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Friday, February 26, 2010

GreatAmerica to Launch MPS Navigator: A Managed Print Services Business Planning Session for Office Equipment Dealers

For Immediate Release: 26 February 2010

(Cedar Rapids, IA) – GreatAmerica Leasing Corporation announced today that it will launch its Managed Print Services (MPS) Navigator program this spring. The program takes place at GreatAmerica corporate headquarters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on April 26-27, 2010. The hands-on business planning session will be facilitated by Steven Power of Sales and Marketing Solutions International.

The Navigator program includes the process to plan, implement and grow a dealer’s business with MPS.

This one and a half day session shepherds dealer executive teams through a step by step development of a business model and operational structure, selection of MPS infrastructure resources, marketing strategies, sales force engagement, compensation, and a go-to-market strategy.

“GreatAmerica is committed to helping our dealers plan, develop, sell, manage and grow their MPS initiatives,” said Jennie Fisher, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Office Equipment Group. “We have created the Navigator program as a comprehensive business planning and decision-making tool to help dealers deploy their MPS strategy.”

Dealer executive teams will work both collaboratively and in break-out sessions to reach key decisions and document them in a take-home Navigator Training Manual and Resource Glossary.

Session fees are bundled to include three MPS decision makers from each dealer. The President / Owner, Chief Financial Officer, and Sales Manager are recommended to attend. Additional staff members such as the Service Manager, office executive, sales or operational managers can also be included. For additional information contact GreatAmerica at 800.234.8787 or visit

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QuickPage, from HP? It's not in the US, is it?

HP's Enterprise MPS programs are daunting, inclusive, sophisticated and not really an issue in the SMB, mid-market.

But in Europe, QuickPage from HP is making some waves in the SMB space.

Yes, it does resemble PagePack.

A good example, with pricing, of a QuickPage offering is here.

And from Louella Fernandes, Principal Analyst, Quocirca:

"...With QuickPage, HP is providing resellers with a simple packaged service that includes hardware, supplies and support. QuickPage emulates packages from copier-centric vendors such as Xerox PagePack. However QuickPage's key difference is that it includes a lease rental agreement, giving customers the ability to combine hardware, consumables and maintenance costs into one monthly payment (based on expected print volumes)..."

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You And I, We Work in Paper, right? And We All Want to Be Green...right?

Well, how about green toilet paper...glowing green toilet paper, that is.

I am not kidding, this stuff glows in the dark.

A company over in the UK, is selling glow in the dark toilet paper.

It's green, literally and is great for camping.

Not sure if the glow-stuff rubs off...and I guess I really don't want to find out, right?


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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Does Your MPS stand for "Maybe, Probably, Sometimes?" or Does it Just Suck?


What's new in MPS?

Xerox, HP, Ricoh, and Canon have MPS programs now. I believe at the last count, there are no less than 11 major MPS Programs available for providers and clients.

Is IKON done hiring MPS people yet?

Dealer infrastructure has been built, and the tools are in place.

But why are there still the same old questions?

How is it that LinkedIn is filled with "MPS Definition" debates and some of the best MPS questions are coming from OfficeMax and Staples?

Or better yet, where's all that promised Gold?

It's been over two years, at least, since this new iteration of Managed Print Services hit the streets.

Apart from HP and Xerox pumping the media with announcements of incredible, gargantuan, installs and sponsoring their way into the magical, "upper right" corner, what is going on in the real world?

How is the independent dealer fairing in this new, partnership-based selling cycle?

Is there really a "new" breed of Selling Professionals taking advantage of MPS?

Are there any Hybrids out here? (not the iTex version)

Granted, there are successes in the MPS Ecosystem.  But with an estimated 7,000 dealers jumping into MPS, one would figure everybody would be out in the field, assessing, presenting, and engaging.

Yet the MPS Sales training classrooms are filled, the consultants remain on retainer and owners are frustrated.

I get emails every week that begins with,

"...I've been doing this for over "x" decades, sent my team to "fill in the blank" MPS training, attend the weekly, "manufacturer de jour" dealer's con-call, and still, my team doesn't implement.

"...WHAT PLANET do those "advisors" reside - can you translate what they say into everyday, applicable examples?..." - huh.

What gives?

Managed Print Services, real MPS, is difficult to do. This stuff is hard.

For copier dealers, MPS may have been thought to be just another way to place gear. The "sharper" copier folks saw early on that MPS really looked like CPC for printers - simple. How's that working out for ya?

Toner guys looked at MPS and thought, "Hell, we've been doing CPC on printers for over 150 years!" That's Toner Management Services, TMS; not MPS.

Computer VARs looked at MPS as just another monitoring service, "Service printers? no problem, we can image 250 laptops in 3 hours, we have 25 technicians, how hard can it be to service printers? MFP's? What's the difference?" There is a difference between onsite and depot.

Tsk, tsk, tsk...

Meter reads aren't enough, and remote monitoring, monthly invoicing, assessments, and Data Collection Agents, aren't enough.

What is needed is EVERYTHING. And the kitchen sink.

You need Selling Professionals who can truly put together a complicated project, marshal the resources of your company, price, and package, and present this unique proposition, to your prospect, in a simple manner.

And not take forever.

You need service folks who understand selling, you need warehouse people who can think through your system.

And you need to talk to people who have already made the same, MPS mistakes you are going to make - not successful ex-copier dealers who cashed in and now want to tell you how they did it, ten years ago.

Here's a list of Ten Reasons your MPS Practice Sucks(there are many more reasons)as mentioned to me, by DOTC readers:

1. You have no clue what you are doing, but you think that you do
2. Ownership/Executive management finally admits MPS isn't really, in the core
3. You have no clear, concise, fair sales compensation plan
4. You haven't taken the time to put together a CPI price sheet
5. You hired "consultants" whose only concern is the monthly retainer
6. You listen to and believe in the same, old skool, copier consultants
7. Your internal process is cumbersome and designed around Transactional sales
8. Your company leadership has no vision
9. You are trying to convert Copier reps into Solution Experts
10. You are trying to boil down MPS into CPC

If you are an MPS Selling Professional and you see some of the above at your practice, be alarmed. Pay special attention to #2 and #8 and brush up on the resume.

Do you want the answers to the challenges posed above?

Break out the American Express and email me.

Click to email me.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Managed Print Services: The Numbers of Impact

I really don't want to and Xerox sure as heck doesn't need me to promote them, but this little video is just about palatable.

100% acceptable and completley adequate.

The numbers are right on and illuminating, and there really isn't any advertising until the very end.

Check it out

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

IBM and Ricoh Managed Print Services via Tivoli

As first mentioned on DOTC back in April of 2009 here and here, IBM and Ricoh are working together to give clients complete control of their output devices along side their PC's, servers and network appliances.

Today announcing, "...they have developed an advanced device and printing management system which infuses office devices with real-time tracking and monitoring to help firms significantly reduce their print-related costs, improve service and cut back on carbon footprints..."

"IBM's design collaboration with Ricoh on this initiative demonstrates how we are bringing a new level of 'smart' to offices, and significant operational savings for the customer," said Bruce Anderson, general manager, IBM Electronics Industry. "As CIOs work to drive down costs, printers and other office devices offer an attractive target for improvement."

What does this mean? The enterprise MPS niche just got a little bit more competitive.

It's a "see I told ya so" moment.

Press Release:

IBM and Ricoh Deliver Intelligent Print Monitoring and Management System

LAS VEGAS, Feb. 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- PULSE -- IBM ( IBM) and Ricoh today announced they have developed an advanced device and printing management system which infuses office devices with real-time tracking and monitoring to help firms significantly reduce their print-related costs, improve service and cut back on carbon footprints

Through an Application Specific Licensing agreement with IBM, Ricoh will bundle the new system, which is based on IBM Tivoli software, with its multi-function products (MFPs) making the new systems available for enterprise clients.

While IT services have become more managed and optimized, most businesses still do not have enough insight into and control of their printing devices' use and costs. These costs extend beyond the hardware and printers to include consumables, labor for repairs and system updates as well as the high cost of energy and resulting carbon footprint. Underscoring the need for better print-related cost controls is recent Gartner research data which indicates that organizations that manage their printer, copier and fax fleets can save between 10-30 percent of their print costs.

"This new, enterprise-class system will give our global customers complete visibility across their fleet of printers and MFP devices, helping them to better manage and optimize printing as an office function," said Hede Nonaka, executive vice president, Marketing & Document Solutions and Services Division, Ricoh Americas Corporation. "The solution will also be a core technology for our Managed Document Services (MDS) offering."

Tivoli software can manage a range of assets beyond the datacenter including office equipment such as printers, office MFPs and production printing machines. Tivoli technology manages policies to control end-user printing features and tracks energy usage and carbon footprint for print services, reporting at the device, department and individual level.

In addition to print management and monitoring carbon footprints, the new system can identify service issues with devices and automatically route alerts to local service desks for remediation before service is affected. It will also capture and manage assets and supplies information, improving accounting processes.

"IBM's design collaboration with Ricoh on this initiative demonstrates how we are bringing a new level of 'smart' to offices, and significant operational savings for the customer," said Bruce Anderson, general manager, IBM Electronics Industry. "As CIOs work to drive down costs, printers and other office devices offer an attractive target for improvement."

The Death of Managed Print Services : Photizo Identifies The Fourth Horseman

HP, Xerox, Ricoh and Dell: Something Wicked This Way Comes

Ricoh and IBM Alliance:The Shape of Things to Come

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Monday, February 22, 2010

The IT VARs Are Already in Your Accounts and Now they are Doing Managed Print Services

Not only are more and more VAR's getting into MPS, they are leading with MPS.

Utilizing their existing infrastructure as leverage and presenting MPS as an entre into ALL of their services.

Quick, Google, MSP (Managed Service Provider)

I found this video on the MSP Mentor forum.

It is mostly about I.T. services, "propeller head" stuff.

But, later into this interview, MPS is mentioned at 3:05.

Click to email me.

