Friday, September 26, 2014

As it Turns Out RELEVANT Content is King.

Relevance - 

Peggy Winton, CMO over @AIIM, reposted an article on LinkedIN about the benefits and pitfalls of content. Read the article, here. The essence of the piece is good content is better than bad content and bad content may hurt your reputation.

Earth shattering, isn't it?

It doesn't take a Marketing Degree agree or disagree with the author who presents good insight

From the article, "Being barraged with irrelevant content, misleading titles and promotion actually damages the brand." this is, and ALWAYS has been true, from late-night infomercials to toilet paper adverts.

Another great quote applicable in the copier/imaging industry, "A strategy based primarily on vendor generated content negatively impacts conversion because buyers consider that information biased and untrustworthy."

This includes content(sponsored) in free magazines, white papers and especially from the analyst community - it is all bought and paid for.
We've been saying this for years, the top-down, 'build it and they will buy' mentality propagated by OEMs and supported through hardware quota's was once old-fashioned.   
Today, its dangerous to the channel.
The phrase "Content is King" assumes 'relevant' or 'pure' is in there somewhere, as in "Pure Content is King". Which leads to the next level, "How pure can your content be, if you outsource its generation?"

In the turbulent world of content marketing and marketing content, Purity is difficult to muster.  The foundational question is,  "How can your content be relevant if you and what your offering is irrelevant?" Like it or not, the act of printing and copying is not that important and if you've built your business on the reliability and relevancy of office printing and copying, you could be in dire straits.

But I don't believe you are irrelevant, yet.  I believe you have happy customers with great stories.  I believe you ARE transforming into a leaner and more intelligent organization.

You just need to get your clients' stories out into the open.

Click to email me. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

What the #LatteSalute Says About Managed print Services

The internet is afire with accusations and defense around the President of The United States'(POTUS) lackluster salute.

Say and think what you want, but our personal, core values are illustrated everyday, on a sub-concious level.  The cloths we wear, our body language even the way we look at others, tells the world who we are and what we believe.  How we move and act when nobody is watching displays how we feel about ourselves and the world around us.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The #Apple Watch and Printing: What? No #AirPrint?

The other day I Tweeted, “Is #Apple part of Mopria?

With digital content growing, wouldn't it make sense to print from my Apple Watch?” My point was with all the fanfare and hoopla, printing is never mentioned. Users rarely think about printing and when they do, it’s a pain.

The Apple Watch is the latest example of the shrinking relevancy of the printed document. Granted, the category is consumer based, but the Apple Watch and iOS 8 represent the fading frontier between B2C and B2B . More employees are bringing devices to work because the devices are easier to use and present information in the manner that is pleasing to the consumer. That’s all. If paper were more relevant, we’d all have the daily under our arms and my watch would only tell time.

But that’s not happening, is it?

Consider the lowly photocopier. Once the hub of communication, copiers hummed along churning out everything from memos, file copies of invoices and bound reports. Today, more information is read off a screen in your lap, or palm of your hand than ever before. Tomorrow, your wrist.

Read the rest, here.

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The Death of Spreadsheets

"Knowledge will no longer be trapped on paper... or under glass."


Jennifer and I were talking about Big Data - it's what we do - when she exclaimed, "Its the Death of Spreadsheets...people will need to swallow faster..."

I was stunned and not sure what swallowing had to do with Big Data, I'll let you ponder that one.  I did, however, understand her observation around Big Data, or specifically, the use of Big Data and the end of spreadsheets.

Spreadsheets are on the path to oblivion, just ask MicroSoft.

The rise of the 99 cent algorithm and the fall of "=@if(A, B, C)".

Algorithms are workflow.

Automating processes with algorithmic discipline is changing everything.  Why generate formulas on static spreadsheets when a preconceived formula, connected to live data, streams actionable information directly to your device, pane of glass or contact lens?

Imagine saying the words,  "Computer: what is the most profitable group of devices in my fleet, today?"

Not only is the answer reported orally, but a running, graphic representation of the your profitable machines are presented as well as comparative representations from around the globe - all in real-time.

Beyond words, what if the 'cloud' knew exactly what you wanted to see and when?  Instead of you asking, the information(vs. data) is presented to you nice and neat, in real time, anywhere on the planet.

No paper, not historic or static.

Funky, eh?  There's more.

Apple just released, to a rather conservative fanfare, the latest addition in the iPhone lineage.  Some were waiting for a "Dick Tracey" watch and others lamented a "phablet", instead Apple released some less expensive color devices and a new 5s - in Gold.

To many, the device was less than expected - I took note of the A7, 64 bit processor.  In a word, "Awesome" and I'm not a Apple FanBoy.

The A7 is the first 64 bit of its kind to be found in a phone, processes twice as many bits per cycle and incorporates built-in, on the chip encryption.

