Friday, February 26, 2016

Xerox, HP, Lexmark : The Greatest Transformation of a Niche Since the 70's Auto Industry


Remember transformations of the Past -

  • The great computer dealership purges of the 1990's - Inacomp to Wal*Mart
  • The music industry - vinyl to CD to MP3 to streaming
  • The auto industry, 1970's, from V8 to 4cyl, from 400 HP to 100 horses running through front wheels
2/2016 -

Look what is happening to Sharp - the copier side of Sharp is viable and profitable - is it far fetched to see another 'spin-off' or will the imaging division continue to be a profit center for the whole?  Is an investment of $450M good money after bad ?

Lexmark has gone from the "long cool woman in a black dress" to having her parts examined separately.  Recent augmentations appear more valuable than the core.

HP just reported,

"...Printing remained challenged in the quarter with net revenue of $4.6 billion, down 17% year-over-year as reported or 11% in constant currency, with declines in all regions."

Turning to Supplies, revenue was down 14% year-over-year in Q1 about 400 people exited the company globally as part of the restructuring activities announced in September...we are accelerating the program and now expect approximately 3,000 people will exit by the end of fiscal 2016 instead of over three years."

Last year, Q1 2015, HP reported a 14% decrease print revenue.  Two years of down numbers?  How about 4 years?

Xerox -

In an article written by Stephen Hays, the chairman of Brighton Securities, George Conboy is quoted saying Xerox...

"is steadily on a downward path, especially in its equipment business. The demand for its technology is falling by the day. Though the company may not be staring at bankruptcy in the near future it is, however, facing a situation where it is slowly moving away from maneuvering paper documents and making copies. Meaning, Xerox Corporation (NYSE: XRX) is steadily shifting away from its equipment business as there is lesser demand for its technology..."

Outside pundits see, why don't our own?

Some might say the auto industry transformation was greater in scale and scope than our copier confluence but consider this: no other segment of business, lest IT, has had more impact in the business world that printing and copying.

Nothing in history compares.

Chevy Citation, anyone?

How can Lexmark, Xerox and HP change to remain relevant?

The car of the year in 1980 was the Chevy Citation.  A front wheel drive, side mounted radio, "Accord killer".  Parts fell off, transmissions locked and a generation of customers scrambled toward Toyota.

The OEMs continue to produce more of the same:

Is ink in the office akin to front wheel drive?
Is MPS the independent channel's CD?
Is managed services the next 5.25" floppy?

Either way, slow down and consider what is unfolding before our eyes - the greatest shift in business communications since the typewriter.



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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Xerox, Lexmark, Sharp and HP: All Things Must Pass



In an article written by Stephen Hays, the chairman of Brighton Securities, George Conboy is quoted saying Xerox...

"is steadily on a downward path, especially in its equipment business. The demand for its technology is falling by the day. Though the company may not be staring at bankruptcy in the near future it is, however, facing a situation where it is slowly moving away from maneuvering paper documents and making copies. Meaning, Xerox Corporation (NYSE: XRX) is steadily shifting away from its equipment business as there is lesser demand for its technology..."

Wow.  Who woulda thunk? But who is surprised?

The vultures are circling Lexmark, HP just reported a 17% fall in print revenue, Xerox dividing and Sharp bouncing back and forth between China and Japan - all add up to the most dynamic imaging environment since the Great Rikon purchase of 2008.

2016 -

More experts are recognizing something we've been saying here on DOTC since 2008 - The Death of The Copier is upon us. They're talking bankruptcy and comparing Xerox with Kodak.

People outside of the imaging niche, folks who don't sell toner, copiers, printers, document management software, MpS, print 'big data', online marketing, dealer websites, copier sales training classes, MpS programs or save trees - articulate how the demand for copier/print technology "is falling by the day."

The wave is just over your shoulder.

Who is your biggest competitor, today?
  • The direct branch across town? No.
  • The mega-dealer over the state line? Negative.
  • The toner pirate on the other side of the tracks? Nope.
Today, your competitor is Time.



Tic Toc

It might be too late.

Smaller dealerships with lower overhead serving the SMB, may survive.

Larger companies will sell out or wash away.

The medium sized dealers, their employees and families, will take the full brunt of the on-coming wave.

After the flood, the sun will rise on a landscape full of opportunity and promise.

A new day, a new Way.  Without print.

"Printer jams, how novel. Did you know there is no paper in the future, or should I say no future in paper?"

- Matthew, Continuum, Season 2, Ep. 2, "Split Second"

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Apple, The FBI, ISIS and You - The Internet of Everyone




"The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers. We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand.

