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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Greg's " Deep Impacts" of 2015: HP Inc., Epson & Sunset of an Industry

"Greg, what were the biggest events or issues from last year?'
...a seasonal tradition.
This year, like last year, my initial reaction is, "Not much."  Which is soon followed by a wave of angst.

Most of the industry is insane.

OEMs keep releasing new models...which aren't all that it's 1999.  Mobile print, document management, managed print services, automatic toner replenishment, managed services, and that fictitious managed network services are all the 'rage'.  Same as last year.

The consolidation continues as dealer after dealer is gobbled up by yesterday's rival or taken over by a capital investment firm.  Same as last year.

Clients aren't making copies and office print is on the decline.  Same as last year.

But there are golden nuggets in 2015; it wasn't simply the "Year of Tears".

1.  HP Split - Jettisoning print

This was no surprise.

I believe the world of print is heading into HP's wheelhouse - smaller devices, low operating costs, and direct supplies management.

Managed print services is not complicated.  When considering the influences, especially MPS automation, there's no need for a dealer. With today's technological advances in M2M, a national company can provide toner and service more efficiently than a 'local' reseller.

Someday, HP will deliver MpS anywhere in the country - without a local service network.  No need for a middleman.

The split is good for HP, not sure if it's good for the channel.

2.  The Sunset of An Industry

Xerox is in decline and Icahn, the Master of Disaster, buys more and more.  He's going to oust Ursula then slice and dice the Big X - another Kodak moment.

Meanwhile,  Lexmark the wallflower, hikes up her skirt, beguiling suitors with promises of MpS, revenue streams.  Multiples are good, but who's going to ask Lexi to dance?

HP's vision, as mentioned above,  is one of continuous transformation.  As business evolves, and technology removes the mundane components, like print, loud, hot, expensive machines designed to make marks on paper,  lose relevancy.

Consultants still place the OEMs in the upper right and tag big spenders as 'visionary' - whoever has the largest marketing budget or the nicest rooms in town, gets the best reviews and accolades.

Elsewhere, offshore concerns are marching to the 'print/copy is relevant' drum, churning out devices like crazy.

All points Terminus.  Like Childhood's End, one day, the memory of a once great paper-making machine will be remembered in song, not substance.

3. Epson: Shining Star, for you to See

Yes, I mocked the hell out of the 'bags of ink'.  But I poke fun at those who attract. You should consider Epson for the following reasons:

  1. De-emphasize print - I know it hurts, but the print is not all that important, and the walk-up copy is dead(except for SLED) in the end, print is simple because fewer people print.  Why fight the trend?  You cannot win. Epson takes the complexity out of printing with this device  Just sell it.
  2. "Close and forget" mentality - Imagine a device that requires one or two touches a year and one toner delivery every three years.  Quick, do the math.  Get a good chunk of margin up front, put the device on MpS, and forget about it.
  3. No technicians, no toner delivery, just monthly billing - That's all.
About this time last year, my advice to independents was to jump on the reduce-print-servers bandwagon.  I told a bunch of dealers to get with a company called PrinterLogic - they didn't.  Today, Printerlogic is banging big deals all over the world.

You could have been part of that movement.  You could have been telling your clients how to reduce the cost of print by decreasing the number of print servers.  You could have elevated the MpS discussion above and beyond toner and service calls. You could have sold a bunch of stuff, too.

But you didn't and now you've lost a bunch of accounts.

Boo, f'n, who.  If you're not retiring or selling out, get on the ink-bag train. Call Epson, now, but it might be too late.

10 Years Out - 

What is the future of print, in the year 2025?  No business print.  Little in education, more in government, and healthcare will be paperless.

The Internet of things will be the Internet of everything - plants will talk with light bulbs which will communicate with coffee tables, the paint on your walls, and your inhaled nano's.  Everything, everyone will be connected, all the time.

Information will finally move at the speed of thought.

How about in the year 2020?  Just like the computer dealers of the 1980s, copier dealers will fade into history. Few copier dealers will remain.

Eric Church - Mr. Misunderstood

Click to email me.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Merry Christmas! From me, Greg Walters...2015

That's right,


and happy Chanukah...

I'll keep saying Merry Christmas until another country celebrates "the Holidays" on the Moon; on account of the United States of America, as of this date, is the only country to have done so...pass the eggnog.


Saturday, December 5, 2015

Why I Think Franklin Planners Will 'Save Print'

Yup, that's right.

Back in the day, every single salesperson worth his or her quota carried a Franklin planner. Heck, I think HP, IBM, and Canon gave every rep a planner and the "Seven Habits..." in lieu of a PC and printer.

Instead of checking smartphones and pecking the qwerty, we'd unzip and unfold our cool, custom binders, jot down notes, check off tasks, and review calendars.  And by 'jot' I mean, write down...with a pen or pencil...on paper even.
"...sometimes, reps would copy entire months, off the glass, and submit these "reports" to management..."
Scheduling the next appointment was in real-time, face to face, and "...if it didn't make it in my Franklin, it didn't exist..."

Business cards were stuffed in plastic sleeves for easy access and we wrote down phone numbers.

No.  Really...we did.

At the end of the day or week, one might review the past and plan future action items or follow-up tasks.  Again, we wrote on paper.  More advanced users would apply sticky notes, and custom forms. (show-offs)

Leadership loved these things.

Old-school sales managers would surprise audit your Franklin, checking for scheduled meetings over the next couple of weeks - funnel review included handing your planner over to your manager.

Sometimes...and get this...sometimes, reps would copy entire months, off the glass, and submit these "reports" to management.  Penny a click, penny a click...

So here's my plan.

If every single HP, Lexmark, Xerox, Canon, Ricoh, Epson, Samsung, Muratec, or Memjet, sales rep indeed, if every sales, branch, or district manager, each VP, AVP, and C-Suite employee in every manufacturer and dealer ordered a Franklin planner today, the industry would lead by example.  The industry would save itself.