This all means the little gold box will do stuff faster, crunch more numbers and drive cleaner video - all in the palm of your hand and this is just the beginning.

Back to big data.

Soon, we'll all be carrying around enough processing power to compress massive calculations and connect from anywhere on the planet.  Our customized, 1:1 news will stream flawlessly, profit, commission, productivity and financial reports, both personal and business, will seamlessly appear.

In the cloud, huge amounts of calculating power will collect data from billions of sensors all around the planet.  For example, when one of your Konica Minoltas is repeatedly mis-feeding, AND throwing off ambiguous errors, our newly ubiquitous business intelligence network will:

  • Analyze the multitudes of sensors inside the copier...
  • Backtrack the units manufacturing chain of custody...down to every component
  • Research the composition of toner and examine the entire supply chain...
  • Research the composition of the paper, all the way back to the tree...
  • Measure the humidity fluctuations and compare to occurring mis-feed times...
  • Compare the reported symptoms with millions of other devices and every other device ever recorded... 
  • Measure the incoming power...
  • Report back a meaningful diagnosis - or simply make corrections remotely - and then report back...
All real time. No paper because paper is too slow, no glass, because glass is too restrictive.

Chew on that.

PS - I used a copier as an example but you and I both know, there won't be any copiers left, don't we?
#Wink #DOTC #NoReallyThisTimeItIsPaperLess

1910 -
The Mundaneum
Founded by Paul Otlet (who outlined a concept of a globally connected network of computers in 1934) and Henri La Fontaine, The Mundaneum aimed to "gather together all the world's knowledge and classify it according to a system they developed called the Universal Decimal Classification".

Originally posted on Walters & Shutwell, Inc. Sept, 2013.

Click to email me.

What Will Happen to Managed Print Services When Aliens Land on Earth?


Long ago, before the Star Wars Generation grew old, people who discussed alien planets, time travel, robots with brains or life created in a petri dish would be label as "off", "introvert", odd, strange, socially awkward, clumsy, etc.

Not today.  Today, its not so geeky to talk about anything in the context of science fiction.

Signs -

In the 2002 movie "Signs" Mel Gibson plays a reverend who after losing his wife, rejects God and Faith.  Aliens play cat and mouse for a few days utilizing crop circles as navigation symbols.  The invasion is concentrated around these designs; Mel's family lives on a farm and has recently been a victim of other worldly graffiti.  As more and more indicators reveal themselves family begin to suspect the worse.

The movie is a tapestry of past, present and future events all woven together leading to the ultimate ending where all the pieces fall into place; hindsight is 20/20.  Everybody saw the signs, but nobody put them all together until the very end.

With this in mind I pose this question with all seriousness and grace - in a cold and analytical manner:

Do you See The Signs?

If not, let me point out a few of the Crop Circles in our cornfield:
  • Recharger: Gone
  • Lay-offs: Prevalent, secular
  • 3D Printing: The latest 'Adjacency' does not make marks on paper
  • IBM sells off Servers - "...its the Cloud, stupid..."
  • Dealers offering Coffee and Water Services - no, really, its true
  • Old Content - We're telling each other the same thing again and again, expecting new results
  • Self implemented MpS engagements; fewer clients need our services
  • MIF reductions - If your numbers are up, you're simply trading MIF with a competitor
  • Financial: Sharp, Panasonic, Kodak, HP - if the exchange rate wobbles, look out
  • Show attendance:  ITEX, Recharger, BTA; each were much bigger than they are now
  • Paper plants closing: International Paper announced the closure of one of their biggest plants in 2013 - primary output was 8.5x11
  • IBM sells off SDN - googlitize it
  • IPad: Almost as many sold as cases of paper, just kidding, but you get the point
  • E Signatures - from car loans, to insurance forms, to lease payments everybody is doing it except you
  • Google sells off Motorola - patents more valuable than hardware
  • Kids these days - all Thumbs and not a newspaper to be seen
  • Lawsuits - desperation; its like hoping for a penalty when your down 3 points, late in the game.
There Are Two Groups -

"People break down into two groups when the experience something lucky. Group number one sees it as more than luck, more than coincidence. They see it as a sign, evidence, that there is someone up there, watching out for them. Group number two sees it as just pure luck.

Just a happy turn of chance.

I'm sure the people in Group number two are looking at those fourteen lights in a very suspicious way. For them, the situation isn't fifty-fifty. Could be bad, could be good. But deep down, they feel that whatever happens, they're on their own.

And that fills them with fear. Yeah, there are those people. But there's a whole lot of people in the Group number one.

When they see those fourteen lights, they're looking at a miracle. And deep down, they feel that whatever's going to happen, there will be someone there to help them. And that fills them with hope.

See what you have to ask yourself is what kind of person are you? Are you the kind that sees signs, sees miracles? Or do you believe that people just get lucky?"

