Friday, October 31, 2014

Selling Managed Services: Whose going to get Slapped Around?

10/2014

The oldest profession in the world isn’t prostitution, it’s selling.  One to one; one to many; many to many; retail; B2B; to that hottie in the corner; to your girlfriend, wife, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, sales manager, cop, judge, jury; to ourselves – we all sell, and we always have.

Today, our industry is turning another corner – contracting and expanding at the same time. We’re looking for the next frontier and eyeing the IT cluster.

You're pondering selling servers, storage, networks and network management, aren’t you? Putting those monitors, PCs, switches and hard drives under one contract tied into a 36-month “rip and replace” strategy, right?

Sure.  How hard can it be?

Copiers have been connected now for more than a decade. All your devices scan; you’ve sold or heard of a “fax-server.” Your dealership has at least one “Content Specialist,” and RiKon/Xerox employs thousands of cycle-extending PS peeps – not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Again, how hard can it be?

Well, there’s good news, and there’s bad news. The good news is better than we hope; the bad news is worse than we think. It usually is.

The Bad News:

We have approximately 1,500 effective, well-run, imaging dealers/resellers in the U.S. The number of VARs is 15,000. The figure may not be accurate, but the scale certainly is; there are 10 times as many of them as there are us.

They are already in your accounts; they own the network, hold contempt for most salespeople and think they know more than you – which they probably do.

Hubris permeates.

They hate copiers – still – and love brand names. Even if Dell servers suck, once a Dell house, it is difficult to displace. They distrust those who wear a tie and can spot a Polo-shirt-wearing poser with their 'peripherals' – they are militaristic in the use of acronyms.

The Princes of the VAR are the customer-facing subject-matter experts (SME), the guys with all the letters behind their names. They are smart, certified and can speak in front of crowds or directly to CIOs – as peers. But don’t tell them that; most believe they have no peers.

Their deals are complex, multidimensional and project-managed. And I mean real project management – with resources, GANT charts and such.

Most likely, the VAR front-line salespeople, often called BDMs, never physically receive a PO or process an order; they have an inside team to do all that stuff. This gives them more time in the field, in front of their clients – your prospects.

The Good News:

VARs/IT folks don’t really sell; they take orders and write SOWs. They tend to throw technology at everything, yet employ little in-house. They’ve been trained to believe “real cold-calling” happens on the phone. “Sales training” is nothing more than a vendor like Cisco, Lenovo or HP coming in, spewing product, pricing and distribution data, then leaving “leave-behinds.” Yeah, I know – that part sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Most VARs define “service” as pricing, logistics, deal registration, imaging (not the kind we know), prompt delivery, discounts and accurate billing (again, not the kind we know). Client relationships are built on “lunch and learn” giveaways and trading POs for iPads.

Transactional margins are in the single digits; charging for shipping equals margin. Back-end rebates equal margin for the house. Trip-fees are the norm, they have no idea how to manage to “call avoidance,” and trunk-stock is a foreign concept.

So, what to do?

Competing with a VAR head-to-head can be difficult. Especially when your prospect has bought into the belief that copier companies aren't sophisticated enough for real IT issues.  If you can get in under the VARDAR, you have a good chance, since most are not looking at MpS as a serious value-add.  Those who do are experiencing the same mistakes we did – YEARS AGO. They’re stuck in the “powered by” stage of MpS.

Three ideas, 2011:

1. Work with your existing purchasing/facilities contacts without raising much dust. Sell S1/S2 without talking about software, business process management or EDM. Don’t set off any IT red flags.

2. Shore up your internal IT services pedigree. Now is the time to re-evaluate your current talent pool. Tough decisions — there are fewer devices out in the field; therefore, fewer service calls. Figure that one out.

3. Reach out and establish a solid relationship with a VAR as their MpS engine. This is a temporary, parasitic relationship filled with teachable moments. Again, figure that one out.

The times, they are changing. At our core, this niche, the imaging industry, is crowded with resilient, business-minded problem-solvers. We can do this, and for a profit.

Three more ideas, 2014:

Prospect/Sales side:

1. Seek out companies who do not employ any internal IT support staff - resistance is guaranteed
2. Talk to the owner and confirm he values IT is a strategic component of his business model
3. Look at your internal IT. If you don't value IT services, you'll attract folks don't as well

Internal/Infrastructure side:

1. Partner with a master managed services provider like Collabrance.
2. Train your copier reps how to recognize and qualify IT services prospects
3. Do not call in 'managed network services' - why be chained to a network?



