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Tuesday, July 25, 2023

DOTC Impressions of Xerox Q2 2023 Results: Growth; Upbeat Outlook for the Year

Any improvement is a good thing - as long as the vehicle includes servicing the New Way of Work and is on a path to a world without paper.

Highlights of the Earnings Call:
  1. Xerox showed resilience in Q2 2023, with equipment sales revenue increasing by 14.8% year-over-year to $420 million due to stable demand and improved product availability.
  2. Xerox anticipates an increase in adjusted operating income margin from a range of 5.0% to 5.5% to a range of 5.5% to 6.0% in 2023, reflecting operational efficiencies and a favorable revenue mix. Free cash flow is also expected to increase from at least $500 million to $600 million.
  3. Xerox completed the donation of its Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) to Stanford Research Institute International (SRI), focusing more on its core businesses. The move resulted in a net pre-tax charge of $132 million, offset by a net income tax benefit of $40 million, resulting in a net after-tax loss on the donation of $92 million.

Ninestar's Downfall: A Doorway to Dominance for HP?

BTA turns to UFLPA, Ninestar slips, and HP stands ready to capitalize. Let's read between the lines

When the BTA stands firm with the UFLPA and puts a spotlight on forced labor, it stirs up a world of disruption for some - but for others, like our friend HP, it's the dawn of new opportunities. As the FLETF rolls out its ban on Ninestar Corporation and eight of its subsidiaries operating in Zhuhai, China, it has the whole business tech industry holding its breath. But in this sea of uncertainty, there's one company that might be grinning beneath the surface - and that's HP.

Now, why is that you ask? Let's dive into it.

Copier Salespeople: The Undoing of Managed Print Services Opportunities - A Personal Account

Re-Mastered from the 2009 DOTC classic, "Copier Sales People Destroy Managed Print Services Opportunities: Daily"

Why Traditional Copier Sales Tactics Undermine the Potential of Managed Print Services

Executive Summary:

  1. The Problem with Legacy Sales Practices: Managed Print Services (MPS) is a rapidly evolving industry; however, its potential is being undermined by outdated sales tactics. This issue is deeply ingrained and can lead to unsatisfactory client experiences, as old-school copier salespeople resist change and cling to outdated dogmas.
  2. Case Studies of Poor Sales Tactics: The negative impacts of these traditional sales practices are highlighted through two real-life client experiences. Both cases involve manipulative, rushed, and misleading sales practices from competitors that lead to client distress and loss of trust. These sales tactics prioritize moving products over genuinely addressing client needs, causing significant frustration and disruption.
  3. The Future of Sales - AI & Core Sales Principles: Looking ahead to 2023, the timeless lessons from these experiences remain relevant. No matter the technological advances, core sales principles such as empathy, active listening, problem-solving, and relationship-building remain irreplaceable. As AI becomes increasingly integrated into sales, it presents opportunities for efficiency and insight while also challenging traditional face-to-face selling practices. While AI has the potential to redefine sales, the core ethos of understanding client needs and delivering effective solutions remains constant.

In the rapidly evolving world of technology, the managed print services (MPS) industry is no exception. Yet, the legacy sales practices of copier salespeople are undermining the potential of MPS. 

Despite the proliferation of MPS training programs and the influx of so-called "MPS Experts", I argue that these won't make a difference. Major manufacturers like Toshiba, Konica Minolta, Ricoh, Samsung, Xerox, and Canon, who are launching such programs, are likely to experience frustration and lost potential. The reason? Resistance to change and clinging to outdated dogmas.

There is a saying in the industry that encapsulates this issue: at the beginning of the month, we all sell solutions, but in the last week of the month, we move a box. This mentality is deeply ingrained, often causing chaos and dissatisfaction for clients.

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Xerox’s Steve Bandrowczak – A Lesson for All Copier Dealers

Turning In-House Triumphs into Client Success Stories

Regardless of whether you sell Xerox or not, there’s a heck of a lot to learn from how they’re conducting business these days.

Xerox is setting a powerful example in the tech industry by seamlessly integrating robotics into its daily operations and then leveraging those advancements to its customers’ benefit. Even if Xerox machines aren’t on your sales floor, the strategies the company’s employing can offer some valuable insights for your dealership.

“We take those core processes, we take those core robotics that we’ve already built, and we bring it to our clients but more importantly we bring outcomes to our clients…I now can take that and I can help our clients understand what the art of the possible is… it’s a business outcome and they can very clearly see the benefit of it… using those same Solutions so I become the best use case in terms of how you use these technologies and how clients could absorb and use these technologies.“

Read the rest, here.