Or, look at the question this way: Is it possible that there are no coincidences?"

"Swing Away, Merrill"

What signs are you ignoring ?  Do you see crop circles, but blame the "kids down the street" for a little late night shenanigans?

Is it coincidence that International Paper is shutting down paper plants, that HP refers to IPG as the "once cash cow", newspapers and magazines shift away from print, that industry show attendance dwindles, MIF falls off lease, dealers now provide toner and coffee services, all while hardware margins shrink?

Its not so cryptic. The more difficult conundrum is figuring out which group you're in...

"Do you believe it because its true or is it true because you believe it?"

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

#Managed print Services - TheDeathOfRelationship Selling

Original post, 10/3/11

"...Now and then I think of all the times you screwed me over
But had me believing it was always something that I'd done
But I don't wanna live that way
Reading into every word you say
You said that you could let it go
And I wouldn't catch you hung up on somebody that you used to know..."

All those original MPS Engagements are about to come up for renewal soon, aren't they?  Or do yours all have auto-renew's? Nice.

Are you setting yourself apart and building value into your relationship?  Or are you screwing them over, blaming them?

They'll figure it out, waking up one day and making you 'somebody that they used to know...'

MpS'es I speak with report a customer retention rate of 99.9999%, mentioning their depth of client relationship as one of the supporting pillars.

Relationships. That's what it is all about - but how do you define a "relationship"?

Quarterly Business Reviews? Weekly client meetings? Lunch and learns? Bondage and Rapport? "Nice Fish".  That was then, this is Now.

-- Read the Rest Here --

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Stop Doing These Four Things & Sell More Managed Print Services

Selling managed print services and managed services is not brain science, it's more like Rocket Surgery.

What year is this, 1989?

Maybe you know of these, maybe not.  The point is, I'm hearing more and more about how the better MPS selling organizations are replacing failed existing MPS engagements.  The losers are not covering the basics like toner delivery, prompt service and correct billing let alone workflows and business acumen.

As always, these are my views and mine alone - take 'em or leave 'em.

#Apple Yosemite(IOS8) - The Death of the Internet, Paper...and ObamaCare


Yosemite is internationally recognized for its spectacular granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, Giant Sequoia groves, and biological diversity. Almost 95% of the park is designated wilderness - most visitors focus on the seven square miles of the valley.  If you haven't seen the valley from Tunnel view, you should.

For all its rough exterior and dangerous trek possibilities, I was amazed at the ease of access to almost every waterfall - paths have been constructed suitable for wheelchairs.

When Apple released the iPhone 5Si the A7 chip set immediately attracted our attention - in essence, the A7 promised delivery of transparent connectivity between all (Apple) devices AND capturing sensitive data in the device - NOT THE CLOUD.

When I open an email on my iPhone, my MacBook knows and I can continue to read it on the laptop...or tablet; they are all connected.  That means, when a call comes into my iPhone, I will be able to answer on my MacBook;  I'll check voicemail, on my iPad.

When texting from my iPhone, I'll be able to attach voice and video to the IM and regulate how long that message exists - it will self-destruct in three minutes or exist forever.

As far as security, all our information, passwords, credit card numbers, bank account information would be held on our personal devices behind security hardware and fingerprint scanners.

By connecting to other devices directly thereby utilizing them as sensors, the iPhone is positioning to become the nexus of all things connected.

"One word, kid, apps..."

The connectivity of everyone is impressive, but that's just a fraction of the story; the key has always been the software.  Today we buy 99 cent solutions to our million dollar challenges, in the near future, we will all simply write our own apps as we need.

The Shape of Things to Come (respect to TR7), a list of the next hierarchies to transform - enjoy:

The Death of Nationalized Healthcare -  In this new walled garden, we control our health from blood sugar monitoring to the latest cancer treatment.  But here is the kicker, with smarter devices connected privately to whoever we want, without 'cookies', our health data is ours.  We won't need 'clearing houses' or central databases to store immunizations history.  What's more, a great percentage of diagnosis equipment testing labs will be obsolete.  If you stop and think, it is easy to see.

The Death of the Search Engine - We search the mesh directly, not up and down

The Death of the Internet - who needs the internet when all devices connect through a web of personal servers.

The Death of Apps - We will write our own, ad-hoc

The Death of the Internet of Things - Connected people, not things

The Death of Spreadsheets - BI is an app that connects to billions of other apps/sensors

The Death of Cell Services - The Mesh will carry voice and video

The Death of Cable Companies - We are the Cable Company

The Death of ISP - No need for an internet service provider

The Death of VoiP - Just as homes are getting rid of the phone-on-the-wall, so to shall B2B

The Death of MSP - Self-healing systems, simpler and easily affordable(free) technology

The Death of Paper - Information moves faster than print

The Death of Hierarchies - everything will flatten

The BIG Transformation - The Death of Hardware

The Convergence is progressing to a point where our decision processes will be supported by software/apps instantaneous and dynamically.

