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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Who is The World's Best Managed Print the World

I love the phrase, "It ain't bragging if its true..." - my high school football coach used it often.
I've noticed a trend over the past few months in our little niche: Robo-Boasting.

Self-promotion is great.  I get that and if you're proud of your MpS, I say get that story out there.  But don't do it through a robotic channel.

Bragging -

So many software, OEMs, dealers, toner pirates, distributors, consultants and analysts either claim to be or report to know the best Managed Print Services something-or-other.  The twitter-feed is chock-full of MPS robo-brags and self-promotion, it is blinding.  Observed from the outside it looks like one huge Love-fest. (I was going to use 'circle-jerk' but that might seem offensive)

Not only have providers turned into cockalorums, they're cheered on by the media & pundits.  All it takes is an all expense paid trip to points north, and inkjet is going to save the kingdom.   Meat labels, 3D printers, erasable copiers, laser vs. inkjet, color vs. b/w are not relevant arguments - customers do not care.

More recently, I've been seeing more "there's no such thing as paperless offices" talk tracks - desperation and confuses the end user.

Somebody's got to put the word out in the 'verse for end-users.  Someone who doesn't have an equipment or software quota...hmmm, what to do, what to do...

 I can't think of anyone more qualified to make this kind of judgement than someone who:

Has sold MPS
Has billed MPS
Has scrubbed MIF
Has managed MPS
Has built MPS practices
Has conducted business reviews
Has ordered and delivered finished goods
Has ordered service parts...under warranty
Has built an MPS practice inside a large VAR
Has evaluated assessment tools for their own use
Has global experience with multiple providers and customers
Has designed and implemented MPS programs on site for end-users
Has conducted assessments with colored dots, spreadsheets and DCA's
Has consulted businesses in moving from a transactional to services based model

 - Here I am.

So with much fanfare and trepidation, I present the categories and folks suggested for the "2014 DOTC Rising Stars":

Best Paperless Implementation
Bank of America
Sonic Automotive
Kaiser Permanente

Best MPS Software - Leading Role(Pre-Sale)
#AssetDB Son of Preo
#FM Audit

Best MPS provider to work for-

...any dealer...

Best Infrastructure in a Supporting role -

Best Supporting Player - Accounting/Inventory Control

Best Actor - Managed Print Services(OEMs)
Canon - MDS
Xerox - PPS
Ricoh - MDS
Lexmark - MarkVision
Staples - Advantage
Toshiba - Encompass
HP - Instant Ink

Best Managed Print Services Training Programs
@Office Document Consulting

Best MPS Pundit
Industry Analysts
Industry Analysts
Greg Walters Inc.(J/K!), I am disqualified.

Best Managed Print Services Website

Best MPS Blog


The above list reflects entities I know via direct contact or through one of our clients.

My decision criteria will be based on input from end-users and personal, working knowledge.

For instance, I know a client who is current being served MPS through a reseller supported by LMI.  One of my questions for that end user was:

"How knowledgable was your managed print services in terms of business acumen?"  this tells me how effective the LMI training modules have been.

For an PagePack customer, I've asked, "How often have your bills been incorrect?", this tells me if billing challenges flow all the way down to the customer level.

For the PrintSolv customers I know, on both coasts, "How often are incorrect toners shipped to you and what happens after you alert your provider?", I know there aren't too many but this is all about the edges, not the norm.

For the OEM programs I've asked, "How often did your rep conduct a business review? What value do you give these meetings?

And for everyone, "Take a look at our Relationship Spectrum and tell me where you would place your MPS provider?"

I know there are other applications, programs and software packages that support MpS.  If you wold like to be considered, drop me a line.

Remember these qualifications:
  1. I don't want to talk with marketing people
  2. If you're a dealer, I would talk to the Owner
  3. I will seek out your customers, not any suggested references

The Zig in Bunch of Zags
Anybody can select the "Best", it doesn't take a set to slap people on the back and ignore the laggards.  Instead of finding the 'premier' players in the above categories, how interesting will it be to find the 'Worst' ?

Who's got the worst website?
Who continues to market MPS as a hardware play?
Who leads with MPS and follows up with equipment sales?
Which OEM message is garbled beyond recognition, as stated by their customers?
Which trainer has simply cut 'copier' and replaced with 'MPS' in their curriculum?
Which analyst has missed the mark completely or continues to ignore the real world?

 - Balls of Steel

If the facts are reported by end-users, the ultimate customer, what's wrong with pointing out the stragglers?  If home office is prescribing one talk track, but the customer hears another, shouldn't HQ want to know this?  Don't we owe it to the industry and clients to shed light on slow adopters, carpet-baggers and marketing driven charlatans?

If nobody tells them they have no clothes, won't they continue to walk around naked?  Who wants to see THAT?

Well, maybe pointing out falsehoods and misdirection is just negative and dark.   Perhaps, I'm seeing a reflection of my insecurities in the mistruth's of others.  Maybe, if I were to seek out the miscreants, I see demons everywhere.  Then again, sometimes the world is full of shaitans, witches and warlocks growing stronger in the Darkness of our ignorance.

Nahhhh...what do I know?  I'm just an ex-highschool football player with a goofy ideas bouncing around the spaces of his mind...

what do you think?


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