Saturday, December 31, 2011

To Boldly Go

And so it has finally come to this - There is nothing new for me to write.  There is nothing I can say, that I haven't said before; Manage Print Services has peaked and it's time to "jump the curve".

Sure, there are plenty of adventures remaining, lots of cold calls, assessments, proposals and engagements remain to be had.

Have it.

I will certainly NOT stop talking or writing about technology in our little niche - see you at some shows.

But there is more...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Does Making a Man a Knight...Make Him a Better Provider? Yes.

This post was first started April, 2011 -----

The battle for MpS.

As the 3rd Annual MPS Conference fades in the rear-view,  its deja vu all over.

Today, questions around MpS border on the mundane; reflecting, once again, the commoditization of me and of you:

Cold Calls, Dialing for MpS - old school scripts
MpS is Dead - Toner and Service only
MpS is Dying - MIF is shrinking
MpS needs 'farmers' and 'hunters' - labels and boxes
MpS Reps are simply coin operated - sure, that's all we care about, isn't it
The OEMs are not working with the channel - working 'on' is not working 'with'
The OEMs are losing control - do we sell machines or services or supplies
"I have MpS on my HP's.  The copiers are all on a service agreement.  We're fine..."  - quote from an IT guy

So, here we are again...after DOTC defined it...we're stuck asking, "What is MpS?"

"What is Managed print Services?"

What's old is new.  We've all been here before. Timeless.  From Jerusalem to BattleStar Galactica to The Matrix - the footprints we follow are our own...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

" cars out back, if you're ready to take that long walk..."

 " you're scared and you're thinking you ain't that young a little faith, there's Magic in the night..."

Remember when all the redemption you needed was beneath a dirty hood...


I've seen the Rain...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

More News from the VAR World: ConnectWise introduces 'Vendor Management'

Today I attended a webinar hosted by ConnectWise titled "Vendor Management"

You remember ConnectWise as a VAR infrastructure software package which includes modules for everything from dispatch to Sales to Marketing support.

"Vendor Management" is a new functionality and is intended to assist Managed Service Providers (MSP) in managing technology vendors for their clients.  The MSP could now handle interfacing with the telephone, domain, internet vendors on their clients' behalf - and yes, not only did one graphic include a "copier vendor" icon, the word "copier" was mentioned no less than 12 times in under 42 minutes.

Their primary concern? "...vendors are starting to invade each others space leading to finger pointing...leaving the customer stuck in the middle..."

With this new module, ConnectWise is recommending the MPS step into the middle of the convergence, taking and maintaining control of their clients' vendor ecosystem.  

This is a valuable service, and strategic in nature along the lines of 'whoever owns the network, owns the account' mentality.

If you manage the Vendors, you manage the access, billing, relationship and minimize each uniqueness.

Additionally, they see this convergence as predatory. Outsiders infiltrating 'their' accounts, specifically mentioning copier vendors.

The module looks completely adequate with everything from annotation capabilities, workflow and contract renewal reviews.

A pivot point-  positioning for the approaching struggle.

Click to email me.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Greg's Top 12 of 2012 - The End of the World as We Know It...Well, not Really...

For you, dear reader, my personal top 12 for 2012.

A list of what I see happening in the coming year, for us, our industry, our world.

In a moment of pure randomness, a stream of consciousness, my off the cuff opinion - feel free to disagree:

12. Content

Content is everything. And it grows.  Not simply printed content, Tweets, cable/digital TV, cellphone calls, dead-emails, texts, sexts, DropBox, utility bills - bumper stickers, ATM transactions: Everything.

And there is the DarkContent/DarkMatter - the "meta data" - the stuff we can't forget, because we've never seen it. For example, if you are running FourSquare, your every step is recorded, not just the cute 'check-ins'.  Your movement is recorded and filed off into the great Rift that is DarkConent.  Same with your NetFlix orders and cable TV viewing patterns, your Visa spends, and the digital footprint that follows your every search, view, post, comment and click.

All there, all Dark and unseen.  Collective.

The Age of Content is engaged, 2012 will reveal more.

11. Social Everything

Everybody is touching everyone, everywhere - Twitter is going to kill news collectors and email; and not a printer in sight.  DropBox/BoxNet make sharing large, exchange-choking files a snap.  Tablets will be faster, .PDF's will download instantly(almost) and the screen will be the new 'paper'.

10. Less Copiers

That's right, less 11x17, less off the glass copying.  'Nuff said...

Christmas Morning...2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas From DOTC

It's a time to reflect, to celebrate, and remember.

I know I will be doing all of the above.

On this particular Christmas, 2011, I especially acknowledge all the readers of DOTC.

