Friday, February 25, 2022

Mayors Want You Back

Are post-Covid cube farms the new plantation?
'You can't stay home in your pajamas all day!': NYC Mayor Eric Adams says workers must get back to the office because work-from-home policies aren't economically sustainable for the Big Apple and New Yorkers need to 'cross-pollinate ideas and interact'.
This is dangerous.  

From the mayor of NYC:

'We must get open, and let me tell you why,' Adams said in an appearance in Bloomberg TV last month. 

'That accountant from a bank that sits in an office - it's not only him, it feeds our financial ecosystem. He goes to the cleaners and get his suits clean, he goes out to the restaurants, he brings in a business traveler, which is 70 percent of our hotel occupancy.'

Detroit, Chicago, Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, NJ - the places that locked down the hardest are going to PUSH for "back-to-office" mandates.

A quick response:

"No.

Perhaps we WERE in PJ's - but that's not any of your business.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

How Long Until We See "Work from the office" mandates?



"We need people back to work."  Is this the new mantra? 

Is getting back to the office a matter of national security?

Could a "Back to the Office" mandate be in your future?

Why would back-to-work mandates evolve?
  1. The powers believe in mandates.  
  2. The powers know how to spin anything into a National Security issue.
  3. Getting the economy going again is "a national security issue".
  4. The powers are influential.
  5. The powers know the populace is numb to being directed.

Consider Canada.


Our cousins to the north have always been the most polite society in our hemisphere.  Easy going, if not over apologetic. So it was refreshing to see protests occur without burning buildings, smashing windows, or occupying city blocks.  

The juxtaposition of Canadian police horses stomping a woman and law enforcement kicking a protester while he was down was shocking.  It seems in Canada, authorities are more violent than the protesters - a testament to how far an unhinged government will go.

Consider Australia.


Australia, another western, free society has locked down society, built and populated Covid quarantine camps.  

They've banned signing and dancing

Enough cannot be said about the situation down under. One can only imagine what the next global crisis will instill.  All this took place over a willing populace.


Consider New York City "Shattered".


     

"This town's full of money grabbers. Go ahead.  Bite the Big Apple.  Don't mind the maggots."

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Eight Ways to Sell to Corporate Culture in 2022

Much is being said about how the work from home movement will negatively impact the corporate culture.

What is Corporate Culture:

"Corporate culture refers to the beliefs and behaviors that determine how a company's employees and management interact and handle outside business transactions. Often, corporate culture is implied, not expressly defined, and develops organically over time from the cumulative traits of the people the company hires." - Investopedia

Long established and organically grown, corporate culture resists outside influences - you, as a salesperson are an outside influence, especially in the post-Covid age. 

Today, implemented managed print services still presents a shock to the system and a threat to the 'how we've always done it' position.  

Visualize an MpS implementation as an enhancement to your customer's existing workflow.  

How can you cut through the fear of change, when that fear is on the global pandemic level?  Go with the flow.

One of the first articles I wrote was about implementing a managed print services program and the risks of ignoring corporate culture in the process. 

Back then, we were concerned about the impact of reducing devices on the way people felt about their jobs. MpS engagements were new; they changed the way toner was ordered and revealed how the number and location of devices could be a shock to the system.  

Today, implementing new services is a shock to the system because it threatens the 'how we've always done it' position.  

Visualize an MpS implementation as an enhancement to your customer's existing workflow and be 'like water.'

Workflow is about optimizing the processes of everyday business tasks. In other words, it’s how work gets done. Change is guaranteed, and the corporate culture at the organizational, departmental, or personal level can’t help but be influenced. 

I once heard a really smart guy say, “Culture kills process every day.” It’s something we should all keep in mind.  

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Journalism is Dead


This morning's Rabbit Hole...some of the leading 'news' papers landing pages...what is the difference between reflection and projection?

It's just interesting...no mention of the Durham probe, which I find more interesting. And look at the MSNBC landing page...should journalism use adverbs, qualifiers, or sarcasm in headlines? "right-wing blockade...", "Why Republicans want Hillary Clinton investigated - Again.", of course, MSNBC is opinion-based so they get a pass.
I don't care particularly about content, it is remarkable seeing a pattern of coverage.

It's just looking at all the headlines, the nugatory subjects permeate all the industrial news media you gotta wonder if each editorial staff meets in the same room.

I'll let you decide.

Here are the landing pages for today, February 15, 2022:

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Three Reasons Managed Print Services is Not Dead

Managed Print Services is alive and well.

When one defines Managed print Services as "toner and service for printers on a single invoice..." MpS is dead.

But if you believe that managing devices and the business process associated with output is MpS, especially as organizations are reducing hardcopy, then MpS never went away.