Apps are nothing more than thoughts frozen in time, converted into repeatable algorithms, manipulating a stream(or streams) of inputs. The old ways meant this processing was static - the algorithm doesn't change directly.

This too, shall change...

Click to email me.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

DOTC Prime - TheDeathOfTheConsultants

...this is a rant...good for the soul...from July 6, 2013

During the first 12 months, of our incorporation we've explored the many nooks and crannies of a sector of our niche typically haunted by trainers, coaches, advisers, analysts, gurus, sages and prophets.

Often, when we attempt to tell people what it is we do for a living, we get one or more of the following responses:

  • "Oh, you must be consultants like Photizo..." - understood, but no.
  • "Oh, you work with end-users, helping them weed out MpS programs..." - goodness, no.
  • "Oh, you're trainers like Strategy Development..." - nope.
  • "Oh, you're providers like Preo..." - huh?
  • "Oh, you're an MpS Practice, like OnePrint..." - sorta, only not.
  • "Oh, you're analysts like IDC..." - not even close.
  • "Oh, you're recruiters..." - again, sorta, only not.
  • "Oh, you're writers..." - isn't EVERYONE?
These responses make sense because folks think of us as people who have answers. To be fair, with a combined 40 years in this nutty business, we easily slip into the consultant role.


  • We've helped companies sell more managed print services.
  • We've helped people learn more about managed print services.
  • We've helped end-users evaluate their MpS providers and IT support program that they provide to their end users.
  • We've shown people the importance of establishing solid partnerships and move beyond "vendor".
  • We've written hundreds of articles about managed print, managed services, the cloud and technology.
  • We assess MpS programs, evaluate Remote Monitoring and Management(RMM), Professional Services Automation(PSA), Mobility offerings from IBM to AppleMSP systems(Collabrance, Level Platforms, NAble, Continuum, etc.) and Business Intelligence(BI) programs like SAS and MicroStrategy.
  • We're helping selling professionals break out of the cube and find employment, working for themselves or their perfect company.
  • IT Directors ask us for help measuring the gaps in their IT portfolio by determining the level of maturity for both their providers and end-users.  On and on...

Consultant, Analyst, Instructor or Sages?

We've called ourselves 'consultants', but we've never liked the aftertaste. We don't want to be simply consultant's.

We dialogue at an hourly rate with those thinking about getting into "MpS" or the "copier industry".

But we don't want to be simply analysts forecasting from the sidelines utilizing data, interviews and algorithms.

We've both sold copiers, facilities management, EDM, software, services, blocks of time, toner, people and projects and we've been paid to teach others how we've done it.

We can teach your sales team over the internet, just like all the other trainers. Heck, we can even put together an hour long commercial, call it "educational", on how our technique is better than theirs, and present at the next conference.

But we don't simply want to be instructors whose relevance fades with each passing day.

"Risk? What risk.  Sign up for my 600 month training program and everything will be fine.  Press hard, you're making 12 copies..."

We've learned some pundits simply TELL people how others have done it, without ever doing it themselves.  Worse, most programs are geared for quantity, instead of quality of relationships - they sell seats, not success.  The moment you leave their class, session or webinar, it's time to sell more seats.

Now this model works - millions have joined Tony Robbins over the coals.  Yet,  it is easy to see how the angst in our little niche revolves around empty promises and misaligned expectation levels typically set by people who have little risk in the outcome and gain from the mystery they, themselves generate.

Remember, who were the folks who promoted the phrase, "Where there is mystery, there is margin"?
- if we create the mystery, we create the margin.

Think about that for a second.
Benchmarks, KPI's and the way others have done it -

Another intriguing and mystifying aspect about the consulting gig are benchmarks.  Benchmarks sound good - a measuring of something deemed as industry standard - "How can you get where you're going if you don't know where you are?" so the saying goes.

But if everyone is going in the wrong direction, why should you?  Because you're comfortable in crowds, aren't you?  Admit it.

The analysts and consultants create the benchmark, which in turn illustrates a GAP that can only be filled by attending a class, their class - or hiring an expert, their expert.  Think I'm wrong, ask one. Insidious.  There is a big difference between creating benchmarks and discovering your, unique measuring marks.

"Skin in the game. Put it on the Line. Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk. "
Let's not consult, let's form a joint venture.  

The next time you sit in on one of those 'educational sessions' which ends up being nothing more than the copier industry version of a time-share-trap - raise your hand ask,

"You say you know how to make managed print services model work?  You think you've got the best managed services go to market plan?  The greatest general ledger structure? Prove it with me, not to me."

