Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Future of Copiers - The Wookie in The Room



by Greg Walters | 12/8/14

I'm writing this three weeks after the Executive Connection Summit and I’m still feeling the effects. Intel, SAP, Cisco — foundational members of the technology industry, stalwart believers in all things connected, came to speak here in our backyard. To be sure, it stands as the best show in the industry, with superior content. As Gavin Williams said, “The goal was really to educate as much of the industry as possible about the innovation available today.” The bar is officially higher, but there’s something more recondite just under the surface.

I comment about the players at center stage, but I’ve always enjoyed getting a feel for what the attendees find attractive - the dialogue between the talks. That’s the gold.

I thought of the Internet of Things conversations, how independent dealers are capitalizing on the technology not only in implementing but offering those same services to clients. It wasn’t until I remembered an onstage conversation when things started to click.

After one panelist on stage lamented the challenges of converting to a new accounting system, I chatted with a few people about moving to different CRMs and the difficulty around data conversion. One company decided to operate both the old and the new systems in parallel as legacy data is weaned over to the new system. Another is hiring a staff of “keypunch operators” to input all existing contracts and customer information into Forza.

The underlining tension, the Wookie in the Room, was simple: People know a better accounting system is out there, but getting to it is difficult because of our old school investments. Time and again, I spoke with people who recognized the need to switch but anticipated huge costs in labor and time with the transitional project of moving to a new CRM/accounting system. The tension was palpable.

Imagine needing to have an leg broken and reset because the original setting was primitive. At one time, healing a broken limb was as easy as tying the bone together with tree branches and twine. Years later,

read the rest at The Imaging Channel, here.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Impact Named 2017 Perfect Image Award Winner: Managed print Services


Las Vegas, NV –

Impact Networking received the 2017 ITEX Perfect Image Award for Outstanding Managed Print Service Program.

“Each award recipient demonstrated exceptional innovation and outstanding performance,” said Mark Spring, deja-vu owner of the once monolithic gathering. “We applaud Impact Networking...”

“It is a great honor to receive the Perfect Image MPS Dealer of the Year award twice in a row", said Vice President of Managed Print Services Jeremy Fordemwalt. " Reception of this award  demonstrates our MPS team and company are on the right path to continue succeeding in this space along with providing clients a top tier program helping them control and manage the entire document ecosystem.”

###

Soooooo...

Impact MpS is growing in breadth and scope. The number of users supported has increased. Services layered on top of the traditional MpS idea help clients reduce the costs associated with moving data.

Impact's MpS program integrates their Strategic Services(BPO), Production, Managed IT Services and Creative Services departments creating Print Policies that adhere to ITAM and speak ITIL.

As the universal list of MpS providers shrinks, Impact is attracting net new opportunities and converting competitively supported, disgruntled MpS  customers into long-term, business relationships.

It really isn't a surprise to be recognized.

More to come in 2018...



Monday, April 24, 2017

Impact Named 2015 Perfect Image Award Winner




I have seen the future of Managed print Services.

From the press release:

"The Impact MPS Program, led by Vide President of Managed Print Services Jeremy Fordemwalt, has grown more than 55% year-over-year for three years running. The MPS team assesses client office environments to uncover inefficiencies in the way users print, store and retrieve documents. They use that information to create solutions that improve processes, reduce documents, increase office productivity and contribute to increased profitability.  The department continues to add additional solutions based on client demand..."

Full release, here. ###

Jeremy is an industry veteran in managed print services and has managed to build a true, customer-centric, managed print services powerhouse.  Impact MPS travels together with clients formulating plans to assist in the natural move away from the printed document. 

Utilizing Impact's proven, market driven specialties in Creative Services, Managed IT, Production printing and document management, Impact MPS weaves a tapestry of solutions designed specifically for each client.  The MPS program has evolved beyond automatic toner fulfillment and service delivery into a cutting edge, paper-to-digital transformation force.

More to come -



Friday, April 21, 2017

If copier OEMs are Missionary, HP is Reverse Cowgirl. It's Over and HP Wins

Anyone who knows me, remembers me lambasting HP for past gaffs and missteps: Hawk and Ikon, The "Long March" that was Edgeline, firing Hurd, Leo and the all too infamous, TouchPad.

