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Monday, December 26, 2016

Is the Internet the Garden of Eden or God?

For decades, the internet has provided everyone from professors to trivia experts instant access to information.

What once was,

The internet is molded in our likeness...
The internet flows with falsehoods...
The internet is nebulas a formless ghost of the past, present, and future...

In the beginning, there was darkness -

...and then there was light...

Connecting the world's computers offered us access to just about any 'fact' we could imagine - in theory, anyone could connect with the source of research, witness news as it happened, or form an opinion based on available information.

In the days before 'shells', the internet was free-form - we connected at the prompt, bumping around in Mirc rooms, and searching with tools like InfoSeek, AltaVista and WebCrawler. Bulletin boards offered asynchronous, yet informative, relationships.

Then came Prodigy, Compuserve, Delphi, and finally, America On-Line. These communities helped technological neophytes engage in the bold, new world. Overnight, the sparsely populated playground of nerds flooded with teenager angst and desperate housewives: "Cyber-sex" and "troll" hit the lexicon.

It was great.

From oil changes to Russian political history, if you have a question, the answer was out there on the 'net. Raw. Unedited and sometimes, difficult to find. It was a treasure hunt.

Move forward 20 years and there are 60 trillion webpages using an index 95 of petabytes - nearly twice the size of data mankind created, ever.  But what in the world can 60 trillion web pages tell us?

The internet is full of gossip...
The internet is full of dogma...
The internet is filtered...

Generations of adults have grown up with the internet and google. But now the raunchy and raucous cyber-land is settled and gentrified.  Today, proper search engines find what the "collective" wants, not necessarily what we, individually, are searching.  Indeed, even when the "powers that be" utilize "my" unique internet wonderings as my personal baseline, I want what I want right now, not 30 days back.

I am reminded of the time I took a few inner cities (Los Angeles) kids for an off-road trip in the San Bernardino mountains.

Every year, a group of young city-dwellers would venture "up the hill" for an all-volunteer-sponsored trail ride in the forest.  It was our chance to show off the woods and their opportunity to get out of the concrete jungle.

The little girl in my truck was wide-eyed.  It was her first time in the mountains.  Her head on a swivel, she innocently asked, "Where do all those trees come from?"

"What do you mean?" I responded.

"Who planted all those trees!?"

I was stunned.

Every tree, bush, or swath of grass this little girl had ever seen was designed, planned, and planted - her environment was completely man-made.

And that's the point - I fear the internet has an overcrowded and hollow wonderland between what we know, and what we strive to understand.  Seductive in design, the results are not organic.

She lived in somebody else's world.

So it is with the newly connected, brave new world.  The masses do not question the virtual until they have the eyes to see the real.  The internet is Westworld -  fooling us into believing somebody else's vision of reality.

We have willingly removed the distinction between 'virtual reality' and 'reality'. All of our things will be digitally connected.  Someday, we will all be connected through the 'interwebs'.

Is google, God?

The escape, if there is one, resides in the 'old ways'.  The way of the printed, read, and repeated word.  Searching for answers in the real world, along the Path.


Don't get me wrong, the internet is a wild and entertaining place.

It's a shame we'll need to be connected via technology only to discover we've been connected all along.

Friday, December 23, 2016

"What's the biggest change in Managed Print Services since 2009?"

During the past seven years, I've attended dozens of speaking events, helped hundreds of clients, worked thousands of hours, and generated an incalculable number of words about managed print services.

When Nathan Dube approached me with a few quick questions about "then versus now", Clone Wars, and the best things sales reps can do in 2017, I tripped into the Time Tunnel.  What seems like yesterday is now nostalgic.

In the beginning, few were talking about, let alone selling, MpS.  In the 'good ole days, those of us in, made it up as we went along.

HP(Edgeline) and Xerox(Page Pack) had MpS programs.  So did Synnex and a few other organizations.

Customers were clueless when it came to DCA's, assessments, QBR's and proactive service.  Nobody heard of "Print Policies".(not print rules)

Below is our first podcast.  Thirty minutes of two veterans of the industry shooting the breeze.  I'd like to do more of these in a more relaxed format - with a libation.

I guess the theme for this podcast could be "The Song Remains the Same."


The number one song in 2009:

Click to email me.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Merry Christmas, 2016

From Detroit to SoCali to Davidson, NC to Oconomowoc, WI (Yes, it is a real town) it's been a heck of a tour with no sign of letting up.

I started DOTC in 2008 and I've tried to mark each Christmas with pithy prose and cute, snowy pictures.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Losers Calling for "Unification"

It's a trap.

Obama and Donald sit down and talk and the news talkers are pushing the 'unity' talking point.

Sure, nice words and smiles looks fine and make us all feel warm and fuzzy. And yes, one should win with honor...and should lose with grace.

Under the guise of grace, the losers are cuddling up to the winner in an effort to further their losing agenda.

Trump won because of his words and actions resonated to a frustrated electorate - frustrated over the eight year old processes of Obama.  It is simple.

Trump must not change or acquiesce to the establishment. This will be difficult for he is now part of the machine we so adamantly challenged.

The Kids in America.

College campuses have always been a bastion for rebellion, a place to challenge beliefs and develop ideals - to stretch personal boundaries.

Unfortunately, nobody teaches the 'yudes', how to be an American or a winner.  Instead, "losing" fair and square, is equated with discrimination and victim-hood.  We've created a generation of whiners.

"I can't lose.  You're biased/racist/phobic!"

So the kids, who have nothing to worry about accept skipping class, head to the streets under the guidance of oh so many community organizers and burn stuff.

Tools. Useless.  Irrelevant.

Get back to your "Primitive Cultures" class.

America is not divided.  We are not tearing ourselves apart.

The biggest lie perpetuated in this campaign is that one candidate promotes dissension while the other pretends to "unify".  Evidence shows the exact opposite. Riots, shootings, protests, pontifications - voicing dissatisfaction with the results of an election - are coming from the side of 'understanding and Love'. ::sarcasm::

Here's the strategy: Create a problem, magnify the problem, force the electorate into a state of desperation and present yourself as the answer to the challenge you've created.