Suggest instead of signing up for their 12 week study group, you pay for a bit of infrastructure assistance, then your dealership and his consultancy form a joint partnership splitting the profit.(vs. savings)

How's that for a consulting model?

Our goal has always been to help others, receiving value in return.  You can imagine how difficult this can be from outside the business.  So we've changed the way we think - again - by embedding into the culture and making adjustments daily, sometimes hourly, to the Master Plan.  A process impossible to accomplished in a webinar or classroom.

One of the most difficult aspects of consulting is remaining relevant.  Once removed from the daily grind of sales meetings, phone calls, and general business gymnastics consultants are reliant upon interviews, surveys and direct contact with the do'ers in order to keep their content fresh and relevant.

And don't fall for the "every golfer has a caddy and that caddy doesn't play in the Masters" statement - true, but this isn't golf, it's sales, selling and running a business.  Which some would argue, is a bit more complicated than helping grown men put a little ball into a cup - I digress.

I guess you could ask, "Will consultants go the way of the dinosaur?", of course the answer is "No" - fear of failure is built into our DNA so we'll always seek out wisdom.

It's just that we shouldn't expect a sermon from the mount based on decades old experience to provide much insight or guidance.

We've been saying it for years, "move from vendorship to partnership" - this applies to the value chain, the customer, provider and consultant - don't you think?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

I keep telling you, the 'p' is getting smaller! I have seen the Future of MpS...

Original 11/30/11

"Hello little Printer"

Is your MiF shrinking?

Is your OEM hammering you for year end commitments, and next year forecasts?

Are MDF and back-end rebates heading right to your bottom line? Or are we finally counting both as top-line revenue? (LOL!)

How's that mobility practice going? Selling many mobil print engagements? To Commercial accounts?

Is that new Xerox 'just too darn big' to fit into all your SOHO leads?

Fear not, fragile traveler. The Future of MpS is upon us.

Follow me printing? Sure thing.

Increase in 'clicks'?  Nope.  A new model, "Cost Per Inch".

 "Are those your keys?" she asked, "'s your new mobile printing solution, say hello to my little friend..." 

0.00000000000012/inch - ...I frickin love this business!
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The Death of The Internet

Originally posted on Walters & Shutwell, April 11, 2014.

This month marks the 25th anniversary of the addressing vehicle for the internet, the "World Wide Web". The internet, as it is defined, has been around 40 years, created in 1973.  The thing is, I don't see the internet surviving another 40, let alone 10 years.

No really, I'm calling it, we are witnessing the very beginning of the Death of the Internet.

  1. MSFT releases iOffice - One of the largest technology hierarchies cries "Uncle!"
  2. The Snowden Effect - the internet is a centrally located sieve 
  3. The US gives up ICANN - addresses are irrelevant
  4. Bio/Nano technology - not 'smaller' technology but 'closer' technology
  5. Apple implements 'beam' and wire-less mesh for messaging...(Someday, very soon, Apple will be bigger than the internet)
Expansion and contraction are natural ways of business technology and social evolution.  For instance, the glass rooms of mainframes moved to the desktop with the PC, then to our laptops, notebooks, tablets, smartphones - smaller yet more powerful computing expanded the reach boundaries of connectivity.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

MpS: The Unifying Theory

Originally posted, 6/20/12

Just over three years ago (four now), when I started writing about copiers, MpS, technology, selling and pole dancing, I was one of three. Back then, if one were to Google “managed print services,” the dozen or so returns would’ve consisted of wedding invitation printers and “full-serve” print advertising providers.

There were few fleet monitoring alternatives and fewer proactive supplies management solutions. Hardly anyone mentioned cost reduction, business process, fleet optimization or phases. And nobody championed reducing costs by reducing prints, copies, or printers and copiers.

This isn’t to say nobody serviced printers or supplied toner. Yes, some were “optimizing” fleets, shifting volume, addressing document workflow and business process or managing hundreds of devices, but we inhabited our own little silo.

Xerox, IKON, Canon, Océ, and Pitney Bowes all had their FM division – each conducting site surveys and usage analysis as well as working with colored dots and floor plans.

Silo 1.
The bane of OEMs, third-party cartridge manufacturers, lived their existence in the dark on the periphery of the ecosystem, struggling from legality to legitimacy.

Silo 2.
Liberty, Kofax and other software companies were conducting user interviews, charting document flows, developing Statements of Work and evangelizing paper to digital.

"I shall call him, Mini-Pad and His Big Sister shall be Maxi -" #Apple

Originally posted 7/9/12

Kindle, schmindle, I want a PC in the form of an iPAD!

I want the comfort of Windows 1.0 and enough ports to plug in my optical mouse AND trackball- while you're at it, throw in parallel port to boot.

And I want it to print to any and every printer in the world. Dare I say, an Epson LQ-2550 and an IBM 4019 Laser printer.

