Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Three Reasons to Sell ITAM with MpS

As our world moves beyond toner and service, managed print services slips into the mundane, boring, and commoditization.    Once there were no providers, today, thousands of practitioners scour the landscape in search of disgruntled MpS clients and new prospects.

MpS has driven business and there are many successful, full service MpS practices.  But the well will run dry, print will reduce - nobody is copying like its 1969.

For those who derive a living through MpS, how do we remain relevant, build relationships and keep the revenue flowing on the downside of the curve?

We jump the curve.

We add services, transform our portfolio and stay on the the cutting edge of innovation, right?

In this effort, many are looking toward the IT realm. This sounds great but the journey is proving formidable - investing in a NOC or help desk is expensive and retraining existing or hiring new sales talent takes time.

Wouldn't it be nice to find an offering that builds upon your existing tools and processes, requires little sales training and helps IT departments everywhere?  How about providing a service customers naturally recognize as valuable and are willing to pay for, on a monthly basis?

I suggest we "Jump the Curve" with IT Asset Management(ITAM).

What is IT Asset Management?

“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” - Gartner

Sounds complicated, but I believe "If you can sell a copier, you can sell anything.”  I’m not suggesting you become an ITAM expert, complete with certification and 10,000 hours of learning under your belt.  I am proposing you offer services to fulfill one component of a successful ITAM program: inventory mapping.  With the right tool, the process is as simple as a print assessment.

Three reasons to sell IT asset management:


Relationship -

In the 70’s, we sold the strength of our “Product”.
In the 90’s, we sold our “Product” bundled with “Services".
In the 2000’s, we sold with a "Customer Centric” spin.
Today, coming full circle, we're in " Relationship Centric” selling cycles.

The best “relationships” are built on honesty and exceed two dimensions.  Providing toner and service on a monthly bill, is at best two dimensional and more likely one dimension to your client.  

Why not open up to a more enriched affinity?  Knowing that ITAM causes heartburn for IT Directors and understanding how to relieve that pain, raises your conversation and advances your relationship beyond the toner cartridge.

When you provide a listing of IT assets alongside your print devices, your IT contact need only review one source - you - when looking to refresh assets.  Map BOTH print and IT assets when performing an assessment and deepen your relationship.

Relevance -

The current battle for the office is not about capturing more ‘clicks’, its about remaining relevant and you're not the only party struggling for the spotlight - your customers are scrambling as well.  IT departments across the globe are looking for seats at the big table; they want to be part of the decision process helping guide the company.  The days of ‘pulling cable’ are long past.

How can an IT Director be a visionary, when his staff is out counting desktops and tablets?  Toiling over pivot tables and Crystal reports, restricts the ability to innovate and evangelize the strategic benefits of IT.  When providing IT asset inventory services, you free up the most valuable resource; time.  More time to dedicate to strategic, relevant, IT issues.

Revenue -

New revenue streams.  Everybody wants some, I want some too.  

Our unscientific studies show that for every output device, on average, there are five to ten IT assets. If you’re writing MpS engagements and performing assessments for accounts with 200 or more devices, you are walking past 2,000 revenue generating assets.

Revenue with one cost component; no toner, shipping, service, or milage costs.

One More Thing -  

Don't be a tool, use a tool.

Atlas has ITAM in its DNA.  We can help solidify your MpS practice and dig additional opportunities out of your existing client base.  All without a huge investment in training or replacing your existing tool set.

We believe the future contain's fewer print and copy devices - when that days comes, you'll be comfortable with the choices you made today, or lamenting the days of plenty (of clicks).

"There's no paper in the future, because there's no future in paper."
Join us.

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?

Print volume is down, printer hardware placements are off, but studies(IDC) reveal growth in contracted hardware somewhere between 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 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 - the Gutenberg was "disruptive".
The effects will be subject of discussion for months, but the industry won't buck, markets won't gallup 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.  Contractual programs supported by HP, all you need do is work your customers, sell the machines and pass it 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 meme's 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, understand that HP's loyalty only goes as far as stockholder's 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.