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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ricoh and DocuClass - "...Solutions Driven by Customer Need and not Industry Hype..."

First Copy Out Time's and Scan Once, Print Many are Phrases of the Past...

Ricoh introduces DocuClass-

DocuClass, is a process-oriented, document management software solution that enables organizations to streamline internal operations by organizing the capture, management, access, and distribution of documents and information.

Enhanced for Ricoh, the DocuClass MFP Link ties the software directly to most Ricoh multifunction products (MFPs), offering a simplified method of document indexing, archiving, document processing, workflow routing and full version control directly from the MFP control panel.

What About the Channel -

One of three Ricoh Alliance programs, RiSVP, developed in cooperation with Ricoh solution partners and Ricoh's direct and dealer channels, focuses on two key areas: expansion of channel marketing opportunities for RiSVP members and simplifying solution access for Ricoh sales channels.

By providing RiSVP member products directly from Ricoh, the direct and dealer channels have more opportunities for new revenue growth combined and simplified sales operations.

In turn, RiSVP members enjoy faster and greater financial return on the investments they have made in developing solutions that when combined with Ricoh's award-winning product portfolio address customers' key concerns. Cima Software is a Platinum Plus member of RiSVP.

"Together with Cima Software, we will continue to provide customers with real enhanced value by delivering a broad set of capabilities designed to improve business processes and reduce operational costs," said Hede Nonaka, executive vice president, Ricoh Americas Corporation. "Both organizations are committed to developing solutions driven by customer need and not industry hype."

Monday, January 12, 2009

"Form Follows Function": Is Samsung Positioned in HP's Blind Spot?

"You can have any color you like, as long as it's black..." - Henry Ford

Jim Lyons picked up on Samsung and the possibility of them nudging into the office MFP market as reflected in an article over at Business Week, Samsung:Rethining the Printer Business, by Cliff Edwards.

Additionally, Robert Sethre from the Woodford Group goes on to analyze the article in his contribution at GLG, The Expert Network.

In the past 60 days, I have heard more about Samsung as a printing/MFP provider, than I have in the last 20 years.

First off, Samsung is well known for its line of consumer electronics especially for their attractive and sleek design of everyday, mundane household appliances.

The thought, and the practice, can be seen in the above laser printer. The design is completely different from any other output device. "Lacquer" finisher, touch controls interesting shape.

And as Jim poses in his article, what if Samsung applied this style to "higher end departmental printers". I have often wondered who decided office machines needed to be drab and unattractive - disengaging.

From the "big green" Oce's, the "blue hooded Xerox's", the Ricoh/Canon sorta-beige and the battleship grey of Konica/Minolta and HP - couldn't we just spray paint some flames on the side?

The closest thing to an exciting, eye-catching application is from Panasonic with their colorful, color MFPs. Is that like coffee flavored coffee? (ADULT LINK)

Though one could make the argument that the Panasonic resembles the Daleks on Dr. Who, and I have yet to see one in the field. I imagine a real estate office or small advertising agency may find the physical color of the unit part of their buying criteria.

Samsung printer designer Bong Uk Lim is promoting something new- a printer that doesn't look like one.

"Most companies ask people to adapt to the product instead of the other way around," Lim says. "As you see with Apple, design is more important than ever before for most products. The same can be made true for printers."

Regardless, is Samsung looking to step into the office printing niche?

Samsung is the second largest manufacturer of laser printers in the world - next to that "other" company - but manufacturing prowess may not prevent them from "stepping into it" when they take on HP, Canon, Ricoh/IKON, et el.

And in typical, HP, battleship gray style, upon hearing of a possible Samsung insurgence, David Murphy, head of HP's LaserJet imaging business, says most of the industry's profits come from selling to businesses ...

"For them, it's about the whole value proposition of having a product that does the tasks you want it to,then, form follows function."

Bad Day ? Take it out on your Printers and Copiers

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Xerox Tightens The Belt - Putting the Links in Storage for a Year

The big X isn't even sponsoring golf this year.

