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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Selling MPS: This is Why Managed Print Services Providers COULD Have an Edge Over IT.

The title of the post grabbed my attention:

"Why there should be no such thing as an IT project."

"IT is not an island: CIOs reveal the secrets to successful business projects..."


How is it that pure IT projects seem destined to fail, and yet technology is clearly key to business?

Mark Samuels canvasses a group CIOs for their views on what barriers there are to IT project success.

"IT projects never really work," says Mike Day, CIO at fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger. That seems like negative talk from a technology chief but there is sound method in the apparent madness..."-----------------------

Madness? Yes.

I can count more EDM and FaxServer projects that ended up on "eternal roll-out" because of the reasons mentioned in this article - so to finally see somebody within the IT world recognize this, I was taken back.

Well, as you know, MPS is simply Business Process Optimization - say it with me, "MPS is BPO...MPS is BPO...MPS is BPO..."

But as long as we can use our laptops out by the pool, I am fine with IT projects, really, I am.
This article is very succinct - and parallels the higher levels of MPS.

CIO's need to look at their organizations differently: "The success of a CIO depends on the relationships with colleagues around the board table. You must look at IT through a business lens..."

Try this: "The success of an MPS Practice depends on the relationships with colleagues around the board table. You must look at MPS through a business lens..."

Works don't it?

For me, this article confirms two of my beliefs:

(1) Typical IT/CIO's are nothing more than verticalized, Purchasing Agents

(2) The days of upgrading technology for technology's sake are long gone

"Technology" permeates every organization. The gold is aligning technology utilization with business goals.

For too long, IT has had a Svengali-like hold on technologically based decisions - not financial or business-driven, simply "bigger, better, faster, cooler..." for less, maybe.

Times are changing.

More from the article:

"Implementations that are driven solely by a desire to introduce new technology will falter. Myron Hrycyk, CIO at utility company Severn Trent..."

As you investigate and assess the print environment, you are in the driver's seat - odds are, you are going to be talking with IT's customers (company employees) more than any IT person has, ever.
Take advantage and find the business outcome that your MPS Engagement will impact.

The business outcome as a result of the current business processes that include "print" - this is more than meter reads and Cost Per Image - and by more, I mean inclusive, not exclusive.

The meter reads and current hard costs are important as a beginning, not an end-all.

This is not easy.

You will rarely find the skills and techniques needed to perform a basic business assessment contained within the typical "copier sales" training.

Even rarer is a colleague or manager who understands what business process is, how MPS works within it, how to study BPM, and how to articulate the impact of MPS on the existing BPM, evolving into Business Process Optimization.

Look into your own organization for guidance? Be afraid, be very afraid.

It is up to you to improve yourself.

The last sentence of the article -

"The message, then, is simple: IT is not an island. If you want to be a successful CIO, you will need to focus on outcomes and work with peers to implement cost-effective business projects that meet clearly defined demands..."

MPS works well in this model, in the above-stated environment.

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  1. I disagree with belief 1; Titles are often misleading - surprising, I know. However, your statement is like me saying that all sales people are slimy just because I've met my share of pushy, egocentric and arrogant people who happen to have something about sales or "account management" on their business card.

    But I do agree with the more important statement you make in belief 2 - and funny you post this article as I was just discussing this very same frustration with a dear friend who runs an IT and accounting recruiting division: CIOs & CTOs have to be more soft skills and less software skills!

    Hit 'em hard, guy! This shouldn't feel like a hot cup of coffee in the morning, this article should feel like someone threw that hot cup of coffee on your face and you just ran away screaming!

  2. Hello Ken!

    As with all "stereotypes", there is a reason certain characteristics and characters become stereotypes - observed behavior.

    For instance, the "schlocky, pushy sales person", is a DESERVED label; in general.

    And yes, my statement -

    "Typical IT/CIO's are nothing more than verticalized, Purchasing Agents..." is one of my more flamboyant caricatures.

    Who do you think gets more mif'd?

    P.A.'s or I.T peeps?

    Thanks for reading!


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