won't reflect all of the cuts.

Barron's, May 17 -

Business Insider’s Julie Bort this morning is back on the corporate layoff beat, writing that one unnamed source at Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) tells her that there will be “massive” job cuts at the company, perhaps as much as 10% to 15%, or 32,000 to 48,000 workers.


ISI Group’s Brian Marshall this morning writes that a so-called Reduction in Force would “improve confidence in HPQ’s guidance for ‘at least $4.00 in EPS in fiscal 2012′ and enable investments in strategic, higher-growth areas.’” Marshall has a Buy rating on HP shares.

ZDNet, May 17 -

HP’s operating profit per employee trails rivals, according to a Morgan Stanley analysis.


For instance, IBM’s operating profit per employee is $49,000. Apple’s is the same. EMC makes $67,000 in operating profit per employee.


HP’s tally: $35,000.


The only way for HP to change that metric—assuming the company can’t suddenly boost growth—is to lay off workers.

And of course there is this:

Number of people seeking jobless benefits unchanged last week


The number of people seeking unemployment benefits was unchanged last week, suggesting steady gains in the job market.


The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly unemployment aid applications stayed at a seasonally adjusted 370,000, the same level as the previous week. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell for the second straight week, to 375,000....

Here.



















Wednesday, May 16, 2012

TransForm MpS 2012, "The Seeger Sessions"

like shows.  I like to visit with like minded folks and I like to see the latest, greatest toys.

Lately, at least for the past four years, the tone at some of these shows seems to have ranged anywhere between desperation and bliss.

There is one constant- the show is busy and there is rarely enough time to get quality time.

Some of the topics I am looking forward to discussing this year at Transform are:

The Future of MpS - It ain't what it use to be...
Tablets or Toner- Take a guess...
The Cloud - Will it make rain...
Mobile Business Intelligence- huh?
Business Workflow- MpS has ALWAYS been about BPO...
New MpS technology- What more can we do...

Funny thing is, as good as the speaker content is this year, the off-line conversations can be even more interesting.

So, in that vein, I want to see and talk with as many folks as I can.

If you are interested in meeting with me and talking about anything from self-replicating nano-bots,  MpS compensation plans, M2M communications, the Cloud and its impact on business process,  or who has the best MpS infrastructure program, let's schedule something.

I will be in Orlando from Monday evening to Saturday.  I have a presentation and some hard meetings set up, but send me an invite at greg@thedeathofthecopier.com and maybe we can get together for a few minutes.

Wide open, no charge, possibly over an adult beverage.

We'll call it the Seeger Sessions...


Pay me my money down - bruce springsteen by runawaydream

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.

Why I Want to Be Your Managed Print Services Association President

A Time for Choosing
To be President, Greg Walters
Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fellow members of Your MPSA, I am reaching out today to ask for your support and your vote for President of Your MPSA.

Like our industry, Your Managed print Services Association has experienced a great shift – from an obscure genesis in San Antonio to an impeccable international presence. Since our humble beginnings back in 2008, I’ve been part of the great transformation of Your MPSA to center stage.

Today, Your MPSA and our niche are on the edge of greatness. From Sydney, Tokyo, Seoul, London, Johannesburg, Oklahoma City, Detroit, Chicago, Dallas, St. Louis, Seattle, Miami, New York City, Des Moines, Ontario, Berlin, San Juan, Paris, and Los Angeles, fellow MpS’rs are taking up the MPSA banner, helping businesses reduce costs, preserve jobs and make life easier.

That’s right, there’s more to MpS than toner on paper.

Still, I remember our proud technology lineage and customer focused pedigree. I believe in our industry. I see resilience and perseverance within each OEM, inside every provider and in the can-do attitude of all those “down the street” reps. We are a hearty bunch.

My Vision for Your MPSA is to grow with the shift, not against it. The winds of change are mighty and wise is the person who sails with the current. Knowing this and with bold confidence, we will move into a prosperous era unbound by misguided dogma of the past.

We will not venture the seas alone. Collaboration will be a supporting aspect in the coming years for Your MPSA – I will actively pursue open relationships and engage with anyone who brings value to our members.

One thing I’ve learned during my three year involvement with Your MPSA is that when we focus on the needs of our membership, forgetting corporate agendas, we do great things. I believe Your MPSA is For the Members, by the Members. Outside agenda’s will be left at the office.

Winston Churchill said that ‘the destiny of man is not measured by material computation. When great forces are on the move in the world, we learn we are spirits, not animals.’ And he said, ‘There is something going on in time and space, and beyond time and space, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty.’ As I travel the MpS ecosystem, I am often approached by MPSA members and non-members, asking questions about the future. Those questions aren’t posed out of fear or desperation. With each query there is a sense of determination and of duty. When “great forces are on the move in the world”, it is this spirit that sustains us; the same spirit Your MPSA is founded.

My Vision for Your MPSA is growth through attraction. Our message will cultivate and extend relationships within our niche and outside the industry. And I promise, Your MPSA will continue to be member-centric.

If you and I share a passion for our ecosystem and if you believe, like I do, our best days are yet to come, then ‘You and I have a rendezvous with destiny’.

Cast your vote for me, volunteer and let’s get started.

Thank you for your time,







Greg Walters

Vote Here.






Word cloud made with WordItOut



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Orlando, Transform and Get Off Your Glass - Mobile Business Intelligence, baby...

For the third year in a row, it is my great honor to be presenting at the Photizo, Global MPS Conference, Transform2012.

The first year, I talked about selling MpS internally, last year I chatted about building an MpS practice inside the traditional VAR.

This year, we'll have a palaver around remote work-forces, mobility and that nefarious or benevolent eye in the sky, The Cloud.  We'll throw in a dash of Big Data, for good measure.

