Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Repeat After Me: "Managed Print Services is Business Process Management, MPS is BPM, MPS is BPM"- FireWork

First published, 2011

Remember in the "olden days" when we would set requirements with our prospect? The requirements we would "demo" toward? Like copying on both sides, job build, stapling, multiple paper sizes, and all that? 

By the way, do we still demo "scan once, print many"?

Now, remember the next generation of questions?

"How often do you print?"
"Have you thought about color?
"What document types do you print?"

And then finally, the last iteration includes:

" me how you generate and process invoices..."

Are you asking these questions today or simply letting your DCA run your analysis?

Are you tabulating a CPI, presenting "auto-fulfillment", power reduction, green initiatives, a lower monthly cost, getting a signature and moving on?

Really?  How are those Quarterly Business Reviews working out?

How many copiers in your funnel this month, how many boxes are you landing before the 28th and how many ex-dates do you have this quarter?

And they say there is "no difference between MPS and CPC".

The first wave in the great Managed Print Services land grab is in full swing, taking pause as the more committed eye their next move.  What are you doing with your existing engagements?  Are you firmly entrenched in Stage 1, itching into S2, and not even able to envision S3?

Welcome to your 'commoditized' world.  In another 36 months, you'll be losing all your engagements to the MSP's who fold MPS into their portfolio of services. Liberating their clients from the Last Copier Salesmen and "locked" contracts.

Let's review The Three Stages of MPS -

Stage 1: Control - Track what you have now, determine one decision-maker for the fleet

Stage 2: Optimize - Balance the existing fleet, create a Print Policy

Stage 3: Enhance - Enhance the Business Process, EDM, Workflow

S1 and S2 seem to be where most of the action is today.  Supplies management, service fulfillment, and fleet balancing.  The easy stuff, to be sure. And also the areas that offer up the most bang for the buck in terms of immediate savings and waste reduction.

Should you stay in S1/S2?  If you do, will you outrun the commoditization or contribute to it? S2 is a bit more "technical" and although not the Space Shuttle, it does require specialized skills in complex selling.

There is a place between and around all the stages - in the 'white spaces' - where you set yourself apart from the others.

Back to my query: do you ever ask a prospect questions like these:

"...can you show me how you generate and process invoices..."
"...can you show me how you process an invoice for payment..."
" are orders processed and how is inventory received...

These are sophisticated questions that deserve more thought.  And in my opinion, it should be part and parcel of your Stage 1 and Stage 2 interview process. 

Let's assume you ask to see how your client processes incoming invoices for payment. And let's take a look at, for example, how the lease and overage payments are processed for your client's existing copiers.

Or maybe you want to see how your prospect orders and pay's all those Staples invoices each month.

Standard stuff. 

In your Mole Skin notebook, just like Hemingway, Van Gogh and other famous MPSr's before you, your thoughts are jotted down.

Perhaps you draw little pictures, outlining the decision process, paper flow, work-flow with arrows and lines and such - maybe even in different colors.

I know, you're looking for bottlenecks, old devices, mismatched volume to machine and machine to employee ratios.

But guess what else you are doing. You're plotting and exploring in the 'white spaces' between and around all the stages of MPS - the first step in basic, Business Process Optimization.  Entre into S3, S4 and beyond.

"Get the F*, outta here! No..., It's serious..."

Yes, it's true - you're doing basic systems analysis. How would I know? Because about a million years ago, I paid for and attended a Systems Analysis Class, CIS450.  We even had flowchart templates.

No Visio for decades. You may not be looking to improve work-flow, but you are modeling the existing processes and components: Business Process Modeling.(BPM)  Pretty cool, eh?  Oh, and resume enhancing too - bonus.

This takes little time, just as much as needed to write down your notes, i.e., SN#, volume, location, asset number, etc. There is no better way to chart your future than to see your 'present'. One thing,  you won't hear this in any "How to Sell Copiers" or "How to Sell MPS" classes, will you?

In between all those cold calls and role-playing, not one of your managers is going to sit down with you and show you some basic flow diagrams - it could even be on the back of a napkin, over adult beverages. 

Instead, check this little three minute, BPM video. The voice is bland but an Order Entry process is outlined.  And yes, there is a bit of selling, but not too much; I am sure that if you have ever been through an EDM presentation, some of this will be a bit of deja vu.

 After, feel free to flush your brain, with o bit of Hot-Katy.