With earnings report out in a couple of weeks, Xerox is making news again as rumors of layoffs persist.

Xerox was one of the first companies to recognize the somber economic environment and took steps to address by offering 5% of its workforce separation packages - if not enough people take the package, forced layoffs may ensue.

Some of those layoffs could come before fourth quarter earnings are announced later this month.

Xerox is reportedly working on reducing its costs by $400 million, through consolidating manufacturing and other real estate.

In related news, after four years, Xerox allowed it's title-sponsorship contract at the Irondequoit Country Club to expire.(Apparently, there was no automatic renewal for another 30 days or 4 years)

The Xerox Classic will be taking at least a year off.

Don Jeffries of the Rochester Broadway Theater League, the tournament organizer, said,

"With the economic times the way they are, they(Xerox) just couldn't put up money to sponsor a tournament."

Friday, January 9, 2009

HP To Stop Selling in Iran - Power of The Press

The Globe Report get's a response:

In a statement released last Thursday, HP said, "Having recently examined the situation, we believe it's important to go beyond the letter of the law,"

HP is responding to an article published last week in the Boston Globe which "exposes" the company's practice of selling printers in Iran.

In reality, this is not the case.

HP provides its product to a distributor, Redington Gulf in Dubai who in turn sells to dealers all over the mid-east. No doubt some of the dealers are in Iran.

In addition to HP, Redington distributes Acer, Cisco, Linksys, APC, IBM, 3COM and many other technology products.

A statement posted on Redington Gulf website -
Holding Statement in response to the Boston Globe article

Redington Gulf is an authorized distributor and an authorized service provider in Middle East & Africa, for HP brand, amongst other brands of global repute. We sell authorized products, to HP authorized customers, in authorized territories, in line with HP’s policy guidelines.
Corporate Communications Team

Thursday, January 8, 2009

It is the Best of Times- Copier, Printer, Technology Sales

I see that the blogashere is dispatching its share of gloom and doom.

And predictably, so is the "mainstream" media - but this time, I don't think that the media is exaggerating the circumstances - it is bad out here.

In the sales world, it seems at every turn, there is another "expert" telling us how to sell in these difficult times, how to save our career in these difficult times, how to find clients in these difficult times, and how to make more money in these difficult times.

In light of all the "difficult economic times..." chatter, I have a question:

Why or how is it that we should be doing things differently now?

Shouldn't our "plans" and strategies, our skills and fortitude allow us to face the stiff winds with our chins out?

I mean, as sales people, shouldn't we be use to idiot managers who have never sold, ding dong owners who demand more, expect more, pay less and maximize their personal financial position over others?

Are not we familiar with "negativity", rejection and "turbulent financial circumstances"?

Who of us has never failed? Which one has never been “let-go” and faced the world without a job?

Are we not the same ones who not so long ago, looked at people who couldn't sell themselves out of a wet paper bag, making bank by writing shady mortgage agreements for anyone with a pulse? Was that fair? Was that the way it should be?

Or as outside Selling Professionals, do we take exception with the “inside order fulfillment” folks claiming to be Sales People and demanding like compensation for filling out an order form? Yet, we continue to pound the pavement, make a sale that helps pay for the inside order takers', kids baseball glove?

The bold, the strong and the steady knew it would not last. The smart (and you didn't need to be all that smart) could see that the boom times were built on paper machete – not bedrock.

These times are trying, and will only get more challenging.

Now the REAL you will come out.

Now we will see REAL Rainmakers.
Where once there was no shade, we create forests.
Now we will see who is really good at doing what’s best for clients, families, companies, and our country.

We make something out of nothing. It is what we do, it is what we love to do; it is what is needed to be done.

This is what it means to Sell.

It's not the Profession, it is the people in the profession - there are lots of layoffs right now, you don't need to be reminded. But layoff a Selling Professional, and he will make things happen bringing shade where there once was none.

Layoff a line worker or a cube rat - and he will make everyone around him miserable, spewing blame in all directions, queuing up for the "stupid persons" bail-out.

It’s easy to be in Sales when times are good – let's see who can walk the walk today.