This moment calls for public discussion, and we want our customers and people around the country to understand what is at stake." - Tim Cook

This issue has implications beyond the disgusting terror attack in San Berdoo - and as much as we despise ISIS and its followers, I can't help but believe that today's request by the FBI is more slippage toward that Orwellian vision.

One of my gripes with Google is their disregard for our privacy - invasive advertising, location detection, etc., etc.  If Apple gives in, they become nothing more than a prettier Google and Google is a sieve; so is Windows.

"Dominoes Fall"




"We have great respect for the professionals at the FBI, and we believe their intentions are good. Up to this point, we have done everything that is both within our power and within the law to help them. But now the U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create. 

They have asked us to build a backdoor to the iPhone."  -Tim Cook

Here's the point: It's obvious iPhone is one of the most secure phones in the business, not even the FBI can break in. It's what I expect from Apple.

Some argue Apple should "do the right thing" and open up for the authorities.  Of course, Apple is doing the right thing by securing our personal data.  This is foundational to digital existence.

From printers, Netflix to your phone, today's world logs your actions and is subject to outside observation.  Current generations unfamiliar with a life without the internet, accept this openness.

But there should be an island of privacy.  Apple gave us a slice with the A7/8 chip.

Assuming the unlikely event that Apple prevails, the FBI, indeed the US must find another way:
  • Patch up the holes in our immigration process.
  • Intensify anti ISIS marketing.
  • Neutralize them in their backyard.
Whichever side of the dispute you fall, remembering why we're arguing either point is most important:
  • ISIS put this in the headlines.  
  • These two murderers pushed the FBI to consider data on an iPhone.  
  • Radical belief forced Tim Cook to release a letter of explanation.
The erosion of privacy isn't a result of a heavy handed government or a weak corporation. The assault is born from ancient people who loathe your freedom.  We must defend freedom from all directions at every instance.  From the copier to your phone.
"Ideas are Bullet Proof.."

Everybody in the Gov't has a gun: The FBI, Homeland Security, Immigration, FDIC, USPS, even the IRS.  ISIS has guns, HUMVEE's and steak knives.

Apple has ideas.



In the end, Apple will probably lose this fight.


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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Nothing New in ManagedPrintServices: Except Seat Based Billing


Top 100 Summit Executive Council Creates SBB Business Model for Managed Print
February 16, 2016

Calgary, AB - February 16, 2016 - Print Audit®, along with 29 dealer and distribution partners, has completed a 12 week Executive Council for the development of a viable Seat Based Billing (SBB) model for Managed Print. SBB for MPS has been designed as an alternative to the highly commoditized CPP billing method currently employed by the industry. SBB offers stronger protection of dealer profits while at the same time delivering additional savings for customers through efficiency improvements.


One of Print Audit’s key missions is to “Save the office equipment industry” and SBB will help to deliver on this. Declining pages per user, fracturing OEM stability, increased competitive pressures and the commoditization of the traditional CPP model are forcing the office equipment industry to develop a new business model for the future of Managed Print. The SBB Executive Council has come up with a model that will drive a new era of MPS.

“The existing CPP model for MPS has been around for over 15 years and dealers have been looking for new ways to grow their businesses in challenging times.” stated West McDonald, Vice President of Business Development for Print Audit. “SBB will give office equipment dealers a way to increase their total profits while shutting out less advanced competitors. We are all very excited to have completed a viable SBB model so that progressive dealers can start taking advantage of SBB today.”

Seat Based Billing comes with a host of benefits for both dealers and end-users alike:

- 100% budgetable printing costs: No more counting. A fixed monthly fee per user for managed print.
- Cost reduction through workflow improvements: Delivers customer savings while increasing dealer total profits.
- Unified billing: The same billing model for MPS, Managed IT Services, and DMS.
- Improved security: User-based accounting and print tracking.

The SBB Executive Council was created at the Top 100 Summit. The Top 100 Summit is an event where dealer principals gather to build and refine the business model of the future. To learn more about SBB and to see if you are eligible to attend the exclusive Top 100 Summit, visit http://www.printaudit.com/top100

###

My take on this -

SBB isn't going to save the industry, but it might help "re-invent this business".


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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Who Designs Your Print Policy: Copier or IT Folks?


I am a proponent of Print Policies:

“A Print Policy is the documented outline of procedures, illustrating the organization’s current output related decision making processes. This policy is endorsed at the highest level of executive management, contains milestones and supports the organization’s business goals.”

I've seen implementations streamline work processes, enforce SLA's and reduce costs by millions.

I'm a believer.

It's obvious the best Print Policies are created when working with outside experts.

But who?

