Friday, December 31, 2010

Strategy Development Does Not Work For THE Death of the Copier(DOTC)

*** THE DOMAIN NAME IN QUESTION, HAS BEEN PARKED...first noticed, January 12, 2011. ***
There has been something on my mind, bugging me for a few months - well not bugging me.

More like lurking.

You see, my livelihood is tied directly to Managed Print Services as an MPS Practice Manager.

Interesting little tidbit, 12 months ago I was selling MPS - today I am responsible for the full P/L.

Everything from hiring technicians, hiring MPS Selling Professionals, forging and maintaining MPS partnerships, building an MPS team. Continuously, every-single-day, selling MPS internally to other practice managers, Business Development Managers, Executive management and Ownership.

And as I continue on this particular odyssey, it is my responsibility to evaluate all things MPS; new and interesting Data Collection software, EAutomate Add-ons, supplies fulfillment programs, devices, OEM MPS Programs, etc.

I attend as many MPS Webinars and read/consume every article I can find - from MPS to Change Management to EDM to ECM to BPO.

I try to get as much exposure to every MPS Selling webinar, class or program I can find.

The results of this analysis can fill a dozen manuals - perhaps someday I will put my findings in "print".

All this accumulated information, I apply were relevant in my little MPS practice.

My point here is simple - although I know a good deal about MPS and the internal MPS programs, I do not make a living pontificating or selling training classes.

I do not compete with the likes of Water, or Print Management Solutions Group. And even though I feel I have an above average understanding of the global MPS market, my research does not go toe to toe with the likes of InfoTrends, IDC, or Photizo.

Am I opinionated? Yes.

Is this blog followed by many people of like opinions? Yes.

Do I see bad training, stunted vision and archaic selling techniques? Yes.

Will I continue to point out blaring inadequacies in our industry? Yes.

With this in mind, do me a a browser and type in - just promise to come back...and read on....


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Laguna Beach Crescent Bay...

After what the weather casters out here are calling the "Biblical Event" - referring to 5 days of as much rain that usually falls in a year - Laguna Beach is acting more like it should be. For all our readers east of the Mississippi, enjoy...

Blade Runner Concept Designer, Talks About the Future...

2019: A Future Imagined from Flat-12 on Vimeo.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas...


Every Christmas season, blasted out of the dorm room window, on the top floor, the ninth floor, Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan.

The name of our floor, "Penthouse" - is it any wonder?

Merry Christmas to all!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Managed Print Services is Dead - "...alas poor MPS-Guy...I knew thee well..."


I love it.

Just as everyone figures out how to spell MPS, industry pundits kill it.

Photizo called heavy growth rates in MPS Engagements through 2015 - of course, this was back in the "olden days" - 2009!

Last year at Lyra, consultants and statisticians explained that we will never return to the same levels of units (copier) sold, pre-2009.

Do you get that? Does anyone?

Why yes, some do...some have all along. HP buys EDS, and Xerox takes ACS.

Why paint MPS all black? Why kill MPS after just three short years? Why blacken the Sun?

I've said it before. Change releases fear and fear motivates.

Contrary to what the Imaging Intelligentsia bloviate, we are not witnessing the beginning of the End Managed Print Services - we are seeing the last gasp of "Print Services"(it's the "M" - stupid)

Two informational items were released this month:

1. The BTA revealed the results of their "MPS Survey" and

2. InfoTrend releases a teaser for their MPS Market MPS Study, "Managed Print Services Revenue to reach market saturation by 2014."

BTA Study -

What is interesting to me about the BTA study is the small size of the sampling - 93 respondents - and the quotes.

At this time in our MPS evolution, one would think more positive feelings would abound. Yet there aren't and I know why.

Here are a few quotes, from some of the 93 people who responded:

“I am not impressed with the MPS concept. It requires too many resources
with little, if any, payoff. The traditional A4 strategy has more hope for a small independent dealer.”

“MPS is the same thing copier dealers have been doing for years. The printer guys are just trying to steal our business with a different name than CPC. The only way to win (printers) in a competitive situation is with third-party toner and parts.”

“I think that the MPS companies are selling the program short and doing themselves a disservice. The initial sales pitch for MPS is that it will make us millions on printer revenues.

We are not finding that to be the case today.

However, the MPS program is great for gathering information on potential accounts and for developing a copier/MFP/MPS sales pitch. It may also prove to be a money-making venture for printer-only businesses down the road. As with all new opportunities, you need to separate the steak from the sizzle.”