For this to work,  The 'Planner' must be the required tool for funnel reviews and account planning. Follow me here...if the industry is serious about saving itself by repeating the same mistakes over and over, it should drink its own champagne and regress back to paper.

Move off Outlook, turn off the carphones.  Get back to alphanumeric pagers, pink phone message pads, and overhead transparencies.

Fewer screens, more carbon paper.

Worried about productivity? Hear meetings without beeps, whistles, and tweeting sounds.  No more heads buried in a keyboard checking Facebook during your copier technology roadmap presentation.


Go full tilt.  Stop "selling the cloud" and referring to yourself as a technology company - everybody knows you're just trying to make your MFDs relevant.

Do you want relevance?  Move your entire ordering process back to paper.

CRM? Yeah, it's a 1-30 tickler file.  Slide deck?  Sure, it is a deck of real slides.

If the industry wants to return to the hey-days of 1986, I say, put your value prop where your toner bottle is and get rid of your digital technology.

I dare you.  I double-dog, dare you.  I can't wait to see the direct reps sporting pleather binders and a return of the receptionist!

Require your professional salespeople to scan their Franklin at 7:00 AM and again at 5:30PM.  Penny a click, penny a click...

While you are at it, bring back the original QWERTY and put the receptionist to work, typing up proposals.  And yes, make 20 copies for every meeting.  Penny a click, penny a click...

"Receptionist Wanted:  Must type 120 words per minute and be versed in grammar."

Gosh, the possibilities are endless...

Satire -

We all know nobody in the imaging industry is going to lead into the past by giving up all their paper-reducing technology.

I guess the big question is, how can they expect their clients to do so?

Monday, November 23, 2015

Past 48 months - "I never meant to break my own promises..."


Four years ago, if you told me I would be in Oconomowoc, Wi, helping a VAR go national and rediscovering the future of office print - I would have slugged you in the head.

Well, this is PRECISELY the situation I find myself in.  In a land of fried cheese, beer, and cities named after Indians.


Through the hoopla, laughter, and tears, when I look back to 2011, I can't help but shake my head, roll my eyes and ask,

"What in the Seven Hells just happened?"

Monday, November 9, 2015

#DOTC The Book Lives On

It's been so long, I had forgotten about this little paperback - thank the copier gods for old buddies to remind me of past lives.

I don't care if he read it, the picture is worth cases of book sales.

The book is available on iBooks, which is cool and Amazon, of course:

Believe me, I'm not retiring on this and I don't necessarily believe it is all that good.  But, the seal has been broken.  I've got enough content bouncing around to fill a large volume with funny,  real world sales and copier stunts.

The next book will be much better.


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Shades of Greg: 2016. The Year of The Flood


Mergers, acquisitions, sell-outs and less paper.

2016 will see the beginning of the End.

More signs.  The tipping point is in your rearview mirror, if this is news to you, it's too late.

  • Today, Xerox may be running out of ink with quarter after quarter of declining technology business. They've also decided to scrap the wax.
  • Lexmark, after years of building a portfolio of MPS contracts is finally ready to sell out.
  • HP, the thickest of the thick, is splitting into two. HPG, (HP Inc.) can now move quicker and turn their profits into R/D for print.  Will this five billion dollar start-up be the last print vendor standing? Can the old Printelligent model work?  Mother Blue has been adding vans almost as fast as she's laid off employees.  She has an impressive array of services, and a behemoth of a team ready to take the argument to the streets - direct.
  • Samsung may gobble up Nuance, enhancing a practically non-existent MpS program.
  • The independent channel continues to shrink and evolve.  Just this week, Loffler joined the Xerox dealer channel and Marco cashes in, selling to an equity firm.
  • On top of all this, the American Forest & Paper Association released their yearly report stating, " printing-writing paper shipments were down 4% in September as compared to September 2014."  The same report a year earlier sited a 7% drop from 2013 to 2014.
Taken individually, the list has one dimension.

But observed from a distance, and just to the side, these points reveal a multi-dimensional reality: The deluge is here.

Knee deep in a receding surf for the last 18 months the final Wave is coming.  If you haven't sold or gotten out the only choice you have is to hunker down and hope for the best.

So what does it mean?

The End is just the beginning...ask yourself this one question,

"If office print disappeared tomorrow, what would I be doing the day after?"

Whatever answer you come to, you are absolutely correct.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Shades of Greg: 2015 "Top100 Summit" & The Death of Managed print Services

"Live a life less ordinary
Live a life extraordinary with me
Live a life less sedentary
Live a life evolutionary with me..."

These thoughts are my personal critique of an industry, not an individual.

Weeks ago, over one hundred leading MpS providers congealed in Park City, Utah to discuss the future of MpS.  It was a great educational and entertaining event - recommended.

This event was one of the best I've attended in years - only the MWAi show from last year, stands above.  West put together a great agenda and was able to recruit a diverse set of industry luminaries.

Here's a quick list of observations from The Top 100 - "MpS is Changing" conference:
  • The venue: Superb.
  • Event organization: Stellar.
  • Promotion: Unparalleled.
  • Presenters: Both gargantuan and irrelevant.
  • Content: Both significant and forgettable.
  • Off-line conversations: The best in over a decade.
For a detailed tracking of the event, talks, and feedback, see Ken's, Art's, West's, and Andy's most accurate reports.

The video, recorded, edited, and presented on-site, nearly live, is one of the best promotional pieces in the niche.  It was organic and fun. See it here.

Enough of us patting each other on the back, like we’re all buds. Here's a two word summary of the show:

"Points Missed."  

It has been said our niche moves at the speed of an HP Series II - I don't agree with that 100% of the time, but after this conference, I'm having second thoughts.

I've stewed on this for what seems years - why do so many still believe in the old models?  Why don't they see what others see?

In a juxtaposition with the best content I've witnessed,  the audience comments were befuddling.  I sat there, shaking my head, not at the presenters(mostly) but frustrated over the 1970 mentality of the audience. Still!

Here it is.  A list of call-outs from my perspective:

"Automatic Toner Fulfillment": 2007 called...

