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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Managed Print Services - That "Hot, New, Thing..."


It seems over the past sixty days, we have been approached by all sorts of "consultants" willing to teach our team (SIGMAnet -MPS) how to perform a detailed Managed Print Service study.

It seems everybody wants to get on this bandwagon, the "I use to sell copiers, but now I sell this service to help you save more money - as long as we are at the beginning of the month..." bandwagon.

Okidata, Lexmark, Konica Minolta, Xerox, Toshiba, and Ricoh, can you see the pattern, trend, and characteristics of this new wave? These folks are all Copier Companies. So the problem with obtaining a true, honest, real-world Managed Print Services program is something I like to call "Hardware Agnostic and Partnering with High Intent". 

It is true that HP is the leader when it comes to getting "marks on paper", but how many companies have 100% HP devices - for printing and copying? Or all Okidata, Lexmark, or Toshiba? You can see my point.

With companies searching out every way to cut costs, printing and the reduction of costs associated with printing are becoming sexy and attracting all sorts of "flim-flam" and "snake-oil" experts. Managed Print Services isn't Brain Surgery, it's Rocket Science!

A copier salesperson does not directly translate into an MPS specialist. 

Nor does an IT Services salesperson translate into an MPS Specialist. It takes both IT experience and copier experience and a great deal of general, C-level, business experience. That holy grail of Professional Selling, "Business Acumen".  Someone with the "Big Picture" insight and manage the details of a solution.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

- Edgeline -


No Drum
No Toner Emissions
Low Heat
Nearly Silent
No Fuser
No Fuser Oil
No Static Charge...

This is impossible...and yet after 1.4 billion dollars of R&D, that is exactly what we have today; the HP CM8060 with Edgeline Technology.

If your looking for a color system you most likely will not hear anything regarding HP from the traditional Copier Dealers – there are roughly only 30 or so Edgeline Authorized HP dealers in the country today – this will change. HP has added some 2,000 new sales rep’s in the field and HP is attempting to utilize their extensive channel of IT VAR’s in helping move product.

On that subject – if you know anything about HP you know that as an American engineering company they are second to non, yet as a marketing force, not so good. So now you have a machine that can revolutionize the way every single business prints, and only 30 RESELLERS to “get the word out” and start evangelizing the opportunities.

HP is not a dumb company – they are going to go at this market directly and with their most trusted and experienced resellers. (Danka excluded, for another post)

How about a little background on the HP/Edgeline/Copier vs. Laser/go to market strategy?

HP has their sights directly focused on a segment of the business world that traditionally is ruled by the big copier companies – Xerox, Canon and Ricoh. Nobody knows more about copying then the copy companies and nobody knows more about printing then HP. With the convergence of these two functions resulting in the volume of copies made falling behind the volume of prints, a new dynamic is coming to light. Copier machines are connected and working as printers and printers now are scanning and copying. This issue is worth it’s own post – “To Print on a copier or to copy on a printer?” (later)

Anyway, when looking back at the relationship with HP and IKON (yes, there once was a bright and shinny future in that relationship) – HP seemed to be “testing the waters” in the copier market. Looking at distribution channels and establishing partnerships with “leading edge, technology partners”. HP tried and IKON pretty much kicked them to the curb without a kiss or dinner or anything.

The idea was great on paper yet in practice at the field level, copier sales reps tend to take leads generated for HP and “switch” to a more profitable line (i.e. Ricoh, Canon). And even more egregious, some sales reps set-up managed print accounts with original HP supplies, only to switch them out after a period of time, increasing personal and corporate profit. (Please note here and now, profit is good) So as the years past, just about three years, the IKON/HP relationship cooled, and then froze.

Meanwhile, just over a year ago, HP was rumored to have been in negotiations with one of IKON’s smaller competitors, Global Imaging. HP and Global were negotiating a purchase or merger of some sort. HP had at the time, this new technology code named “Condor” and wanted a channel – Global seemed perfect, HP had the cash and Global had the dealer network. Just about the only other company with more cash and as big a reason to expand its channel was the big “X”. Lo and behold, at the 12th hour, Xerox came in and scooped Global right out from under HP.

Nearly overnight, HP had a significant and expensive product with no way to bring to market – after TWO attempts to work within the copier industry, HP was spurned. (Big-time)

When times call for action, look to what you know best – and HP looked at their existing channel of IT VARs. And that is where the channel resides right now. I am sure there will be changes and additions in the near future. (Danka and HP)

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Friday, February 8, 2008

The List

The List" - 2008

  1. Buyers are trained by Salespeople
  2. Truth is Good
  3. Insecurities Rule
  4. All conflict is a result of an insecurity
  5. Self-esteem does not come out of a box, or from someone else
  6. Guilt is a Motivator
  7. Motivation can be turned into Manipulation
  8. Seven Seconds; you can know someone in the first seven seconds you meet them
  9. Everyone has an Agenda
  10. You Are Your Boss
  11. Fear Sucks
  12. Once People know you care, they will try to manipulate you
  13. The best way to make everyone around you better is to make yourself better
  14. If you ask a question, be ready for any answer
  15. The Best Advice is the Advice you ask for
  16. Do not Answer statements
  17. People see their own weakness in others; Cheaters see cheaters, thieves see thieves
  18. People will accuse you of the bad things they see themselves doing
  19. Nothing occurs in a vacuum
  20. Luck is for the Unlucky
  21. Hope means you stop trying
  22. Weak people cannot say no
  23. Be specific in what you care for
  24. You control your day, the day does not control you
  25. Value received for value given
  26. You can't rape the willing
  27. It can always be worse – You could have been on the 73rd floor, in your cube, drinking a Starbucks at 9:01AM, September 11th in the WTC…

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Greg Walters, Incorporated