And who can forget "The Great Toner Purge of 2013"

During my talk at the Photizo conference back in 2012, I was asked if I thought HP would survive.  My quick answer was "No, not as we know her today."   That was then, this is now and HP ain't what she used to be.

Which brings me to my point: HP is going to win the war for the remaining clicks.  HP will beat Canon, Ricoh, Xerox and those who attempt to overtake her as the predominate provider of MpS and devices.

Why?  Three reasons:

1. Marketing - tight, midnight blue, mini -

The Wolf-

Christian Slater?  Really?

And have you noticed the look and feel of all those Ex-Samsung devices? Do you see the curves?  Is that the old 'stackler'?

Somebody put some thought into the wrappers and I like it.

Instead of IPG funding R&D for PSG, today's HP Inc. can hire Mr. Slater,  film crews and Apple-like designers.

The money spent on 'getting the word out' rivals some countries gross national product.

2. Structure - "dangerous when wet" curves and pert attitudes

Printelligent.  HP MPS is built upon the 2011 acquisition: Remote monitored devices supported by direct service vans on the street with technicians delivering toner and installing maintenance kits.

It works.  When you think about it, the only firm large enough to implement a fleet of direct service vehicles, nationwide, is HP.

No muss, no fuss.

3. Stamina - she is everywhere

Size matters, but so does staying power and obviously, Hot Blue has got it.  While the rest of the world peters, HP's increasing beats per minute, building to a huge climax - possibly multiples.  She bottomed out quarters ago.



The HP Strategy?

I have no inside information, there is no Deep Throat. This is purely guess-work and speculation.

  1. Re-engage the copier channel, giving them what they think they want, A3 devices - HP is coming to town. Again.
  2. Defend and grow inside F500, F100 and F1000 accounts with live sales and account management teams - prepare to see 'corporate account size' redefined. Again.
  3. Build a self-sufficient drone that one day pre-empts the need for an independent channel.  Instant Ink for the SMB, anyone? - Never mind.  It's business as usual.  Again.
What Do We Do?

The independent channel is forming into a set of regional powerhouses surrounded by a school of small players.

For these demigods, I see the best plan of action to be jumping on and riding out a series of one night stands with the Blue Goddess.  That is to say, form a transactional relationship with little or no longterm expectations - no matter what the actual contract spells out.

Sell the heck out of the hardware, leverage the HP logo as entre into up to now, resistant corporate IT departments.  Honestly, one could put an HP logo on a tuna, call it a 'mopier' and IT directors would buy dozens.

Use this.  Get yours.  She'll be sure to get hers.  If by chance you squeeze out a three year relationship, consider the ride a good one.

She's going to be looking at you over her shoulder anyway, may as well enjoy it.


Monday, April 17, 2017

Who's going to #ITEX 2017? WHY?

Love that off-line stapler
I've been there before.

I've spoken there, and pulled a camera crew along.

I've criticized and mocked the event. I've promoted and exclaimed the value of the show.

They've hosted MPSA events for us.

I just don't know what to make of it today.

New leadership with promises of "being different" yet every scrap of news makes me feel like Tom Cruise in The Edge of Forever.

The schedule looks the same.  The venue looks the same.  The class structure looks the same.

What has changed?

Is it better? Does it matter? Is the show RELEVANT?

Looking at the agenda and training classes(Let's see if you get trained or sold)there are few I recommend:

How to Earn an A+ on Assessments for MPS (MPSA Exclusive Content)
Learn from successful dealers who have increased their net income by adding complimentary business solutions such as Managed IT, 3D, and VOIP

Aldo Spensieri
VP MPS Solutions, Clover Imaging Group

New Blood: How the Kids are Taking Dad’s Dealership to the Next Level
This panel of new blood owners discusses dealer culture, millennials and how these dealers built on the success of their parents and are taking their companies to the next level.

Andy Slawetsky
President, Industry Analysts, Inc.

