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Thursday, July 9, 2009

RiKON/Ricoh Blazing Into Managed Print Services - Four Stages, 23 Modules - WOW

A couple weeks back, while off the grid, I had an epiphany of sorts. I wish now that I had written it down then.

As the tedious and fatiguing debate "raged" around the definition of MPS, someone asked me what I thought a perfect MPS Practice would look like.

I didn't have a quick answer, but I did give an answer.

Later, around midnight, I pondered, weak and weary, remembering back to the good aspects of IKON, there are plenty, when it struck me - "if Ricoh got their act together, and combined the IKON trifecta, Professional Services, Equipment Sales and Service, & Facilities Management into one MPS Practice, they would be unstoppable..."

Well, I guess I am not the only one to have seen the potential:

Ricoh - " announced that it is now offering a robust Managed Document Services (MDS) Program. Managed Print Services (MPS) provides the foundation for this program, which focuses on total cost of ownership, business process improvement, security and compliance and environmental sustainability. While Ricoh has provided professional services for its clients for nearly a decade, its recent IKON acquisition and growing market demand for MPS has allowed the company to enhance its capabilities in this area..." GMTA

This is great - I just have a few questions. Who the hell is Prosci, what is his change management methodology and why did Ricoh decide to use it?

Read on...

From the Press release, 7/9/2009- format changed and links added.

Ricoh Helps Create Positive Organizational Change With Managed Document Services Program

WEST CALDWELL, N.J., July 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Ricoh Americas Corporation, a leading provider of digital office equipment, today announced that it is now offering a robust Managed Document Services (MDS) Program. Managed Print Services (MPS) provides the foundation for this program, which focuses on total cost of ownership, business process improvement, security and compliance and environmental sustainability.

While Ricoh has provided professional services for its clients for nearly a decade, its recent IKON acquisition and growing market demand for MPS has allowed the company to enhance its capabilities in this area.

Beyond conducting assessments, implementing solutions, providing on-site and off-site management of fleets, Ricoh MDS helps customers effectively change their document output practices across their organization, streamlining processes and cutting costs, which is especially critical in today's economic climate. A new Managed Document Services logo with the tagline "MPS and Beyond" helps communicate Ricoh's intention to deliver additional document management services.

Ricoh and IKON both had strong best practices with regard to MPS, but with their combined insights, Ricoh is able to take its services to the next level. In fact, together these best practices set the groundwork for Ricoh's MDS Program.

One of the most important methodologies Ricoh has developed from this fusion of expertise, resources and thought leadership is a strategic four-phase approach for effective managed services.

In the first stage of the MDS methodology, Ricoh utilizes DOCutivity(R) to assess the current document output environment of a business and identify the technologies, associated costs and process workflows in place.

Then, in phase two, system architects design a new document management workflow blueprint that takes into consideration security regulations, process improvement, total cost of ownership and environmental sustainability.

The third step entails the transformation of an old workflow system of a business to a new and improved version that introduces more evolved technologies which reduces risks, enhances efficiency and makes document management easier for the end-user.

Last is the fourth phase -- Ricoh manages the fleet, provides operations, continuous improvement and additional support services. Regardless of the hardware and software solutions implemented, Ricoh offers on-site and remote services to effectively govern the new and existing systems.

Further, Ricoh's support services do more than simply answer questions, troubleshoot problems and install supplies; they work with businesses to change output practices across their entire organization. There are a total of 23 Service Modules that Ricoh can deliver within the MDS Program.

Understanding that office cultures cannot be changed overnight, members of Ricoh's MDS Teams apply Prosci's change management methodology. Prosci has become the leading provider of change management tools and benchmarking reports, working with more than 2,000 companies from 65 countries on research projects in change management.

Prosci's popular ADKAR(R) model is used worldwide. Following this methodology, Ricoh works with a customer's corporate office and end-users to formalize guiding principles of the change management program, which are to be carried out by everyone across the organization. Once these are set, staff training takes place to ensure they understand these principles and why it is essential to abide by them.

Additionally, Ricoh collaborates with the customer to internally promote a branded campaign, which includes marketing materials that generate awareness, develop desire, educate, and reinforce the program principles.

A significant return on investment can be seen as end-users change habits and integrate new workflows into their everyday practices -- helping companies reduce costs, better utilize information, decrease environmental impact, and improve efficiency.

"By enabling control of output-related costs and assets, optimizing the fleet and enhancing the document management environment, customers will see efficiencies across the board with the MDS Program which will provide them a competitive advantage in today's marketplace," said Dan Waldinger, Director, Strategic Marketing, Ricoh Americas Corporation. "We are proud to offer a program that does not provide a temporary solution based on existing needs, but seeks to positively change behavior within an organization to lead to more effective, lasting results. Ricoh has made significant investments in delivery mechanisms and provided continuous improvement for its customers over time. To this end, we are best suited to deliver the benefits associated with an MPS deployment."


