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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Managed print Services Tunnel Vision - Are You Focusing On One Thing

Yeah, that's me.  'ballin it up and rockin the Leopard.

"An informational silo is a management system incapable of reciprocal operation with other, related management systems..."

So says the Wiki.

A closer example is your accounts payable department never talking to your accounts receivable department. Resulting in the invoices you receive from a supplier not coinciding with the ones sent to your customers.

Or an accounts payable department that simply pays Xerox 700 times a month, for overages, but never cross-references back to each department - no oversight.

And then there's an industry cliché; Sales makes the promises Service has to keep.

Silos lead to less communication. Then to stress. And then breakdowns.

Inside these silos, knowledge workers and decision-makers concentrate on a specific set of functions designed to support the organization's goals, maintaining their focus.

Necessary and dangerous, just ask Sony. ( a reference to the failure of the Walkman)
Not only in our industry or in business but silos or narrow focus also occurs elsewhere.

For instance, if a player focuses too intently on one specific opponent, one on a team of seven, his view compresses down to a single point. Usually just off the tip of the barrel, slowly sighting on an apparent target.  This is similar to a business scenario where a company concentrates all its resources and attention on a single aspect of its operation, like cutting costs or acquiring new customers. 

While this focus might initially seem advantageous, it can lead to a 'tunnel vision' where the company becomes oblivious to other critical factors such as employee satisfaction, product quality, or emerging market trends. Just like the paintball player who misses the broader game by concentrating on one target, businesses risk missing vital opportunities or threats by not maintaining a holistic view.

Unfortunately, he is mistakenly content. As his view crystallizes on that one player, aiming just right, waiting for that precise second,  he can't see and is not aware of anything else.  He does not see doom approaching from outside his tunneled view, as his strength (focus) becomes his undoing.

So it is with us today - MpS worthy of attention, focusing on Stage 1 and Stage 2 is noble and even encouraged.

Could your focus be your worst enemy?

This brings us to an essential question: Could your focus be your worst enemy? Peter Sheehan at the 2011 Global MPS Conference hinted at this when he said, '...your past, your assumptions, can hold you back.

Peter Sheehan, at the 2011 Global MPS Conference said something along the lines of "..your past, your assumptions, can hold you back..." reminiscent of Tony's blueprint of patterns.

What is your pattern and is it holding you back?  Are your assumptions directing your future?  Are the ghosts of days gone by sucking your marrow?

Four years ago, were you selling the same thing you are today, just calling it something different?

Third-party toner four years ago is today's MpS.

Are your decade-old copier CPC service agreements today's MpS Contracts? Yesterday's enterprise, Cost per copy, is today's MpS.

Are you still selling single-function printers with CarePacks and discounts on toner cartridges, getting your transaction to 4% GP? Throw in free service and call it MpS.

All the above is fine.  Your focus is clear; Stage 1 and Stage 2.

As you hone your invoicing, monitoring, billing, cartridge, and service delivery model, "capturing all the clicks" what's that blur just off to the right?

Did you see that?  It looked like an MSP optimizing everything and eliminating your fleet...

No.  I guess you didn't see that one coming.

Much like Sony's oversight of the iPod, many in our industry may miss emerging threats. This oversight is akin to 'balls in the back' in paintball – unexpected yet impactful. 

Another three 'balls in the back, and another stolen MpS client.

Are you ready to adapt to these unforeseen challenges?

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Greg Walters, Incorporated