"If you sell hammers, everything looks like a nail" so, if you sell re-man toner, all the world is an empty printer, right?


Getting toner to the right desk at the right time is something we've cut our teeth on, back in 2007. Staples delivers more toner to more desks, on time, "automatically" than anybody else and they use people. Automation for automation's sake is not visionary.

The fact that we are looking at ATF as a new advantage, in 2015, is trite - Clients expect every MpS program can 'get toner to the user' as a mundane function.

There is no such thing as "MNS": Really. 

This irks me on a personal basis.  Nobody in real IT refers to anything as managed network services; it is simply managed services. Whenever we say "MNS", we look like wanna-be, IT knuckleheads. If you're IT contacts don't flinch or roll their eyes every time you say "MNS" they are being polite.

Stop it.

Epson Bags of Ink: Not disruption, turbulence.

This is the BIG miss of the show.

When the Epson dude referred to his ink bags as "disruptive", I think most in the room assumed it was we doing the disrupting.

Immediately, calls of, "how can I make money the old fashion way, when I sell the machine and lifetime ink all upfront?"

The answer is, "you can't make money the old-fashioned way..."

But here's the miss: we won't be using ink-bags to disrupt, this disrupts Managed print Services.

It's the other way around: bags-o-ink AND "Instant Ink"(DOTC, 2011) will move the channel closer to irrelevancy.  Not because wet-toner is better than dry-toner - the iceberg here is "Lifetime Supply".  Buy a printer and never purchase toner or ink again.  All the costs, revenue, and profit are upfront.  An offering, so simple a monkey could sell it.

The 'lifetime' model will remove MpS from the lexicon because there is no need for a relationship.

Those MPS consultants and OEM programs that stress toner as "the most important component" of MpS have led us down the primrose path.

This one issue, redefined as "MpS" is slipping from the dealer channel into the hands of surviving mother-ships.

"Toner" is not a relationship and the biggest reason OEMs say they need an independent dealer channel is to maintain the relationship.  Well. The relationship is getting thinner every month.

Think about it, the 'lifetime ink' business model eliminates:

  • Meter reads  - no billing
  • Monthly billings - see above
  • Deliveries - UPS
  • Phone orders - machines phone home
  • Service calls - these things don't break
  • Quarterly reviews - why?
  • Contracts
  • Independent Dealers
  • Etc.
If I were getting into managed print services today, I would become an Epson reseller and push those guys to start releasing model after model, ASAP, before HP kicks their super-duper, closed loop MpS machine into gear.

I mentioned this during the Q&A, and nobody understood what I was saying.



Watch Epson.  Watch HP MPS.

In The End: It's Not Me, It's You

I've seen great things in our niche.  I've seen companies make the leap, shun the old ways, and thrive.

I've also seen organizations espouse the future, make cosmetic changes and fail - the road back to 1991 is littered with used-up MPS Directors.  Settling into the old ways of selling copiers, hiring sales managers from yesterday's enterprise, 'trapping customers', paying salespeople a pittance yet expecting them to be professionals, and forcing equipment quotas on their customers - is the easy thing to do.

These types fade away or get swallowed by a bigger dealer.

I've been ringing the bell for years - "MPS is the gateway to something bigger than toner and copiers...".  I evangelized the new ways only to see big equipment manufacturers hijack and kill innovation, searching for more shelf space and stickier schemes.

It is the way of things.

But it doesn't need to be your way.  Many have made the shift, pivoting off the copier and into fertile markets.  It isn't easy to break free the ordinary ways, but it's got to be done.

Conferences that break the mold, separate the future from the past are few and far between - this Top 100 is one of the less ordinary get-togethers.  If you were there, you are one of the less ordinary people and nowadays, the Life Less Ordinary is the life evolutionary...

Let's go.

Click to email me.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The End Of Managed Print Services

"Chew, if only you could see what I've seen with your eyes!..."

From coast to coast,  I've seen the promise of MpS scattered to the four winds as companies reject the outsource model, bring MpS in house only to realize they don't want anything to do with supporting print. Ironic, but what do they do?

Go back to doing nothing.

The days before MpS...

It was different back then - copiers sold for $15,000.00.  Color images were as much as 18 cents each and users generated 2,500 copies a week. (or was it 5,000?)

Copiers inhabited every floor and printers popped up everywhere overnight.

"Purchasing" or "Facilities" generated RFPs, negotiated for the cheapest CPI, signed leases, and dropped the entire project over to IT and the receiving department.

IT would complain to themselves, struggle with a copier technician connecting this huge, unknown machine - possibly integrating LDAP or creating user folders on a shared server or the unit's hard drive - all the while lamenting the difference between these clunkers and all the printers and scanner that easily hung off the network.

This entire process was unmanaged and costly - very costly.

Today, as old-fashioned copiers die off, relegated to government or educational accounts, A4 prices fall while generating fewer images, the real cost of print is approaching, but never reaching, zero. (See Limits)

Soon, instead of running internal assessments, generating an RFI, then an RFP, evaluating suitors, negotiating price, running lease and contracts through legal, signing a five-year lease/service agreement, scheduling delivery/removal, connecting to the network, installing ATF software, conducting end-user training and experiencing a 90-day spike in copier related help desk traffic, customers simply order a printer online, for under $2,500.00 including lifetime ink supply.

  • No copier demonstration.  
  • No comparing OEM to drill and fill toner.  
  • No back-end points on a 60-month lease.  
  • No stair climbers.
The days of $25,000.00 Edgelines and 5250i's are gone. Gone like a freight train and terminus is right back where we started - a sku, a price, and a delivery date.

Now, more than ever, fewer employees require a printer and if they do, devices are so cheap, there's no need to invest time into developing an RFP.  The decision process takes no more effort than a few mouse clicks.  As the cost of print shrinks and blends into operational overhead, the primary reason for MpS, cost reduction, vanishes.

So what do we do?

Continue and keep going.  Leave MpS, copiers, and ATF in the rearview mirror - someone will always want a copier or a printer.  Consider plumbing as a service, HVAC as a service, heck, think about interior design as a service - the Universe is calling.

