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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

More Than Managed Print Services - Born Free, You and Me



"Fast, on a rough road riding

High, through the mountains climbing
twisting, turning further from my home.

Young, like a new moon rising

Fierce, through the rain and lightning

Wandering out into this great unknown. "


It's strange, this thing called MPS is really more than an industry, a niche, an occupation.

And then again, it isn't all that different from times long past - one more step towards office/business/process Nirvana.

A new moon rising. No paper, toner, toner bombs, copiers, 60-month leases, or auto-renewals.

A world without Sin.

Yeah, I know...dream on.

Sure, printing is not sexy but that doesn't stop MPS/BPO/BPM/Systems Analysis from becoming a LifeStyle.

Uh-huh. That's right, I said it. I meant it. I'm here to represent it.

Not just an industry, MPS is a LifeStyle.


Free, like a river raging
Strong, if the wind I’m facing.
Chasing dreams and racing father time.
Deep like the grandest canon,
Wild like an untamed stallion.
If you can’t see my heart you must be blind.

You can knock me down and watch me bleed
But you can’t keep no chains on me.


Some call me an MPS Expert - I don't really want to be an expert. Some say that I'm disruptive, radical, a "John the Baptist" type. (not sure about that one, what happened to John's head?)

Other miscreants have called me disgruntled - out loud, during an MPS Sales Training session - projection at its best.

If anything, I prefer Defiant Idealist. The shame of it is, today, "Defiant Idealist" is considered redundant.

I see MPS as a secular change, not cyclical. I see MPS in the imaging industry today as technology was to the music business a decade ago.

The music didn't die - we changed the way "we" acquire it. The "Control" of the music industry shifted from the fat-cat record companies(establishment) to the individual listener; the ultimate consumer. The Big Guys could no longer control the creative process, the distribution channels, or the DEFINITION of the industry.

Did they fight? Yes.

Did they continue to throw their diminishing weight around, until the very end? Yes.

Did any of them change? No.

Are most of the players, and their advisers around today? Negative.

The pure "providers" of music(bands, songwriters, etc.) shifted their attention from pleasing the record producers to pleasing their ultimate audience - themselves.

You and me, out here in the listening audience simply choose to tag along and enjoy.

In a broad sense, this meant these creatives could once again, produce content they actually wanted to create. No more "Johnny Cougar"'s(the record company changed his name for Mellencamp to "Cougar").

And as the Titanic-like music moguls rearranged the deck chairs, they never hesitated to mock the young upstarts and deride the agents of change, the Defiant Ones.

(Are we having a Glenn Beck moment yet? Please, not tears.)


"Calm facing danger
Lost, like an unknown stranger
Grateful for my time with no regrets.

Close to my destination
Tired, frail and aching
Waitin patiently for the sun to set."


For us, now is that point in time when the entrenched authority has begun to crumble, their influence over the MPS ecosystem fading.

This is part of the reason some think me disgruntled - the establishment, if there is one in our industry, wants to, like the music industry once did, make the rules, create the definitions and they abhor "uncontrolled" change - especially change that starts in the grassroots. Down here with me and you.

I am "of" the grassroots and am not afraid to point out, to you, the naked Emperor. So I must be crazy, unqualified, "disgruntled".

This is heady stuff - the "Imaging Intelligentsia" do not want "us" to be independent in thought or action. The OEMs don't want us looking outside of their box.

Neither seems to be the least bit concerned with the client.

And by "we", today, I mean we in the field selling MPS on a day-to-day basis. We are in the trenches who (hopefully) are strong enough to partner with those prospects who deserve our company.

We who are sent to those "sales training classes" and attend the weekly mentoring sessions only to find little guidance or relevancy when across the desk from a prospect.

We who recognize our own shortcomings now have a growing suspicion of those who say they know the way.


"And when its done believe that I will yell it from that mountain highhh!

I was Born Free!
I was borrrrrrn free
I was born free, Born Free.

And I will vow to the shining seas and celebrate God’s Grace on me.

I was Born Free!"

There is more to our world. More than OEMs, toner delivery, technicians, proposals, assessments, and quotas - More than Managed Print Services.

And yes, this too shall pass.

So what?

If you are just getting into MPS or have been slugging it out since the beginning, every turn, every setback and every success is yours.

Yours Personally.

Hopefully, revenue-enhancing but most certainly, resume enhancing.

This journey is all about you. Today's MPS "grunt" is tomorrow's MPS Leader.

Explore your boundaries, try MPS things that haven't been tried - right now, THERE ARE NO STANDARDS, no benchmarks, no "proven".

We're free.

Click to email me.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Managed Print Services - Assessment or Marketing Piece...?