A thrill packed 45 minutes bursting with goodness beyond MpS - oh the Joy!

Below you'll find a "teaser" (someday I will figure out how to build trailers) of my upcoming presentation.

Enjoy...




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Monday, May 14, 2012

The Tablet is To Print as The Cloud is To IT Services: The Death of I.T.

 I.T. Services"...that's a wrap..."

When filming a scene in a movie, once the director has what he needs on set, and the filming is complete, somebody will announce, "That's a wrap!" indicating the end of the scene, show, or movie.

Then they celebrate the completion and bash-out at the "Wrap Party".

While sitting in the first day of presentations at an industry symposium, Lyra 2012 - I had an epiphany.

The days of IT departments, IT VARs and CIOs are numbered.  The ending scene is being played out before us.

Off camera, an anxious Director is about to announce, "That'a a Wrap, people..."

That's right.  Wrap it up.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Happy Birthday, To Me...

In what can only be interpreted as a glaring example of "writing for an audience of One, me..." - I am penning this happy birthday wish to non-other than, Me.

Moi.

I was born the same year the Seattle Space Needle was erected.(he, he...I said erected)

On this day in 1962:

- Beatles sign their 1st contract with EMI Parlophone - I cannot stand the Beatles...
- Laser beam successfully bounced off Moon for 1st time - 'bounced' and 'Laser beam' in one sentence, poetic...
- US performs atmospheric nuclear test at Christmas Island - 'Christmas' and 'nuclear test' in one sentence, foreboding...

Happy Birthday, Greg.  Thank you.

So, if "50 is the new 40", why do my feet hurt so much?

...that's right...half a century...middle-aged!  Wonderful, now get off my lawn and let me get back to my 50 shots of JD.

My story goes like this: born in Hawaii - because I felt it necessary to be near my mother at the time - carted to Detroit via Charleroi, Pa.  Grew up through the '70s in a suburb outside the D named Westland - how is that for nondescript?

Westland John Glenn High school graduating class of 1980.

"Miracle on Ice", Ronald Regan, Mt. St. Helens, the Olympics, hostages return from Iran(forgot about that didn't you?). In Australia, baby Azaria Chamberlain disappears from a campsite at Ayers Rock, reportedly taken by a dingo.

"...perhaps a dingo ate your baby..."

From Honolulu, HA, to Westland & Grand Blanc, Mi to Corona, CA to Crestline, CA and now Charlotte, NC, coast to coast to coast seems to be a pattern of sorts.

Fascinating.

Monday, May 7, 2012

"No, not Less paper, Paperless..."

"The paperless era is upon us, people."

This video cracked me up. No matter how the big OEMs or companies that produce paper spin it, the time is now.

Still, these 'pro-paper' ads are amusing and well produced.



"I read it in this report..."



Cute, smart, engaging and out dated - these were obviously done before the latest advances in personal access display devices or BYOD - how soon before these are seen as nostalgic and reminiscent of a bygone age?

Brought to you by Domtar.

About Domtar:

"Domtar is the largest integrated manufacturer and marketer of uncoated freesheet paper in North America and the second largest in the world. As such, we:

Design, manufacture, market and distribute a wide range of paper products for a variety of customers, including merchants, retail outlets, stationers, printers, publishers, converters and end users.

Manufacture business and office paper, commercial printing and publishing paper, as well as specialty and converting paper."

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Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Crazies...



Here is to the crazy ones on MisFit Island, the Rebels, the Trouble Makers. Here's to the Round Peg in the square holes

We who see things differently. We are not fond of rules and loathe the status-quo

Quote me. Disagree with me, vilify and call me disgruntled

I dare you to ignore me; you cannot ignore us

Pushing to the Edge, the Crazy Ones

We are Contrarian Technologists


Thursday, May 3, 2012

iTEX 2012 - The Heart of CopierVille is Still Beating

It ain't mobile print(last gasp of a dying niche) but which iTEX exhibitor might just get printing (not all of it) relevant again...?

It's no secret, iTEX has been taking it on the chin lately with bad venue's, obvious 60 minute commercials camouflaged as Power Hours and empty headed booth-drones claiming to have been in MpS for 25 years.

Heck, some of the presentations were given a stage worthy of side-show-Bob carnival barkers - "step right up, see the bearded lady..." where is my bamboo stick?

Well, at least somebody got new shoes and it was Vegas, right?

Just kidding - the show was a success.  A big success.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Why We Can't Let Xerox Go

If you've been in the industry for over a year, you know how much the ecosystem changes.  You also know that rumors of business deals churn faster than your 36 month ex-dates.

Especially when it comes to which OEM is buying who, what dealership is consolidating and who is getting sued by Canon/HP.

We have a small but rather colorful niche which is likely to get a bit smaller.

Not 'doom and gloom', it just is.

I keep my eyes out for new and interesting tidbits of information, getting a feel for trends - nothing statistically supported, no study groups or polling numbers.  I pay attention to how often a company or person pops up on my 'radar'.

Over the last 60 days its been Xerox - more specifically, Ursula Burns.

Videos and quotes have been flowing into my view so often and I decided to listen in on the Xerox earnings call.  Very interesting.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

MPS conference TransForm 2012 - Get There


Four the past four years, there has been one destination show for Managed Print Services - the Photizo Managed Print Services Conference.

It all started int San Antonio, Texas, back in 2008.

I was there.  Oh what a difference a few years make.

But this isn't about the past, it's about the shape of things to come.

And who better to talk about the future of MpS, than a few long-term MpS'rs.

But wait.

From London to LA, Detroit to Sydney, Tokyo to Cape Town, Seoul to Orlando, the place will be flush with purveyors of content, movers and shakers of big data, visionaries all - and that's just the attendees.