Here's the deal.

If you are selling copiers today, odds are, you will not be selling copiers 5 years from now.

Improve yourself - start by studying MSP's.

Talk with your IT contacts, ask them what they look for in an IT provider. What are the challenges they face and what would be a perfect relationship.

People to stay away from? Your corporate insiders; i.e. Sales/Service Managers, Owners, peers.

There is a great deal more out there than speeds and feeds.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Staples Is Now Selling IT Services: Didn't They Just Start Selling Managed Print Services?

"I think VARs that read this will be a little envious of what we have to offer here.

With Staples, we have a Fortune 100 organization, great relationships on the product side, and we can offer very competitive pricing and a great services story for customers as well," - Joe Kalinoski, vice president of finance for Staples Technology Solution.

According to sources, Staples Technology Solutions, the new division, will include access to "...certified specialists for Cisco Systems, Citrix, Linux and other areas; onsite and remote server and desktop support for Apple Mac, Windows and Linux platforms; printer fleet management; and data center assessments and other services ranging from sub-floor cleaning and 24x7 data center emergency supplies..."

- Holy Crap!

They can even clean your sub-floors! Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot?

First off - quite the bold marketing statement from the vice president of finance. I can not think of too many VARs who would be envious of working retail hours, wearing matching vests, and conducting inventory twice a year.

And when was the last time you heard a VP of Finance delve into corporate Value Props? Doesn't staples have a marketing department?

This new effort will fall under Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples.

The prose gets worse, Joe continues,

"By combining these two entities we have a one-source supplier of office products, print solutions and managed print IT services," he said.

"It was a logical evolution to get into the technology space. It was a natural that we were answering our customer calls for not only office products but also technology products. We think we can be one of the lowest-cost providers."


"one-source supplier"
"lowest-cost providers"

I guess Staples doesn't know what the "V" in VAR stands for.

The target market is focused on companies with 1-250 employees - they may have an IT department but they may not. Staples stresses an "intimate, high touch" strategy for this often overlooked niche.

"Staples is dipping its toe into the water in the IT services space," said Candy Murphy, vice president of Staples' Contract Technology Solutions.

Murphy said the goal is to offer the services nationally. Network and data offerings were the result of Staples' late 2006 acquisition of Thrive Networks, a Boston-area solution provider that services a large portion of eastern Massachusetts.

"The IT industry is highly fragmented," Murphy said, "It (Staples'reputation) brings the trust and the reliability of the brand name," she said.

Jim Lippie, president of Staples Network Services by Thrive said, "We bring a level of expertise and we've learned how the small business works," adding, "There's a real thirst for small businesses to have a larger provider while having the security, but high-touch of a smaller company"

Plus, "They want us to take ownership of all the headaches, mysteries, and risk associated with maintaining a company's IT infrastructure, and make it so they never have to think about them again," Lippie said. "In a nutshell, they want us to make their IT problems go away, and that's exactly what we do."

Time will tell.

But didn't IKON try to do this a while back? Everything except offereing to clean your sub-floors, that is.

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Best In MPS: Your MPSA Managed Print Services Awards 2010

This isn't the Magic Quadrant, these awards are for you.

And everyone who submits, is a winner.

That's right, every submission will be reviewed and an article detailing your solution will posted by your MPSA.


Here's my take; there is no deal or solution or MPS implementation that is too small. Of course all the larger OEM's will submit, huge, global, galactic level MPS implementations.

Let's see some "normal", everyday MPS Engagements submitted - its not the size its the impact that counts.

Check it out, submit a your customer, your client, your process, your favorite vendor.

Managed Print Services – 2010 Leadership Awards
Gain the recognition you deserve

The Managed Print Services Association (MPSA) is pleased to announce the start of the 2nd annual MPS Leadership Awards for our mutual industry. These highly coveted awards provide the industries only recognition for the leaders that are helping to shape and benefit the Managed Print Services industry.

See the following briefing documentthat covers the Award Categories, Benefits of Applying, and this year we have Simplified the Application Process.

New to this years awards:

All submissions will receive the following benefits:

1. MPSA Published Article profiling your accomplishments
2. Communications for your Article to all MPSA Members
3. Balanced Scorecard – Providing equal opportunity regardless of size
4. MPSA Disclosure of final scoring vs. other entries within your category

While award submissions can be received up until March 2010, the MPSA would like to receive your submission within the next 30 days if possible.

Special thanks to the Photizo Group LLC, for sponsoring these awards and their continued support of the MPSA.

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The Death of Edgeline

Feb, 2010

I was scrolling through some year-old posts and stumbled upon this one, from Art over at print4pay Hotel's, "MFP Solutions Blog". 

A year later, almost to the day. Has anyone heard anything, at all, about Edgeline? 


See my, historical journey through the odyssey that is Edeline, here


Wednesday, February 18, 2009,  HP Edgeline "What Went Wrong" Art Post 

 I had an email the other day from an analyst from a major printer vendor. In the email, I was asked "what went wrong with this program?" I thought, geez you're asking me?? 

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.
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Greg Walters, Incorporated