Originally posted by Greg Walters on 08/08/2011, 1105 Media.

Before Independence Day, Before Lost in Space, Before Tom Cruise, There was Radio and Orson Wells...



"...We know now that in the early years of the twentieth century this world was being watched closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own.

We know now that as human beings busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. 

With infinite complacence people went to and fro over the earth about their little affairs, serene in the assurance of their dominion over this small spinning fragment of solar driftwood which by chance or design man has inherited out of the dark mystery of Time and Space. 

Yet across an immense ethereal gulf, minds that to our minds as ours are to the beasts in the jungle, intellects vast, cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes and slowly and surely drew their plans against us. In the thirty-ninth year of the twentieth century came the great disillusionment.

It was near the end of October. Business was better. The war scare was over. More men were back at work. 

Sales were picking up. 

On this particular evening, October 30, the Crosley service estimated that thirty-two million people were listening in on radios..." - Orson Wells, 1938.

In a world without the internet, Twitter, cell phones or email a fictitious account of an invasion from Mars scared children, and angered many.

I submit to you a feast for your ears and the kaleidoscope of your mind. Travel back when this new medium, radio, ruled and was blamed for the Death of the Stage show and rotting young minds...enjoy.








Posted in

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The 2014 Executive Connection Summit - "They Let the DeathOfTheCopier Guy In?"




The Executive Summit has been in existence for three years, this is my first one.  For context, I've attended and spoken at every domestic Photizo MPS conference, I attended and spoken at a few ITEX get togethers and a BTA meeting - I 've attended more shows than I can remember.

I've know of MWAi and the group for years, meeting Mike Stramaglio at a Lyra back in ....2009 or 08, I forget. Mike and I have broken bread and on occasion, we've even solved many of the worlds problems over whiskey, Cabernet, or some other variation of libation.  Mike is a consummate gentlemen, a shrewd businessman and a not so in the closet, technological, bleeding-edger - he is my kind of industry player.

I'm a bit of nervousness I attend.  Mike has built this show in response to what he saw as a void on our industry.  He saw a space between today and tomorrow.  Indeed, between yesterday and tomorrow.  He felt our industry was not embracing technology, that we were staying in that past, not reaching our potential and quite possibly headed for extinction.

 He started Technology United.

So, here I am...Dave Ramos, Scott Cullen, Jackie, a gaggle of guys from the channel, two martini's down, one blog out(at 30,000 feet no less) and one in process.

What Do I Expect?

I expect to hear how each speaker is going to change the market.
I expect to see and hear how Technology United is helping the channel move from transactional to sevices
Why is this conference different from any other?
Who didn't attend and why?
What do people think is going to happen in the future?

Here is the speaker list for today:

SAP
Samsung
Intel
Okidata 
Cisco

Everything from massive turbulence and opportunity, connected MFPs, the Internet of things and new revenue streams are on tap.

Let the knowledge transfer begin...



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Monday, October 27, 2014

Steve Jobs Talks about "Toner and Copier Heads".


13,000 feet somewhere over the Untied States of America heading to the Executive Summit.

This is a must see for everyone in the industry, in any industry actually. The year is 1996 and Steve Jobs is lamenting how Xerox had the world by a string, they just didn't know it.

Hear for yourself, possibly the first time a pundit refer to "toner-heads, copier-heads". Amazing.

Granted, those times were remarkable; Bill Gates is buying and selling the perennial operating system.  Wozniak is programming for days at a time and the first generation of computer geeks begin to take shape.

The status quo was being challenged by a unorganized, disconnected, computer nerds "doing it for fun".  Xerox, IBM, Burroughs, and others didn't see the PC revolution coming and when they did, most denied .  The rest, as they say, is history. They also say, "study history or be doomed to repeat it".

Look at your industry - There are two sides: the status quo and what I like to call the "Pirates".  The status quo employ marketing departments, game the search engines and confuse marketing content with content.  They purchase analysts and dictate to the market,  spinning a message through the ever dwindling and irrelevant equipment channel.  They tell us to sell equipment all the while knowing it is a dying argument.

There is no paper in the future because there is no future in paper.

