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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Lyra 2010 - The Rise Of Managed Print Services - Stage 3 and TheDeathOfTheCopier

Things are never going to be what they use to be.

I stopped in at the Lyra Symposium last week, in Palm Springs: The Road to Recovery.

The year is what it is so far, my schedule has been filled with activities associated with what I call, my "day job".

So, I was able to catch just one day, the day with all the MPS data and presentations.

I was present for 8 hours and can safely say, there were no copier reps in attendance; if by copier reps I mean folks who would be on the phone closing a single copier deal between sessions, which I do, there were none.

I also believe the majority of attendees may have sold face-to-face in the past, just not in the past 24 hours.

Be that as it may, the data presented by Lyra is priceless.

Especially to we who sell, we in the thick, in the smoke, in the fire.

I am not advocating every Selling Professional attend this and other symposiums, but, I do recommend getting synopsis or any other information you can, from your manufacturer rep or your sales manager (yeah, right, sure...).


Information is King in your personal, and professional development. Your "personal, professional development" might get lip service from management - but it is just that, lip service. When the chips are down, you tell me who gets the ax.

The more you know, the more you can see where your dealership/management is falling down and the easier it is to chart your own course.

My top five Value-Adds from Lyra- 2010:

  1. Historical data mined from their extensive database of devices, monitored by PrintFleet, is presented in spaghetti graphs.
  2. Detailed analysis of each copier and printer manufacturer's financial standing and projections.
  3.  Unrivaled views of our industry, where it was, where it is, and where it might end up.
  4. Current reflections and projections around the economic free-fall and the Day After.
  5. And of course, especially this year, Managed Print Services and the "experts" who extol the virtues of MPS.
The Number One piece of information, significant to me, personally -

The recession has bottomed out, but we will not get to pre-recession placement levels.

As a matter of fact, according to Steve and Lyra, we will be losing 2 million units in placement - they will never come back.

It's like 2 million copiers just died.

Huh. If only somebody had seen this coming and publicized his views somewhere easily accessible to others...that person could come up with a snappy title like, "Your industry is Dying"...or something...


Second, to MPS, the next big subject was the economy and the Road to Recovery.

The Industry -

In a nutshell, the industry leaders all sucked wind, some more than others, but still, they all ate it, in 2009. An occasional silver lining here and there, accounting trickery, but no surprises.

Steve Reynolds' presentation started by defining the Cyclical vs Secular effect of a recession:

Cyclical, meaning a temporary sharp drop followed by a sharp recovery

Secular, meaning the recession causes a permanent and fundamental change in behavior

I have seen for a year now, the economy changing the fundamental way businesses do business. Especially when relating to printing and documents - this is SECULAR.

To quote Steve, "...once enterprises have discovered and implemented more cost-effective processes with less or no printing, they will not go back..."

Indeed, monochrome laser printers, MFP, and color printer shipments will be flat through 2013. The only bright spot is color MFP with a moderate increase(approx. 250,000 units) between 2010 and 2013.

And if that isn't bad enough, Steve expects a price war to erupt.

You see, as the recession is declared "over", customers will creep back into the market with caution. Hungry vendors will be pressured into getting their share of the new demand.

The feeble and hungry will drop prices to move the product, the last gasp.

The strong and carnivorous will lower prices to kill the remaining, weaker players. It's a Japanese model practiced and perfected by Wal*Mart.

Imagine HP reducing their MFP pricing AND toner by 50%. An M9050 for 5k and $40.00 toner? Real, HP toner? Where's your MPS savior now, third-party toner guy?

Vector this with Photizo's and others' belief of a 50% failure rate, in the BTA channel, by those who have not embraced MPS we have ourselves an honest-to-goodness Perfect Storm.

Your customers are or already have realized they DON'T NEED AS MANY devices and that they don't need to stock thousands' worth of toner in closets.

Why? Because the recession made them look for areas of cost reduction, and the constraints of the last 4 quarters, forced all of us to do with less.

For example, did you lose customers because they couldn't get HP CM6040s even though they gave you a PO last August?

No, you, the VAR/Dealer didn't lose customers. You helped your client get through "these trying times" by encouraging patience and utilizing their existing systems.