As press releases go, at first blush, this one appears the standard - but upon further review is a bevy of Ricoh/MPS tidbits.

First off - Prosci's Methodology of Change, I bet my friend Ken Stewart knows all about this.
Secondly - the Fusion of IKON strengths. I agree.
Third - 23 Modules. Holy Crap!
Fourth - "...provide continuous improvement ...over time...". Long term Partnerships with clients.
Five - branding, "MPS And Beyond". Getting away from the "P" in MPS.
Six - INTERNAL branding(!) a la, Dow and Nationwide. Ricoh must have been at the MPS Conference in San Antonio. Deeper client relationships.

So we can finally add Ricoh to the herd - Xerox PagePack, Konica Minolta OPS, Samsung, Kyocera, and expected announcements/re-launches from Oki, Toshiba and HP(who?), looks like by summer's end, every "big boi" will have a pound of flesh in the game.

And let's not forget the IBM connection, InfoPrint.

To me, it seems Ricoh has been paying attention over the last 12 months not only to MPS demand, but to the stumbling and misfires of MPS program launches.

Of course, planning, fancy process names, and logo's will get you only so far.

Execution in the trenches is where the rubber will meet the road - we are watching.

Ricoh's Embedded Intelligence System works with IBM's Tivoli Monitoring Networked Multifunction Products- And Why is This Important?

Read More Here. Full PR Here.


  1. While I agree with this being powerful, The important thing to remember - at the end of the day Ricoh is a hardware manufacturer and is very hardware-centric. This disadvantage can be exploited rather easily with a more "pure" FM approach. It's extremely difficult for them to check that at the door. And yes, in the enterprise space this will be important, with the mid-market space - not so much.

  2. Tom,

    You are correct.

    I am still trying to figure how the hardware folks will reconcile with MPS goals of reduced machines...

    I think most are just going to ignore it and simply service other vendors until the fleet is all theirs.

    Not a bad idea - I guess. But reduction is reduction.

    If Ricoh can leverage EDM strengths and their IT connections, hardware brand loyalty could fade away from the incumbent, benefiting Ricoh.

    It's all very interesting - and may mean absolutely nothing.

    Thanks for the comment!

  3. Ditto on Tom's two points. We invariably emphasize "leveraging existing equipment" and we sow our seeds into our own little SMB garden.

    Thanks as usual, Greg, for a strong and intriguing presentation of Ricoh's offering.

  4. Greg, very interesting find... The processes these large companies are coming up with are extremely robust and very impressive on paper. I wish I had nearly as much documentation as they do!

    However, as you know documentation only goes so far... Suffice it to say I am not at great liberty to go into great detail on specifics, but I still find that after 6 years of doing this so many take their eye off the ball when it counts... If you think getting the sale is hard, try keeping the customer - for 3, 5, 10, or even 20 years... It's a tough game and people are sadly resorting to really just giving everything away just to say they have the business... when I see this type of tactic, I am just floored.

  5. I am still trying to figure this mps thing out.
    I read a xerox one pager on mps and it is something I have been doing since day one.
    I think xerox wants to train the old "copier guys" still in the company to sell from this angle.

    For me, I was hired and trained this way from the begining.

    Simply looking at the big picture right?

    I understand there is p counter, printfleet, fm audit etc.

    There is software to manage toner levels whereby I get an email when their toners are low and sell them toner on non cpc units.

    I propose tco and green products.

    I try to consolidate, maybe show the roi on a fax server.

    I can go on and on with ways xerox and our own agencies solutions can help lower print volume, help them go green by employing digital workflows to ECM systems, strategically deploy the right mix of A4.

    Alot of talk about mps and I am starting to realize it is what we do every day.

    I guess that why xerox and hp are in gartners magic quadrant.

    I have been following Ricoh lately though and haven't seen this.

    My thinking is that you can "own" an account by providing value beyond your own wallet, even if that means selling less boxes.
    If Richoh or Xerox sells less boxes, then these companies need to look for other opportunities to make money though software for example.
    This require a much more in depth assessment and review after any sale to keep improving the savings or efficiency in process.
    At the end of the day, you may sell less boxes but can increase other opportunity for you and the customer.

    Maybe a low cost box mover like Ricoh is realizing this?

    Am I on the right track at all?

    Thanks for the post!

  6. ah..well...

    Doug, in a word - "yes", in my opinion, you are talking MPS and you are on track.

    Especially on the EDM front.