The media folks are stirring the pot, making it look like we are a nation of idiots, elitists and rubes.


The United States of America survived the assassination of Kennedy, the twisted world of Nixon, the do nothing Carter Era, a sexual predator, 911, and the "Let's Make America Second" tour. Trump-World has got nowhere to go but up.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Establishment is Burning: What the 2016 US Presidential Election says about the imaging industry.

  • CNN was wrong.
  • NBC was wrong.
  • ABC was wrong.
  • CBS was wrong.
  • NPR was wrong.
  • Obama was wrong.
  • Hillary was wrong.
  • Biden was wrong.
  • Hollywood was wrong.
  • Starbucks was wrong.
  • The Huffington Post was wrong.
  • The pollsters were wrong.
  • The insiders were wrong.
  • Twitter was wrong.
  • The Establishment was wrong.
  • The Status-quo is wrong.

Experts pontificated how Trump had no experience in government. They vilified Trump supporters calling them racist, homophobic, morons - ‘deplorables’. Anti-Trump minions repeated over and over how Hillary was empathetic to the cause of women - although she’s chief enabler to her sexual predator husband.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

HP & Samsung: A Faster Horse?

There is no evidence that Ford uttered the phrase, "“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

Still, the feeling is relevant - "If we had asked OEMs what they wanted, they would have said dozens of more copiers..." Of course, we only ask OEMs, not customers.  Customers, might say things like, 'fewer copiers', and who wants to hear that?

The print volume is down, and printer hardware placements are off, but studies(IDC) reveal growth in contracted hardware somewhere between a 4% and 40% increase.

Could this mean while printers are dying off, copier volume is increasing?  No.  As the MpS trend continues, a portion of the print volume is captured as a 'contractual' type.  It wasn't tracked like this before MpS; same images, different billing scheme.

No. New. Clicks.

From a great webinar, BPO Media

Industry chatter supports the IDC report as dealers report stable and growing MpS/Contractual volume.  Following the logic, HP's do-over makes sense.  They are digging in somebody else backyard.

Who knew?

HP Inc., and her crew, are excited about this turn, it is a new wrinkle in an otherwise boring and waning realm.

  • An HP/Samsung adventure is not disruptive - the HP Series II was "disruptive".
  • The Mopier and Hawk were not disruptive - the Internet was "disruptive".
  • Pagewide ink is not disruptive - Gutenberg was "disruptive".
The effects will be the subject of discussion for months, but the industry won't buck, markets won't gallop into 'black', and end-users will not race to print and copy like it was 1999.

What does it all mean?

For the Copier Dealer - "Isn't this horse dead? Kick it again."

This steed has been around the track a few times; the pitch borrowed from Edgeline:

"IT departments trust the HP logo."
"Your cost with HP is less than copiers."
"We're looking for loyal partners."

All true.

Just a few things to remember:
  • HP believes everybody works for them - even clients
  • HP will not be happy with being your 'second' choice - the rules change every October
  • Your clients who purchase HP, are really HP's customers, not yours - it's not your name on the box
If you haven't been approached by mother blue, you are not on their radar.  HP is hitting up the larger dealers for 'partnerships'.  Pinstripe suits, great meeting venues, and bags of cash - what could possibly go wrong?

For VARs - "Rebates"

Print still sucks and you don't want anything to do with hot machines, dirty boxes, and a help desk inundated with paper jam questions.

So HP will take that headache.  In contractual programs supported by HP, all you need do is work with your customers, sell the machines and pass them on to the blue Goddess.

What could possibly go wrong?

Customer - "I watch NASCAR"

The trifecta winner is the customer.  You know clients love to complain about copiers.  They leave sticky notes and write memes about their multifunction device.  Pictures of exploded toner flood the inter-webs.

Cheaper, smaller, simpler devices will rule the day and nobody does A3 better than HP.

At the Finish Line, its HP - "By a Nose"

Not like Man-O-War or Secretariat, the Blue Gorilla may win the day by being the biggest, not the best.  The sheer size of HP allows great losses before the organization fades into darkness.  Also, this isn't the same HP that purchased and arguably destroyed COMPAQ, Palm, and WebOS - the names are different - maybe

For dealers and VARs, if you're into supporting devices that mark paper, I would jump on the HP wagon.  Keep a clear head, and understand that HP's loyalty only goes as far as stockholders' wishes and dividends.

You will never be a true, Partner.  Form an alliance, benefit from the HP logo, sell a few more devices and keep your options open.  It could be a short but profitable ride.

Indeed, when that Last War Horse of a printer is sold, it will be an HP.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

HP, Inc. to Buy The Largest Toner Recycler on the Planet


"We will own the third party toner market and then we will destroy the third party toner market."

In what can only be described as one of the boldest moves by an OEM to control its destiny, HP Inc. is positioning to 'disrupt' the aftermarket supplies niche with its $1.1 billion take over of "...the world’s largest collector and recycler of imaging supplies..."

After years of competing with firms that 'recycle' empty cartridges by re-labeling, re-assembling or simply manufacturing exact duplicates of their product, HP Inc., in one intrepid motion, becomes the largest supplier of recycled toner cartridges - not only HP, but a multitude of other manufacture's aftermarket supplies are now under the control of HP, Inc.

The industry is rife with shocked response...


Let not your heart be troubled, the above statement is a journey into the absurd, macabre and fiction.

But imagine the consequences of such a move.

The next time you complain about how HP has "screwed its customers" by initiating software that checks toner cartridges for a chip, consider mother blue setting up her own recycling factory south of the border.

On the other side of the coin, when HP exclaims the 'disruption of the A3 industry', take it with a grain of salt.  Sixteen new copiers does not a 'disruption' make; buying her way into the aftermarket niche would cause great turbulence.