On one side stands the copier/printer specialists, mavens of the printed document, leasing, and deal crafting.

Residing across the hall, masters of storage, operating systems, PC's, mobile devices and even printers, hang their shingle.

That leaves you,  the "IT Guy" responsible for endpoints, Windows upgrades, and those pesky copiers and printers, stuck in the middle - again.

Should you place a call to your IT VAR or copier dealer? Yes.
"The fewer prints you generate,  the less they get paid - simple math."
Long ago, I felt the most qualified managers of output devices came from the office printing/copier side.  In some cases, this is still true.

Here's the rub: a copier dealer, indeed, any business surviving or thriving on the amount of prints you generate, cannot in good conscience, help you manage away the mystery and reduce output.

Why would a copier/printer company train sales people to reduce revenue?  It's an obvious question. One you should ask those "MpS" providers still promising "30% savings".

My recommendation is to work with the group that doesn't survive on your print volume.

No matter who you choose, your partner in Print Policy development should:

Be neutral about printers
The first qualification is to regard each printer as an end-point inside life cycle services. Sure, printers can be dirty and require physical intervention.  Yes, they jam and run out of toner right before a big print project. And yes, as much as 60% of help desk calls are print related.  Yet successful management of assets originate from a position of neutrality.

Neutrality - your output devices represent zero revenue and hold no negative emotional attachment to either contributing party.

Have a holistic view
Your provider must consider the entire output and input fleet, including copiers, printers, print servers, print cues, label printers, fax machines, fax servers, scanners and yes, even dual monitors.

Endpoints are the beginning; every vendor, provider and partner relationship is to be documented, holding all accountable.

Once the points and processes are determined - from assessment to retirement - everything is diagramed.

The result is a large flowchart.  Imagine.

Think of your Print Policy as the Vanguard for your IT Policy
As the decision and support process for print and copy fall into the IT realm, covering output devices, conducting end-user assessments, and documenting workflow can be labor intensive.
A Print Policy requires time, expertise and end user interface.  But when the process is complete, establishing the same for a comprehensive IT Policy is easier.

Utilizing the process of generating a Print Policy can be replicated in determining your organization's entire IT policy.

Don't waste the opportunity.

There are more considerations, but these three are significant. If you're interested in a deeper understanding, reach out to me, greg@grwalters.com.

"Why join the Navy when you can be a Pirate?"

-Steve Jobs





Local band.  Eau Claire, Wi.  Good Stuff.





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ODC expands distribution with the addition of CCG, Collaborative Consultant Group in the US

Collaborative Consultant Group LLC to begin marketing DOCassess & MPS in a tablet to the BTA Dealer Channel.

TORONTO, Ontario – January 28, 2016. Office Document Consulting Inc., a global leader in simplifying the MPS approach and automation of print assessments, today announced the addition of Collaborative Consultant Group to its Global Distribution Team.

“We began focusing on a distribution model in early 2015 and I am very pleased to announce the addition of CCG, Collaborative Consultant Group as our newest distributor.” said Mike Lamothe, President of Office Document Consulting, Inc. “with increased demand of our flagship product DOCassess we began looking for a partner in the United States.” CCG has an established consulting practice supporting dealers and channel partners making a transition into managed print. “it made perfect sense to me, Mike has done a great job building his practice and with the additions of DOCassess and our other solutions CCG will be in a strong position to help their customers succeed”

“Collaborative Consultant Group has been working with our dealers using a “ground up” approach. Providing sales reps the ability to make decisions based on actionable data we see as the real silver bullet. We are excited to join forces with Office Document Consulting and combine world class solutions with real world experience to help our clients achieve growth and drive margins that can be predicted and effectively managed” said Mike Lecak, President of Collaborative Consultant Group, LLC.

About CCG Collaborative Consultant Group LLC.

Located in San Diego, California, CCG is a comprehensive consulting firm within the office imaging and technology industry focused on providing a hands-on approach with its clients delivering proven strategies that positively impact bottom line results. Mike Lecak is a 32 + year veteran of the industry and brings a unique perspective to business planning and execution most critical to owners and senior leaders interested in employing the latest in best practices. To learn more about Collaborative Consultant Group please visit: Collaborativeconsultantgroup.com or call 480-335-7210.
About Office Document Consulting, Inc.

Office Document Consulting Inc. is one of the global leaders in print assessment software and continues to provide innovative solutions to further automate the assessment process. With the launch of DOCassess Platinum and Mobile Mapping App V2 ODC continues to simplify and automate the entire assessment process. To learn more about all of ODC’s software solutions visit www.officedocumentconsulting.com or book a webinar
email info@docassess.com or call 647 389 5048