Yeah, print to those, you goofy, goof-ball.

Those Win8, hockey pucks won't print.Not because they can't, because NOBODY WILL WANT TO PRINT.

Will Win8 be a bust?  Will it lock up, like every other Windows version? Has there been a history of new interfaces confusing the hell out of everyone? Whatever.

The Digitization of the Office - 1/3/2014


In the Beginning -

The workplace has been evolving since the beginning of time. We've moved from farms, to churches to castles, to high-rise office buildings and soon mega-cities. As communication shifted from handwritten documents to printed to electronic, so too, did the office and the way we conduct day to day business.

Some consider the process starting sometime in the 90's - while others imagine true digitization kicked off with the advent of the IPad. My observations and research reveal the shift has been occurring since the late 1600's starting with a device invented and built by an 18 year old, French kid. The mechanism performed addition, subtraction and multiplication through the manipulation of gears and dials. The teen was helping his father calculate bigger numbers when performing French tax accounting. Although it was not a digital device, indeed, it was analogue, the machine processed mathematical tasks quickly. The young inventor was Blaise Pascal and he is attributed for illuminating the significance of a triangular arrangement of binomial coefficients - commonly known as Pascal's Triangle. (of course you knew this, #sarcasm)

Neither Pascal's Triangle or his calculating motor revolutionized the business world - it would take hundreds of years and thousands of inventions to bring us to our current sophistication - but the "Pascaline" as it was called, was a baby step toward digitization.

Definitions, again -

What do we mean by 'digitization of the office' and what is the difference between analog and digital? To understand let's first review some basic definitions.

  • "Analogue" - something that is similar to something else in design, origin, use, etc. : something that is analogous to something else
  • "Analog" - of, relating to, or being a mechanism in which data is represented by continuously variable physical quantities
  • "Digital" - of or relating to information that is stored in the form of the numbers 0 and 1 or using or characterized by computer technology
  • "Digitization" - to convert (as data or an image) to digital form
As humans, we perceive the world in analog. We see and hear a continuous transmission of information to our senses. This continuous wave is what defines analog data. Digital information, on the other hand, interprets analog data using ones and zeros.

For example, in analog recordings, the signal is acquired directly from a microphone and place onto the medium - typically tape or vinyl. The wave captured is analog so the wave on the tape is analog. That wave can be read, amplified and sent to a speaker to produce the sound.

"I've visited other peoples' offices since 1988 - and to be frank, I can't tell that much difference, in the macro sense. Sure, I don't see those little pink, "While you were out" slips of paper at the front desk, and to run into a typewriter or multi-part forms is not just a rarity but an outright attraction. Yet, in the end, an office is still an office is still an office..."

In digital technology, the analog wave is sampled at some interval, and then turned into numbers - 1's and 0's. These numbers are then translated into electrical signals representing the recorded or digitized wave and output over speakers.

Think of the old analog copiers taking a picture and presenting the entire "picture" as a latent image on the drum, then page. Our digital devices encode the image into 1's and 0's, then melt toner at the pixel level after decoding the 1's and 0's - a dot at a time.

"Quick, to the Accounting Department" -

Consider the act of sending out invoices and posting payments.

In the olden days, A/R clerks created hard copy invoices on multipart forms. The original and remittance copy was sent to the client and an internal copy was filed in a 1-31 tickler file folder. If invoices were due on the 30th, these copies were placed in or near the "30th" folder.

Each day, the A/P clerk would review the invoice copies contained in the appropriate 'tickler' and either post a payment against the invoice or follow up with the client politely explaining they were now past due and determine an expected date of remittance. Notes were jotted down and the invoice copy along with those notes were placed into the appropriately dated tickler file to be reviewed again on that day.

Think about the process just outlined and the equipment utilized to complete this function: typewriters, multipart forms, copy machines, White Out, telephones, postal machines, mail boxes, filing cabinets/drawers, pens, paper, internal forms and sticky notes.

It was a workflow; an analog system.

Fast forward a couple of decades, maybe a few, and what does the typical process look like today?

Invoices are generated periodically through out a 30 day period - a company's automated system, SAP 1 for example, batches invoices to be generated. The batch is approved, by a human, and processed. Depending on many variables invoices are either printed to paper or presented to customers digitally via email, or other means like Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). Once the invoice has been issued, the system can present an accounts receivable aging report at any given time reflecting accounts paying on time and those who are past-due.

As you can imagine, the 'digitization' of this one process represents an incalculable reduction in the number of labor hours and there are many more examples of digitalizing a business process - from the grocery store to manufacturing floor.

Digitization Promotes Separation -

Another critical observation is recognizing the connection between business process effectiveness and physical proximity. If I can manage most of my tasks on a PC and PC's are giving way to tablets and phones, why would I need to sit in a cubical all day when tapping on glass at home, in a coffee house or at the beach? If proposals are generated and converted to orders digitally and if stock can be ordered just in time to be drop shipped anywhere in the world, again, why do I need to under fluorescent light breathing recirculated, artificially cooled air?   I don't.

