Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Selling Professional of Today



"What do you want out of life, kid?”

I remember the first time somebody asked me that question. I hesitated, a 20-something kid, trying to figure my answer and this guy’s angle. In the end, I stammered out an incoherent response; he was recruiting for A.L. Williams.

“More money.”

His answer to me was the best, “I’ll tell you what you want out of life in one word: More."

More work, love, sex, money, cars, kids, toys. More time.

More. Makes sense, in a 1980s kind of way, doesn’t it?

Let me ask you this: What do you want out of the imaging niche? More sales, more contracts, device, software, services sales, MPS, or managed services? More clicks?

Or just More?

Unlike the sustainable and always-growing pool of life insurance prospects...

Read the rest, here.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Don't Believe the Analysts, Articles or OEMs: Paper Is Not Relevant



There once was a clever advertisement floating around stressing the futility of going totally paperless. The example was a world without toilet paper.   When the pro-paperless character requests toilet paper, his partner slides a tablet under the door showing a picture of a roll of toilet paper.

Cute.

I'm sure a bunch of us all smiled and nodded.

My response to the metaphor is a bidet; no paper required.


The fight for paper has been raging since 2007 - around the same time managed print services started going mainstream. Over the last few months, amid the news of Lexmark selling, Xerox diverging, HP splitting, paper plant closures and the massive consolidation of the dealer channel, it's odd to see more blogs and articles with titles like:

"Print Lives"
"Paperless office remains a pipe dream for many"
"Why paper still rules the enterprise"

Article based on information from as far back as 2009, the year before the iPad.  Oddly enough, manufacturers of devices that scratch marks on paper, fund these studies.  That's right, the people yelling "paper matters" and "the death of print has been greatly exaggerated" are the same ones making money off the sale of copiers and printers. Huh.

Surveys sponsored by print OEMs are receiving press coverage like:

"According to a new, independent survey of over 3,600 European employees commissioned by Epson Europe, 64% indicated they’d prefer to read reports and brochures on printed paper, citing the ability to ‘share/handout’ (53%), ‘read’ (44%) and ‘edit/annotate’ (41%) as key factors."
-IDM,  January 29, 2015

How can a study "commissioned" by one of the largest printer concerns on the planet be promoted as 'independent'?

Does one need to draw you a picture?

Everything from green printing, security, print big data, to mobile print is getting a spike of media attention - artificial buzz created by well funded marketing departments.

My response to all this "paper is still relevant" talk is Bravo Sierra. Poppycock.  Horsefeathers.  Bollocks.

Bullshit.


I'm saying this to the copier sales folks, the managed print services practice managers and sales people, the toner crews, and everyone in the trenches - listen deeply to the noise, do not ignore the propaganda, analyze the content with a dubious eye.

Remember, your prospects DO NOT READ THESE ARTICLES.  Unfortunately, ownership and sales management are consuming this tripe like it's 1999.

Nod your head when these reports are regurgitated during your Friday evening sales meeting and smile whenever one of your colleagues exclaims with glee, "Print isn't dead."

Clients don't want to be tethered to a copier, chained to a printer or slave to toner cartridges.

"And in your heart, you know I'm right."

The dirty little secret?

Our OEMs knew this back in 2007 and have been concocting ever since.  The progressive manufacturers are reducing sales acquisition cost with a virtual channel; take a look at HP Instant Ink.  Considering most of the buying process is completed without a sales relationship, today's machines rarely require service, and the fleet of vans scurrying all over the country, how relevant is a local dealership?

Now is the time to side with your prospects - sure, sell the shortsighted ones a copier or two - but keep your eye on the horizon.  Dive into all the training you can and develop your personal brand.

The wave is coming, be ready to jump.







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Monday, March 14, 2016

WebJet Admin, SCCM, LanDesk - See Everything with ATLAS

As business entities, we've developed separation of duties establishing the highest level of functional efficiency possible. We specialize by purpose: Accounting, Selling, Support, Production are separate yet interlaced.

This model works. The stronger our separate functions perform the better for the organization.

Unfortunately, this strength turns into a weakness.


"ATLAS saves us hours of valuable time every week locating and tracking vehicles in our dealership..."
Amy Westlake, Office Manager

Silo’s of data evolve into formidable barriers of communications. For those of us tasked with managing the ever expanding landscape of IT assets, collecting the necessary data from all our tools can be time consuming and vulnerable to human error.

Wouldn’t it be grand if you could cross-reference databases within your organization, distilling raw data into actionable information on a single pane?

Today, you can.

Introducing ATLAS - One-Touch Asset Management. ATLAS delivers YOUR data, from multiple sources, the way you wish to see it.



The concept is simple. The deliverable is simple. The method behind the glass, sophisticated.

Join us for a brief discussion around this easy-to-use yet powerful tool designed to work with your existing tools.

