Monday, March 9, 2009

Seven Elements of a Managed Print Services Engagement. Oh, really?

The wonderful universe that is the internet.

Where anyone can write a blog, discover new recipes, secure airline tickets or purchase luxury submarines.

One common use for the internet appears to be a place where all the "experts" have a forum to pontificate.

And everybody can be an anonymous critic.

So it is with the following. An anonymous expert/critic puts forth Seven Elements of his MPS engagement process as a challenge for and a claim of legitimacy.

I have edited out most of the personal taunts and obvious sarcasm - but this is a really good study into the mind of a current MPS strategy.

The author is challenging the intended reader's knowledge of MPS by putting forth his own wisdom in the form illuminating questions:

"Please provide us one (1) example of an enterprise or any size company for that matter where you did the following (please provide details of how you executed each step and your factors for success).

1) Delivered a presentation on managed print and built a business case for doing an assessment.

2) Completed an actual assessment by gathering data on devices by type, copiers (workgroup, production and color), faxes, mono-printers, color printers, wide format printers, and scanners. Gathered data on all the consumables by device type and quantified the total $ value. Gathered all the volume data so as to analyze usage. Please provide an example of the amount of time between volume reads and why you recommend that timeframe.

3) Analyzed the data to do a strategy session with the customer/prospect and identified hardware redeployment opportunities to avoid having high volume printers in low volume areas and vice-versa.

4) Held a strategy session with a customer/prospect to layout the redeployment schedule.

Oh, one thing before I forget. When doing the assessment you find all these gem opportunities to replace hardware. And the temptation/mistake most equipment reps make is during the strategy session they try to go and replace a bunch of the old beat up hardware with new hardware. This usually results in wreaking havoc on the opportunity because you are telling the IT Director they need 50 new MPS pioneer Lexmark printers to replace 50 marketshare leader HP’s. So to avoid this mistake, we don’t go after that hardware opportunity immediately, we wait. We put together a refresh program in the future that addresses future hardware needs but it revolves around device consolidation not hardware proliferation. But more on this when I get to quarterly reviews.

5) Did a financial MPS proposal where you captured all the volume off of the customer/prospects printer fleet.

6) Implemented a contract.

7) Executed quarterly reviews to capture more share of wallet within the account i.e. hardware examples like I listed earlier. This is where you go after the hardware opportunities. Through ongoing monitoring of their usage you will build credibilty and gain trust. The quarterly is the vehicle to showing the client the value you bring and solidifying the relationship. Hardware opportunities follow. "

At first glance, this all looks reasonable.

But, for me, there is a tinge of familiarity. Something tugging at me from the past. Something just isn't 100%.

For starters, this process seems a little too hardware centric.

Although the author clearly states "...we don’t go after that hardware opportunity immediately, we wait..." and "...Executed quarterly reviews to capture more share of wallet within the account..." one can not help but be suspicious. I mean, why tell me something you aren't going to do, just don't do it.

And then it hit me - these seven steps can be applied to any COPIER deal out there. Even more, this started to smell like an IKON process.

The process is geared around selling more hardware - period.

The assessment is strictly a
collection of situational data - no authentic analysis.

There is no real business case, no workflow analysis or even a hope of actually helping the client. Well, he would be helping the client shift costs from many vendors to one. His.

This approach is simplistic. The benefits to the client are hollow. And the practitioner a self serving rube - that is, in my humble opinion.

Another epiphany - imagine this mentality multiplied by 100 or 100,000 sales reps.

No wonder dealers are struggling with MPS.

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  1. Greg, while I agree to a certain extent, I think this nails about every, single rep out there, doesn't it?

    At the end of the day, doesn't the dealer have to move 2 things: hardware and pages/clicks? Isn't there some level of wisdom in consolidation which leads to control and then true management? Most CUSTOMERS are not ready for true MPS, isn't that more the case?

  2. Greg,
    I've heard recently that Oce is in big trouble. Have you heard anything lately.