But there is value in face to face discourse. As a matter of opinion, I believe face to face becomes more important the more we digitize. To connect with a person, eye to eye while increasing digitized productivity will be the ultimate balance - most likely a perfect balance is unobtainable.

Déjà Vu All Over Again -

Has the office really changed all that much?

I've visited other peoples' offices since 1988 - and to be frank, I can't tell that much difference, in the macro sense. Sure, I don't see those little pink, "While you were out" slips of paper at the front desk, and to run into a typewriter or multi-part forms has move from a rarity to an outright attraction. Yet, in the end, an office is still an office is still an office. The status quo to rules - besides the loss of typing pools, tickler files and 30 person accounts receivable clients, what has really changed? There are still phones on desks, copiers in the hall, printers next to users, screens and yes even filing cabinets.

What the heck happened? Sometimes it seems the more we digitize, the more time we have to continue to digitize - we're doing the same things only in greater volume and quicker.

The Future - Your Future

Once again, we're right in the middle of the next transformation in office evolution. The question is, can we create a sustainable existence supporting the office of the future? If no copiers, then what? When the OEMs all provide self-healing, inexpensive output devices where do we fit in? When this digital world shifts from paper to glass, what services do we provide?

Here are some ideas:

Recognize, don't resist -

Plenty of black smiths, buggy manufacturers, and saddle makers were quick to retort, "They'll never replace the horse." after watching one of Henry Ford's contraptions amble down the town. There aren't too many black smiths in the world today. Back in the '90's more than a few ComputerLand, Inacomp, MicroAge and BusinessLand owners said, "They'll never sell computers at Wal-Mart, people want to talk to a sales person who knows how to work a computer."

How many Inacomp Computer Center commercials have you seen lately?

Shift to services -

The mantra for the past seven years, heck the past decade, has been, "move to services" whether that means document management, managed print, managed IT, or water delivery. The phrase has been repeated so often, its become an empty threat. Don't be fooled, paper shipments are down, copier placements are down and office print volume is down.

It's just a matter of time.

Look through the recurring revenue lens -

The biggest difference between digitizing a client through Electronic Document Management (EDM), FaxServer or archiving system and a managed service is recurring revenue. The standard, on premises software installation, configuration, implementation and training model does NOT fall into the recurring revenue model - even if you include yearly support or upgrade revenue; these solutions represent project based, one-time revenue.

For true recurring revenue through digitization, look to the cloud and SaaS.

Don't be afraid to change, or upset your existing revenue stream-

You've made money, helped families pay bills and sent kids to private school by meeting OEM quota's, designing lease/service schemes and "churning the MIF". The model of selling hardware and billing for service/supplies over time was revolutionary - what if that revolution is over? Could your past success be holding you back? Are you paying homage to a dying model? Even if your business is good, are you closing 'run-rate' or 'recurring revenue' business?

Do you know the difference?

Is digital better than analog?

There is, of course, one last thing.

The human body, indeed our entire existence is an analog one. As humans, we perceive the world in analog. Everything we see and hear is a continuous transmission of information to our senses. This continuous stream is what defines analog data. We see and experience events as they occur accessing from memory in an analog manner.

Digital information, on the other hand, estimates analog data using only ones and zeros. Digitizing a process results in quicker response times and greater productivity - but can we over digitize the office? The answer is "yes", we've done it before. We've tried to replace a human with voice mail and substitute an email for greeting cards. We've put our clients into queues and converted their experiences into open tickets and numbers.

Along the line, we lost a smile here, a handshake there.

Click to email me.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Who is The World's Best Managed Print the World

I love the phrase, "It ain't bragging if its true..." - my high school football coach used it often.
I've noticed a trend over the past few months in our little niche: Robo-Boasting.

Self-promotion is great.  I get that and if you're proud of your MpS, I say get that story out there.  But don't do it through a robotic channel.

Bragging -

So many software, OEMs, dealers, toner pirates, distributors, consultants and analysts either claim to be or report to know the best Managed Print Services something-or-other.  The twitter-feed is chock-full of MPS robo-brags and self-promotion, it is blinding.  Observed from the outside it looks like one huge Love-fest. (I was going to use 'circle-jerk' but that might seem offensive)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Toner For Tablets - March, 2012 "The New #iPad Will Kill Printed Documents"

Originally posted, March 4, 2012

"One of the iPad's biggest competitors has been paper," said Nick Bilton, a tech columnist at The New York Times, "and now this is better than paper."

So many books and so little printing-

I was somewhat dismayed to learn Britannica is no longer going to print it's encyclopedia.