May this be the merriest of Christmases and your family enjoy each other's company.

To the beaches of Laguna, the streets of Seattle, St. Louis, Dallas, Houston, Oklahoma City and Detroit.

Ohio to Florida, Kentucky to Utah.

To my friends in London town, the Netherlands, and Europe.

From the Cape of South Africa to the Horn of South America, to the Opera House of Sydney to the shores of New Zealand.

From India to Singapore, Seoul to Berlin.

The Azores, Honolulu to Anchorage and back to good ole Davidson, North Carolina -  Thank you for reading.

Merry Christmas to all...and to all...a good night...

Lose Yourself - One Shot, You Only get One Shot...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Top Six Managed Print Services Organizations of 2012

Photizo, Supplies Network, Xerox, Great America, MWAi,  & Lyra 

Photizo - They get it right and have been there from the beginning.

Before Gartner ever considered an MPS Quadrant, Photizo was there.

Back then Gartner didn't give a lick.

IDC, didn't know MPS.

Back then, half of our "esteemed" instructors carpet bagged on dealer fear.

When the consultants of the day were espousing the similarity of  MpS to color and poo-pooing MpS as "just another marketing scheme..." Photizo tagged the name "Hybrid Dealer" - of course, they copied the phrase.

That's what Copiers Do.

While others were 'find and replacing' the word 'copier' for 'MPS', Photizo published the Three Adoption Stages of MpS.

And just as others enveloped those three into their MPS talk-track, Photizo added even more stages, resulting in the above chart.

They've gotten it.  They've been on it from day one.

Now some in our ecosystem confuse me with them, promoting me as a Photizo employee or worse, their hatchet-man.  Don't get me wrong, I have no problem being a GunSlinger, but I choose both my allies and my targets - nobody tells me where the Red Dot lands.

Truly, if back in the day anybody else was saying what Photizo was saying, I would acknowledge them as well.  

"...Sooner or later, One has to take sides, if one is to remain human..."

So we make our choices and we stick with the plan.  I chose Photizo because they've been right there on the same page as I, seeing the same things I have in the field from Genesis.  And sometimes, they make people uncomfortable - awe, poor baby...

Friday, December 16, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Okidata - VARs/BTA/PSA/RMM - and Agiliant

I just read the press release from Okidata announcing a relationship between Oki and Agiliant.

You'll remember Agiliant is a newcomer to the MpS space(sorta, they pretty much invented MpS back in the day before flipping out to Pitney) - Agiliant is looking to provide third-party IT services to MpS providers, rounding out any managed services portfolio.

Not a bad model.

Okidata adds yet another dimension to their VAR strategy.  Again, you'll remember back in the summer of 2011, Oki announced a re-vamping of their Total Managed Print portal that included interfaces to many of the popular PSA's.(Connectwise, Level Platforms...)

The VARs are coming, and their infrastructure partners are leading the way.  All this is fine and grand.  But software does not an MpS Practice make.

How are these new VARs going to SELL this new service?  Just like helpdesk and the NOC?

It ain't that difficult, so we should see thousands of VARs embrace and prosper in this new realm, shouldn't we?

It's our ecosystem all over again - let's call it the MpS ExoSystem.

Press Release:

Butch Cassidy, the Return - BlackThorn

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What Should we Do with all These VARs?

johnathan, Johnathan...JOHNATHAN...JOHNATHAN...JOHNATHAN !

Next chance you get, check out the last 10 seconds of the ending scene in 300.

Why would a proven model some 3 decades old, not hold up to supporting MpS?

Because no matter how many nifty tools or vendor partners come calling, no matter how 'easy' an MpS program looks from the outside, Managed Print Services is not a bolt-on proposition.

Sound familiar?  Remember the 50% to the MpSr's who failed?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Top Morning Indicators Your Day is Really Going to Suck...

We've all been there, experiencing those morning events that just scream to you, "this day is going to suck."

Tie-Dipping in coffee, every shirt is wrinkled, car won't start...

How about these:

You wake up and it's Monday.

You wake up to realize you've stolen anything from Mike Tyson.

You wake up late for the Monday Morning Sales Group-Hug back in the crumbling world that is your company.

You wake up, walk to the bathroom, and Patrick Duffy is stepping out of the shower - it was all a dream. And you might be...well,  "...skip to my Lou, happy...".

You wake up, swear by all the gods of fast food hell, you will never go to Wendy's again. Lift the lid, there are ladies about, feel a stronger than usual back pain, look down and see blood.

- this is what happened to me, today, this morning...

Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

"...You All Read this Tome for different reasons...I'm asking more of you...sure as I know anything, I am to misbehave..."


