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Thursday, July 14, 2022

Greg Walters, Inc./DOTC & All Associates Reignite Relationship

 The DOTC Office Technology Partnership Ecosystem Expands R&D Division

Plotting the Data-Based Course Into a World Without...

Our crack team of researchers, data scientists, investigators, and web-surfers have been enhanced - dare I say, 'augmented'.  

We've rekindled an alliance with a company known by the biggest players in the industry.  Their computational analyses comprise more than 1,000 variable elements and scientific approach has been referenced in thousands of client engagements. 

I've worked with All Associates Group on many projects from Mayo to Mission Health - indeed, back in the IKON days, their analytical engine was available to every salesperson in the company.  The cream of the crop professionals engaged the tool often, with resounding results.

I'm happy to consider Eddie a friend and his band of "Merry Men" co-conspirators in our misguided, analog revolution of misfits and traitors - Tragic Revolutionaries.

Good for me, GREAT for you.  Because you now have access to the truth, the real numbers.  Print is really dwindling - but you ain't seen nothing yet.

Consider the following graph:

I doubt most of you have seen such a display, although many of us have been evangelizing the Fall for a while.

This is a trend analysis that starts in 1992 - the heyday of copiers - when the average volume per FTE was nearly 10K.  

Take a deep breath and imagine for a second what it was to have a twenty-employee company under an MPS Contract generating 190,000 images a month.  190k per month.  

Okay, together...deep cleansing breath, eyes closed...listen to the busy, mechanical siren call of a fleet of ADFs, swim in that fresh, electrostatic aroma, and feel the texture of 380 reams of A4 Bond...

Imagine that...

No don't - it will only depress you.

In 1992-3ish, the "inter-webs" became The Internet, leaving America Online in the rearview mirror and print experienced a 'bump' as emails, presentations, and invoices shifted from printshops and forms dealers to HP III's and the like.  But gravity was having an effect.

Cellphones turned into 'smartphones' in 2007 - I remember when the Nextel(a flip phone) succumbed to 'Droids full keyboard.  Not only could I read my emails, but I was also typing responses on a small QWERTY with toes in the sand, at The Wedge.  I didn't need to print the email.  I didn't need to access a Franklin Planner for phone numbers or scheduling.

Between 2007 and 2009, volumes dipped by nearly one thousand images per FTE.  Tablets hit the market in 2010 adding even more, yet ignored, downward pressure on output although the decent rate slowed.

In 2013-14, the "cloud" added mass.  Digital documents and signatures once nascent morphed into ubiquitous.  From 1992 to 2014 output volume per employee fell 22% - factories around the globe spit out A3 machines like they were going out of style.  The iceberg struck years before, but nobody thought the ship was sinkable.

The Covid State of Fear snuck in with General Tso's Chicken, March 2020; the deckchair was pulled out from under, but at least we had something other than user preference to blame for the 70-80% downturn.  

Today, voices exclaim, "we don't have a demand issue, we have a supply challenge".  This is true, but not salvation. 

The Trend -

With each set of turbulence, the continuous descent has been accelerated.  Not once, since 1992, have we experienced an upturn of any significance, and consider this:  The average FTE volume is roughly 6,300 images per year.  That is a ream a month.  Do the math.  While you're at it, check out Art's calculations around the cost of a piece of paper vs. the toner on said piece of paper, here.

Why anybody would want to print anything is beyond me.

#WorkFromHome - 500 Sheets of Paper For the Entire Year

During The Covid State of Fear, every single printer was sold - Best Buy, Staples, Amazon, etc. sold out inventory as the Unleashed duplicated the office environment at home.  Sure, folks purchased personal laser printers, threw the cost on the expense account, and loaded it with paper.

But did they print?  For the thousands of devices sold, how many actually printed at volume?

Nobody knows...

All I know was the last time I had access to a printer in the home office, we didn't print 500 images over an entire 12-month period.  I haven't had a local printer since 2014.

What is the Point?

There is a huge cliff in our future.  

I know, I know, I know.  I've been saying it for years.  But I was right then - the really cool graph tells me so - and I'm correct today.

There are three, Great Amplifiers converging like never before:
  1. Technology - information at our fingertips without turning a page
  2. The State of Fear of Covid - we don't trust centralized, processed narratives, and we don't need what we were told we did. (offices, blue jean Fridays, taco Tuesdays, and foosball tables)
  3. Generations - if they consider it at all, they regard printing as quaint, nostalgic ("okay Boomer"), and they are today's decision-makers, with waves more coming 
It seems the last 20 years snuck up on us, like a thief in the night. Easy to ignore.  But this next transformation is a smack to the forehead, kick to the shins, (if not a bit higher) - AND THE NUMBERS PREDICT IT.

I've been referred to as John the Baptist.  I am not John the Baptist.  This isn't some mystical writing on a wall somewhere waiting to be decoded.  This is bigger than a Baader-Meinh incident.  It's in your face when you open the fridge at night, it's painted on the side of Tom Cruise's Black Star, on an IMAX, on skywriting, billboards, and TikToks.

The message isn't a message anymore - it is a cultural reality taken for granted by the majority. 

  • If you're not in MpS now, get in and use it as a pivot into managed services
  • If you're not in managed services, get in

But understand this: managed IT services is on the same path as managed print services; commoditization, automation, and telepresence - reducing the human quotient, approaching, yet not reaching, zero.

There are lots of alternatives to help avoid the last copier.  Keep an eye on the DOTC Office Technology Ecosystem for new relationships and alignments.

Cheers, Sell on! 

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