I was a bit vexed when I read that printed,  pulp-erotica isn't as hot as it once was.

My confusion cleared upon discovering the hottest thing on  E*Readers is ladies' romance/erotica - women and their dirty little Nook's. This makes perfect sense; nobody can tell what you're reading while sucking a caramel macchiato, head down on a Kindle.  Poor Fabio.

Even Conde Nest is moving out of print and into the online subscription business.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Half of YOU will Be A #Freelancer - And Won't Print #paperless

Getting up early to  Fight the traffic.  Fast food lunches, office politics, 'walk around management', empty Monday morning meetings and equally nauseating, re-cap meetings Friday at 4:00 PM.

Ah, the modern, cube-rat life. Sick of it? You're not the only ones.

There is good news - studies suggest by 2020, 50% of us will be freelancers.  All of us, not just writers and out of work sales people will either be or know somebody who is an independent, hired gun, freelancer.  Everyone from CEO to Controller will have the opportunity to work 24/7, from anywhere in the solar system.

Before you say, "I couldn't concentrate at home..." I'm not just talking physically at home.  Besides, you can concentrate anywhere.    Consider the monthly costs your employer carries to put a roof over you head, phone in your hand and connect you to the inter web.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

For Five Six years this U2 video has played.  Seems like it happened yesterday.



Tuesday, September 9, 2014

#Apple September 9, 2014 #IOS8, #AppleWatch #APPL

It was about the A8. It was about calls shifting from wireless to cell, seamlessly.

It was a bigger phone with more Sensors, new gyroscope better camera.

NFC - Pay without Cash
Pay at McDonalds, Disney, Apple, etc.

Apple Pay 
"Will forever change the way we pay for things.  Online Transactions - Pay with a Finger"

Target, Uber, Open Table and more.  Pay online with your fingerprint and keep all your credit card information in the palm of your hand or on your wrist.

Monday, September 8, 2014

There Are No SEO Experts - #SToPiT!

#managedprintservices, #gregwalters, #mps, #sales, #seo, #searchengineoptimization, #traffic, #mysterymeansmargin, #pleasegoviral, #keywordsorcontent. #mysteryinSEO, #theSEOConspiracy, #UrNotReadinThis

I know this is going to ruffle some feathers, but my latest foray into the world that is the interweb has lead me to the above conclusion. Let me be even more precise: There is no such thing as an SEO expert in our industry. That’s going to hurt the few who claim to be guru’s and pundits - sorry.

It has been, and still is my belief that pure content is the best way to attract an audience. Google agrees. Their search algorithm seeks out fresh, organic content.

Traveling the world of content marketing and marketing content, I see parallels between this realm and the early days of managed print services.(MpS)

In the beginning, nobody really knew what MpS was or how to sell and support a profitable program - some still don't. Back then, there was a great deal of mystery in MpS so anyone who had the slightest insight vaulted to the rank of 'expert' - take it from me. Back then, one needed to have a few weeks more experience than everyone else.

Why No Experts, Greg?

Friday, September 5, 2014

How Cloud Computing Will Change Your Business in the Future

From, Aug 27, 2014.

As we know, the cloud is a platform that allows you to store and process data away from your personal device. The resulting information can then be presented to that or other devices.

This is not a new concept. It’s the way computing originated. Programs originally ran on mainframes, mirroring sessions to terminals throughout an organization. But these were expensive options. In the very early days of personal computing, businesses could only afford to provide CFO’s and controllers with spreadsheet applications and $10,000 PCs.

How to Get Better at Managed Print Services Assessments: 3 Points

Here's a quickie...

For decades, MPS assessments have been a cornerstone to almost every engagement. Even when a 30-Second assessment is popped off, as light as it its, its still an assessment.

Indeed, every sales rep assesses the situation upon entering into a conversation - its only natural. You're measuring the opportunity to be embarrassed or rejected in the first seven seconds. Think back to 7th grade and asking 'whats-her-name' to dance. Or is it just me?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Good Workflow Kills Paper - The Once and Future Managed Print Services

From The Imaging Channel.

Passing notes in class used to result in a disciplinary action. Back then, the most efficient method of conveying information or querying a prospect was to scratch a simple question on a scrap of paper and ask your neighbor pass it along. “Do you like me? Do you want to be my friend? Check yes or no." In the early days of business, like those notes in third grade, sales orders were hand written on paper with a pen.

As time went by, more advanced order-entry processes developed around carbon and carbonless paper and forms. One instance of data entry, writing information down on the order, would create three or four copies, which you’d just peel apart and forward a copy to the appropriate department — original into daily sales, yellow to the warehouse, goldenrod over to accounting as an open order, and the pink gets thrown away. (As an aside, do you remember how challenging it was for some copiers to make a copy of a yellow background, carbonless form? That’s right, we were making copies of copies.)