Click to email me.

Ricoh Surges 7 Percent on News of Firm North American Market and Canon (CBS) has New President

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., January 5, 2009 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging, today announced that Tod Pike will become President of its subsidiary, Canon Business Solutions, Inc. (CBS), effective today.

Mr. Pike joins CBS from Canon U.S.A.’s Imaging Systems Group (ISG), where he was Senior Vice President and General Manager since May 1999. Prior to serving in this role, he served as President of Office Equipment and Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Imaging Systems Group at Canon Canada. Mr. Pike began his Canon career in 1993 as an Executive Vice President with MCS Business Machines (now part of CBS), and was promoted to President.
Today, reported by

"Ricoh Co Ltd advanced 7 percent to 1,297 yen after Credit Suisse upgraded the stock to "outperform" from "neutral" and raised its target share price to 1,400 yen, saying firmness in the North American market could counter earnings concerns about its subsidiary Ikon."

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Ricoh and IBM's Alliance Spearheaded by Ricoh's New Document Security and Management Services (DSMS).

Ricoh to the Channel - "...I can't guarantee it has no impact [on channel partners], but IBM is obviously in a lot of places already,"

According to a press release today, January 5th, IBM and Ricoh will first launch a new Ricoh offering, Document Security and Management Services (DSMS) in the US.

This solution builds upon Ricoh's expertise in helping customers improve their document workflow, security and compliance, while reducing the total cost of ownership of office equipment investment and advancing environmental sustainability practices.

The DSMS offering includes Assessment & Deployment, End User Services, Managed Services, Security, Green Office and Enterprise Content Management services, which will be delivered by Ricoh Document Solutions and Services Division and IBM's Global Technology Services.

In addition, Ricoh has an agreement to resell IBM's Managed Server offering and collaborate on the sale and delivery of IBM software, hardware and services, such as End User Services, Internet Security Systems (ISS) Services, Business Continuity & Resiliency Services, and Storage & Data Services.

In an interview with ChannelWeb, Mark Minshull, recently promoted, Ricoh Vice President and Chief Technologist said, "Ricoh and IBM have been working together for a long time, so I see this as kind of a deepening of that relationship," adding, "We're teaming up at a sales level to go after major global accounts and do what we each do best. Ricoh and IBM pair up very nicely. The promise ... is to lower the cost of implementation -- incorporate an
service oriented architecture (SOA) into MFPs so they can more easily integrate into IBM's selling process. Over time, printers are becoming very smart and sophisticated, and it makes sense to use enterprise network monitoring tools like Tivoli."

Minshull said he did not anticipate conflict with Ricoh's channel as a result of the alliance, the focus of which, he said, is primarily on the largest, enterprise-level accounts.

"...I can't guarantee it has no impact [on channel partners], but IBM is obviously in a lot of places already," he said. "In both the U.S. and Europe, the focus tends to be larger companies with enterprise-wide initiatives."

"IBM and Ricoh are both trying to solve the same problems," Minshull added. "Take the IBM Tivoli story and meld it with the Ricoh one. There's a lot of strategic symmetry in where they're going and where we're going. Looking at [Hewlett-Packard] and what they're doing with EDS, this is a natural fit for us to offer a high-end services capability."

"Ricoh and IBM's partnership will help clients to incorporate MFP capabilities into their business in the same way a new building block could be added to an existing structure." , said Sandy Carter, vice president IBM SOA and WebSphere.
A SOA-enabled Ricoh MFP facilitates the integration of other new technologies including autonomic computing that proactively alerts customers when a problem arises so they can resolve it before failure of the device occurs. Also, by integrating supply chain management systems with diagnostic data generated within the MFP, the ability to automatically order MFP supplies can be performed.

Ricoh and IBM Alliance:The Shape of Things to Come

Thursday, January 1, 2009

"Yeah...I use to be a Copier Salesman, it's a tough racket..." - 2009


Introducing James Hands, ex-copier salesperson supreme - while at IKON, he lit the world on fire - attaining COE(Circle of Excellence) in his first year and continuing as a high-performer until the Education of Young Skulls Full of Mush pulled him back in. James will contribute quirkiness and humor - or heads shall roll...

Copiers never die. They just xero-gro-pheye... Get it?

The copier perhaps has died in a sense that those using a copier simply as a copier, are probably closer to death than the 'copier' is. The MFP, or as one who was in the industry and then bitterly left to hunt and gather in other fields will tell you, Mother F**** Printer has all but replaced the 'Stand Alone' copier. 

The lone holdout I see in my area of experience continues to be schools and/or government, although I was stunned to discover our office manager actually followed a suggestion I gave her regarding the 'scan to e-mail' function available on the existing 'copier'.

I have been a Learning Monitor Facilitator for an Adolescent Organization (LMFAO) for most of my life but for about 4 (four) years I sold quite a few 'copiers' (sorry, I mean solutions) for a company that was so much more than a four letter word, but I digress.

The main issue I bring up is that copiers will change and evolve, as they have so far, and will continue to do so due to the speed at which the government and society move. I argue that they do not move at the same speeds while others would say they're not even moving in the same direction. I'm not sure I would argue with that either. I'm a nice guy.

Print will never die.

I've seen one Kindle and it was more of a kid's toy than an actual 'book.' The need to get information to the masses from those in power or those having a yard sale this weekend is too great. Political signs, advertisements, takeout menus, drink specials and the like will be needed and copies will be made, albeit perhaps on a smaller 'MFP'. The costs of the new technology will be prohibitive until it becomes cheaper than toner on paper, and that's right: I said toner.

So, before we all go pushing our imageRUNNERS, Aficios, and Copycentres, etc. out into the street in exchange for 'electronic paper,' remember this: If the masses can't afford it, don't get it, or can't use it, then it won't work.

I would comment more, but I have to find and print the cheat codes for Doom 3 and make copies to send to my friend Greg. 

He likes things in color... Think Wikipedia has them?

Jim H.
Click to email me.

Ricoh and IBM Alliance:The Shape of Things to Come

Reuters reports that Ricoh and IBM will begin to share sales networks:

IBM and Ricoh will start handling each other's products in their U.S. sales channels in spring 2009, with the cooperation set to expand to other regions including Europe and Asia eventually, the paper said.

Ricoh expects the alliance to yield 1.1 billion in sales over the next three years.

Last year, HP completed it's acquisition of long time IBM competitor EDS.

2009 begins as speculation on HP's reaction to Ricoh's acquisition of IKON last year increases.

As HP looks on, Ricoh continues to nudge it's way into it's traditionally strong niche: I.T.
This from an editorial written by David T. Mendelson, Argecy Computer Corporation back in July of 2007, when IBM announced the arrangement with Ricoh that spawned InfoPrint:

"...Ricoh has a very long and hard-earned history of success in the world market. The relationship between IBM and Ricoh goes back quite a long way. Ricoh has had a strong market penetration in the copier and fax markets for many years, but had little “in” with the IT community. IBM employed Ricoh’s engines and technology in their mid-range laser printers, and probably negotiated to keep Ricoh from competing in the lower end market. (Why is Canon Corporation not selling hard into the laser printer market? Because that’s who makes HP’s lasers). But now Ricoh is in control..." - David T. Mendelson, Argecy Computer Corporation

As mentioned in my November article, Ricoh and IBM into InfoPrint and Now, rIKON, in addition to the standard office equipment/Purchasing model, Ricoh appeared to be moving towards an I.T. based selling model - today, there can be no doubt.

Summary -

Ricoh increased it's dealer channel nearly 10 fold.
The acquisition of IKON's Professional Services give Ricoh some of the best assets in the industry, versed in many, leading EDM software.
Ricoh's ownership of InfoPrint, high-end, I.T. based solutions will be complete in 2010.
Ricoh and IBM will be sharing sales leads to cross market each productline;copiers and servers.
Where is Canon ?

Canon's feeble attempts to shore up a non-existent channel in order to defend the existing Canon/IKON base, may have taken yet another hit with today's news.