Like the copier before it, MpS revenue will approach but never reach, zero...Remember, right this very second, somebody on the planet is making and selling buggy whips.

Click to email me.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Next Managed print Services Event

“Wrath”- One of my favorites

Another stage, power point, round table, expert panel and cast of hundreds looking to commune and see the “new MPS” …again. I've witnessed multiple iterations and others broken promises since 2007. I’ve attended many such gatherings and presentations: Lyra, Photizo, ITEX, ReCharger, MWAi Executive Summit. I’ve spoken with thousands of customers, hundreds of resellers all the OEMs and countless dealers about MpS, copiers, printers, toner, managed services and the like.

Now, a new effort is in town. The "Top 100 Summit" focusing on the future of managed print services; "MPS is Changing" is the tag-line.

In the beginning, managed print services was mocked for being nothing more than facilities management or copier-service on laser printers. Something the more “forward" thinking copier providers and OEMs had ‘been doing for decades’ - not really.

But even back then, in the frenzied years of possibilities, there were those who saw managed print services literally; a service that managed print. Some of us understood ‘print’ to be any media - from 8.5x11 to voice mail. Further, we recognized this managed service as a path to higher thought, more relevancy and a foundation for a sustainable business model not increased shelf space, capturing clicks, or trapping clients in 60 month contracts.

We knew the future of print had less to do with copiers, printers, ink or toner hitting paper. We eagerly embraced the talk tracks and value props around ‘more efficiency in the office’, reduction in costs and optimizing the print environment - and we meant it.

We attended new and interesting shows. In April of 2009, Photizo ushered in this bold new concept and talked about managed print services well before ANY other pundit, consultant, training house, OEM, toner remanufacturer or copier dealer - yes there were a few true managed print services providers but most of the traditional imaging industry either explained away the movement as ‘just another gimmick’ or claimed to have been in managed print services for “25 years”.

We believers "...gave the Future to the winds and slumbered tranquilly in the Present, weaving the dull world around us into dreams.” Designing a future of connected devices, less print and optimized business environments. Yet, like most promises, our dreams were burned away by the reality of equipment quotas and dogma; more specifically, in toner and ink.

Spin the dial six years into the future and it seems who can spell “MPS” can sell “MPS”. Bags of ink are the new MpS. Analytics are the new MpS. Copier service is the new MpS. Despite consistently declining equipment placements, shuttered paper plants and industry lay-offs, increasing print volumes are the new MpS. It is an upside-down world.

 The Universe according to Greg:

  • Print Analytics - Who Cares? We do, but do our clients?
  • Ink vs. Toner - Who Cares? We do, but do our clients?
  • Print is not dying - Ignorance is bliss.
  • Managed (IT/Network) services is the future - Oh, really? Even the IT guys understand MS is short term - look up Software Defined Workspace.
  • Print volumes have been going up - rearranging the deck chairs, nobody is creating new "clicks".
So what about all this?

Is it still the doom and gloom era? Not really. But no matter how many round tables, expert panels, sales classes, consulting services, or business transformations our industry attends or participates, we’re all simply talking to ourselves; alone in the dark. Until we stop looking at our prospects as ‘targets’ to be ‘trapped in an agreement’ or design ‘sticky’ marketing schemes and start ‘solving’ instead of ‘selling’ those who do survive, will wander the the abyss; shadows of the once might ‘copier industry’.

Which brings me to the Top 100 Summit. Will we usher in a new era? Will the sins of our past support positive change or drag us into the depths of irrelevance?

Big questions and unseen answers.

I suspect we’ll have a great time. I see us sharing new ideas and expressions of hope. Ultimately, what really matters, is how everyone feels 72 hours after the show; sinful and atoned or raptured ignorance.

Get more, here.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

September 11, 2001 - September 11, 2015

For as long as I can remember, I've played this video on 9/11.  Super Bowl 2002, months after the attack, our country was numb and jumpy.

Well before self-loathing americans started calling our movements in the middle-east "invasion" and "occupation", patriotism was on every street corner.

I remember that night; I remember seeing it live.  I can't tell you the football teams playing, but I can say it was one of the deepest, moving TV moments, ever.

U2 - that Irish rock band, stood up on the world stage, honoring the greatest country on earth and her fallen citizens.  Names float to the sky, as the rousing "Where the Streets Have No Name" beats on.  The song, second of the half-time set,  was written about a place without class stigma, where the distinction between religions and income are no more; a World Without Sin?

Bono ends the tune exposing the Stars and Stripes - Triumph.

Here we are, 14 years laters - The Twin Towers, replaced by that defiant Freedom Tower, slip deeper into fog with each passing 911.  The threat remains the same, if not more pronounced.  Do you honestly feel safer now than you did that faithful day of empty skies, September 12, 2001?

Day of cogitation: What have I learned in these 14 years?

  1. Nothing lasts forever, life is fleeting...
  2. Suffering is a choice...
  3. Like "tears in the rain", ALL promises eventually drown...
  4. Every turn, every occurrence, is exactly as it should be...
  5. Relationship is EVERYTHING...
After 25 years, I recently reconnected with a special woman.  We met, we remembered, and just like we had so many times two and half decades ago, we talked under the stars into the small hours; faces hurt after so many smiles.

Yet, like the intersection point on the infinity sign, we went our separate ways, cherishing the memories and recognizing our past holds more than any possible future.


"You see me now, who I've become and still, you make me feel beautiful, inside and out."

On this day of reflection, consider not only the ones who've helped you see who you are, but remember the hearts you've "imprinted"; son's, daughters, mothers, fathers, friends, lovers and ex-lovers, customers and co-workers.  Be gratified knowing you've changed somebody's life for the better - we all have.

Take time to remember those on the 98th floor, at 8:47 AM, sipping a Starbucks, considering a sales forecast or the regret of not saying "I love you, I always will..." on that morning, 14 years ago.

"I want to run
I want to hide
I want to tear down the walls
That hold me inside
I wanna reach out
And touch the flame
Where the streets have no name..."

Click to email me.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Things IT People Never Say

This is funny - because it's true. Shot on location, some of the actors are PDS employees.

"Still nothing better than a RoloDex..."

"Printers always seem to just work..."

"I like to think of it as the Blue Screen of Life..."

Monday, August 17, 2015

HP Inc. — Will It Make a Difference?

The papers are served and signed. Finances and property equally assigned, all “proper” procedures dutifully, if not coldly, have been followed and filed. She said separating was for the best, months after announcing “we’re better together.”

Now comes the hard part. “You take those, I don’t need them. Oh, this is yours. You brought it with you.” Reliving each memory again and again with every packed picture frame — the Christmas trees, fireside chats, corporate presentations — all “tears in the rain.”

Not all spit-ups are the same, indeed this is an atypical separation as both parties retain their last names — "Hewlett" and “Packard."

The biggest split-up in imaging history is about to take place as HP splices, creating two $55 billion companies, HP Enterprise and HP Inc. HP Inc. will offer PCs and printers with HP Enterprise pitching professional services and everything else.
Not since IBM created and then spun Lexmark has there been such a move.

So what does this mean for printers, copiers, and managed print services? In my calculation, HP Inc. could usher in the last “Golden Age” of office print — again.

Here’s my SWOT analysis:

StrengthsToo big to fail

By all indicators, HP Inc. will be a $55 billion corporation with...

Read the rest, here.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Why You Need a Print Policy

...with Print Policy design and execution...
There's a movement, on the provider, not the customer side, pushing the relevancy of print metrics to your business analytics.  For instance, some are twisting print volumes and the number of devices into relevant, actionable information.  As if knowing how many color prints were duplexed between Monday and Thursday, in July of 2013, has any impact on EBITDA.

In an even more ludicrous folly, experts in the industry are aligning usage figures with business intelligence (BI).  

Wait, what?

For providers of managed print services, knowing the turbulent usage patterns will help manage the decrease in print.

But end-users don't care all that much and CIOs care even less. 

I put forth this idea: before entertaining the idea of 'business intelligence' based on print history, consider a Print Policy.

Every organization looking to optimize or manage the costs associated with creating, moving, and presenting information in the form of a document, should first invest in developing a strategic Print Policy.

The Policy should:
  1. Document all internal processes associated with the support of information in the form of documents
  2. Put in place  practices that support the organization's mission
  3. Carry the approval of Executive/C-Level leadership
  4. Be a 'living document'
Developing an internal Print Policy is daunting requiring input and support from multiple layers and departments.  Seeking assistance from outside the organization is a good idea. Yet trusting a firm that sells devices intent on printing, seems counter-intuitive.

I recommend working with your IT firm.  If your IT partner is a big-box, commodity-based entity or lacks basic expertise in the print and copy niche, feel free to reach out to me and I will try to connect you with a good match.

Click to email me.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Designing a Print Policy Supporting the Organization’s Goals and Mission Statement. Step One: Who are you?


The definition of a Print Policy

“A Print Policy is the documented outline of procedures, illustrating the organization’s current output-related decision-making processes. This policy is endorsed at the highest level of executive management, contains milestones, and supports the organization’s business goals.”

Step One
A majority of organizations do not put in place a formal Print Policy. The process is complicated but the payoff is worth the effort. The first step with most projects of significance is the most important. So what should you do when starting a Print Policy project?

Every journey begins with a step. In designing a print policy, the first step is understanding who you are, what you do, and why you do it. “Knew” thy self.

Why does your organization exist?
This is not a trivial step. Building a program that supports the goals of the organization, adds to the relevancy of the project in a universal manner. This is important. As end users begin to hear about change, they will ask, “Why?”. Once your project goals match the organization’s, presenting the ‘why’ is easier and understood by all.

For example, if your mission includes, “…improve the health of the community….” crafting a message to explain how your print program improves the “…health of the community…” is clarifying.

All you need is a few people around the table, a clean whiteboard, and the company’s mission statement. That’s all. Started by asking, “How is this print project going to help us show we are contributing to the health of the community?”

Don’t overthink. Give it 40 minutes and settle upon a project value proposition statement. The statement is your talisman, a touchstone in the project. As the project progresses and questions arise, reflect back to the statement for guidance.

This exercise results in a most important deliverable — in a word relevance.

Your IT project is not thought of as a top-down, IT-driven set of corporate rules. But rather a goal the entire organization can aspire to achieve, with the help of IT.

Today’s turbulent business conditions present an opportunity for IT.

The right set of circumstances exists for IT to contribute to the health of the company and establish relevance with a concise and relevant Print Policy.

It all starts with "Who Are You..."

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Claytronics, Programmable Matter - Forget 3D printing.

Re-post, 7/20/2012.

3D printing has absolutely nothing to do with printing - it has everything to do with manufacturing.

But 3D Printing is just the tip of the spear. Much like the first connected vending machine, back in 1999, 3D printing will be remembered as a triviality, less than the Stanley Steamer - forgotten.

Why? 3D printing uses "reductive" or "additive" modeling which is useful, but not all that sophisticated. Once a model is "carved out" or "glued together", it remains just that, a model. More complex models can be assembled in this manner; shoes, jewelry, gears, and machinery. Not bad...but there's more.

If one could combine nano-technology, with autonomous computers - let's call them 'Catoms' - and let's say there are millions of these tiny little 'bots each physically connected and universally tasked to move and act in unison - now that would be something.

Well, strap in all you shape-changing wanna be's, the future of everything is upon us, again.

It's not print, it's not printing. It's closer, once again, to the HoloDeck and Replicator of Trek.

A couch that can turn into a chair...

A tablet that can becomes a PC...

A semi-truck that can transform into a ...

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Missed Opportunities in Managed Print Services

Managed Print Services (MPS), or the act of supplying and servicing printing devices, originated before 2007. MPS engagements promise supplies and/or service delivery, billed by usage.