IT folks hate printers and copiers for many reasons. They're big and hot and dirty, connect to their sacred network, pose a security risk, and that's not all. The biggest gripe is out of all the software and hardware an IT department supports, output devices are closest to the End User. And end-user support is the worst - face-to-face conversations are challenging because they usually start off with the word, "Why doesn't...?" IT techs don't like to be challenged or questioned.

This is a vacuum and your MpS prowess helps you fill that void for your clients.

Anti-MPSr's fail to recognize, managed print services was always our way into the IT realm. Real MpS includes optimizing workflows, working with IT resources, removing challenges associated with moving information not delivering toner, and dispatching service technicians.

Three reasons for Real MpS is not dead:

Friday, February 11, 2022

Hybrid Office is a Trap



I recently commented on all the companies requiring employees to sign an insulting, 'work from home' agreement.

Mistrust, insecurity, and control.

The work-from-home environment is a direct threat to the management and corporate status quo and will be fought, tooth and nail by politicians, mayors, old-school corporate leaders, and middle management.
  • Why do we need managers, when there are no employees in the office?  
  • How is it that for two years, employees worked at home and their productivity went up?  
  • How can employees be efficient and productive without a manager looking over a shoulder or an executive giving a lunchroom speech?
Trap!

In boardrooms across the country, virtual boardrooms, executives are devising ways to entice and force employees back to the fields.  But nothing will work, the die is cast.

They will use Hybrid as a 'compromise' knowing the movement will fail, leading wayward toilers back to the secure, comfortable, office environment.

Then, crank up the 'velvet handcuffs' - couches in the office, windows for everyone, no cubes, etc., etc., etc., and invite everyone back.

Always feed the media narrative pushing in the opposite direction to pull people into the fold.  

Devious.







Thursday, February 10, 2022

Three Reasons Hybrid Office Will Fail and Why

Hybrid work models are the best of both worlds. Hybrid work refers to employees returning to the office throughout the week. They may come in every Tuesday and Thursday, choosing to work Monday Wednesday Friday, and work from home Thursday Friday. This is flexible and great. 

Like always, there is more to the story. For management, hybrid means they keep control because they see their workers face to face. For employees, the ability to work from home, at least , facilitates more freedom, happiness, and greater productivity. 

But there are problems arising from hybrid work environments. 

With 24 months of #WFH and #Hybrid work behind us, data is starting to trickle in revealing some interesting challenges with the practice. More than 80% of workers polled say that hybrid is ‘exhausting’ for employees, according to a TinyPulse survey report. 

Friday, February 4, 2022

Is It Workflow? Or Is It Just a Tool?

Tool: 

“something (as an instrument or apparatus) used in performing an operation or necessary in the practice of a vocation or profession.” – Merriam-Webster. 

Back in the good ol’ days, before MpS, a few smart folks started referring to scanning as the on-ramp to document management. Not a bad way to look at it, and not a bad way to turn an ancillary tool into more than what it is – that's called marketing. It’s akin to selling copiers as “document management engines,” when all they really do is put marks on paper. It’s selling an idea, not the machine. 

Today the new dimension in managed print services – workflow – is undergoing the same marketing treatment. As the rush toward this niche intensifies, intrepid voyagers be aware: 

There is a difference between workflow tools and workflow. I'm not belittling the attempt to get involved in this business or suggesting some sort of “workflow” purity. I bring this up because, unlike managed print services, your prospects and clients have an understanding of workflow and what to expect. They may not formally label it as workflow, but they will recognize the benefits of making a change in the way things have always been done.

If you present scanning software as a workflow solution, you'll end up disappointing everybody, and two years from now, we'll be reading articles about the “false promises of workflow.” It is important to know the difference between a tool and a philosophy, between a pitch and an idea. 

To illustrate further, let’s take a look at some examples: 

Example One: 


I’ve seen this, and so have you: A scanning software provider offers up a package embedded into an MFP (at the user panel). The software allows end-users to easily scan documents, such as incoming invoices, from the device into a common file on a network server. The scanned images are available to all knowledge workers. Is this workflow? 

Example Two:


 A medium-size company receives many orders via fax on three separate fax machines. (Yes, I said fax machines, not MFPs.) The orders physically fall out of the fax machine into mail crates; we call it a “gravity-fed collection process.” Each knowledge worker is assigned a static set of clients. 

Once in a while, one of 50 order-entry clerks would gather and sort all incoming orders – and by “sort,” I mean separate his or her orders out and leave the rest in a pile – returning back to his or her desk with the assigned orders. 

I recommend that the client install a fax server, which emails a digitized copy of each fax to the appropriate knowledge worker. Is this workflow? 