Food for thought...

Friday, September 23, 2016

You Should Be Selling ITAM with Copiers, Printers and MpS

Gartner - "IT asset management (ITAM) provides an accurate account of technology asset lifecycle costs and risks to maximize the business value of technology strategy, architecture, funding, contractual and sourcing decisions.”

There is so much turbulence in the industry today, it's tough to figure out what to do.
  1. Margins continue to drop
  2. The OEMs are locked in a War for the remaining 'clicks and you're in the line of fire
  3. Customers are demanding more than "scan once, print many'
We know you're going to survive.  What can you do to thrive?  How about selling asset lifecycle management?

There is a great way to remain relevant in the eyes of your customers and sell more services without the hassle of establishing third-party partnerships, investing in a NOC, or falling into a huge time-suck.
  • No need to retrain your sales staff.
  • No heavy investment in software packages that require an MBA to operate and understand.
  • Keep your existing toolset
There are plenty of tools out here to support an ITIL model, you just need to commit to the philosophy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Samsung & HP: Another Technology Firm Sells Off Print


Check out the first article about Samsung/HP, here.

Samsung, recognizing print’s demise, ejects 6,000 employees and 6,500 patents - HP, Inc., like the family dog, sniffs up the crumbs.  Todd Pike looks to be the smartest guy in the room.

Just three years after marching into the world of print and boldly pronouncing, "We're poised to lead a paradigm shift. We feel the world of printing is changing.”, the Korean chip maker waves the white flag, retreating to the fiery world of cellphones and silicon.

HP is buying Samsung's 'formidable' print/copy apparatus.  It wasn't more than five years ago, that Samsung built a copier that worked.  No really, I attended the roll-out in Jersey.  A couple of new qualities they pitched were aligned output vs. skewed and variable-sized dots.


So now, the questions begin:
  • What does this mean for the industry? Not much.
  • Is this bad news for the Japanese OEMs? Of course.
  • How does Canon come out of this? Like Oliver Twist, "Please sir..." 
  • Who is the big winner? Mother Blue, Kali, goddess of destruction.
So too, do the pontifications:

  • "HP's acquisition of Samsung gives them the opportunity to disrupt and truly innovate in this space at a time when most other OEMs are struggling. It's a real Game Changer!!!" - LinkedIn
  • "This will shake things up a bit!!" - LinkedIn
  • "HP to acquire Samsung's Print business is big news and will further enable our managed services business. We are driving disruptive change by bringing value to our clients." - HP
Here's my take:

Not disruptive; turbulent.  

HP shelled out less for Samsung than Ricoh for RiKON and may spend half as much on marketing into A3.  Regardless of what happens on the OEM side of life, no degree of consolidation, no merger or acquisition, is going to entice customers into generating more 'clicks'.

This is War.  HP Inc. is maneuvering to be the last standing.

Today, Monday, September 12, 2016, you are witnessing the beginning of the greatest campaign in our slight history.  HP Inc.'s marketing war chest is huge and they're not doubling down on print, the farm is on the line.

But what else can they do?

In The War for Marks on Paper, HP Prevails.

There should be no doubt, that HP Inc. is in it to win it.  Even with the decline, the last person selling buggy whips is still the only one selling buggy whips.

With the infrastructure and money to put service trucks into every major market in the U.S.,  HP Inc. looks like a mega-dealer.

Think about that.

Supplies and services direct from the OEM.

Every service manager should be shaking in their boots at the prospect of HP Inc. riding into their town.  And now, HP Inc. has a value proposition that includes A3.

This is not the same HP that purchased Palm and Compaq.  These aren't the folks who clustered Hawk or propped Edgeline as the next coming, only to let it fail.  No.

HP Inc. is the real deal; they've got a plan, money, and can reach from the F100 boardrooms to the SMB kitchen tables.  The

But enough about print.  Print is not the end-all and HP Inc. is not infallible - how can you differentiate yourself from the big MpS players?

Don't sell MpS.

Instead, offer IT Lifecycle Management.  If you can sell copiers or managed services, I know IT Directors will take you more seriously when you suggest helping them manage their IT assets instead of "lowering print costs by 30%".

Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Copier Model is Sinking: What's Next?

Rose, after 'A Night to Remember'.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!” 
- Hunter S. Thompson

In 2009, we jumped on the MpS bandwagon, supporting Photizo, evangelizing Preo, Printelligent and the new opportunities MpS could provide...

In 2011, we consulted companies into the world of managed IT services recommending Collabrance and others...

In 2014, we suggested getting to know PrinterLogic and expanding into tele-medicine...

In 2015, confronted with the most turbulent run ever,  we heralded in the End the copier industry as we knew it...

Through every turn, zig and zag, one constant remained; there is ALWAYS a tomorrow. So it shall be with our niche.  Once everything settles, when leverage money guys leave, and a single OEM remains, when the channel is nothing but a memory, you can prevail.

You can sell this as a service.
As a copier sales professional, you know how to work with leasing companies and construct a complicated finance deal.

You know how to SPIN, how to uncover business challenges and discover new prospects.  More importantly, you know how to present a piece of hardware with services and derive revenue from your efforts.

These skills translate into the new, 'Everything as a Service', economy.

Ask yourself, "What's the difference between a copier and a commercial air conditioning unit or managing lighting usage/costs vs. managed print services?"

What's the difference? You are the difference.

You know how to assess, construct a proposal and present both complex sales as well as simple engagements.

Also, those industries are going through the same pressures we experienced,  almost a decade ago; shifting from equipment only sales to services-led engagements.  More than managed services or doubling down on MpS, shifting into adjacent industries represents the greenest of greenfields.

Trane is monitoring equipment.

To prove my point, consider this statement:

"...With industry-leading expertise, innovative equipment, and cutting-edge technology, we can help your business operate better than it ever has before. Our clients have found they have the capacity to run smarter and more efficiently. To operate more sustainably and cleaner. To realize better outcomes and provide more for those who live and work in your environments..."