For example, for every page printed, a provider will charge as little as 0.0120 for each. Invoicing is periodic and covers supplies along with any service calls required to maintain the devices under contract. At the base level, when an end user requires toner or a service call, the provider sends supplies or dispatches a technician with the goal of meeting defined Service Level Agreements (SLAs).

The promise of MPS was the continuous management of an unmanaged resource – which would ultimately reduce costs. Some programs promised as much as a 30% reduction in printing costs, but for many MPS clients, these costs were never realized.

From banking to healthcare, every industry has explored the many facets of managed print services and experienced false promises.

There are three basic missed MPS opportunities:
  1. Device reduction and fleet optimization, resulting in lower costs
  2. Support for paper-to-digital workflow transformation
  3. Enhanced customer relationships
Device reduction and fleet optimization

For decades, printers have been purchased and installed ad-hoc. It was assumed that every new employee required a PC and printer to fulfill their assigned duties, so the number of printing devices grew exponentially. The transmission of information shifted from paper to screen, but the production of printers and copiers did not slow.

Overcapacity in print environments was institutional. For example, consider all the copiers capable of reproducing tabloid-sized (11” x 17”) documents. These machines must be physically large enough to support the paper size; rollers, fusers, glass, output trays, and the like. Yet, when analyzed, less than 3% of ALL business output is in the tabloid format, but nearly 90% of copiers were built to support the larger media size.

Today, companies have more print devices than they need, which has generated a pool of underutilized assets and avoidable costs. Though net new device installations are decreasing, a significant increase in operational productivity around the print is still nebulous.

Support for paper-to-digital workflow transformation

As the idea of MPS grew and more assessments were performed, companies started examining the reasons employees print in the first place. (The least expensive image is the one that is never printed.) Additionally, as tablets and smartphones invaded the corporate space, information began to flow from screen to screen more often and businesses naturally started printing less.

For MPS providers, this presents quite a quandary: promoting a reduction in print (one of the marketing pillars of MPS) means shrinking revenues. Presented with the choice of either moving into digital workflow solutions or continuing the old ways of contractual service and supplies management, most providers chose the latter. Regardless, organizations are organically discovering ways to move and present the information faster than the speed of paper: without (and some might say in spite of) printer and copier manufacturers’ MPS programs.

Enhanced customer relationships

Many organizations feel they can better manage cost reduction in-house, without an outside vendor. Aligning internally-managed MPS goals with an overarching organizational vision is easier accomplished without conflicting intent. A provider usually is serving an equipment quota whereas IT departments serve end users.

The missed opportunity for most MPS providers is the chance to become a technology partner. Because printers and the management of output assets fall within the IT realm (an area unfamiliar to most MPS providers) the chance to build credibility with IT in addition to procurement was inherent to the assessment process. Unfortunately, managing to status quo became the norm as breakout opportunities for deeper relationships slipped away.

Today, organizations might be implementing their third or fourth MPS engagement. But what have we learned?

  • Who’s responsible for measuring cost reductions?
  • How are results measured?
  • How do you manage a new MPS program?
  • Do you mix copiers and printers into the SLA?
  • What are the results? Have costs been decreased and goals met?

Here are some basic recommendations:

  • Treat output devices as endpoints.
  • Define and implement clear assessment protocols
  • Initiate asset tags and an asset management program
  • Design refresh strategies similar to PC/laptop
  • Define output goals (for example, paper reduction, enhanced patient experience, etc.) that are supported by executive management

There are around 30 relevant points to consider when looking to reduce the costs associated with moving information within and outside your organization – and the cost of toner is just one. The five recommendations above represent the beginning of a Print Policy.

Stay tuned for my next post, where I’ll share more on how to design a realistic and sustainable Print Policy.

Click to email me.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Don't Buy Another Printer, Copier, Toner, or Managed Print Services Unless You Have One of These.

"Roll the Dice"

I often describe the office print environment in one word, "overcapacity".

Even as manufacturers (Ricoh, Xerox, Canon) start to make smaller footprint devices - it wasn't that long ago when copier reps would mock those little devices - businesses have more print and copy capacity than they need.

It is like the Tragedy of the Commons.

My point: we've been over-purchasing (or over-sold) print devices for decades and it's because the decision process has been unmanaged.

Well, that's not one hundred percent accurate - copier acquisition, printer procurement, supplies fulfillment, and service request procedures have, for the most part, been managed - they've just been managed by VENDORS AND SUPPLIERS.

Not customers.

Think about it -
  • Who tells you the lease buyout figure?  
  • Who determines the "best" device for your needs?  
  • Who conducts the 'agnostic' assessment?  
  • Who interfaces almost daily with your end-users? To you they are end-users, to the vendors, they represent 1,500 images a month.
Expecting your copier, printer, or toner supplier to build a program that supports your cost reduction program is like expecting the wolf not to eat the rabbit.

It is worse than you think.  It usually is.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Not enough people are making a difference in Managed Print Services. There is a Silver Lining.

ENX is celebrating the people making a difference across the document imaging industry.  Every two years, a few notables in the copier and printing industry receive kudos from their peers.

This year, I received a request from Scott Cullen, asking for input.

I've known Scott for a while - interviewed me, many years ago.  I was impressed, I still am, with his ability to draw out relevant information (like a good assessment) and present an easy to identify story(like a good proposal).  He is good people.

I've also known Susan Neimes for a long time.  She's managed to stay among the top of the media heap, through the turbulence.  Good form.

I am often asked for input on a variety of subject matter.  Here is Scott's request and my response:

Hi Greg,

I'm pretty sure I sent you an e-mail about this already, but just in case, here you go again. As someone who has been around the document imaging industry for awhile, I'd appreciate your input. I know you're busy preparing for ITEX (I'll see you there.), but hopefully you have a few minutes before or after to give this some thought.

The May issue of ENX is celebrating the people making a difference across the document imaging industry...

Here’s the criteria to help with your suggestions: The thought leaders and individuals from all corners of the industry (hardware, services, solutions, supplies, associations, analysts and consultants) whose knowledge and opinions their peers and others in the industry value. Some may be doing a terrific job of leading their organizations and building a business, or in some cases, multiple businesses. 

Others are front and center at industry events, participating in panels and seminars, and networking with other document imaging industry professionals. Some are active on social media or contributing content to industry publications.

You can recommend as many or as few as you would like.

Thanks in advance for your help...


Scott Cullen
Editorial Director


My answer is simple: no more usual suspects.

  1. Any thought leader would have nothing to do with manufacturing hardware, so that removes a grip of people.
  2. Real visionaries see OEM enforced quotas as oppressive, this negates others.
  3. Analysts/consultants pontificate based on rearview data and parrot spec sheets as analysis, nothing there either.
  4. Finally, an "MPS program" is no longer innovative and barely relevant.
Nothing from OEMs, the standard copier model participants, analysts, or program managers.  "We've always done it this way..."

There is, however, a collection of luminaries:

Mike Stramaglio - Ignore for a second, battling the monopoly, Mike is compelling channel players re-evaluate their entire accounting system and business model.

Kevin DeYoung - Kevin refused to play the OEM-shuffle-for-shelf-space game long ago and continues to expand the minds of his clients.

Jenna Stramaglio - The Family knows technology and Jenna is great at conveying bold messages.

Kevin Morris - Kevin Morris is running the best MPS model in the industry, he has no peers.

Jennifer Shutwell - For those ready to see, Jennifer, through her work with your MPSA and end users, has illuminated relevant facets of the MpS ecosystem.

Milton Bartley - Milton is an example of successfully pivoting from the status quo, copier model.

Andy Slawetskey - Media aggregator supreme, he gets the words out consistently and has toner in his blood.

Seven points of lights in a crowded, cluster of normalcy.


There you have it.  I may not be a 'difference maker' in 2017...but, I'm good not being on a list.

Click to email me. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Is Your IT Vision Hung Up on the Past?

Need a new love, yeah I'm ready
Want my time, yeah I'm willing yeah
'Cause I'm the one who's gonna show
When there's nobody

I'll be your man

Yeah, I'm the one who's gonna show
When there's nobody

I'll be your man

I'll be your man

What if one day, while staring out your parent's window, watching retirees water their lawns, you realize that after everything, all the adventures, meetings, and journeys of the previous years, you've become a cliche, irrelevant?  The world stops and you're alone - moving through a bad dream, in slow motion.  Stunned.

Nobody wants to be forgotten, cast aside, wounded, not even dead.  But it happens. Has it happened to you? Hurts? Don't it?

For CIO's and IT Departments, this could be your future.  Irrelevancy.  Once you see 'the  retirees watering their lawns' can you adjust your unit, make the changes and move through the worst?


If you've made the jump from ambivalent ignorance, also known as "bliss", to hard, 12 degree below freezing, self-recognition, reality, here are some ideas that might warm you up:

Help formulate the organization's long term business goals.

Back in olden-times, knowing the difference between EBCDIC and WYSIWYG meant something important. Today, its EBIDA.

Look for 'partners' instead of 'vendors'.

'Partners' are shoulder to shoulder with you during tough times; 'vendors' sell out of a hotdog cart.  Search out deeper relationships, not discounts.

Walk a mile in your end-user's shoes.

Cross training doesn't only refer to athletic programs - consider spending time at a nurses station or in Revenue Cycle. Insight is guaranteed.

Three simple ideas that promise significant impact for your staff, executive management and end user community.

Give them a chance and take your time.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Managed print services, per seat billing. "I have two guns, one for each of you."

It's time to chime in on a subject that's been part of my Mps discussion since 2008 - per seat billing for toner and supplies fulfillment.

By now you've been reading or have heard the buzz around the idea; instead of billing in a 'usage model' or per click, we bill monthly for the number of users.  Benefits for the customer are about the same: supplies and service inclusive. For providers a steady revenue stream, regardless of decreasing print volumes.

Not a bad bargain.

"...that's the rumor..."

I've been a proponent of per-seat billing since 2008 when I was cutting my MPS teeth with Edgeline, inside a VAR.  Billing help desk and other services on a per-user basis was the norm.  Back then, I thought that someday, managing print devices would fall into the same scheme.

Of course, this hasn't happened.

"...that's just my game..."

Two sides of the same coin, arguments for and against, with no clear winner, I put together three reasons 'against' and three reasons 'for'.  Enjoy.

  1. Risk Avoidance - Assessments may be more important than ever, adding another 30 days to the cycle.  It is difficult to convert CPI or toner out costs into a per seat figure.
  2. Implementation - Can your system bill per seat?  How about three different types of seats? Who will handle adds and deletes?
  3. Ignorance - If you're doing Mps, by optimizing a 1:1 scheme, delivering toner/service only, there is little chance you'll understand the complexities and nuances of presenting to an IT professional.  Don't try per seat billing.
"'re a Daisy if you do..."

  1. Easier to bill - Once you determine the SKU(gag), billing is simple.  No meter reads.
  2. Easy to understand - Again, simple billing is a value.  So is an easy-to-understand pricing structure.
  3. Your customer does not care - And your client doesn't care how you bill.
"...I'll be your huckleberry..."

My personal belief is that by the time BTA-types figure out how to confront their fears and live outside the shadow of equipment quotas, there won't be any printing - no matter how we bill, per image, per scan, per seat, or per whim - the cheapest image is the one you don't print.  Ever.

"I was just foolin..."
"I wasn't..."

"....poor were just too high strung..."

Click to email me.

Greg Walters tapped to Reimagine "Managed Print Services"

Alert the Authorities...

Oconomowoc, Wi, May 9, 2015:

Your Managed Print Services Association has asked former MPSA President and current MPSA Board of Director, Greg Walters,  to lead the charge in redefining Managed Print Services.  Greg will be forming a Blue Ribbon task force of MPSA members to collaborate in this effort.

"The time has come to once again press the boundaries," said Walters. “We're stuck in the past if we allow copiers, printers and marks on paper to define us. They do not. Everything the association takes action on supports our definition of the market. As the only, independent, free-thinking, non-profit association in our niche, it is our responsibility to lead into new and dangerous frontiers.”

