Monday, September 21, 2015

The Next Managed print Services Event


“Wrath”- One of my favorites

Another stage, power point, round table, expert panel and cast of hundreds looking to commune and see the “new MPS” …again. I've witnessed multiple iterations and others broken promises since 2007. I’ve attended many such gatherings and presentations: Lyra, Photizo, ITEX, ReCharger, MWAi Executive Summit. I’ve spoken with thousands of customers, hundreds of resellers all the OEMs and countless dealers about MpS, copiers, printers, toner, managed services and the like.

Now, a new effort is in town. The "Top 100 Summit" focusing on the future of managed print services; "MPS is Changing" is the tag-line.

In the beginning, managed print services was mocked for being nothing more than facilities management or copier-service on laser printers. Something the more “forward" thinking copier providers and OEMs had ‘been doing for decades’ - not really.

But even back then, in the frenzied years of possibilities, there were those who saw managed print services literally; a service that managed print. Some of us understood ‘print’ to be any media - from 8.5x11 to voice mail. Further, we recognized this managed service as a path to higher thought, more relevancy and a foundation for a sustainable business model not increased shelf space, capturing clicks, or trapping clients in 60 month contracts.

We knew the future of print had less to do with copiers, printers, ink or toner hitting paper. We eagerly embraced the talk tracks and value props around ‘more efficiency in the office’, reduction in costs and optimizing the print environment - and we meant it.

We attended new and interesting shows. In April of 2009, Photizo ushered in this bold new concept and talked about managed print services well before ANY other pundit, consultant, training house, OEM, toner remanufacturer or copier dealer - yes there were a few true managed print services providers but most of the traditional imaging industry either explained away the movement as ‘just another gimmick’ or claimed to have been in managed print services for “25 years”.

We believers "...gave the Future to the winds and slumbered tranquilly in the Present, weaving the dull world around us into dreams.” Designing a future of connected devices, less print and optimized business environments. Yet, like most promises, our dreams were burned away by the reality of equipment quotas and dogma; more specifically, in toner and ink.

Spin the dial six years into the future and it seems who can spell “MPS” can sell “MPS”. Bags of ink are the new MpS. Analytics are the new MpS. Copier service is the new MpS. Despite consistently declining equipment placements, shuttered paper plants and industry lay-offs, increasing print volumes are the new MpS. It is an upside-down world.

 The Universe according to Greg:

  • Print Analytics - Who Cares? We do, but do our clients?
  • Ink vs. Toner - Who Cares? We do, but do our clients?
  • Print is not dying - Ignorance is bliss.
  • Managed (IT/Network) services is the future - Oh, really? Even the IT guys understand MS is short term - look up Software Defined Workspace.
  • Print volumes have been going up - rearranging the deck chairs, nobody is creating new "clicks".
So what about all this?

Is it still the doom and gloom era? Not really. But no matter how many round tables, expert panels, sales classes, consulting services, or business transformations our industry attends or participates, we’re all simply talking to ourselves; alone in the dark. Until we stop looking at our prospects as ‘targets’ to be ‘trapped in an agreement’ or design ‘sticky’ marketing schemes and start ‘solving’ instead of ‘selling’ those who do survive, will wander the the abyss; shadows of the once might ‘copier industry’.

Which brings me to the Top 100 Summit. Will we usher in a new era? Will the sins of our past support positive change or drag us into the depths of irrelevance?

Big questions and unseen answers.

I suspect we’ll have a great time. I see us sharing new ideas and expressions of hope. Ultimately, what really matters, is how everyone feels 72 hours after the show; sinful and atoned or raptured ignorance.



Get more, here.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

September 11, 2001 - September 11, 2015


For as long as I can remember, I've played this video on 9/11.  Super Bowl 2002, months after the attack, our country was numb and jumpy.


Well before self-loathing americans started calling our movements in the middle-east "invasion" and "occupation", patriotism was on every street corner.

I remember that night; I remember seeing it live.  I can't tell you the football teams playing, but I can say it was one of the deepest, moving TV moments, ever.

U2 - that Irish rock band, stood up on the world stage, honoring the greatest country on earth and her fallen citizens.  Names float to the sky, as the rousing "Where the Streets Have No Name" beats on.  The song, second of the half-time set,  was written about a place without class stigma, where the distinction between religions and income are no more; a World Without Sin?

Bono ends the tune exposing the Stars and Stripes - Triumph.

Here we are, 14 years laters - The Twin Towers, replaced by that defiant Freedom Tower, slip deeper into fog with each passing 911.  The threat remains the same, if not more pronounced.  Do you honestly feel safer now than you did that faithful day of empty skies, September 12, 2001?

Day of cogitation: What have I learned in these 14 years?

  1. Nothing lasts forever, life is fleeting...
  2. Suffering is a choice...
  3. Like "tears in the rain", ALL promises eventually drown...
  4. Every turn, every occurrence, is exactly as it should be...
  5. Relationship is EVERYTHING...
After 25 years, I recently reconnected with a special woman.  We met, we remembered, and just like we had so many times two and half decades ago, we talked under the stars into the small hours; faces hurt after so many smiles.

Yet, like the intersection point on the infinity sign, we went our separate ways, cherishing the memories and recognizing our past holds more than any possible future.

Relationship.

"You see me now, who I've become and still, you make me feel beautiful, inside and out."

On this day of reflection, consider not only the ones who've helped you see who you are, but remember the hearts you've "imprinted"; son's, daughters, mothers, fathers, friends, lovers and ex-lovers, customers and co-workers.  Be gratified knowing you've changed somebody's life for the better - we all have.

Take time to remember those on the 98th floor, at 8:47 AM, sipping a Starbucks, considering a sales forecast or the regret of not saying "I love you, I always will..." on that morning, 14 years ago.

"I want to run
I want to hide
I want to tear down the walls
That hold me inside
I wanna reach out
And touch the flame
Where the streets have no name..."



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