    All the items you mention are components of an MPS approach.

    With maybe TWO caveats - hardware agnostic(which I believe is almost unattainable) and more IT connection/consideration. And by IT, I mean, knowing and being able to discuss "computer stuff" like, data storage, network traffic, racks,blades, power, heat management, etc.

    Recommending Fax servers brushes up against this.

    And although I usually bust the chops of those who say they've "been doing MPS for years..." the dirty little secret is that in the field, some actually HAVE been selling MPS.

    My estimation is this, MPS Engagements can have many moving parts - most of which have existed for years, if not decades.

    Today, MPS, takes what existed, adds a dash of new technology/attitude, and bundles all of it under one name plate.

    So call this iteration MPS 5.0, with MPS 6.0 just around the corner.

    One big difference, again in my opinion, between MPS and CPC is the client relationship - MPS instills a deeper and robust client/"consultant" understanding.

    I could go on and on.

    But this is just a comment.

    Thanks Doug, for reading and commenting.

    Keep coming back.

  7. Ken - your post just appeared - I was not ignoring you.

    I owe you an apology, at least in my mind.

    I forget that you are one of the true pioneers of MPS - having actually DONE it for a good period of time, recently. Kudos. (Ken is an IT-Propeller head type, not from the, "press hard, you're making 5 copies..." copier caste)

    So you have a keen eye on this and I think that you, like me, saw the "23 modules" as a possible overkill, maybe?

    Of course, I haven't seen it, so who knows.

    I keep going back to what one of the best sales managers I ever had use to say "...sometimes we just over complicate this..."

    And yes, you allude to the great abyss of sales, "giving it away".

    Which infers a lack of execution in the trenches. It is true, this MPS thing is difficult to get your head around and for most down the street copier reps, will be too much bother - this will trickle up(already has in some dealers) leaving ownership with only one alternative - bail.

    Which is standard, and predictable.

    Thanks for reading!

  8. This is all semantics and marketing along with smoke and mirrors. IKON is still all about flipping boxes. IKON's upper management is full of old school box flippers save 1, maybe 2; and it's the box flippers that are still running the show. They are doing the same old fire drill they have always done... except made it shinier, applied some new wording to it, and maybe change a couple of dotted lines on the org chart. It's just like Taco Bell... you can have dozens of items on the menu and name them all these cool new flashy names, but they are all made from the same old stuff and tastes pretty much the same.

    What they're really trying to do is wrap "MPS" into their Images Management Plus Agreement. Imagine flexing all those printers on and off those contracts during the life of an MPS engagement. Buyer beware.

  9. Ray -

    After reading your post, I was suddenly reminded of all the "bad things" about IKON - the box pushers, equipment churns and lease flexes - very interesting comment on your part.

    One thing - I don't know how significant this is but I get the feeling that Ricoh has been planning this for a while and has been under the tutelage of one of the more advanced MPS consulting firms.

    Check this out

  10. Greg thanks for the reply.
    I love your description of the MPS relationship with the client.

    I think that although a fact find meeting is great (or assesment), one can never realize ALL the information about a company in one meeting.

    With a MPS approach, you can not just find low lying fruit but the hard to find areas to improve as well!

    The customer would get much more out of the technology (ROI) over time and when that happens, you get loads of trust which will keep competetors out.

    I havent been in this industry for long (2 years) but was trained with an approach similar to mps but still work with box movers.

    Dont get me wrong, if the customer doesnt want to engage on a high level, I will just move a box rather than nothing.

    My aim is MPS though and I like the idea of helping as a strategy.

    I think I get it, thanks for expanding on the IT part as well.

    I am lucky to work for an agency that happens to have an IT business as well.

    Funny thing is, the 2 depts dont talk much.

    The reps who engage our IT people end up making the most money in the long run because we solve much more
    issues than just copier related items.

    But the old box pushers here will never get it and are afraid the propeller heads will srew up thier quick sale.

    Even more odd is that they are more and more selling to IT themselves, to the same people they dont trust.

    and.....IT outsold the copier dept last month!!


    Have a great day!

  11. Doug -


    My small, MPS practice is a division of a rather large, and at one point in the past a bit larger, IT VAR.

    This VAR follows the standard 3 point selling model; 3 points of margin.

    The sales staff on both sides have never, easily engaged, until lately.

    They consider us "risky" to introduce into their accounts.(LOL)

    The tables are turning - people start to take notice when margins of 49% start hitting the books.

    Unfortunately, the same applies to some VARS as it does to some copier dealers - they do not fully understand the power of the 'DarkSide'- Managed Print Services.

    Keep fighting the fight - and Wagging the Dog - if you get my drift...


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