Greg is issuing a "call to arms" for all MPSA members interested in directing the future of the association, to volunteer and become part of the coterie.

Reach out to him at

"It's pretty simple.  Everything the association takes action on, supports our definition.  That's just it.  It is OUR definition of the market.  As the only, independent, free-thinking, non-profit association in our niche, it is our responsibility to lead into new and dangerous frontiers.  Join us,"  adds Greg.

About the Managed Print Services Association

Founded in 2009, the MPSA is a global, non-profit organization that provides independent communications, collaboration, education, standards and success MPS professionals. The mission of the MPSA and its members is to address and optimize business’ office document management while enhancing the growth, efficiency, and profitability of the MPS segment through advocacy, marketing, education, research, standards and a general community of interest.

About Greg Walters

Greg Walters is an entrepreneur and founder of the notorious destination site, TheDeathOfTheCopier where he comments on all things imaging, the rise of managed services and the advance of business technology. A prolific writer and frequent speaker, Greg shares his passionate, unique—and provocative—view of technology and people addressing the digital impact on 21st century business, the new way of work and society. His book, Death Of The Copier, published in 2014, offers a controversial summary of the early days managed print services and the not so distant future of the hard copy industry. Greg is currently with a regional VAR, building an MPS practice within the IT Lifecycle model. He lives in Oconomowoc, Wi.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

HIMSS 2015 and Print(?)

HIMSS is a national, yearly show promoting technology in healthcare put on by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. One can find providers for everything from hospital beds to billing software; from business intelligence to prescription printing.

When I first heard that my new company was attending the HIMSS conference in Chicago, even though I wasn’t even officially yet a member of the team, I elbowed my way into the fold. It was to be the company’s first appearance, which is both odd and timely. You see, we specialize in healthcare and have built solid book of business and stellar reputation in the niche, so it seemed a natural occurrence.

This year, the show hosted thousands of exhibitors and many thousands of attendees – at times it seemed every bus, taxi and hotel in Chicago was inhabited with HIMSS people. The locals were at a loss to explain the sudden spike in population. It gave me great pleasure to explain the show over deep-dish and beer — how every healthcare technology provider in the realm, from software to beds and nursing stations was planting a stake in the ground.

I expected HIMSS to deliver more than any of the shows I typically attend — which it did. If I combine the shows I’ve attended over the past 36 months, HIMSS blows them all away. In scope, in depth and scale of solutions, the event is a tidal wave of technology goodness.

The biggest draws were the software providers, yet a small contingent of managed print services providers managed to land a spot or two.

I knew PrinterLogic was attending and figured the OEMs would be there plying their solutions, but didn’t expect to see any more of the usual suspects. This expectation was proven correct with one surprising exception: FlexPrint.

Who was at HIMSS:

Xerox, Ricoh, Konica Minolta, Lexmark, Canon, Samsung and HP were displaying workflow, scanning, and mobile print. Only Lexmark placed “MPS” on their marquee, but even they had to track down the MPS person.

Konica Minolta has a nifty, Troy-like prescription print solution. Samsung had copiers, scanning, and with the help of Ringdale, follow-me print.

Biggest impressions:


It’s no wonder Big Blue commands attention. The booth was always filled and comprised of multiple solutions — not a printer in sight. The future is all about intelligence and healthcare presents an almost insurmountable amount of raw data. Churning through streams of live metrics and discerning a plan of action is front and center of IBM’s strategy.

Imaging OEMs

Lexmark, Xerox, HP, and Ricoh have sizable portfolios of healthcare solutions. Primarily supported by their direct teams, each is betting heavily on healthcare as a growth area.


I was surprised to hear that FlexPrint was exhibiting – a familiar entity in a sea of strangeness. The ladies of the booth were amicable, posing for pictures and everything, although they saw me as a competitor.

They were there representing the copier niche as a national provider of managed print services. Commendable.


Over the past 12 months, I have shared all I know about this company. I’ve banged the drum and tried to explain to copier dealers the overwhelming significance of this specific offering within an advanced MpS practice. No takers. It is my contention that this sophisticated and elegant solution neutralizes one of the most frustrating managerial issues IT departments face. My opinion isn’t based on a training session or marketing material – paying clients, more than one, have expressed this to me. Enough said. If you’re interested, googlitize PrinterLogic.

What can we learn - three things:

1. In healthcare, print isn’t the most crucial issue, but it is important. For most, finding ways to eliminate inefficient paper-based processes is primary.

2. Our OEMs are small players in this ecosystem.

3. There is little room for an indirect channel. The expertise required is deeper than equipment surveys and toner delivery. Basic MPS engagements in healthcare are living on borrowed time.

Personal Observations:

When I think about MPS practices and copier dealers selling into the healthcare niche, I am concerned. For all the training and customized solutions the OEMs bring to the channel, they seem to barely simply scratch the surface – the print environment is more that simply print servers and cues. There is a world of CITRIX print

Print is a topic of discussion - it was odd, most of our OEMs were talking about digital workflow while the rest of the vendors were talking follow-me print. I spoke with more than a few attendees about follow-me/PIN/cloud/mobile print solutions. Other than access to the network, the biggest concern I heard was errant print jobs remaining, unclaimed, in the output tray. They were shocked to hear this solution has been around since the early 2000s.

Without ringing the doom and gloom bell, again, I’ve seen a slice of the healthcare universe the indirect channel doesn’t know about. I was completely overwhelmed by the relatively insignificant position our OEMs hold – they aren’t the “big boys” in this field.

The opportunity is huge, but the commitment is bigger – three days of technical training and a day of sales classes will not prepare you for the multi-faceted, extremely dynamic nature in healthcare.

My recommendation is to secure as many contracts as possible with clinics, hospitals and networks providing toner and service only. Don’t try to play in the software arena – the existing providers are seasoned, clients savvy and you’ll find yourself competing with your OEM. Get in there and grab the clicks for as long as you can.

Original post, here.

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Greg Walters, Incorporated