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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Managed Print Services and Beyond - I Know One Name? (IKON)

There is a very, very big shoe about to drop in the MPS universe - the "Alan Parson's Project", also known as the Preparation "H", RiKON's - Managed Document Services

I have mentioned in various discussions, observing many "want ads" appearing across the country for Managed Document Services Specialist / Managed Print Services posted by IKON. 

Small, interesting point here, the ads are posted by IKON, not Ricoh. At one point, my Google Alerts were bringing 3 to 5 returns from IKON a day. 

I noticed this morning, only one, out here in Irvine. To me, this says they have hired up and are about to roll out the MDS program. It's no secret that IKON, on paper, should have the best MPS talk track in the world. They have an FM - where the standard "assessment" is paramount and software called "TRAC".

Ikon has an EDM division - they know how to craft and sell an SOW. The sales force is huge - feet on the street. A fairly large service footprint - access to multiple manufacturing service parts(debatable, I know) And they should be able to go after business at the Enterprise and SMB level. 

 Indeed, it is my opinion, and I think this is shared by some, that IKON MDS solution has the potential of providing a pallet of services, supported by a very good Professional Services consulting staff, an above-average fulfillment system, and a vendor-agnostic toolset helping clients manage their environment. Of course, every, single, MPS program out there looks fantastic on paper, doesn't it? 

Been there, done that, got the pink slip to prove it. (Well, not me personally, but you get the point...)

IKON MDS is built on Three Phases: 

Total Fleet Managementt – a range of baseline support for deploying and managing diverse fleets of output devices, including supplies, service and maintenance (preventive and restorative), and management reporting. 

Intelligent Device Rationalization – a strategic assessment of current assets, business processes and workflows to help organizations achieve a balanced deployment utilizing the right device at the right time. 

Optimized Business Processes – a consultative approach to design, plan and implement improved business processes. 

 If the above seems vaguely familiar, see the chart below: 

It's the same - Another interesting point, the job description for an MDS Specialist at RiKON includes:

"...Performs complex business analyses of customer’s business communication requirements and develops benchmark demonstrations, proposals and value propositions that exceed customers’ requirements resulting in the development of new customers and retention of existing Managed Print Services account by applying a consultative approach...

" Wow - ok...does this sound like a "copier sales guy"? I know the MDS project, ahem I mean the "Alan Parsons Project" was initiated a while back; back when MPS was hot. Before all the other copier dealers tried and failed. 

So it will be with great interest we watch the press releases as RiKON/RBS/Ricoh start to announce all the "big MDS" wins that will undoubtedly occur between now and the end of the summer. 

One thing - I wonder if there will be a hardware gate inside the MDS commission structure. 

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  1. Yes, you could see them putting all the tools in place for a while and they will be a big player. This was certainly good positioning on the part of Ricoh!

  2. I understand that they (RiKON)are gearing up for a major roll out, to be accompanied by a national advertising campaign, new vehicles for Sales (MDS) Reps, and a targeted list of accoiunts that has been developed using Sales Force Automation for the past several years. You should see more in April 2010.

  3. One problem that RiKon has is there background in "box slinging" even though they have all the tools and resources to be hugely successful I watched them locally drive the program into the ground by acting like it was transactional business. That "what have you sold this week" will not work with this type of program. They did the same thing to a lesser degree to their production systems department.

    In the end Ricoh has a new tool to play with but how well they execute will determine their overall success. In my part of the world there has been so much bickering that it is hard to tell if MPS will get off the ground in this marketplace. Funny enough there are small dealers in town that have rooted themselves deeper than Ricoh/IKON in MPS.

    IKON didn’t even send their MPS Reps to the MPS Conference that was held in San Antonio last year, nor did I think they have a presence. I am not sure about all areas but ours didn’t. So I am not sure how committed they are to the MPS project. Probably as committed as they were to the “Graphic Arts Representative” (GAR) program that lasted about a year and a half.

    I am sure that after they get both RBS and IKON merged as they will do this year that by next year they will not operate on 2 different P&L’s and then Ricoh can move forward solidly with a truly focused program.

    Right now all anyone is thinking is how can I sell something today to get them off of my back and keep my job just one more day!

    Pirate Mike

  4. Pirate Mike stated:

    "Right now all anyone is thinking is how can I sell something today to get them off of my back and keep my job just one more day!"

    Trouble is, over at RiKON, even that won't save the Deckhands.

  5. On the hole I think preparation 'H' feels pretty good.

    While we all take a little time to do some armchair quarterback-ing we shall see if the juggernaut which could be - indeed flows true to the foundation of MPS.

  6. Hey 'Number 1'

    I think you are full of Number 2.


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