Or maybe you helped your client extend his lease on a month-to-month basis. Copier still works?

We in the field didn't lose customers - HP and the industry, lost placements, lost "clicks" and lost face.

Managed Print Services -

Managed Print Services was all the rage.

Both Ricoh and HP talked about MPS, albeit from the Enterprise level. Well, to be fair, Tom Codd's (HP) presentation included one slide dedicated to HP's commitment to driving MPS expertise into the Channel - through Synnex, et el.

Another slide depicting HP's product lineup, in order to show the Canon relationship as a good fit, DID NOT SHOW EDGELINE.

Edgeline? What? Never heard of

Twice, the name "MPS" was assaulted as not adequate - especially the "P". The phrase "Business Process Outsourcing" was bantered about a couple of times.

It was felt that the current MPS ROI is immediate, but where does one go from there?

"One-word kid..." Software, the future is in software.

Yup, the Third Stage of MPS is, Enhance the Business Process. We barely get people into the 1st and 2nd stages and already stage 3 is upon us. Really? No, really? Business Process Optimization/Outsource?

Are we to expect a channel that still thinks color and duplexing are value prop's possess the wear with all to talk software and "business process"?

And SELL this? For Greenbacks? (which is just as good as money)


When a member of the audience asked, " do we motivate a copier salesperson to sell software?" the collective response was, are you ready for this, "...increase the commissions on software until you modify the salesperson's behavior..."

I nearly upchucked in my lap, right then and there. And I was a bit insulted. If I was holding a watered-down drink in my hand, I would have thrown it in their faces.

Is this all they, these experts, think to motivate the Selling Professional? A few more duckets?

We are truly doomed.

My summary:

MPS is now being swung around by the big players, the definition is being molded in their likeness and most of the data and "play" presented is a product of and pertains to, "Enterprise" level engagements. One exception that I can see, is Xerox. X seems to be working 'on'(instead of with) their channel, time will tell.

The economy is in a rebound, but our industry will never be the same. More ships will merge or sink, and more dealers will jump into MPS, listen to old skool consultants, run it as a Marketing Campaign and fail. Managed Print Services is a Secular change for dealers; it is not "just like when color came out..."

More MPS Professionals will end up working at OfficeMax, Staples, or RiKON.
Click to email me.


  1. Very cool article.

    Its obvious though that software will take over, it always has been obvious.
    People talked about paperless in the 80's its is just a matter of timing, the same goes for OIL, eventually that will be gone.
    What about business in general?
    We will eventually have none because we have either killed each other or no longer need to work because power and energy is fre and we work to help each other instead of ourselves!

    (as if...)

    Greg, that was a good post, just having fun.

    The best part was the commision part....

    "raise the commish to change thier behaviors"

    I guess they think we are cattle that can be easily engineered.

    One of my bosses said that the ONLY reason people buy is if it saves them money!!

    that explains all of this workflow, BPO b.S.
    Its all marketing, show me how I can save by being more productive (soft costs) and get me a great deal on the box , + good service rates...

    I love the term secular after reading this post...makes sense.

    Now we dont have to beat around the bush, we can jst talk about cost reduction driving every decision.

    Why goto Fiber data=cheaper
    Why go paperless=cheaper
    Why implement and easy automated workflow?= save on employee labour costs + increase the speed in which the job is completed(less employee hours required)=more savings.
    Why get a fax server?
    Why get a document repository?

    Why get acopier? =because it has no return on investment=it still costs money every month!!!!

  2. LOL!

    Anon -

    Nicely said.

    Thanks and keep coming back.

  3. Very well played, sir. I liked how you "vectored" in on this... BPO has an interesting ring to it - but doesn't wholly capture the direction. I just triggered on the fact that I think I perhaps might have been framing all of this data in the form of a destination rather than a direction.

    With that as my backdrop, to outsource or not to outsource is not really the question so much as how can we deliver results? Software is not the next big thing, nor is any "technology". What everyone is always driving towards is the end-game... how do you anticipate what your customer needs before they know they need it? Generally, you have to be waiting there for them when the catch up. You might be very lonely between now and then though ;-)


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