Example Three: 


Twelve knowledge workers at a technology provider process hundreds of orders a day. The provider has built portals for all its suppliers and provides its largest clients with personalized online ordering, yet many customers still send POs via email, fax, and USPS. The company, therefore, has a fully implemented fax-server solution. 

For the hard-copy POs, reception opens each envelope, scans the contents, then emails the images to the appropriate knowledge worker. Each knowledge worker's workstation consists of a keyboard, one large monitor, a mouse, and a personal printer. The order-entry process includes retrieving the hard copy, faxed PO, or printing the emailed attachment, then clipping the hard copy to the side of a monitor and entering the necessary data. This process, or variations of this process, are repeated hour after hour, day after day, by all 12 workers. 

I recommend and implement dual monitors for each worker – no software; no EDM; no scan-to-file, indexing, or metadata. Just $200 monitors presenting images of POs on one screen while data entry is completed on the other. Is this workflow? In all three instances, the answer is yes. Why? Each solution examined the current situation, made a recommendation that would remove bottlenecks and improved departmental productivity. 

At the time, the word “workflow” wasn’t used to describe the flow of orders through the process. There wasn't any digital workflow software or formalized optimization process. On the provider side, quotas and commissions drove the cycle. 

On the client-side, an increased number of orders processed kept the project moving through the funnel. It was a classic selling engagement with a win-win result, and these enhanced solutions solidified a company’s position as the primary device provider. And although in the strictest sense, the improved workflow was not the goal, it certainly was the result of the above endeavors. The tools of each recommendation (fax servers, dual monitors, and scan-to-file solutions) were just that: tools – a means to an end, nothing more. 

The ultimate step: monetizing all this stuff This historical mumbo jumbo is academic. The only difference is, that was then, and this is now. Today hardware and services margins are falling victim to gravity. We’re looking for new streams and new opportunities. As opposed to our monthly revenue model, each of the above solutions generated a project-based transaction and one-time revenue opportunity. 

Is there a way to derive revenue streams from workflow? Possibly. 

There are two choices (there are always two choices): - Commoditize workflow into a box or - Modify existing models into a leaner, less product-centric, and more consultative entity. 

Man in the box 

 The easiest way to secure run-rate revenue is to sell the same item over and over at a consistent price and known margin. Duplicating a process or product infers reducing the machine or service to its base components, thus simplifying the entire selling formula. In other words, in an effort to easily repeat processes, we dumb down the offering, selling to the lowest common denominator. 

This is not a judgment. Indeed, commoditizing a product is a sound business practice that generates predictable results; demand can be anticipated, sales forecast. It’s more difficult to commoditize a process than a product. 

Watch out for companies describing their solution as “workflow in a box.” Yes, the pitch is simplicity-based, but the offering is a shallow and unsustainable argument. Everything sold in a box leads back to the run rate and is a transactional value proposition. The sky is not the limit If we want to make a sustainable revenue stream with workflow, look to the cloud – workflow as a service (WFaaS), for example. 

This is a radical redirection for even those of us who have made the transformation into managed services, and yet it is the more sustainable approach. 

There's more. 

Workflow in the cloud does not simply refer to a filing cabinet in the sky. Consider SalesForce.com an entire CRM in the cloud. Also, think about the accounting software-as-a-service solutions, such as SAP Business One. If you're looking for repeatable revenue streams, look up.  

Remember, at its base: 

- Workflow is more than a piece of software or a chunk of hardware. 
- Workflow is a business process transformation.
- Workflow is documented, assessed, then optimized. 
- Workflow is a plan – both strategic and tactical.
- Workflow is not billed per click. It is a long way from marks on paper to accounts receivables in the cloud. 

Let's be clear: Tools are “used in performing an operation or necessary in the practice of a vocation or profession.” They are not the solution, but they do make it easier to reach an objective. 

We control the tools; the tools do not rule us. 

Good selling. 

Posted on 02/21/2013


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Wednesday, February 2, 2022

New to Copier Sales – Use Local Events to Share Your Expertise



We used to call them “networking groups.” Local Chambers of Commerce and small business groups would put together an after-hours event, inviting local businesses to connect with each other and prospects. They met once a month and ended up being full of real estate agents and insurance salespeople handing out business cards and trading stories over drinks. It seems almost old school, but I think these types of get-togethers are more important now than pre-COVID. 

But there is a difference and I’m suggesting you take advantage of the subtle shift in connecting with prospects. Hosting a small group in a casual, off-site meeting over coffee or adult beverages is a great venue for high-quality meetings.

This is not a huge production, so there’s no need for big planning meetings or marketing pieces. You’re just Jane/John getting together for an informal chat with peers.

You can host these small gatherings.  It’s easy when you consider the following: