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Thursday, December 28, 2023

What Exactly Is Ai Doing for the Copier Dealers?

There is no (Artificial) Intelligence in Office Technology Today.

Is Artificial Intelligence helping copier dealers increase sales, decrease costs and grow profits? Today? Right now?  


Here's the deal:
  • Everyone is looking for that ‘Killer AI App” – they are looking at it wrong.
  • Everyone thinks AI is a great tool for marketing – they are thinking wrong.
  • Everyone is biased toward AI regulations – their bias is misplaced.
There isn’t going to be an “AI Killer AP” because Artificial Intelligence IS the killer app.  

Sure, Ai can generate reams of well structure, grammatically correct, and coherent copy - much like any newspaper up until 1988 - for a fraction of the human cost.  And yes, branded images, logos, videos and voice overs are a few clicks away from fruition.  But in the end, organic writing will prevail as Ai will level the playing field, making us all the best writers and artists, money can buy.*

We are in the explorer phase of the journey, like da Gamma, Columbus and Luis and Clark. Regulation, guidelines and laws will need to wait until the pioneers and settlers arrive.  For now, we are making up behaviors as we go.  Any attempt to reign in the fury will only frustrate and irritate our efforts, and stifle innovation.  Besides, rules and regs on Ai at this point will not work they will only separate the sheep from the rebels - possibly turning heroes into pariahs.

Before there were spreadsheets on computers and documents were printed in volume at less than a penny each, there were green paper ledger and Monks.

I am an artificial intelligence advocate, an evangelist – I believe everybody should use Ai every single day.  Write emails, search subjects, compose letters, make your prose better – post blogs.

"One day very soon, you will run you "dealership", what's left of it, with 90% fewer employees."

But if you’re looking for a way to decrease A/R turns, maximize contract profitability, close service tickets and automatically order raw materials to enhance your supply chain related manufacturing process:

-          Not yet, but…

  • Will Ai dissolves job functions from the trenches to the C-Suite?  Yes.  Because Ai is THE KILLER app that calculates ROI on everything, all the time, in analog.  And make decisions based on the enhanced processes.
  • Will Ai help you do much more, with much less? Yes.  Ai studies just 10 months old report the work of 10 can be done by two with Ai.  Imagine the ratio, 12 months from today.  A year.
  • Will Ai end silos and bridges generation gaps? Yes. Because Ai unleashes all knowledge to every level and business niche.

Imagine a day when your Ai will respond to a prompt** just like this:

“I want you to monitor all contracts, opened and closed service tickets, help desk calls, and toner shipments, and calculate running profit. Whenever profit drops below X amount, phone or email the account primary contact, and survey them on customer satisfaction. 

Whenever appropriate, create a current and future state proposal, with appropriate devices based on the client’s usage history as well as all similar accounts, including lease buyout figures and all additional costs. Include all lease documentation ready for signatures.

Forward the proposal to the client, copy the correct sales team member and schedule a follow-up, project meeting and start date.

Also, schedule pre-removal and installation meetings.  Place tentative removal, delivery, installation, and training dates on the master calendar and notify all third-party vendors.  Create all necessary documents ready for signatures."

The above content represents a rudimentary workflow which can be constructed as a ‘prompt’ for an Ai through a large language model (LLM like ChatGPT).  If you are not familiar with the concept of a ‘prompt’ you better get on it, right away.

Regardless, if you call up your CRM provider and ask for their artificial intelligence planning, you’ll get a bunch of mumbo jumbo - whitewash. Reach out to your first line OEM and more of the same.  Check with your document management, data collection software, leasing company and ask, “How can you help me adopt to and thrive with artificial intelligence?” At worse, more marketing, at best, "crickets"?


Because today’s businesses, including yours, are built upon models based in the 1900’s – successful and now old fashioned. Our established hierarchies, the monoliths of copiers, and technology run their systems on the scientific management philosophy – Taylorism.  

Whenever new opportunities arise, the establishment peers through the lens of Taylorism, a management theory that advocates for maximizing economic efficiency by scientifically analyzing and optimizing work processes and labor productivity.

It can’t be helped.

The problem is, artificial intelligence within a business system, optimizes work processes and productivity removing labor to the Nth degree. Ai destroys the basic tenants of Taylorism that provided society riches while decreasing the degree of hard work (manual) required to be prosperous.

All current and past improvements to business have been examined and compared within the standard business models. Ai is alien without compare, benchmarks, or KPIs - there literally are no rules. This Ai Anarchy impacts all of us horizontally and vertically. 

It's going to take more time to mentally adjust than it will to physically develop solutions.

Regardless, your customers will be doing more with fewer people. Fewer people, as you know, mean fewer prints - simple math and one day very soon, you will run you "dealership", what's left of it, with 90% fewer employees.

What about today?  What about the next 12 months?  Twelve months from now, Ai will be writing copy, creating great emails and possibly crafting personalized, concise proposals - in one third the time - for your sales staff, as it does today.


Ai will shift into tangible workflow solutions customized for you business, running everything from hiring, purchasing, selling and executive level decision making.  Without a purchasing agent, HR department, or CEO.  There is no hyperbole in Ai.

This is what you should be doing right now:

No matter where you currently are in the world, from the selling trenches, mid-management cubicle, to the President of a company; from SMB to Enterprise, the number One thing you must be doing is:

Use an LLM every, single day.  For everything.  Pose questions of the day.  On a personal level, learn how to 'prompt' without a tutor, by yourself, through trial and error.  

Additionally, and specifically for organizational leaders and business owners:
  1. Charge one person in the organization with learning everything possible about using AI in business.
  2. Hire an outside business and technology generalist to help identify areas in your current workflows that AI will positively impact.  Someone with general business skills, who hasn't been buried in the weeds of any particular industry, niche or silo and is free to explore the entire office technology landscape.
  3. Write an internal Artificial Intelligence Policy.
Artificial Intelligence has no boundaries or hyperbole, we do not know how the story evolves, and certainly have no clear view of it ends.  If it does at all. 

This isn't like any other technological transformation you've been through.  Previous waves were specific and verticalized.  

Ai is not.  

* I believe that Ai in the creative process will level out, bringing most to the same level, thereby making most content bland and perfect and shallow - elevating creative, humanistic and insightful content; Ai will make disintegrate bad writing, raise mediocre writing and excel the best to even higher levels.

* YOUR Ai, I am referring to a personalized version of artificial intelligence trained on your specific data.  This will occur on your Ai compliant local devices; drawing on your policies, your processes and your data sequestered from the outside world(the internet).  When appropriate, your Ai will explore the internet for the latest, real world data sets and processes as examples for possible improvements on your processes. Just like the early days of M TV,  "I want my AI."

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Greg Walters, Incorporated