To quote Photizo, again - 50% of the people who get into MPS, fail. There is a BTA figure floating around closer to 75%. Is it any wonder?


Many reasons, but two for sure.

1. The definition of MPS
2. Those asked were simple, copier dealers

What is MPS, again?

When you define MPS as CPC, as the "same thing copier dealers have been doing for years...", you're in the dark and will be left behind.

If you define MPS as a new marketing method leveraged to land more equipment, you're in the dark and will be left behind.

Copier Sales People Destroy Managed Print Services Opportunities: Daily

I wrote the above post over a year and a half ago, in June 2009, and was based on a real-world, in-the-field occurrence. I was in the same situation back in August with a different prospect and recently signed a client after a failed PagePack experience.

All anecdotal, but the above quotes bear out my belief - the copier channel is not capable of supporting Pure MPS.

Most of the existing copier guys expected to easily "roll" MPS into or "bolt" MPS onto existing sales/support infrastructure.

Less than halfway in, they discover, "...It(MPS) requires too many resources
with little, if any, payoff..." and are probably in the 50% failure group.

Here's the clincher - if MPS is the same as CPC, then shouldn't a copier rep get commissions on service agreements? Recurring commissions, no less?

This, to me, is one of the biggest hurdles copier-dudes have - supporting MPS engagements with the same, decade-old, CPC sales/infrastructure/commission structure.



So, people talk "offline" about MPS - people who actually DO MPS vs. comment on MPS.

Friends of mine.

And of course, when anything really big hits the MPS market, we talk.  So we talked about the 'new' findings displayed in the INFOTRENDS report.

Below is a collective response to and discourse around, the report:

"...I've had a chance to digest this and it's just not sitting well with me at all.

How does an industry go from 5% adoption at the end-user level at the beginning of 2010 to saturation in 4 years? This isn't the iPhone, right?

The premise is supplier availability creates market saturation in 4 more years.

If you run with that premise you can discern only one of two things:

1. demand is lower than these guys have originally projected
2. the channels that were totally clueless, all of sudden get a clue

The MPS Solution Product Life Cycle is in its early stages, particularly in the SMB Market.

Overall MPS is still as:

Upward revenue trend

  • High competitive differentiation

  • Margin preservation

  • Solution/sophisticated based sales cycle

  • Technologies and frameworks are still in early stages as demand evolves and becomes more defined

  • So in 4 years, this will all invert?

    How will this happen when:

    The adoption rate at the reseller level is low

  • Channels don't know how to provide this solution on a global scale

  • The diffusion of this solution information at the end-user level is still low

  • What event is going to occur that changes this?  

  • I think this is fear-based... that is loosely founded. I could go on but I question the motivation of this report..." - Kevin DeYoung, President, and CEO, Qualpath

    Succinct -

    Bottom line, it's the 'M' in MPS that is most difficult and makes the difference.

    Click to email me.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010

    Last Christmas - Some Didn't Think They Would Have a Job

    Yes, I know, its WHAM!

    This real old skool funny music stuff cracks me up.

    The song came out in 1986: 24-25 years ago.

    Right about the time most of the experts were just getting into MPS - right?


    Merry Christmas -

    Monday, December 20, 2010

    OEM vs. Reman Cartridges: The Battle of the Green

    Interestingly, many clients are increasingly contemplating Remanufactured (Reman) vs. Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) toner cartridges. According to an InfoTrends webinar from September 2009 here, the trend is showing a lean towards Reman.

    Really? Who wants used...anything?

    Um...everyone. It's the new Green.

    Let's take a look across the vast sea of possibilities.

    Saturday, December 18, 2010

    MPS Vision Quest: You Got Yours?

    Before having sex with older women, possibly a teacher, was considered a bad thing, and when being touched by a sports gear sales person was criminal, yet could still make it into a movie - Vision Quest.

    The music was great.

    The visuals familiar. The theme, every red blooded American boy's dream(wet or not)

    And then there was John Waite...

    Thursday, December 16, 2010

    Managed Print Services and Quarterly Business Reviews - "Kicking Off With Sales Figures..."

    The latest "buzz" in The Ecosystem orbits around "the Quarterly Business Review".

    Be certain, if the phrase is new to you, you are a newbie. Period. No question.