"...Let's be bad guys..."

Brick and mortar is dead.  The ways of the past limiting.  Still, the Ways are promoted, adhered to, pushed down from the AllianceArchaic.

We who abide, sleep in the cubical that has become life.  Suckling the metal teat, swallowing the dogma and false promise of a heartless Utopia. Blissful. One day, we wake up selling copiers.

Those of us who see, rile and squirm under the thumb. We are misunderstood chastised and subjugated.  Seen as different, defiant.


We Who See are unwilling traitors, reluctant 'slingers,  first fighting then finally admitting our place in the ecosystem.

We look right, then left and proclaim,  "...let's be Bad Guys..."

"...No More Running..."

More paper...more machines, more power, more data, directing, telling, whispering in your ear...

"'re a hero, you have followers, you're famous, obey your heart, you're in charge..."

Hypnotic and empty sunshine blown right up your A$$. The siren song of compliance.

They keep you reaching for quota, margin, all necessary and good, but they hold you back, chain you to the past, their past, not even yours.

They create 'new' training packages that are nothing but relabeled 80's swill. They tell you to sell solutions, be more competitive, (lower your selling price) while the back-end rebates slip to the bottom line - 'it's how we pay for the year-end party' - upchuck.

So you wind up wounded, not even dead...knocking on MIF, churning and burning, cold calling CIO's and IT Directors. Fighting the service manager to lower the CPC, scratching your head over not getting paid on copier service agreements...huh.

You're running through a mind numbing, monochrome, maze.  They move the cheese and keep you running.

No more running.

"...Oh no, they're not going to see this coming..."

They won't.  They don't. They can't.

They see what they want to see - a centrally controlled, field of Zombie-Minions.

The minions are everywhere - not just in imaging but in Pharms, office products, fluid components, IT/MS and nanotechnology. Purveyors of all types of widgets, services and niches yet to be created - the LongTail is everywhere.

Who is The AllianceArchaic?

In fiction, they are known as the Machines, SkyNet, the Empire, the Borg, Decepticons, P1,Colossus.  In Real Life, they could be the corporation, the government, ownership, banking, the establishment, social norms or even Hollywood.  In Real Life, The AllianceArchaic is more difficult to see.  But it is pompous and filled with hubris.

Now is the time - all I would ask is that you ask yourself, "is it my time?"  If so, move.  Move directly toward your detractors, head first.

The AllianceArchaic won't see it coming, all they can see is themselves.

Click to email me.

Christmas, a Pool, and the Red One Piece...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

"We weren't Born to Follow..." - Brick and Mortar is Dead, it's a 1099 World


Walk the Walk, Talk the Talk...

I've been saying it all summer, "brick and mortar is dead."

I've been saying it for years, "the only boss we have is the one staring at us in the mirror in the morning."

I've been saying it for months, "now is the time in history when we can do exactly what we want to do."

Technology is allowing us to sell in the streets and the board room, not on a demo-floor. We can communicate with people all over the globe, at any time - email is dead.  I can run an MpS Practice from anywhere - I ain't kidding either.

I've been talking about how the 'big guys' want you to work in their cube farm, ignorant and happy.

I see the power of the corporation receding and the independence of 'one' growing.

I am not disgruntled, I have no hard feelings, I do not dislike any previous employer - we all get what we deserve, and at the time, I deserved them.

But it is hypocritical, isn't it? To espouse the benefits of individualism, encourage rebellion against the machine from the dark, safety of the night only to walk into an office the next morning, sit in a cube, and tolerate ineptitude.

There is no blame, no right or wrong - there simply is.  There is the Convergence.  The intersection of time and space; opportunity and preparedness.

So, as I advocate for change, as I encourage all those Leaps of Faith, it is time for me to look into the mirror and see what was in front of me all along.

Below, is a standard termination notification - standard in all ways except this one is real.

This one is mine.

Dear XXXX, 

Please accept this message as notification that I am leaving my position with SIGMAnet effective 11/30/2011. I appreciate the opportunities I have been given at SIGMAnet and your professional guidance and support. I wish you and the company success in the future. 

Please let me know what to expect as far as final paperwork, my employee benefits or anything else you can think of. If I can be of assistance during this transition, please let me know.  I will forward the laptop and phone to SIGMAnet, at my earliest convenience.  

Thank you again.

Greg Walters

I can not think of a more exposing or vulnerable position to be in - and yet...

It is true, DOTC will cease to expand, after the 31st.  I will not be adding content.

The blog shall stand as a static, monolithic totem guiding visitors along the path of MpS purity - a TombStone,  reminder of what was.

The Cycle will continue.

And finally, I will be living my words.