I guess it isn't any wonder. As we traverse the MPS path, the once vaulted solutions, seem tainted and unfulfilling.

How many of you host your own server in order to capture the everyday activity from your MIF?

Sounded like a great idea at the time, didn't it?

Do you use 100% of the capacity available? Are you, today, utilizing all the functions and tools of this solution; the same ones that triggered your purchase decision in the first place?

Really? Sure, I bet you don't even use the F7 key in Word, let alone the other 99% of functionality MS-Word gets you. And let's not get started on why your 7-year-old can outrun you, smart-phone to smart-phone.

With more and more MPS providers getting smarter about what works and what doesn't, some, well many, are questioning the effectiveness of the "assessment" and re-visiting the purpose of Quarterly Business Reviews(QBRs).

Evolving takes time.

The Assessment is the beginning of every MPS engagement. There are dozens of philosophies, ideas, angles, and tools in the MPS ecosystem at our disposal.

And still, plenty of questions...Billable or non-billable, custom or generated, abound.

It is just a starting point. To bill or not to bill, depends greatly on your definition of MPS. Worse, there really isn't a right or wrong answer.

Here is the secret - if you are confident your MPS expertise will bring value to your prospect, go forward, and bill for your time.

This takes guts. This means the result of your toil will belong to your client, not you.

This also demands you provide value equal to the amount you charge. And there's the rub.

It's easy to do free assessments, there is no demand for value - one gets what one PAYS FOR. I mean, does Xerox charge customers for brochures? (or Konica or Lexmark or anyone) So why should we expect a prospect to pay for nothing more than one of our "buy from us" slicks disguised as an Assessment?

So, know thyself.

If you refresh fleets 1:1, churn older machines and schedule follow-up calls around lease expiration dates, don't bill for assessments. Don't even try. (forget about non-disclosure agreements too) And that's ok.

On the other hand, if all your ducks are in a row, if you staff a level of MPS expertise the copier dealer down the street can only dream about, go for it.

One More Thing: The "M" in "MPS": Management not Marketing

Assessments are the first step in revealing your MPS practice as detailed and results-oriented. It is the first step in MANAGING the engagement - not capturing clicks inside a service agreement.

Simply put, the assessment shows how committed you are to keeping the 'M' in MPS.

What a concept. I know life is so strange, Destination Unknown...

*** UPDATE, 2016 ***

I'm fortunate to have found a product and a company willing to allow me to build a tool I would use, every day in my MpS practice.

From assessments to service dispatch to business reviews ArcDrive embodies my philosophies around assessments(for print or ANY other niche) and running a profitable practice(for print or ANY other niche).

Contact me for details.

*** UPDATE 2020 ***

ArcDrive is on a break.

Click to email me.

Friday, November 26, 2010

What is ElectroWetting: Dipping a Toe into the Future of "Print"?

"...Electrowetting involves modifying the surface tension of liquids on a solid surface using a voltage. By applying a voltage, the wetting properties of a hydrophobic surface can be modified and the surface becomes increasingly hydrophilic (wettable)..."


Right. Ok then.

I didn't think "wettable" was a word. Then I looked it a book.

Electrowetting is the science behind low cost, flexible video-rate "e-paper". So cheap as to be considered disposable.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Managed Print Services Blogging - "...What do You Get Out of This?"


Part Two of the world-famous, PHOTIZO 2010 Managed Print Services Conference interview with Ken Stewart and me, Greg Walters. 

Burning up the Internet? The latest viral phenom? Negative. 

Fun. That's all. 

This was at THE 2010 Managed Print Services Conference in San Antonio - not a Trekkie or Comic or Dragon Con. Copiers, printers, output. Is there any reason at all that could possibly prevent us from having a little fun, celebrating our unique position in history AND learning from our peers, our fellow MPS Pioneers? 
"No, Greg, there is absolutely no reason we shouldn't have fun..." - good answer. 
The 2011 Managed Print Services Conference is slated for May 2, in Orlando. After the show in Barcelona, the Orlando buzz is starting. 

One question - Will Orlando ever be the same? Here is part 2 and 3. Part one is here. If after viewing you need to wash your brain, check out the Kings of Leon vid. 

Great shots of LA at night. Enjoy.


Faces of MPS Media Part 3 from Misty Hamel on Vimeo


Click to email me.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Managed Print Services: Cost reduction or 30-40% WASTE Reduction

Here's a quick notion.

What's the difference between "cost" and "waste"?
(Not that this question would be part of any DOTC MPS Professional Certification)

Cost - "An amount paid or required in payment for a purchase; a price..."

Waste - "To use, consume, spend, or expend thoughtlessly or carelessly..."

Cost is the 'acceptable' amount of money you will pay for the water bill each month; waste is the act of leaving the water hose on over the weekend.

Do you see the difference?

Let's continue.

Consider: did all this 30-40% savings simply show up with the advent of MPS?

Weren't there closets full of toner cartridges, back in 2006?

Weren't companies leasing machines with 11x17 capacity, and never using 11x17, back in 2005?

How long has scanning been available? How about ECM and EDM? Or fax servers?

Waste vs. Cost.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Skyline - Don't Look!

Opens today.

If trailers were movies, this one would be Two Toes Up! Way up!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Happy Veteran's Day - Find a Vet, Buy him/her a drink and say thanks...

This is getting disturbing - fewer and fewer people, Americans, don't know the difference between, Memorial Day, Veteran's Day, December 7th, VJ Day, VE Day and the Fourth of July - we forget what happened on Monday, August 6, 1945 and again six days later (Google-itize it for God's sake).

How long until 911 and the Towers fall away - out of the American History text books - hell, do we still teach AMERICAN HISTORY???

Vietnam vets returned home to be spat upon.

Today, some of our fallen come home for their final rest, only to have their families assaulted by the likes of Code Pink and crazy, whacked-out, 6 person congregation, churches.

The F is wrong with this picture?

Because of what they, and generations before them did, we get the honor of being beaten down by goofy Purchasing Agents as we try to save the world with MPS.

Anyway - find a vet and tell him you remember.

'Nuff said...take it away, Kid...

Click to email me.

Who The Hell is Peter Sheahan and what does HE know about MPS?

Peter Sheahan: Keynote MPS Conference Barcelona from Misty Hamel on Vimeo.

I'll tell you who - this guy is from outside our industry, heck outside every industry - HE GETS MPS! MPS is 'anchored in the experience we've garnered to date...'

Somebody, and by 'somebody' I mean PHOTIZO, recognizes that MPS is not all that different from any other disruptive event; not specific to the imaging industry.

Outside perspective, it is not all about us - it’s all about me. (J/k)

I will miss Barcelona and will suffer for it.

Click to email me.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

ConnectWise CEO tips hat to MPS: “build the modern office”

At the ConnectWise IT Nation Conference in Orlando, CEO Arnie Bellini talked about his vision.

Here, at the MSPmentor, are 15 points of Arinie's keynote.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Are You Looking For a Good Managed Print Services Provider? How Would you Tell?

Congratulations, you see that you can reduce the costs associated with printing by 30-40% - now what?

Nestled out here, are some very good MPS providers.

Behind the device manufacturers' flowery marketing and dense poser-like foliage, the real MPSr's are here.

Here holding true to customer-centric values - evangelizing MPS as a process not a collection of machines.

Your search is challenging.

Should you call your current IT VAR, have purchasing get with your office supplies vendor, or, god forbid, call the copier dealer who roped you in for 60 months?

Do you really want to be negotiated into an agreement?

How about product demo's or assessments worth exactly what you pay for them?

Honestly, should Purchasing, who is probably responsible for the 30-40% waste in the first place, be in charge of an MPS project? Really?


Saturday, November 6, 2010

HP's Hurd - Wall Street Journal Timelines the Fall...

In an article by Rubert A. Guth, Ben Worthen and Justin Scheck, at WSJ.COM, new details of the Fall Of Hurd are exposed.(yes, the above is a picture of Jodie, Playboy, 1980)

Even though we are at the tailend of the escapade, the WSJ story is a great summary revolving around the letter sent to Hurd on behalf of Ms. Fisher, from her lawyer, the one and only, Gloria Allred.

Some felt the HP bent Mr. Hurd over, but the seriousness of the allegations apparently made the board stand up and notice.

Ms. Fisher claimed Mr. Hurd revealed to her, HP's intention to purchase EDS prior to publicly announcing - an obvious premature release.

Additionally, Mr. Hurd claims he and Ms. Fisher watched a Minnesota/Green Bay football game, first in the hotel bar and later together in his hotel room. Scurrying off at the "two minute warning."

Well, judging from this shot, she likes Texas, and everybody in Texas is a football fan - correct?


Friday, November 5, 2010

The Faces of MPS? "continue...please, with your mockery..."

I have had this linked here for a few weeks now. 

To be honest, I find it a bit puzzling. People seem to like this kinda stuff, this banter. 

Ken is a great guy - one of the first and best - he is greatly involved over at Photizo working on the dealer channel program and contributes to the positive advancement of Managed Print Services, as an MPSA board member. 

 As for me, I am still scratching out an existence as an MPS Practice manager and scheming ways to move DOTC from PG-13 to R. For now, "continue...please, with your mockery..." 

  Click to email me.

Contact Me

Greg Walters, Incorporated