    It's okay. Everyone was a "QBR Virgin" at some point. And I promise to be...gentle...

    First recommendation, never kick-off with Sales Figures.

    Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    #ManagedPrintServices: What if the OEM's Threw a Party, and Nobody Came?


    I had, yet another, epiphany the other day, while sitting in front of a prospect, reviewing his fleet over my 8 pages "Approach Document", poking through the pain, and proposing an MPS S1 Engagement.

    I realized that this and every, single, assessment has had one thing in common - overcapacity.

    11x17 at 1% of volume; duplex 4% of volume; fax machines physically next to MFP's with fax capability next to laser printers; 5-year leases; fuser assemblies and toner sitting next to oh so many client's Canon/Xerox/Ricoh/Konica/Copier-De-Jour.

    I thought to myself,

    "What's going to happen when everybody realizes they don't need a copier?"

    Last week I sat in on a Lexmark MPS webinar - the OEM doesn't matter as much as the customer (always) - Columbia.

    As a matter of fact, 60 seconds into the show, I felt I wasn't going to make it past five minutes. I mean, I expect to be "pitched" but a read speech? I swear it was pre-recorded. OMG.

    Toughing it out, my staying power was rewarded.

    Mike Leeper, Global IT, Columbia, presented a frank, honest, and downright refreshing story of his MPS implementation. Two years into a successful MPS Engagement breaking 10 years of status quo.

    Now, I am familiar with the DOW Chemical MPS and Nationwide MPS Project, so I have a good framework for comparison. Both DOW and Nationwide are successful, cost-reducing examples.

    I won't bore you with the many details except these:

    1. Moved decision process out of Facilities
    2. Past decision process was very hardware-centric
    3. Print Vendors were just like "...used car salespeople..."
    4. Printing was considered boring
    5. Success hinged on selling internally and continually communicating
    6. Network only devices considered
    7. Project reduced costs by 37%
    8. Reduced printed output by 1 million images
    9. Effectively "killed" all the previous copiers(DOTC) - zero remained

    The last two should send chills up the spine of every OEM and induce the booted, incumbent to hurl - through his nose.

    MPS engagements like these are the Pure MPS - how can you commoditize this?

    But wait, commoditizing is exactly what the manufacturers want - get all this MPS stuff boiled down to the most basic, simplistic, lowest common denominator. Make it easy enough for a monkey or copier rep(jk!)to sell.

    Create tools that kill the art of MPS, stifle creativity and growth by automatically creating proposals and QBR marketing slicks. Just press F7.

    Cram MPS into the old, "slay it and move on" sales model. As long as that MPS engagement includes 11x17, unused duplex, and a fax machine with every copier.

    Back to my prospect.

    As happens with like-minded folks, conversations travel the spectrum of technical subjects, tangents really. Some would say, tangents get in the way of the close. Yeah, right.

    So we talked about the Agile methodology, Google, SaaS, dual-monitors, MPS(reducing output),, and the new control end-users share via social networking.

    How, today, the ultimate buyer has more choices and how everybody is collaborating. I told him MPS really expanded around the world because of the new social media - the buzz started online.

    I expressed my belief that finally, in my little world of copiers/output devices, the shift from Supply (copier OEM) to Demand-driven(ultimate end-user)is taking place.

    The party may not be over but fewer and fewer will be attending...

    I think he was being polite when he agreed with me.

    Either way, we decided to move forward with an MPS S1 Engagement.

    So, now that I have a close, I guess I should strike out and "slay" another one, right?

    Takes every kind of people...

    For more than one Agile

    Click to email me.

    Friday, December 10, 2010

    TheDeathOfTheCopier - New Leopard: "LivingOnTheEdge"

    This MPS universe teems with interesting folks and unique stories. Straight-laced suits, drunk service technicians, leaders with vision, Sales Managers who don't know Steve Schiffman.

    In general, I have met great personalities and people out here - sales people, owners, CEO's and shipping clerks.

    All with one common thread: we didn't grow up telling our mothers we wanted to be copier or MPS Sales people.

    - Wow -

    Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    May is just around the corner...sorta...MPS and Orlando!

    European Managed Print Services Industry Shows Its Vitality at Major Industry Conference

    Record attendance indicates Europe on track to become largest MPS market

    Lexington, KY – December 6, 2010 – The success of the recent European MPS Conference signals strong and growing interest in managed print services, the business model sweeping the imaging industry. The European event drew 162 attendees to Barcelona, Spain from November 10-12. Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom were among the most represented markets, with participants traveling from 18 different countries as far as South Africa and the United States. HP, Ricoh, FMAudit and DocuAudit Europe were Platinum Sponsors of the 2010 European MPS Conference.