Our next webinar is, March 24th.

Click here for a schedule of events.





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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Three Alternatives to ‘Clicks’


 It’s been almost a year since I’ve written about copiers here at The Imaging Channel. During that time I’ve been in the field, in the IT realm, watching office print disintegrate from the end user side of things. It isn’t 1999 out there; companies are not buying big, 11x17 copiers as they once did and end users are not printing emails or recipes by the thousands anymore. On the good side, end users don’t hate printers or copiers as much. Unfortunately, that’s because end users hardly, if ever, think about print. To them, toner on paper is approaching irrelevancy.

Can anyone deny that this niche is in the midst of historically turbulent times? We’re witness to the transformation of an industry embedded in the fabric of modern living. Every person in the business world recognizes the copier and printer as foundational tools of the trade. Our industry is all over the world, but that world is changing, transforming daily away from the mundane, away from slow processes and away from paper.

We see the results of this movement in the way our OEMs are fracturing: Xerox is splitting, HP has split, and Lexmark is disintegrating. The Big Three of American office automation are shattering into stars.

This turbulence affects the independent channel as well. Merges, acquisitions and the entry of investment groups tell the tale of a smaller, less-populated landscape. Indeed, as the manufacturers fight for their lives, how can the independent reseller manage? Should you jump into the fray, slapping a “For Sale” sign on the front door? Should you shutter the place and simply get out?

I’ve noticed a peculiar thing:

Read the rest, here.




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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Your Assets: Surrounded By Water


How much time do you commit to a physical inventory of your IT assets ?

What resources do you allocate to the task? Once the numbers and locations have been collected, how long do you sit in front of your computer, tabulating the necessary data into usable information?

Do you access multiple applications, aggregating relevant data by straining multiple streams? Are spreadsheets and pivot tables your ‘best friend’? Do ASCII dumps, report generation and saving files as “.xls” give you the chills? How about converting .PDF to .XLS?

Yeah, we know.

Contemporary IT managers have more tools available than ever before - for every type of end-point, there is an application:

  • WebJet Admin see’s your printers
  • PrinterLogic shows end-user print activities
  • SCCM tracks servers
  • MobileIron helps managed mobility
  • LanDesk aids in dispatch and support
  • Etc.

Individually, these applications are considered best in class and provide meaningful information within their specific niche. Of course, when viewed globally, these niches become silo’s - if not islands.

Read the rest, here.

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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Of Sex, Printers and Universal Translators


Printers are about as sexy as asset management and neither get a rise out of any IT professional. But just like sex, everybody does it - albeit with varying degrees of...satisfaction. To get it just right, there's a lot take in. Different inputs from multiple angles. It would be easier to reach apex, if there was a tool that made sense of these mixed signals.

It would be cool if there were something like that for sex, too.(not for you or me, for those not as experienced as we...)

For now, what would your asset/printer management nirvana feel like?

Is understanding the condition of all the printers in your organization through WebJet Admin, good?

Is knowing the number of service calls placed for each device as reported by applications like Service Now, fulfilling ?

How about the exact operating spend for each device found on a report generated in e-automate? Would this bring you to fruition?

Consider the following data items associated with managing print devices:

  • Toner levels
  • Service alerts
  • Current meter readings
  • Geographic location
  • Number of help desk calls logged against the device
  • Past service calls on a specific device
  • Print Cue information
  • Current lease and service billing amounts Lease expiration dates
  • The list goes on...
In the above example, there are six or nine separate software tools monitoring redundant or specialized areas of the same fleet. Each application is perfect for their specific function. Yet, at the same time, isolated and silo-centric.

This how of business process efficiency is achieved. Separate divisions of competencies - service, support, dispatch, contracts, warranty, sales, marketing, accounting on and on - each perform a defined set of functions within an organization, for the common good. This ideology flows through all organizations and is reflected in the portfolio of software you use everyday - separate packages for specific uses.

Chances are, you’re using a great set of tools to get an handle on all these data flows.

How would you like to see relevant data, presented as information, from ALL you applications, on a single screen? View toner level and alerts from WJA, number of service calls, help desk tickets generated from your dispatch/service desk and the physical location - all at the click of an icon, on one screen, presented on a floor plan.

Wouldn’t that be something?

It is possible, I have a solution that doesn’t require a “rip and replace” of your existing sub-solutions.

It’s a piece of software that sits in between your applications, pulling relevant data then presenting on a single screen.

Simple.

Not just for printers - whatever you’re monitoring today - Servers, PC’s, tablets, printers, service vehicles, mobile devices, water pump controls, nurse's carts, cattle - we can distill into immediate actionable information where and when you need it.

Its not a pipe dream and this isn't an add in the back of the OC Weekly. Sound interesting? The system is installed healthcare and IT support environments today and I'd love to share more.

This is real, no faking allowed. Reach out to me.


Click to email me.