Tyson Stargel
VP, Stargel Office Solutions

Ryan Jones
Executive VP, Advance Business Systems

Johnathan Garlow
President & Owner, Ford Business

The keys to successfully incorporate Infrastructure, Platform and Software into your Managed IT Services
Learn how to make money, add value, maintain ownership and still deliver best in class on-premise and cloud solutions, all while offering your services as a 100% operational expense.

Greg Van De Walker
Sr Vice President - IT Channel & Services, Collabrance, LLC

Brian Wells
Director of Product Development, Collabrance, LLC

Ryan Shea
Owner, Info-Flow

SMI: Supplies Management Investigation
The aftermath of growth of MPS and the promise of just in time fulfillment may sometimes make your business processes feel like a crime scene. What are the ways dealers can clean up an often neglected area of supplies fulfillment? How can MPS Providers make changes to drive higher revenues and reduce waste? Meet your lead MPS operations investigator and dealer program leader for a rare look inside an MPS program that reduced administrative processes and eliminated waste while growing in devices being monitoring and overall revenue.


Sarah Henderson
Director - MPS Solutions, Clover Imaging Group

I'm sure the SBB session will be packed, no need to recommend.

I don't know if the show is stale or industry on a glide-path into the past, and can't judge - but I am asking.

If you have an opinion, lay it out here.  Otherwise, enjoy the sun and sin that is Las Vegas.

g


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

#Ricoh, The Great Purge and #SMB


So…not since the Ikon merger has so much happened to Ricoh or should we say, happened to the employees of Ricoh.

As Ricoh lifeboats slam into the waves, how do we respond? We do the thing this industry does whenever calamity hits a peer.

We send all his customers in our territory a press release designed to instill FUD.

Classy.

The “See I Told You So” moment - remember the name of this blog.

Ricoh, is getting out of the SMB.

What does this tell you?

Consider the ecosystem:

  • What can be gleaned out of Xerox looking to spin off it’s equipment side?
  • How can we interrupt the swallowing of Lexmark?
  • What deductions come forth from Sharp and Toshiba’s woes?
  • How about HP providing MpS without a channel? To the SMB?

All these signs point to one thing:

WE SHOULD GET OUT OF THE SMB.

Leave the churches, funeral homes, print for pay, non-profits, municipalities, schools, day care centers, three-person real estate and insurance offices for the five, ten and even the fifteen million dollar dealerships.  That once fertile, bottom land is transforming.  The SMB does not print like it use to and will be serviced by drones; not men and women.

“What once was our greatest strength, one day, becomes our most severe weakness”

We're great at selling to the small business owner. We use to drag machines around and demo in the lobby, not returning to the office until that unit was placed.

Not anymore.  This type of selling is losing relevance.

Sure, you’re going to hear colleagues, and sales managers say things like, “I don’t know about Ricoh, but our copier business is booming…” and “We just sold more devices than ever before!”

Here’s the dirty little secret in the SMB - they buy devices, they just don’t use them. Again, I know what you’re thinking, “Greg, all my customers are printing like crazy!” - No. No they are not. Nobody is printing like its 1999.

Nobody.  Go into any OfficeMax, Staples, if you can find open locations, and walk down the printer or toner isle.  Depressing, isn't it?

Don’t fall for the fake reports showing an increase in “print”. (books)
Don’t be bamboozled by the OEM sponsored studies evangelizing “Millennials prefer print.” (Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot?)

When your OEM rep/BDM spouts off how, “last year was our best year ever” - check out their earnings reports and remember Ricoh, Sharp, Kodak, Oce, Panasonic, and Ikon. Reflect upon the ColorCube from Xerox($7.21 a share) or HP’s($17.72/share, forever) Edgeline.

Don’t believe any of them.

If things were half as good as the pro-copier, pro-paper pundits say, HP would not have split, Xerox would be the darling of Wall Street and Lexmark still American.

I feel bad for the good folks at Ricoh, as I did for the just as good people at HP and their worthy colleagues over at Xerox when they both purged.

And the paper plant employees.
And the liquidated newspaper staff.
And the book stores.

Two Roads

The lines have been drawn for a few years now - you’re buying businesses or lining up to be sold.

That’s it.

For us still in the industry, what’s the best path?

I believe in technology, not in print. I believe in people, not corporate elevator pitches.

Today, more than ever, deciding to stay in this mixed up realm, demands you act in YOUR best interest. Not in a stingy or self-centered manner. Self improvement in terms of helping yourself and those around you. A rising tide, floats all boats and the best way to improve the world around you is to make the best of yourself.

Keep going, focus on solving, not selling.  Evolve.

Our space is turbulent, vibrant, and self-indulged.  Most of all, our world, the place of toner and fuser oil, is Hope.

"It's not an 'S'. On my world, it means Hope."



Thursday, March 16, 2017

Is Seat Based Billing the Next MpS Boondoggle?



boondoggle |ˈbo͞onˌdäɡəl|

...work or activity that is wasteful or pointless but gives the appearance of having value.

In 2007, I traversed the sun drenched thoroughfares of Southern California - from the 'Bu to the Border, Laguna Beach to Victorville.

I was part of a new movement, "Managed Print Services", working for a big VAR, part of HP's flex into the copier niche(sound familiar?) with an MPS program and a new copier-killer, Edgeline.

Like most VARs, we were built on value added services attached to hardware sales. Unlike most, our newly built NOC helped the move to services based revenue streams. In addition to classic T/M contracts, email hosting, backup/disaster/recover, remote management and remediation, and help desk were part and parcel of our value proposition.

At the time, managed print services fit well into our portfolio; the notion was to integrate all services and bill per user, per month.  I didn't consider this a 'good' or 'bad' idea, it was simply the established method.

We folded our per click model into the per user or 'seat' amount and soon ran into challenges -
  • What if we calculated the per seat cost but users printed MORE than we anticipated? 
  • Could we discern between "high-volume" users and provide tiered billing?
  • How do I get EAutomate to bill by user?
There was risk.
“...A good friend of mine(Greg Walters), talked about SBB back in the olden days, and I told him it wasn’t going to work - but when Print Audit and West started bringing in high powered guys like Luke Goldberg, I knew it was going to fly”.
"If dealers don’t jump on this, they should just call their bankruptcy attorney today. "
- Anonymous
Unfortunately, back then, SBB for MPS, found few advocates.  In 2008, industry know-it-alls labeled managed print services a fad; the latest scheme by some to remake the copier industry.  The successful copier dealers could barely spell 'MPS'.

Since then, I've been inside VARs, across the country learning one thing - even if an MpS program is 'out of the box' easy, or well established, most IT providers treat print like 'fly-over' states.  Separate in practice, structure and billing.

Has the time come?  Is per user invoicing the second coming?

Yes and No.


Boon - "Cause your's is the best in the county, isn't it 'mam?"

Billing per user is easier for the client.  No meter reads, or confusing invoices.  When faced with a quote of $9.00/emp/month, prospects find the decision to move forward, easier.

Imagine a business with 150 employees; 75 are knowledge workers.  This account would generate $675.00 each month, no matter how much they print/copy.  (Not sure if that is big or small for you.)

Indeed, as prints decrease, and head count remains constant,  costs fall against steady revenue.

This fits nicely in the true goal of a solid, contemporary managed print services engagement: reducing output.

Boondoggle - "...and you sir, in the yellow shirt, come on up on stage..."

Across industries, the best sales people rarely, if ever, discuss pricing.

Converting cost per image into cost per user and presenting this idea as a 'value-add', reduces(once again) the conversation to price, moving away from business solutions, focusing on cost as a primary motivator.(I know, I know...)

Same race to the bottom, different vehicle.

So what can you do?  More importantly, who do you go to for real world advice?  A sinner.

"Who can lead you off that crooked road?  You need real sinner, people. A sinner of such monumental proportions that all your sins wrapped up in one couldn't possible equal the sins of this King of Sins..."



Listen to A Sinner - "...I have danced with the demon satan..."

How To Implement a Per User Model for MpS

Create SBB in-house

Our industry either builds or subs out services - MpS and Managed IT can be provided by aligning with outsourced programs like Collabrance, Continuum, PrintSolv, and others.  Soon there will be SBB programs sponsored by toner remanufactures.