Friday, July 21, 2023

The Future of AI in the Workplace: Opportunities and Challenges

Source: Wall Street Journal
Date: May 15, 2023

Key Highlights:
  • AI is transforming workplace ethics, with people more likely to instruct AI to use deception in negotiations, underscoring the need for research into AI's ethical implications.
  • AI has the potential to augment the intelligence of older workers, enabling them to leverage their extensive experience and knowledge more effectively.
  • Generative AI can significantly boost productivity, particularly for low-skilled workers, potentially narrowing the productivity gap between different skill levels.
Greg's Words

I've been talking about The Great Convergence for over a decade.  It's meant many different things: the convergence of TV, Cable, and the Internet.  The convergence of the internet and business software(the Cloud). Finally, the convergence of generations.

Artificial Intelligence gives every generation access to knowledge simultaneously.  Time will no longer dictate the accumulation of knowledge.  Indeed, artificial intelligence may disconnect wisdom from experiences.


Threads Is Doomed to Fail

"Mark Zuckerberg's Threads platform hits 100 million users in 5 days, growing faster than ChatGPT"

This is a farce.  "Threads" is less of a product and more of a 'feel better' gambit for those who cannot see beyond their own, personal biases and shortcomings.

"...the company isn’t going to actively encourage politics and hard news on the platform, but it could end up being the place people go for a conversation-based social media platform..." - The Verge

It's like a bad movie that 'everyone'(Hollywood Influencers) says is a great movie.

A good solution doesn't need a narrative to tell me it is a good solution.

Comparing this to ChatGPT is a marketing parlor trick as old as the hills - positioning.

The numbers are not real, "Threads owes much of its success to its connection with Instagram." and the platform is not sustainable -  “we don’t even know if this thing is retentive yet,...” - Mosseri

It's classic.  There was no problem to be solved.  The decision was politically motivated if not emotionally charged.

Not a good business move.

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Resisting the Return: Executives Ditch the Copier for the Comfort of Remote Work

Executives to Corporate: You Can Take Our Office, But You Can't Take Our Pajamas

Executive Bullet Points:
  1. Top-tier executives are leading the resistance to the five-day office week, with many willing to trade more than 20% of their compensation for the flexibility of remote work.
  2. Despite the push for a return to the office, data shows that office attendance is still below pre-pandemic levels, with employees spending less time in the office than before.
  3. Companies are exploring creative solutions to encourage in-person work, including relocating offices to more enticing locations and offering flexible work-from-anywhere policies.
Greg's Words

The battle goes back and forth - but the lines are beginning to solidify.  Employees want to work from anywhere - as the fear of Covid revealed.

But today it seems even the C-Suite sees the value of working from anywhere(#WFA).  No surprises there, but what is remarkable is that the #WFA movement has forces aligned with the most demographic.

Who still resists?  Commercial property management companies, commercial real estate organizations, firms heavily invested in commercial real estate(banks), peripheral businesses,(coffee shops, taxis, tow trucks, food trucks), and mayors(no tax base).

In the end, it just doesn't matter.  The #WFA movement would prevail on lessons learned during the Covid fear alone - but there is more.  Enter artificial intelligence.  Today, AI is allowing two employees to do the work of ten.  AI can be accessed from any connected point on the planet.

The office-work environment has dissolved.

How is the alignment between executive and employee going to impact the resistance to #WFA?

From Robotic Triumphs to Backyard Copiers: The Office Tech Tap

In the latest edition of 'The Office Tech Tap', we delve into transformative strategies, current industry happenings, and emerging trends that shape the tech industry. Our focal point is Xerox's groundbreaking approach to integrating robotics into their daily operations, a tactic that has improved their receivables by over 30% and refined supply chain accuracy. This in-house triumph turned into a client success story is a model for all copier dealers.

In a climate of uncertainty, we shed light on the implications of Ninestar's import ban on the copier industry. The effect this ban has on industry professionals and how it might influence domestic retailers and offshore providers is a critical aspect of our analysis.

As remote working gains momentum, we explore the rise of backyard offices. These personalized workspaces, designed to offer a perfect blend of convenience and work-life balance, are revolutionizing the home office concept. We question the potential this trend holds for industry growth.

Lastly, we touch upon the intriguing subject of rage rooms and the cathartic destruction of printers. This unique leisure trend, while on a lighter note, raises questions about our relationship with office technology.

Get the latest insights on office technology trends, industry news, and thought leadership at The Office Tech Tap

Stay informed, stay ahead.

Unlocking Value: Overcoming the Tragedy of the Uncommon in America's Private Beaches and Wealthy Neighborhoods

If a beach falls on private property, and no one is around to sunbathe, does it really make a splash?

Dror Poleg pens a great essay on a contrarian few of the Tragedy of the Commons, dipping into artificial intelligence and a sun-drenched beach.

  1. Dror Poleg introduces the concept of the "tragedy of the uncommon," which contrasts with the well-known "tragedy of the commons," highlighting how restricted use of a resource can lead to its underutilization and a sub-optimal outcome.
  2. Using Long Island's private beaches as an example, Poleg shows how exclusivity can be unattractive and limit the potential value of a location due to lack of amenities, restaurants, and poor integration with transportation systems.
  3. He contrasts this with Israel's public beaches, which, despite being accessible to everyone, offer a vibrant atmosphere, great food, and better connectivity, supported by a variety of businesses that increase overall wealth.
  4. The phenomenon extends beyond physical resources to intellectual property. For instance, in the realm of artificial intelligence (AI), there's a contrast between proprietary and open-source approaches, with the latter fostering more experimentation and integration with other services.
  5. Poleg concludes that under-utilization should be as concerning as over-utilization. He advocates for a balance between public and private access, embracing openness, and questioning the status quo to realize the full potential of resources, which can lead to greater societal benefit and prosperity.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

I Lost a Client Today: It Was My Fault & Responsibility

I've teased in the past saying, " way to prove your content is human-generated, not AI-generated is to keep the spelling errors." After all, To error is Human.

Unfortunately, for me and more importantly, my ex-client, I took that notion beyond acceptable boundaries.

I accept mistakes - those I commit and mistakes made by others that impact me.  Indeed, over the years, I have shifted from pressurizing myself over this premiere human characteristic.

But this situation was absurd and canceling the project was deserved.  At every turn, in every meeting, collaboration, communication, email, document, video, practice session, and IM, I made a cluster of mistakes.  Misspellings, my inability to understand the client's wishes, schedule/calendar miscues, and during one video recording, I fumbled pronouncing the client's name.


Sunday, July 16, 2023

Navigating the maelstrom of modern work – one coffee break at a time

The year is 2023 and we're in the throes of a work revolution. Forget the Spanish Inquisition - nobody expects the Coffee Break Inquisition. According to Slack's State of Work report, we're in a massive fight over the soul of productivity, and it seems the battleground is your coffee break.

"....where does that leave the copier industry? The question isn't new, but the answer must be: How do we adapt to the new way of work, advise clients accordingly, and create sustainable revenue models that aren't entirely dependent on copiers?"

Who'd have thought that little office respite would become the symbol of a deeper conflict over the meaning of productivity? Forget buzzwords. We're staring down the barrel of a "productivity paradox". Here's the rub: many workers are associating "productivity" with backbreaking workloads and stress. It's all about proving you're working hard, not smart.

Friday, July 14, 2023

AI: History's Newest 'Threat' and Our Inevitable Evolution

Embrace the inevitable evolution of technology with our guide to navigating the AI revolution

Anticipate These Emerging Concepts:

"AI Alarmist"
"AI Skeptic"
"AI: The New Climate Crisis"
"AI's Devastating Impact on Commercial Real Estate"
"AI Isn't Art"
"Preserving Jobs Requires Halting AI"
"AI Threatens Our Humanity"

From floppy disks to carbon paper, typewriters to horses, loom to iceboxes, silent movies to photographs, candles to newspapers, printers to scribes, cave paintings, and all the way back to the invention of the wheel and the discovery of fire...

Thursday, July 13, 2023

💻 Selling MPS | The Hybrid Office | American Business | Hack On, AI💻

From Paper Jams to Power Moves: Unleashing the Magic of Managed Print Services

Managed print services (MPS) is alive and well. Actually, unbelievably well. We’ve talked about this before, and the wave continues. While dealers and manufacturers report a reduction in page volumes, an increase in MPS contracts highlights an area that dealers should be leaning into.

Despite its limited name, MPS is about more than just print. It isn’t just about cartridges or even cyber security, but it IS about supplies, purchasing, keeping data under lock and key, and even leasing. What’s more, with the move back to an office, cost reductions and increasing efficiencies hold a more prominent position.

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Greg Walters, Incorporated