    Archived footage of the European MPS Conference Webcast can be found at

    “We keep hearing from our attendees that the MPS Conferences hosted by Photizo Group are becoming a watering hole for the industry--a true source of education and networking with peers and experts. That is so important, because with organized, focused resources like these, MPS professionals and users increase their chance of success,” said Photizo founder and CEO, Ed Crowley. The highly acclaimed Barcelona keynote and presentations inspired attendees with stimulating insights and ideas:

    Know Thy Self: Epson not getting into Managed Print Services anytime soon...

    It is the hottest thing going on our little industry.

    Secular, paradigm shifting, and a defining moment inhabited by both players and posers - there is plenty of room.

    Who in the world would NOT get into this?

    How could anybody rationalize not having a Managed Print Service offering with a statement like, "...I don't think we can be that bullish, I think we have to react to what the market wants..."

    Who could do this?

    Epson, that's who.

    Tuesday, December 7, 2010

    The Day I Had Drinks with a Hero...

    April 1941, Pearl Harbor.

    The newly wed couple fresh from the states live in a one bedroom house.

    They share the shower, and toilet with 2 other couples. He a Naval corpsmen, his beautiful young bride the homemaker.

    After being married a few months and living with family in a small, cramped California house, they journey thousands of miles and half an ocean's distance to finally live together alone.

    Together in Paradise.

    This is Oahu, April of 1941. Cane fields surround the lazy, sleepy town of Honolulu. Soft, tropical breezes stir through the palms drying out remnants of morning showers. The island was home to 50,000 service men but it still had jsut one traffic light.

    Hawaii a US Territory, statehood nearly two decades away. The town has one road in and out; no skyscrapers, mega-resorts, or miles of lights, to wash out the stars of the night sky.

    A time as foreign to us contemporaries as the surface of Mars.

    On the morning of December 7th, eight months after arriving in Paradise, and a mere 30 minutes before "all hell breaks loose", a sailor gives his new bride a kiss on the cheek and heads of to another day doing whatever a corpsman does. She expects to greet her husband at day's end, with a home cooked dinner.

    At work, a line of gray battleships - the might and power of the United States Navy - are tied off - "Battleship Row". They carry names of honor; Nevada, California, Tennessee, Maryland, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Utah and Arizona.

    This sailor will be late for dinner.

    Monday, December 6, 2010

    Strategic Realignment of Managed Print Services Association,

    Focuses Supporters on New Challenges Facing Dynamic Marketplace

    Leadership and volunteers recalibrate assignments to evolve with fast-growing association

    December 6, 2010 -- Key volunteers and leaders within the Managed Print Services Association executive committee and board of directors have realigned their roles to focus their experience on other areas of the MPSA. This will help keep fresh ideas and new perspectives flowing across all aspects of the association.

    “In an effort to improve our effectiveness and support the ideas of our volunteer leadership team, the MPSA Board has approved these changes,” noted Joe Barganier, who was elected Interim President of the MPSA. “This coordinated transition ensures members can benefit from the diversity of experience we have to offer at the leadership level. We are all very excited about taking on our new challenges.”

    More Copier Crime from the Big Apple

    “An office worker at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is accused of stealing as much as $3.8 million from the hospital by ordering toner-ink cartridges in bulk, diverting their delivery and then selling them elsewhere, authorities said Wednesday…” - The Wall Street Journal, Digital Network

    There must be at least 2 dozen motivators for implementing a Managed Print Services program – but fear should not be one of them. As a matter of fact, fear should rarely be a motivator.

    So when I read this article about a 32 year old receiving clerk, bilking some hospital out of $3.8 million by ordering and fencing toner-ink cartridges over the past 6 years, I was reminded of the Great Governor French Copier Lease Caper and the Missing Copiers in Cleveland Swindle, The Beaverton Ink Bandit and the Funky New York City Department of Education 6,759.33% contract overrun.

    From Detroit to Washington State, crime and shenanigans around copiers and supplies abound and are timeless.

    Of course, like you, my initial response was “they should get MPS…”

    Before you email this article to your sales staff and all the hospitals in your territory, slow your roll, chisel chest.