Arrrg!  On the other side live the pirates, rogues, outcasts, crazies, disgruntled - the explorers, selling professionals, visionaries, lone wolves.  We'll play the game, find the edges and push. Of course we'll get in trouble, and from the outsider view, we will fail.  But failure has always been about getting back up, not quitting.   The ones on the sidelines never quit, do they? When things go well, everybody's a champio.

I guess what I like about this video is recognizing that this has all happened before.  The timing for such a revaluation couldn't be better.  Unlike the days of Young Jobs, we have instant connectivity to all the like minded.  The days of single voices, screaming in the night are gone.

The only question is what side do you call home?  

Do you feel the need to be dependent upon a " board of directors" or sales manager?  
Do you criticize free flowing organizational construct?  Is structure and policy more important?  
Do you manage to outside benchmarks and look for templates?  
Have you uttered and believed the phrase, "it's always been done that way"?  
Do you still think the "OEMs drive the industry"?  

Yes? Congratulations, you're part of the status quo - leave now and immerse yourself in the following movies/series(therapy): Oblivion, Cloud Atlas, V Is For Vendetta, Battlestar Galactica, Serenity, The Patriot, Tombstone & Saving Private Ryan. Not Glenn Gerry, Wall Street, or Boiler Room. Go...go now.

On the other hand, if you see through the manipulation that is an equipment quota (and still meet them), if you question studies reporting users demand mobile print, or print is growing.  If you do your "job" without going "to the office" and STILL required to show up for Monday morning sales meetings, if you've ever been "written up" - you could be Jobs-like, a Zig in the world of Zags.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Drop me a line.  I'm starting a group of fringe-thinking, bleeding-edgers.  We'll have a charter, but no Board of Directors.  We'll have meetings and adult beverages will be on the agenda.  Our goal will be to network within the group, share cutting edge ideas having fun and making money.

Moderator:


For our audience, what is 'toner'?


Jobs, "Its the black stuff..."

See the video here, http://youtu.be/_1rXqD6M614.



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Sunday, October 26, 2014

013 - We Are #MSFT's Worst Nightmare



First published, 1/9/13 on Walters & Shutwell.

The War is Over: WinTel is dying. How do I know? The growing pile of HP technology in the corner of our room tells me so.

Don't get me wrong - I am not one of those Cult of the Mac, graphic designer types. The last Apple computer my family owned was an IIe back in 1980.   My father, the teacher, got the massive teacher discount.  I barely touched the thing.

I grew up on DOS 2.0-4.0(the one with the square mouse pointer) my first job was with an Inacomp selling B2B, computerized accounting systems.

In addition to Great Plains,  I sold the difference between "IBM-DOS" and "MS-DOS". We despised MACs for their ease of use and lack of business applications.

I sold IBM PS/2' with OS/2. I was there from the beginning of the War. I was there when IBM, like Cleopatra on her barge, left the field of battle open to the clones and Steve Jobs.

A couple decades later, I was a Crackberry advocate and 'droid proponent.

I sold HP9065(Konica) copiers to IT directors back in the day because they loved that little blue logo. My managed print services practice was built around the Edgeline (cold sweat at night) - again, IT loved the logo.

So, yeah - I drank the Koolade for decades.

A few days ago, we brought into the office an iMAC. Jennifer uses it with her iPad. I use a 2 month old Mac Book Pro, with my iPad. We moved an older iMac out to be used by the kids. They have an iPhone and iPad Mini between the two. And iPod Touches.  They can bring the devices to school because the school district has implemented a BYOD policy.  A school district - that's what I said.

In the corner of the room sits an HP InkJet printer next to a half empty box of A4 paper. The case is at least five years old and still contains a few original reams.

We don't print much.

On top of the printer is what I call, "the world's largest laptop, in the world" - some HP huge contraption that I am sure was great in it's time, but has also been downgraded to kid duty.

There is a Compaq/HP laptop stashed somewhere and soon to join the "pile of HP" is my last PC, ever. A very nice, HP, steel thing-a-ma-bob with so many .tmp files loaded on it, I should just take it into the woods and shoot it out of its misery.

But I won't. I need it for the picture.

We didn't wait for DOS 8.0 because we knew it was going to be a dog.

We didn't wait for all the new tablets, Droid or otherwise, because we knew they would never, ever be an iPad with the Retina display.

We didn't run out and grab the latest E-reader either  - who wants a reader when you can get an iPad mini? Who?

Not many.

Conversely, corporate America did wait. But by the time they saw what they waited for, the Kool-aid had lost it's sweetness.  DOS 8.0 won't save anyone, it will remain planted in the past - #MSFT 's last attempt has fallen short.  XBox to the rescue?


Our house is now a house of Mac.

No patches, no blue screen of death, no drivers, no long boot times and no eye fatigue.

For me, it wasn't how good my eyes felt the second I started using the iPad, that convinced me of MSFT and the PC's death.

It wasn't the zillions of cool, available, and affordable productivity apps or the fact that all my contacts and music are sharable without headache that tipped the scales.

Just because my computer is now a pleasure to work with, easy to understand and powerful enough for NASA, I could still see an HP, or Dell somewhere in the future. In a public library or someplace.

The convenience, ease of use and increased productivity of the Mac hadn't convinced me totally of The Fall.

The thing that clinched it, the one observation that pulled it all together, that last nail in the coffin was a little device that fit in the palm of my hand.

A technological marvel.

Like the penny in Somewhere in Time - Apple's Magic Mouse snapped every second since 1980 into the present. Boom, here it was, full circle.

The last item MSFT will see as it fades to black is the first object that set Apple apart:

The Apple (Magic) Mouse.

"Alas poor #MFST, we knew you well..."



Friday, October 24, 2014

013: The Millennials, Boomers and Managed print Services


The Last Generation Gap- from 2013...

If you remember back to the '60's - riots, Viet Nam, Presidential and political assassinations, hippies at Woodstock, the Beatles, Stones, the Peace movement and a vaguely remembered issue called the, "The Generation Gap".

This Gap referred to the difference between younger generations and their elders. Back then, teenagers regarded their parents' established social norms outdated and restrictive - many rebelled:

At Transform2013, I attended Terrie Campbell's presentation, "GenY's Idiosyncrasies - Can your Business Survive Them?"  If you ever get the opportunity to hear Terrie present on the current generation gap, do so.  She has an acute understanding of the inner workings between the different generations within the business environment.

From her presentation, here is a profile of the Baby Boomer demographic:

  • Born post WWII – early 1960’s
  • Believes personal face-to-face interaction as highest level of service
  • Will likely exit the workplace by 2021; significant experiential knowledge will leave with them
  • Typically a contrarian point of view on the long-term viability of technology which they interpret to suggest human knowledge and skills become less valuable than a “computer”
  • Will oppose change with a vengeance if they are asked to work differently
  • Transacts limited personal business on line
"Typically a contrarian point of view on the long-term viability of technology which they interpret to suggest human knowledge and skills become less valuable than a “computer” - Boomer
And here are the characteristics of the Millenials, Gen “Y”:

  • Prefer the use of digital information and technology
  • Will represent more than 50% of the workforce in less than three years
  • Very team oriented with less focus on personal recognition
  • Defining the use of text, chat and social media as primary communication medium
  • Transacts all personal business on line and sees immediate accessibility and ability to self- serve as highest level of service
  • First generation to have internet since kindergarten
Mind the GAP, eh?

One specific and alleged challenge revolves around knowledge transfer.  It's thought by some, since these two segments don't communicate, the collective Boomer knowledge base will be lost forever.

The Boomers believe it is the Millennials who need or want the knowledge that they, the Boomers, have between their ears.  They think their way of conducting business, administering quotas, designing cold call campaigns and generally motivating through pay, is the only way to get things done.

And they worry the Millennials don't get it.

Think about it: How will the Millennials know how to answer emails?

Will they learn proper email etiquette? - this worries the Boomers...
If Millennials believe in the 'we all deserve a trophy' philosophy, what impact will competitive quota's and contests have on productivity? - "...the foundations of business will crumble...", the Boomers exclaim...

There's more:  If the two generations aren't talking, how will these youngins know how to evade responsibility or shift blame to a co-worker?  How will these young bucks learn the art of ejecting tens of thousands of employees?  Who will tell the generation after them, "Greed...is good", "Always be closing..." or "Put that coffee down! Coffee is for closers..."??  

 The real burning question nobody wants to ask is:

    "Who says Millennials should act or think like Boomers, anyway?"
More importantly, SHOULD any generation feel compelled to follow in the Boomers shadow?

How is it Boomers feel so entitled?

Boomer-Relevancy has slipped the surly bonds - The Andy Griffith age has passed.   Why care what they know when their experience and wisdom got us in the situations we're in today?  Indeed, how much can a Millennial, who is connected 24/7, learn from someone who reads his/her news 8 hours after it happens? Can a Boomer sales manager answer any specific question around selling as quickly as Google?

The Boomers may be the last paper-generation.  Not because they all saved millions of trees; they are the last generation comfortable in consuming information at a snail's pace.

How Do Millennials figure into Print?

The gap we're observing could not be more illustrated than by the difference in how one generation uses paper and the other does not.  One generation believes paper is like stone, the other, if they even consider it at all, feels print is too slow.

Don't get me wrong, elders of every civilization possess a collective wisdom - but that's nothing compared to having access to all the wisdom of all the generations of all current and past civilizations, a few thumb-strokes away.  I exaggerate, but you get the idea - how important can it be to pass on the art of buggy-whip manufacturing, when we all use Skype, WebEx, etc.?  Does anybody still use Morse code or program in Fortran?

The 60's generation gap is not all that far from the current Boomer/Millennial void - one generation is raring to go the other worried about going away - each think they know it all, both are wrong.

Another similarity is music - these guys aren't Janis Joplin, but the generational angst is just as thick.

"Thank you for feeding us years of lies 
Thank you for the wars you left us to fight 
Thank you for the world you ruined overnight 
But we'll be fine, yeah we'll be fine..."




Special note:

I mentioned the 'age of Andy Griffith' as being past...this is a temporary event.  Human to human communication is the root of growth and evolution.  The point here is entitlement.  One generation is not "greater" than any other and all generations end up like the previous, only slightly enhanced.

But in the end, it's the personal contact that fuels innovation and propels us along.  Paper, glass, internet and quantum physics, these advancements will all lead us back to us.

How Millennial Are You?  Take this survey and find out.   Care to know more?  Check this.


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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Unleashed Workers and the Paperless Office

It Was a Good Run: Paper and the Pony Express
The debate rages — is there, will there ever be, a paperless office? The politically correct response is, “no silly, it's less paper, not paperless.” My answer is the paperless office is already here and those who refuse to admit it are deniers. In the end, we’re all simply debating ourselves, expecting different results; academic insanity.

As I consider the denier position, if print volume is increasing or holding steady, why has HP been experiencing so many challenges and why did International Paper shutter paper-making plants? I can imagine many carriage and buggy whip manufactures feeling the same way and expressing similar arguments the year automobiles started replacing horse drawn carriages en masse: 1913.
Note: Buggy whips are actually a humane product used to lead horse-drawn buggies, making snapping noises to encourage them to speed up and not meant to ever touch or harm the horse.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Three Ideas for Copier People Selling Managed Services


The move into managed services is well on its way and traditional copier reps are getting caught in the middle between selling boxes and selling services.  Pundits and consultants lament "copier people cannot sell managed services" unless they attend a day of specialized sales training.

It is true, I've seen plenty of managed services or IT sales destroyed by copier sales reps - from Cali to N.C. I've written about a couple of instances.

The thing is, for all the challenges and failures, the rep is not to blame. We train them to always be closing, find pain and twist, to hunt, take-down, close, trap and "increase share of wallet" - armed with this mentality, its a miracle anybody sells anything, let alone a nuanced offering like managed services.

So, as a copier rep, what can you do to secure more managed services contracts/agreements?  Should you heed your sales manager's advice and  treat help desk like a fax board?  Does your OEM offer any clues? How about a few days of off-site training followed up with a phone blitz?

"No...no...no..."

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Mobile: Unleashing the Power of You


First published Oct, 2014, on WorkIntelligently, Ricoh.

The new world of work looks a lot less like the traditional corner office.

Today, the idea of mobile workers is commonplace. But it hasn’t always been that way. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and see where the idea came from — and from there we’ll look at where it’s headed in the future.

The Day Before Yesterday: The Telecommuter

To ease the pain of physical commutes, some companies started letting employees work from home occasionally. A person who worked in this manner was referred to as a “telecommuter,” “teleworker” or sometimes a “home-sourced” or “work-at-home” employee. They could process check runs, code medical bills, and do other computing chores from their kitchen tables; they could also access email and files and hop on conference calls when needed. Connecting remotely wasn’t always the smoothest thing in the world, but it worked well enough to be worthwhile.

Yesterday: The Remote Worker

Sales people were the first to embrace life on the road, so it was they who first explored advanced tools for working remotely: cell phones, pagers, laptops and battery-powered printers. Back then, configuring laptops to connect to corporate customer relationship management software or legacy accounting systems required significant IT resources.

And although a significant portion of their activity took place outside the company, remote workers were still anchored to their brick-and-mortar workflows. Indeed, they had a laptop AND a desktop computer “back in the office,” where attending meetings in person was still expected. Hard-copy orders and leasing paperwork had to find their way to accounting for processing. Paper invoices might need to be hand delivered, and checks were mailed.

Again, this worked well enough. But there was a better way.

Today: Mobile Workers

Now the notion of performing general office tasks outside the office is nothing special. Mobile workers are not only ubiquitous but expected: If your company doesn’t have or can’t accommodate them, you’re not really running with the pack. The triple threat of personal technology (cell coverage and ubiquitous Wi-Fi), cloud technology and efficient software applications aren’t destroying the office environment — on the contrary, they’re enabling decisions to be made in the field.
Our devices put us in touch with the entire business ecosystem. Quotes are emailed to customers, approved, returned and forwarded to accounting from our tablet, whether we’re in the conference room or at the beach. We can talk to clients and prospects from anywhere and we can get online — from the Starbucks parking lot, if we want.

“In Person” Is the Exception

The biggest improvement for today’s mobile workers is the capability, from anywhere, to fully participate in organizational workflow. Instead of printing and handing in paperwork, the entire order process can be handled on the laptop.

This is key.

Today, there’s little to no reason for person-to-person contact. This isn’t to say it has no value — if anything, the ubiquity of mobile workers elevates personal contact into something special and valuable. In-person meetings are more significant and imbued with greater purpose and meaning.
Is there a downside to less face-to-face collaboration? How can we be creative when we’re hundreds of miles apart?

Plenty of ways, some of which we haven’t even imagined yet. The tools are in the palm of our hand. Just as workers before us transitioned from typewriters to PCs, so shall we transform our creative processes in the new world of work.

Tomorrow: The Unleashed Worker

As our physical limitations melt away, now we can ask ourselves a really big question: If I can process all this information and complete tasks for one company, why not many?
Imagine a world where the payroll expert processes invoices from her home — and also does so for six different companies. Think about multiple manufacturing companies working with a service that processes raw material orders, or a global team of engineers designing bridges in the U.S. Once the designs and job are approved, construction management could be achieved with both on-the-ground assets and remote, untethered project managers — managers who are watching multiple enterprises around the globe.

The most significant evolution is having access to capable applications and data, in real time, from any connected device, anywhere. Another evolution: the real-time collection, calculation and presentation of data models, from the cloud to our palm. In this exciting era of data crunching and information sharing, in can take workers mere seconds to make decisions and take actions that once took weeks. These are key components of information mobility, and by extension, your business’s strategy for success in the coming years.

Summary

Mobile workers will completely reinvent our concept of the office. In the new world of work, we will have the choice to work anywhere, from a cubicle to the beach. Technology’s incessant march forward will open more and more opportunities to make contact and collaborate in creative ways. That’s good news — not just for mobile workers, but for businesses as well.

Postscript - A funny thing happened on the way to Freedom

The Way is Circular - everything repeats.  In 2017, the personal touch is coming back.  Face to face meetings hold more importance than they did just two years ago.  Today, the cold call is back, having the gumption to walk into a reception area, unannounced, is a talent.

When it's rare to see people, seeing people is more of a joy.

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Friday, October 10, 2014

FedEx Training Attack Hawks: Amazon Drones Beware


SkyNet was a fictional representation of a robot Apocalypse - robot drones occupy the skies delivery humanity to the brink of extinction.

This isn't that.

Recently uncovered footage shows a hawk downing what could be an Amazon delivery drone.

What first appeared as random attacks, is thought to be results of a secret training program.  Eye witness accounts of birds attacking innocent, privately owned, 'quad-copter' drones around the world point to one possibility: Avian Skulduggery.




Just outside Memphis, TN, FedEx World Headquarters,  locals have been noticing an increase in "Bird-nappings" - pet hawks, crows, canaries and even Canadian Geese have been reported missing at a alarming rate.
"The other morning, I was feeding the geese.  I had to get more feed.  When I came back out, all 20 of 'em were gone.  Without a trace.  It's the damnedest thing...its like they just flew away...", reports Jimmie Casey, the neighborhood goose wrangler.
GoPro and QuadPod enthusiasts say their drones are under attack.  Hawks, crows and geese appear to have a singular mission; attack, maul and negate mechanical intruders.

Flying birds are not the only recruits.  Recently released NSA footage shows field training of a FedEx recruit, pestering a UPS driver.

Warning, the following footage may be too intense for some viewers.





There's more.

Obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, footage shows a foul-recruitment technique designed to entice American Bald Eagles. Locals refused to answer any questions regarding 'attack Eagles' on camera. But un-named sources close to the project said,

"It's a mess out there.  It's like they're being trained to eat fish and attack pickup trucks.  I don't like it."




More Rumors -

Internet groups like Next Day Delivery and online forum, Package Shipping are filled with whispers of a secret program, named 'Drone: Attack, Maul, Negate'(DAMN).  This program is believed to the brainchild of either Elon Musk, Sir Richard Branson or Meg Whitman.  Perhaps all three are forming a triad.

More details as our investigation continues...for now, keep your eyes to the skies and watch The Birds.




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* Do I need to mention that the above is a work of fiction, fantasy and fantastical?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Mobile Class of 2012: No Print

09/2012 -

I subscribed to Dropbox and Box.net. My primary reason was the ability to send documents to the cloud and access them from my TouchPad anywhere in the world.

This worked great.

I created a master blog article at night, then reviewed it, finalized it and sent it from 10,000 feet in the air the next morning. (Mile High Club – sweet!) And there is more: I didn’t need to “send” the file as an attachment; I simply shared the folder with my editor. When she opens the file or document, I am notified. When she needs a new contract initialed, instead of emailing me a 12-page PDF, she simply drops the file into our shared folder, and the cloud notifies me of the new document. Revisions, digital signatures and final drafts are all handled from a tablet. Even the final “print” is on a website, not ink on paper.

And I know I don’t need to point out how much paper was not used in this workflow, do I?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

What the HP Split Tells Us About HP's Managed Print Services

It's an outhouse.  Made out of the shipping container for Edgeline.
For years the definition of managed print services has been bandied around like a beach ball on Labor Day Weekend. Your definition of MPS rotated around your particular strengths.

For instance, if you refilled empty toner cartridges, your MpS is all about less expensive toner. If you're a copier dealership, your MpS may orient around centralized MFD's and optimization means a single brand of devices. Still, if you are a big box, office supplies vendor, your MpS is all about desk side toner delivery.

My definition of MPS tries to be encompassing: my monitoring software is in on a screen inside my NOC, right next to the CCTV and Level Platforms. My optimization, for example, includes reducing the number of devices in an accounting department to zero and implementing digital workflow systems and dual monitors.

So, back in 2009, my MPS included everything from ink and service delivery, staff augmentation, Sharepoint, laptop imaging, and unified communications. I was a big HP house. I sold only HP toner, servers, laptops, printers and...oh yeah, Edgeline multifunction behemoths.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

#HP $HPQ to Cull PC's & Printers: New Company Called, "HP, Inc." - Get It?



"Ah ! well a-day ! what evil looks
Had I from old and young !
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung."
--- Coleridge

In 1991 Lexmark was formed when IBM divested its printer and printer supply operations to an investment firm. On November 15, 1995, Lexmark was publicly traded .  Today the company is trading at $41.59 has a revenue around $3.7B and about 12,000 employees.  Back in the 90's, Lexmark boasted a revenue of nearly $2.0B.

IBM was in the midst of one of the greatest corporate transformations in history.  The company was in turmoil; internal leadership changes, intense competitive pressures, economic headwinds and a fractured self-image.  They didn't know who they were, what they did or how to do whatever it was they were going to do, better.
Crazy times, the 90's.

Today, another great technology firm finds herself in the throws of transformation - HP offers everything from servers, clouds, PC's, laptops, printers, supplies and services. But its not enough.  More accurately, its just too much. What IBM grew through, HP is now experiencing - you can't be everything to everyone.  If that were all, it would be bad enough, but its worse.  HP, Microsoft and the rest of the WinTel realm can no longer dictate demand. Their rule is not as relevant as in the past.

Take printers, for example.  HP brought the laser printer into the business world and for a decade or two, HP was synonymous with printing.  But in 2007, the winds of change were upon us.  No matter how much marketing tries to accentuate the shift from toner to ink, black and white to color, desktop to mobile, hard copy print will never rebound;  sinking more resources against the tide is folly.

What made HP great, is holding her back.  Print is the albatross.

Some will herald the move as great strategy - it might be - for sure, this is a responsive tact, not one that bends the market to HP's will.

Nothing, not even the company who brought the laser printer to nearly every desktop in the land, can reverse the trend.  Printing is dying.  Not because we've all decided to stop killing trees, or understand printing decreases the ozone layer or bringing on the next ice age.  HP is a victim of the shift in How We Work:

  • No more desktop PCs
  • No more servers
  • Fewer laptops
  • We do not print the same
  • We communicate differently
  • Fewer printers
  • Almost no copiers

Today, we communicate under glass more than ever before. Generations of young adults live in a world without PC's, rotary phones, black and white TV, newspaper delivery or a printer.  Like generations before them understood life with electricity, they've never known a world without the internet.  Why in the world would they ever want or need to print anything?  Why?  Ask them.

Tablets, smart phones and new workflows, oh my.
"No one in the printing industry, or outside it, had any idea that the iPad would come along and destroy three- to four-thousand-year-old human traditions concerning paper," explained Gary Peterson, chief executive at Gap Intelligence, a San Diego-based research analysis firm.
No one except us...here.

In light of this expected turn, to all the paperless deniers, I ask this:




then...


  • Why did International Paper shutter it's biggest, 8.5x11 sized paper producing plant if print volumes are increasing?
  • Why did HP layoff 40,000 employees when the second coming, mobil print or ink, is just around the corner?  Think of layoffs as The Rapture.
  • Why is less than half of Xerox's revenue generated through equipment sales?
  • Why would a leading copier manufacturer build an erasable copier?
  • Even without printing capabilities, Apple still sold more than a dozen iPads

Denial.
"HP profits are reliant on selling "consumables" like inkjet cartridges, so the company can't be eager to see that business sidelined by the new prominence of tablets and smartphones. Even though mobile device make it easier to skip the printer in some cases, for example with electronic boarding passes and mapping apps, McCoog doesn't see printing as an endangered business.
Yeah, right.

What does this mean to all of you selling copiers and MpS?  Keep doing what you're doing, your resume clean and enhance your PERSONAL ACUMEN every day.  The change isn't coming, it is already here and you've got to improve yourself beyond the box and away from marks on paper.

Perhaps two decades from today, we'll look back and remember how HP built a great print business, sold it off and turned into the technology powerhouse Bill and Dave envisioned.


1991 -

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Death of A #CopierSale - Birth of a #ManagedServices Engagement

There we were, sitting shoulder to shoulder with a freshly minted copier rep talking to a prospect. The rep was leading the team in monthly revenue and looking to lock it all up with this opportunity. The five of us, there on the provider side, two on the prospect, were discussing the benefits of managed services. Our prospect was lamenting the many challenges with the current IT services provider:

- "Never hear from them"
- "Whenever they come out, they charge us. And they always come out."
- "I asked them if our backup was secure and found out it wasn't last week when we lost power"
- "He only does hardware and knows nothing about printers"
- "What are we paying for, again?"

The pain was there waiting for us to isolate and trial close. We knew how much they were paying and they wanted to work with one company, for all their technology needs.

Yes - we could have closed right then and there...

But we didn’t.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Fall of IT and the Rise Of The Human Resources Department


BYOD, the Cloud and 99 cent apps are shifting Information Technology expertise from the glass room to the end user at an accelerating rate.

Once, all business tools were housed 'back at the office' - the phone system, postage meter, mainframe, desktop and network, all your paperwork and files were physically located under one roof.  To support this infrastructure, organizations splintered responsibilities into appropriate departments; accounting, marketing, warehouse, sales, and administration departments carried separate responsibilities, budgets and expectations.  

IT was one such department.