Is this right for you?  I'm not sure.  I once believed the only way to offer SBB was to rely on distributors.  Only they can spread the perceived risk over large amounts of devices/toner.

But today,  the risk isn't in toner delivery.  Aligning with toner suppliers for SBB my be as counter productive as partnering with transactional copier dealers when designing a print reduction program.  The motivations are diametrically opposed.

So do it in-house.

Work closely with your managed IT services practice. MpS is IT.
Approach through IT, present as a managed program, not "toner and service just like your copiers"(upchuck).  If you're not providing any IT services, stop reading this now and go feed your pet dinosaur.


Sell one more service(IT).  MpS and Trees.
Embed MpS with backup disaster recovery or remote monitoring and management.  Expand your current MpS services to include "remote output monitoring" or something similar, utilizing the full capacity of your data collection agent.  If you don't know what I mean, stop reading this now, and go feed your dinosaur.

Line of business integration? Forget 'bout it.
Of course you want to integrate your even existing CPI billing structure with the new managed IT and SBB programs.  But it isn't easy.  All it takes is a spreadsheet and a separate P/L - your MpS practice has its own P/L, right? Tsk, tsk.

In the end, SBB is a good idea to protect your revenue from the continued reduction in 'clicks'.  But per user billing is a temporary fix - nothing is going to stop the decrease in placements and clicks. 

Not even the Supercharged Grenade Launcher of Love...

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Three Reasons to Sell ITAM with MpS

  • http://www.si.com/swimsuit/

As our world moves beyond toner and service, managed print services slips into the mundane, boring, and commoditization.    Once there were no providers, today, thousands of practitioners scour the landscape in search of disgruntled MpS clients and new prospects.

MpS has driven business and there are many successful, full service MpS practices.  But the well will run dry, print will reduce - nobody is copying like its 1969.

For those who derive a living through MpS, how do we remain relevant, build relationships and keep the revenue flowing on the downside of the curve?

We jump the curve.

We add services, transform our portfolio and stay on the the cutting edge of innovation, right?

In this effort, many are looking toward the IT realm. This sounds great but the journey is proving formidable - investing in a NOC or help desk is expensive and retraining existing or hiring new sales talent takes time.

Wouldn't it be nice to find an offering that builds upon your existing tools and processes, requires little sales training and helps IT departments everywhere?  How about providing a service customers naturally recognize as valuable and are willing to pay for, on a monthly basis?

I suggest we "Jump the Curve" with IT Asset Management(ITAM).

What is IT Asset Management?

“IT asset management(ITAM) provides an accurate account of technology asset lifecycle costs and risks to maximize the business value of technology strategy, architecture, funding, contractual and sourcing decisions” - Gartner

Sounds complicated, but I believe "If you can sell a copier, you can sell anything.”  I’m not suggesting you become an ITAM expert, complete with certification and 10,000 hours of learning under your belt.  I am proposing you offer services to fulfill one component of a successful ITAM program: inventory mapping.  With the right tool, the process is as simple as a print assessment.

Three reasons to sell IT asset management-

  • Relationship
  • Relevance
  • Revenue
Relationship -

  • In the 70’s, we sold the strength of our “Product”.
  • In the 90’s, we sold our “Product” bundled with “Services".
  • In the 2000’s, we sold with a "Customer Centric” spin.
  • Today, coming full circle, we're in " Relationship Centric” selling cycles.
The best “relationships” are built on honesty and exceed two dimensions.  Providing toner and service on a monthly bill, is at best two dimensional and more likely one dimension to your client.

Why not open up to a more enriched affinity?  Knowing that ITAM causes heartburn for IT Directors and understanding how to relieve that pain, raises your conversation and advances your relationship beyond the toner cartridge.

When you provide a listing of IT assets alongside your print devices, your IT contact need only review one source - you - when looking to refresh assets.  Map BOTH print and IT assets when performing an assessment and deepen your relationship.

Relevance -

The current battle for the office is not about capturing more ‘clicks’, its about remaining relevant. You're not the only party struggling for the spotlight - your customers are scrambling as well.  IT departments across the globe are looking for seats at the big table; they want to be part of the decision process helping guide the company.

The days of ‘pulling cable’ are long past.

How can an IT Director be a visionary, when his staff is out counting desktops and tablets?  Toiling over pivot tables and Crystal reports, restricts the ability to innovate and evangelize the strategic benefits of IT.  When providing IT asset inventory services, we free up the most valuable resource; time.  More time to dedicate to strategic, relevant, IT issues.

Revenue -

New revenue streams.  Everybody wants some, I want some too.

Our unscientific studies show that for every output device, on average, there are five to ten IT assets. If you’re writing MpS engagements and performing assessments for accounts with 200 or more devices, you are walking past 2,000 revenue generating assets.

Revenue with one cost component; no toner, shipping, service, or mileage costs.

One More Thing - Don't be a tool, use a tool.

originally posted, October 26, 2016 at Atlas.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Managed Print Services: "I feel a lot of love in this room..." just not A3&A4




"All Roads Lead to MpS and MpS Leads to All" -  I'be been saying it for years.  At first it was a joke.

I drop phrases like, "You know, copiers were the first devices on the internet of things.(MWAi)"

Or...

"On my world, voice mail is a document..."  In a room full of IT-types, the response is silence.  Yes, that is a third eye growing out of the top of my head.

Here we are, March of 2017 and not much has changed since 2007.  Everyone 'does MpS', but few understand the expansive realm.  

Are you stuck in the 'Mps is toner and service billed by click...' morgue?  Is that all you got?

Do you, as a provider, consider A3(11x17) to be separate from A4(8.5x11)?  Your prospects don't. As a matter of fact, they resent you over-selling the bigger devices. 

When performing an MpS assessment, are you collecting two or three cost components? There is so much more, don't be waif, ask.

Back to the beginning: What is Managed print Services?  This is Managed print Services:

Managed print services is the proactive management of document output devices and related business processes.

As Michael Keaton said in Night Shift, "You know a lot of times it'll help you to understand a word if you break it down, so let's do that now, shall we?" Let's do just that.



"Proactive..."

We service your device before you call us.  This IS NOT scheduled, air-bottle cleanings.  This is monitoring devices for repeated error codes and reaching out before the device shuts down.

This capability has ALWAYS been possible even before the days of PrintAudit, PrintFleet, or the DCA of the day.  I know this, I did it back in 2008.

If you're not proactive, you're not MpS.

"Document..."

What is a document?  Any vehicle which transports, presents, or stores information or data.  A video, letter, three part invoice, bumper sticker or .mp4 file are examples.  This doesn't mean I manage every output device, it means I understand the entire ecosystem.  

You can too.

"Output Device..."

Printers, copiers, speakers, kiosks, and large format video screens are all output devices. 

Maybe you don't offer end-point management, but one of your clients prints PO's and clips a copy next to the monitor for easy input - wouldn't TWO monitors make more sense?

Big screen kiosks are all the rage, information streamed to these panels are hosted in a cloud and presented, on demand. 

It doesn't matter what vehicle is used to convey information, it can be managed.

"Business Process..."

In the MpS Gospel according to Greg, business process optimization is a central theme in an evolved program.  We don't stop at the printer - no.  Why do you print in the first place? 

If I were to create an MpS Covenant, one requirement would be that all practitioners ask these type or questions:

"What happens before and after the device?"
"How do you process accounts payable?"
"Share with me the process in place when generating pick-tickets."

These are great questions to get the ball rolling and separating fake-MpS from Evolved MpS.  But there's more:


  • "How do you determine to upgrade or replace a device at lease end?"
  • "How did you established device standards?"
  • "How do you support your existing devices?  What is the process?"
  • "How many print servers and cues do you manage?"
  • "How do you decide which devices to replace or remove?"
These questions begin the journey into a deeper understanding of your clients' decision making process and fall into the "related business processes" section of the definition.

Just don't separate A3 and A4.  What, do you ride a dinosaur to work?