If somebody gave you this value proposition to use in your copier/printer/MpS/MNS/toner sales efforts, you could, right?  It makes sense.

Which OEM made this statement?  Ricoh? Xerox? Konica Minolta? HP? Lexmark?  Did the copier dealer across town or a big MpS software company put forth this value proposition?


TRANE, the manufacturer of heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems and building management systems and controls said this, here.

TRANE has been this business since 1885.  They've experienced turbulence and transformation along the way and are currently trying to address the IoT, remote monitoring and service of their equipment.

This is ONE example.  There are many more and the number is growing every day.

After surviving the Titanic, Rose let go of her past, embracing all possibilities.  Exploring West, elephant riding, barnstorming, family - adventures once imagined, lived.

Our industry has deep damage along the starboard side - the ship will sink.

Darkness and gloom lurk. No one is to blame, it is the way of things.

Do not listen to the OEM's siren song of new partnerships and growing print business.  Do not believe pundits parroting, "Remain calm, everything is under control..."  You are in control, not them.

This night shall pass.

When it does, where will you be?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Copier Model is Sinking


Print volumes are down, businesses continue to shed devices, MpS providers are evolving from marks on paper to IT services and what do our OEMs do?

They release more than 20 'new' devices, each; fighting for every, last print, click, and cartridge.

In the end.

They're jostling for deckchairs nearest the pool - on the Titanic. What's worse, they expect you to fight with them - never mind that gushing sound.

"Better" toner, special ink, embedded keyboards, 'intuitive' user interfaces, digital on-ramps, and document management software (tied to an equipment quota) will not save the vessel - 'rebates/kickbacks and special hardware pricing is and always have been a 30-day approach.  Nothing can stop the water - people will not print as much as they once had.
There are no new "clicks."

It's refusing to believe in icebergs after being gouged from bow to stern.

But a few of us know. The Signs have been there, the writing was on the wall, and icebergs have been easy to spot.

We've paid attention to the quarterly earnings reports, and understood the consolidation of our industry is now the disintegration of companies:
  • Paper plants have long shut down.
  • HP split in two; too big to fail?
  • Lexmark consolidated, then sold.
  • Xerox fading; too big to purchase?
  • Dealers coagulate and then sell to investment groups.
  • Leveraged toner remanufactures closing all watertight doors, polishing the brass, then hoisting the "For Sale" sign - as a whole or in pieces.
  • Who knows the truth with the offshore OEMs, they're steaming off into the fog, oblivious and happy.
Do not believe the tired old lines of "print is not dead".  It's the crew's way of not spreading panic.  Phrases like, "...its business as usual...", "...we see this merger as a way to better serve our customers...", "...we're excited about the opportunity to inject cash into new ideas..." are delivered to placate and numb you to the truth - "this ship will sink".

Recognize that your OEM wants more shelf space and will wrap their machines in solutions, apps, rebates, or warm, apple pie to get you to place units.

This Gregism is as true today as it was back in 2007,
"On the first of the month we sell solutions, after the 15th, we move machines."
This is a losing argument.  Today's technology prospect understands "the cheapest image is the one you never print".

We've got lifeboats, but you remember about the lifeboats, don't you? There are only so many.

Lifeboat One - Sell out. If you can, do it.

Lifeboat Two - Stay and swim. Good luck, Jack.  It took nearly a decade before Kodak went away, maybe you'll have the same luck.

Lifeboat Three - Find your way and survive to thrive. If you can sell copiers, you can sell anything. MpS practitioners can apply the same skills; assess, analyze, recommend and implement - ANY 'As A Service' offering.

"As a service" offerings are materializing faster than print is dying.  Now is the time to look beyond the assessment, quota, clicks, billing scheme, and the old copier model.

But hurry, there's water over the bulkheads, it's only a matter of time.



"The Ship Will Sink"

Click to email me. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Case Against TCO tools: They Don’t Work

Feathers, prepare to be ruffled.

In a second and more familiar scenario, I once presented what I believed to be a solid projection of another prospect TCO. I utilized a tool, found every device in question, applied the known data points, and calculated a monthly cost. When first queried, the prospect had no idea how much he was paying for toner and service, but unbeknownst to me, he rustled up some invoices before my presentation.

I know people who know people who have created some of the best Total Cost of Operation/Ownership calculators in the business. Indeed, collecting historical cost figures for such a wide variety of output devices, then applying mathematical formulas to the data, is a daunting task - it can take years to build a good TCO tool.

I've seen the biggest and the 'best' tools available; each time I've walked away thinking,

"Am I the only person who sees how complex and burdensome these things are?"

In the past six months, I have heard folks express frustration over TCO tools -"...too complex, time-consuming and unreliable..." No, I am not the only one feeling TCO tools are losing relevance.

I see three reasons for this:

  1. TCO Tools are Wrong
  2. TCO Tools are designed for Us, Not Them
  3. TCO Tools focus on cost

The Tools are Wrong -

There once was a tool designed and utilized by the largest printer manufacturer in the world. Because the company had been around forever, it had a detailed and in-depth data set of real costs. The database was huge; including figures on just about every printer or copier in the market. It was an experience scrolling through the reams of data - impressive.

The tool was an Excel workbook, which required 3 days of training to understand and prove more effective if used daily and paid for your specialist.

One day, I was putting together a TCO report for a prospective 50 devices. The fleet contained multiple printer and copier manufacturers.

The Tool was awesome.

 I was able to find every device and all related cost components - this was going to be great.

I had high hopes.

Determining TCO for single-function printers was a snap and accurate. But when I was establishing cost figures for copiers, I ran into a peculiar issue; all the costs of supporting a copier were rolled into the TCO - rollers, springs, scanning units, ADFs, paper-tray elements, toner, fuser oil, and so on. The information was detailed, correct, and to the copier user, irrelevant.

The majority of copier customers do not recognize ANY of these costs. Clients with an “all-inclusive” service agreement, never see a charge for rollers or fuser oil - these are covered under the service agreement.

This was a major flaw. If I were to present this figure to a client as their total cost of ownership for copiers, he would have laughed me out the door.

In a second and more familiar scenario, I once presented what I believed to be a solid projection of another prospect TCO. I utilized a tool, found every device in question, applied the known data points, and calculated a monthly cost. When first queried, the prospect had no idea how much he was paying for toner and service, but unbeknownst to me, he rustled up some invoices before my presentation.

My figures were grossly exaggerated when compared to his actual cost.  Has this ever happened to you?

I know, I know your TCO tool is easy to use and always accurate, so I must be referring to everyone else's TCO tool, not yours.

Designed for Us, Not Them -

As a practice manager, I've utilized TCO tools to tell me how much MY cost would be if I were to include an “off” brand device under my MpS engagement.

In this case, the TCO tool worked well.

And that’s my point, these tools are designed from the viewpoint of a provider, not the client.

When we suggest to a prospect, how much he's paying, it is us telling them.  Sure, they might agree with your methodology and even your derived cost figures.  But the days of clients believing any sales statement, unchallenged, are waning.  Fewer prospects are comfortable being told what they do not know.

Today, a business worth its salt, can easily determine how much they've spent on toner and paper and services calls - entry-level accounting systems track and report this information with the click of a mouse.

Here's the real dirt - most of the designers, creators, and providers of TCO tools have never sat across a prospect and proposed a sale.  They've never had a customer challenge the numbers and they've never depended on commissions to pay for food or diapers.

Focus on CPI-

We never leave a proposal at the front desk.
We never discuss cost, except in round numbers, over the phone.
We never make price the only factor.

Sales 101, right?

Then why, oh why, do we boil a sale down to cost per image/machine/unit lead with a TCO?

You see that, right?

When you install the DCA,  run the TCO calculating cost per image, and propose a solution that reduces your client' TCO you've accelerated the commoditization of our industry.


One more thing - It is Too Late

Not only are the tools inaccurate, anti-client, and sales-stunting - everybody is or has a TCO tool in their sales bag.  This has been going on for decades, we say and believe one thing at the beginning of the month and by the 15th, we're all back to selling as many boxes, images, seats, users, and licenses as possible, at a "competitive" price.

It is the way of things.

The train is off the tracks, gravity has taken hold, the bottom is rushing up - margins tumble, OEMs disintegrate, clicks vanish.

Change the way you sell? It just doesn't matter.

What to do -

I've been there, I've watched this shift occur over the years, not just in printing/copying but in technology, entertainment, and the auto industry.  Things change.  Everything dies, baby, that's a fact.

Accept and move forward:

  1. Solidify your existing business - use new, simple tools applicable to other niches
  2. Pivot into new areas - you know this
  3. Get rid of your OEM - don't be afraid, let them wear the albatross, not you

Just because something didn't last forever, doesn't mean it wasn't perfect.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Can You Simplify Your Managed Print Services Life?

"Life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Your managed print services sales life is crowded. Cold calls, ridealongs, training, demos, deliveries, proposal generation, customer service, assessments, DCA installations, customer questions, follow up, complaints and emergency toner delivery. How many devices do you need to understand and articulate the benefits of? Do you own your elevator pitch, value prop and sales script?

Do you have a smartphone, tablet, and laptop? What, two phones? Busy, aren’t you?

I bet you use all the software they can throw at you — email, Excel, Word, PowerPoint. Don’t forget your CRM entries, funnel and forecast reports, account diagraming and those important meetings: Monday morning sales, Wednesday lunch and learns, Friday weekly recap, and on and on and on. Today, the skillset required to sell, manage or offer managed print services combines all of the above and then some. In addition to asking the standard copier questions about lease expiration dates, monthly equipment and service payments, duplex, color or mono, and why copy in the first place, you collect equipment, usage and the costs associated with printers.

All this before asking, “Why print?”

Read the rest, here.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

MWA Intelligence, Inc. Announces Winner of The Jillian Fund Motorcycle Raffle

Congratulations, Danny Terril, Owner of OES-Solutions

Scottsdale, AZ - June 22, 2016 - MWA Intelligence Inc. (MWAi), a master value-added reseller (MVAR) and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for SAP Business One and leader in enterprise resource planning software (ERP) concludes their motorcycle journey, traversing across the country in a teamed up effort with Clover Imaging Group and The Jillian Fund.

The Jillian Fund honors Jillian Gorman, a young woman diagnosed with an aggressive form of blood cancer that tragically ended 4 years later. The Jillian Fund provides financial support to parents with children who are suffering life-threatening illnesses that require critical care. They also award academic scholarships to young women who portray extraordinary faith and leadership within their communities. With donations they receive, The Jillian Fund is able to provide families in need with monetary support covering: household and child care expenses, lodging, transportation and meals. As of to date, the charity has raised over $355,000 with more and more donations pouring in.

“You get a real sense of fulfillment when you decide to partake in something bigger than yourself. To have the opportunity to raise money for a worthy cause for Jillian, a brave young woman has been nothing short of an honor,” said Michael T. Stramaglio, President and CEO of MWA Intelligence, Inc. “The amount of support that families have received is tremendously incredible from The Jillian Fund and it has been amazing to have association with this charity. On behalf of all those involved, including the donors, it has been an extreme pleasure.”

In total, the motorcycle trek encompassed 10 stops starting with MWA Intelligence, Inc. in Scottsdale, AZ and ending at Des Plaines Office Equipment in Chicago, IL. The duration of the trip lasted 10 days, from May 23rd, 2016 to June 1st which included visits to the following dealerships and manufacturers: Muratec, Datamax, Memphis Communications Corporation, Advanced Office Systems, Cobb Technologies, Stones Office Equipment, Perry proTECH, and Des Plaines Office Equipment.

While in Washington, D.C., the riders participated with The Rolling Thunder, a nonprofit organization dedicated to publicizing positive causes and to educate the American people. Each year The Rolling Thunder organize an annual ride in Washington, D.C. where up to 1 million participants partake in such a cause.

Generously, Clover Imaging Group donated the customized 2011 Harley Davidson Fat Bob for a raffle. The proceeds from the ticket sales went directly toward The Jillian Fund.

A very appreciative and grateful thank you to all who were involved in the ride and to those who donated for such a worthy cause. The updated total raised from donations and from the ticket sales surmounted $120,000 and growing which would not have been made possible without the efforts from all those involved.

“As a pancreatic cancer survivor myself, OES-Solutions was beyond happy to support such a great cause. I could not fathom having to go through what I went through alone and I truly believe that no one person should ever have to endure that. Without organizations like The Jillian Fund, some families would not be able to spend the necessary time with their loved ones in their time of need. I thank all the people involved at the Jillian Fund, it’s an honor both personally and professionally to be a part of such a great cause. I have to admit that winning the Harley Davidson this year was extremely exciting but the real prize is the relationships that I have developed working with Mike Stramaglio and everyone involved so once again from everyone here at OES-Solutions we thank you and look forward to working with you in the future” said Danny Terril, Owner of OES-Solutions, cancer survivor, and supporter of The Jillian Fund.

MWAi FORZA with SAP Business One is a complete, integrated ERP that provides transparency and instant visibility into operations. The FORZA solution helps dealerships to better unify, manage, and control their entire business across financials, sales, customers, and operations. Together, MWA Intelligence and SAP will provide office technology and imaging channel businesses the ability to make smart IT decisions, improve future performance, and achieve long-term success.

About OES-Solutions:
Founded on the highest standards of integrity, reliability, and flexibility, OES-Solutions provides an array of OEM printers, multifunction copiers, fax machines and consumables from several of the industry’s top manufactures. With over 15 years and $150 million in sales and experience, OES - Solutions offers products, programs and support that cater to the needs of independent office equipment dealers throughout the United States.

For additional information, please visit OES-Solutions website:

About The Jillian Fund:

Jillian Lauren Gorman was the embodiment of strength and encouragement to others, and recognized the importance of a parent’s presence and support during difficult times. The Jillian Fund believes that children facing life-threatening illnesses should never face them alone. Each day, thousands of critically ill children face long hospital stays without a parent by their side because the parent is financially unable to leave work. The Jillian Fund is dedicated to uniting families in need during their most critical times and providing academic financial support to young women who demonstrate Jillian’s legacy of living by example and conquering fear with faith. The Jillian Fund is a 501(c)(3) Organization.

For additional information, please visit The Jillian Fund website:

About MWA Intelligence, Inc.:

MWA Intelligence Inc. (MWAi), an SAP Business One OEM partner, delivers enterprise-class and leading-edge Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and Machine-to-People (M2P) solutions to better serve the imaging industry. MWAi’s intelligent service, workforce, assets and GPS solution suites deliver mission-critical information in real time to the hands of customer-facing employees and into companies’ back-end ERP systems including the powerful MWAi FORZA with SAP Business One. The MWAi solution automates all of the business intelligence management, meter collection, consumables and service alerts and also offers an integrated pre-sale MPS tool.

For additional information, please visit the MWA Intelligence corporate website:

# # #

For more information:

Jenna Stramaglio


MWA Intelligence, Inc.

(480) 538-5969

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Why can't you see open and closed tickets, toner shipped, and revenue generated by client, contract, location and device? How about your clients' non-print assets?

Under your MpS engagements, which OEM is most profitable?  Sharp? HP? Kyocera?  What model?

Which client is costing you the most to support?

For your enterprise customer, can you determine the most active floor, which devices are generating a high number of help desk calls? Can you see lease payment and expiration date for those devices?


Displayed on your phone?

Atlas - MpS can help you.  Not just print, everything.

Join us for a simple discussion around this complex and cluttered issue:

ATLAS - MpS More than a Map


Thursday, June 30, 2016 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM (CDT)

Eventbrite - ATLAS - MpS More than a Map

Find Your Way.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The End Of MPS, The Beginning of MpS

Recent market data for the global hardcopy peripherals (HCP) market saw a 10.6 percent yearly decline, though MPS growth has continued across the world. HP shows an 18.6% decline in unit shipments, Y/Y. - IDC, 2016

It doesn't need to be said, does it? The office environment has been moving away from print for the past decade. I know it, the OEMs know it, and in your heart, you know it too.

Managed print services is a trailing indicator, 'growth' is a statistic anomaly - expanding in a shrinking pool - there are no new clicks.

You want to survive and thrive in the technology industry. It's easier to sell copiers and implement a managed print services practice than it is to bring a managed services practice but the IT world represents growth and opportunity.

What should you do?

"...Come With Me Now..."

Years ago, I preached the coming of managed print services as the wave of the future.

Then, I saw managed print services as an on-ramp to business process/workflow optimization, teaching simple, workflow analysis embedded in the standard assessment.

Next, evangelizing managed services as the new frontier for copier/printer providers, I recommended third-parties like Collabrance and Continuum.

Today, I've come full circle and looking at managed print services basics. The tools I've seen, and I've seen or worked with almost all of them - are impressive.

Here are some of my observations:
  1. Heavy - cumbersome to use, demand time from MpS practitioner
  2. Print-data, intense - print only, some end-user, but no outside asset data
  3. Sales static - the 'map' and client data remain in the sales silo, or not easily transportable into contracts or service
  4. The Tool 'does the thinking for you' - plug the data in and out comes a current and recommended state in a 300 page Word doc
I see lots of TCO tools, column reports, graphs, and dashboards and I think we can do better. I'm looking at how I conduct assessments and the tools I would use in the field. Additionally, I'm taking a holistic view - I'd like to know how the fleet is performing in terms of service calls and profitability. 

Finally, I'd like to be in a position to offer my clients an engagement that includes ANY asset type.

With this in mind, we've designed a tool that:
  1. Collects data from multiple databases: DCA, service desk, dispatch, accounting system
  2. Helps you easily conduct assessments and present mapped proposals
  3. Enables you to create, and doesn't do the thinking for you
Point #1
Real management software displays ANY asset; printers, copiers, desktops, laptops, phones, projectors, oxygen bottles. But more impactful, is our ability to draw together related, yet disconnected data. For instance, we show the number of service calls placed on an asset, the install date, the number of toners delivered, revenue and profit generated; for the universal MIF, client fleet, or individual asset.

The solution must work within your managed print services ecosystem - the 'map' not only supports new sales, but integrates through sales to service to management to ownership; salespeople engage and asses, service utilizes mapping, and management looks into real-time financial information with the tap of a screen.

Point #2
With or without a DCA/Thumb drive, a practitioner conducts interviews and records findings. Manual entry of device data(manufacturer, model, volumes, etc.) is achieved through the use of the onboard survey tool. Machine data files may be uploaded or directly integrated, but is not necessary.

Point #3
Some existing systems deliver everything from a prospect's total cost of operation to a final proposal in Word leaving the "specialist" with nothing more to do than email the proposal or deliver pie.

I cannot tell you how often I’m asked for an ‘assessment’ or ‘mps contract’ sample. I’ve conducted assessments on paper, laptops, and in my head but I still use a basic outline of questions. 
“We interviewed 25 employees and 62% of them responded that service calls are not being completed within 72 hours. 87% felt ordering toner required three to four hours to complete.” 

Atlas - MpS. Assessment Logic*
We’ve incorporated a survey function that can be administered for each asset. In the case of a non-integrated - no DCA software - simple machine data collected on one screen. This isn't a data dump, the questions included collect relevant information you need to create a compelling proposal. I’ve also included basic workflow questions and sales related queries.

Once the survey is completed, the data is attached to that specific asset - the answers can be used as analysis. For instance, “We interviewed 25 employees and 62% of them responded that service calls are not being completed within 72 hours. 87% felt ordering toner required three to four hours to complete.” could be one of your compelling arguments for change.

Atlas - MpS. Contract Completion*
The sales and service teams rarely communicate but an integral part of a great customer experience is the effortless transition from proposing to implementing. One important issue is to correctly communicate data proposed, like existing device serial numbers, location, point of contact, beginning meter reads, CPI, etc. The information is captured during the assessment and proposal stage - why not simply populate a .PDF of your engagement?

Why not have the digital version of your contract available for signature immediately after the presentation? Atlas - Mps has this capability to complete your contract. Print it if you like, or have your client digitally sign right then and there. Email the completed form to your contracts department and have the account set up before you get back to the office. Ring that bell.

Atlas - MpS. Print Policy Framework*
Ultimately, a fully engaged, high level managed print services engagement results in a Print Policy.
Atlas - MpS, will create the blank Print Policy template and present data to support the generation of content.

Once the print policy is in place, Atlas - MpS helps you managed the engagement against the goals set forth in the policy. The information is real time, specific data points are monitored and statused as either “in or out of policy”.

No more quarterly reviews - review the fleet and goals of the program at any time.

One More thing…

Atlas is adept at integrating disparate databases and managing IT assets. Once you begin to utilize Atlas - MpS, the door opens into the IT realm. We’re not suggesting you invest in a data center, or engage with a third party to provide help desk, end-point monitoring services. We suggest talking with your IT contacts about “Asset Lifecycle Management”. You help track their IT assets, manage technology upgrades and equipment refresh with Atlas all for a monthly subscription. We can help you.

Atlas - MpS is different, simple and dynamic, helping managed print practitioners solidify their position in imaging, while opening opportunities outside of print.

Find Your Way.

Reach out to me.


Monday, June 13, 2016

Managed print Services Assessment Software: The 'Tinder' of Imaging

Do relationships ever start face-to-face?

Not such an odd question, considering the low barriers to entry provided by today's social networks.  

Indeed, relative to a decade past, the platforms available for connecting - Tinder, Plenty of Fish, Match, the scandalous Ashley Madison, and even LinkedIn - are ever-expanding. 

Barcode scanners made checkout faster, and today's 'dating' apps get more people hooked up, quicker.

These tools suck the 'art' out of the introduction, pairings are built on the assessment of a witty sentence and attractive photo. We've commoditized the foundational stages of relationship building.  I can't help but wonder if this results in hollow, unfulfilling, short-term espousals.

Similar to personal relationships, print services engagements begin with an introduction and assessment. The success of every managed print service agreement depends on correctly assessing the current state.

LinkedIN & Microsoft: One World, One Rule.

Trump, gun control, politics, multi-level marketing, and bikinis - oh, how the mighty have fallen.

...and concerns about censorship on LI were just starting to boil...

LinkedIn and Microsoft are well on their way to creating the second biggest "Brother" - ever.

"Pulse" concerns, missing or deleted posts, Robo-suspended accounts and warnings about content are on the rise or at least being exposed.

This merger bodes darkly for the future.

From the email to LinkedIn employees, today:

"Massively scaling the reach and engagement of LinkedIn by using the network to power the social and identity layers of Microsoft's ecosystem of over one billion customers. Think about things like LinkedIn's graph interwoven throughout Outlook, Calendar, Active Directory, Office, Windows, Skype, Dynamics, Cortana, Bing, and more. "

I sounds great, right? I can have all my LI contacts connected to my Skype and whenever I search on Bing, my 'network' will be searched for relevant connections(and their connections and so on). My email will be searched for relevant discussions. My account listing in the accounting system will be searched, bubbling up customers who may have a parallel or direct influence on the subject in question. The web of connectivity runs deep.

Everything connected to everything, machine-like. One platform to support, one company to rule.

But as the past few months have shown, LI users are beginning to flex their creative and humanistic muscles.

Content is shifting from all business to all but business. People are becoming more 'human', online. Matches are being made, and love connections are paired. Political discourse, a seasonal turn, is on the rise. "Chat" room intercourse often sink into insults and name-calling.

People being people, deviant. A centralized machine does not condone deviance.

I am a fan of technology and I believe the Universal Internet of Everyone is inevitable if not upon us now. Great things are possible when the minds of the world focus on a vision.

But who molds that vision? In a centralized, monolithic realm, the masters of the account/comment/newsfeed, rule.

"They" control the picture.

LinkedIN, AoL, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all the other 'free' platforms are not without cost.

We, the users, carry the world of LinkedIn(and every other social media) on our shoulders. Occasionally, we shrug.

In the end, congratulations are in order for Jeff. He built a great product and sold it(out) to a huge concern. Formula.

Next Play.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Next Managed print Services

From Los Angeles over to Davidson, North Carolina up to Oconomowoc, Wisconsin; from IT to corporate identity programs to copiers, back to IT, then managed print services, managed services, and back to Managed print Services.

What a checkered, varied and wonderful path. The journey continues.

I met Dave Westlake years ago when he was pitching his print security package - back then, nobody cared about security and printers. So he pivoted into asset management. His mapping tool created interest, and received traction in the IT realm, not the print world.

One day, Dave called me up asking for my advice. He was working with a client who wanted to build an MpS practice and was wondering about the hiring criteria for a MpS Practice Manager, inside a $300M VAR. After a 20 minute outline/oration, I simply stopped and said, “Dave, there is nobody out there with this level of experience in BOTH imaging and IT - except me."

One thing led to another, interviews conducted, offers made and accepted. Five months after our initial conversation, I was on my way from Ft. Meyers, Florida(87 degrees, sunny) to Oconomowoc, Wisconsin(12 degrees, cloudy) with a mission to first see if MpS made sense for the organization and then build a practice.

My consultations revealed this VAR, just like many others, did not hold print as a very high priority - for the organization or their clients. The sales people were accustomed to quoting million dollar hardware deals, not $4,500.00/month service contracts. The money was too little, the effort too involved.

So nine months into an engagement, I got the call into HR. “Print is not a strategic initiative of the company. Your position has been eliminated.” All righty then - nice to have met you all, it was a thrill helping you discover you didn’t need me or my expertise. Have a nice day.


While employed, I pitched Dave’s software to the VAR as a great way to help IT customers integrate different software systems onto a single screen, and was roundly rebuffed. “Oh, it’s just an asset management package…” The interpretation was incorrect, but for some reason, I didn’t waste time or breath on the argument.

They missed the point. I had customers begging me for a solution like Atlas. IT Directors from large financial institutions and one of the largest healthcare providers in the world were asking me for a way to integrate data from dozens of disparate databases.

Red flags fluttered in my toner-fused mind. I kept my mouth shut.

Days after being let go, I called Dave. Remember, if it weren’t for his phone call 14 months back, I wouldn’t be freezing in Oconomowoc, a gajillion miles from the Pacific. We decided to work together and double our efforts in the already proven niche, IT Lifecycle management. He may have felt pity or guilt - not sure.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the IT Department - we started to see Atlas as a natural choice for copier and print providers looking to pivot from MpS into IT. It’s easier to talk about tracking hardware than outsourcing the help desk or configuring hybrid BDR solutions.

Looking at the different mapping, assessment, ROI, proposal generating, and TCO tools left me exhausted and mystified - I would never purchase or inflict any of those tools on a sales team. We can’t get reps to type information into SalesForce or Oracle, how the heck are to expect them to operate and drive these behemoths?

I’ve managed and built MpS practices. I’ve created and helped institute managed services practices inside copier dealerships. In my own practice and in every other MpS organization I’ve been involved, the tools to sell, service and run the business is a large, complicated, hodgepodge of strung together software packages.

If by chance, an organization had moved forward with an integrated platform, a system that generates everything from TCO to before and after maps, the system is cluttered, complicated and heavy. Lot’s of dealers and most customers do not need or want to review a plethora of charts, graphs and spreadsheets crunching print related data.

 I’ve heard them tell me so.

Atlas isn’t any of these things. I can conduct a simple walk through and interview, plot devices, capture machine data, document workflow involved, etc. right on my tablet or phone. MpS Practitioners can conduct assessments, utilize their wisdom and close more deals. It doesn’t matter if a DCA or thumb drive is utilized. Move forward with end user interviews, collect the data, plot devices, present your solution and close.

As a Practice Manager, I was always downloading invoice and toner costs out of EAutomate, collecting dispatch data from ConnectWise, merging Crystal reports and .CSV files in an Excel spreadsheet. After a few hours, I had a pretty good profit and loss presentation ready. Back then, I wondered if I would ever be able to boil all that data into a single screen, reflecting live data.

One can dream.

This is good stuff. Atlas helps MpS sales people, Practice Managers, Owner/Principles and customers managed and visualize the entire environment. What’s more, the system is designed to work inside existing workflows, organically optimizing processes and steps - not replacing existing tools in a ‘rip and replace’ manner.

For print specific providers, Atlas offers more than just toner/ink device management - out of the box, Atlas can track ALL assets, not just SNMP/MIB based. Manage the printers and copiers for 12 months, then move the conversation to IT Lifecycle management of PC’s, monitors, and phones. That’s just one

I’ve evaluated all the tools even working with some few know exist. I like simplicity. I like low overhead. I like tools that are implements, not replacements for creativity and thought.

That’s why I liked Printelligent. That’s why I picked Preo/Printelligence back in 2011 and promoted PrinterLogic in 2014 - simple, effective, relevant. I’m looking forward to evangelizing Atlas as an easy to use, scalable tool. A tool to be used in the field and in the board room.

Atlas - Mps, Find Your Way.

Contact Me

Greg Walters, Incorporated