How can CBS possibly compete with the likes of IBM and IKON's Professional Services?

Canon will need an "I.T." shot in the arm - instantaneous access to corporate/enterprise I.T. departments supported by knowledgeable professionals.

Could the alliance between IBM and Ricoh be a template for a similar arrangement between HP and Canon?

Or is a bigger shoe ready to drop?

2009: The End of Print - Andrew Keen


Who the heck is Andrew Keen?

We will get to who he is at the end of this report but for now, he is some dot com millionaire who wrote a book and convinced me to never reference Wikipedia.

On his blog, The Great Seduction, he posts 2009: The End of Print.

His reference point is similar to mine in The Death of Print - 12,000 Layoffs And Counting and PC Magazine Dropping Print for Online. My observations reflecting the dire straights which print media finds itself.

As a matter of fact, the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press (Detroit being one of the last cities with TWO major newspapers) have moved to eliminate home delivery and shift assets toward their digital versions. A point Keen observes in his writing.

Indeed, from his piece at Internet Evolution, he explains how 2008 was the beginning of the end and how 2009 will be "the year that the print business literally falls off the cliff". He nails it:

"...And yet 2009 will, ironically, also bring much, much, much better news for a media in the business of selling textual content. The truth is it’s not their newspapers, magazines, and books that are dying, but rather the archaic medium of print. And the good news for both trees and technophiles is that in 2009 paper is finally being replaced by affordable and ergonomically sophisticated digital devices for reading electronic content..."

Additionally, Dan Costa, PC Magazine, comments on the decision to go completely digital:

“...Trouble is, print publishing is hugely flawed. . . . Print media is simply behind the times by design. Print businesses aren't dead, but they do need to change. Printing should be reserved for archival information—artifacts you'll hold on to for years instead of hours or days.” - here.

It is not the perceived media bias, the lack of credible content, assaults from the polarized cable news networks, or even the millions of "monkeys with computers" flooding the 'net with blog after blog and stealing readers - it is, as Keen says, the "archaic medium of print". "uh-oh"-

Back in February, when I first tapped fingers to keys and named this blog, I admit I was being cheeky. Cute and a bit clever I thought.

No body would seriously consider the days of copiers to be numbered; for this to be a reality, paper itself would need to be completely eradicated - "uh-oh, uh-oh".

But today, during this slow season of reflection, while reading an array of bloody reports, I was struck with an epiphany - I found myself like Chicken Little exclaiming to nobody, "the sky is falling, the sky is falling, nobody will use paper anymore".

And then, my sudden, striking understanding - a product of the swirling storm of uncertainty - took on a more deviant, second dimension. The current turmoil in our industry is but a cloud burst, the Perfect Storm is over the horizon.

The colliding elements of this tempest: Paper, energy, environmental costs, economic strains never before experienced by today's generations, technology advances on the cusp (Magic Paper, bend-able screens), changing business models and changing consumer prejudices, industry consolidation, cloud computing, Web 3.0...Roll all this up, raise the pressure and boom - we've got a Perfect Storm.

After this upheaval, we will find that copiers have gone the way of the buggy whip and looms.

Kindle, Schmindle -

The buzz around the Kindle started in 2008. But to date, I have not seen one in use - at Starbucks, the beach, hotels, or airports. I did see one at Borders, but it was not in use - certainly units have been sold and purchased, it's just that compared to the iPod, or the iPhone, days after they were release, seemed everybody had one.

Heck, last time I was in Vegas, at the "iBar", I indulged in adult beverages and played like Tom Cruise in Minority Report, on one of the five Microsoft Surface's.

Of course, I have yet to walk into a living room and kick my feet up on one, like any normal coffee table.

The Kindle, exceptional as it is, represents the first iteration of the "new medium". Better technology could be on its way.

But wait - from Business Week :

"An electronic-text reader by Plastic Logic of Mountain View, Calif., due out in 2009, will be aimed at business travelers. The 8½ x 11-in. device, which downloads online content from newspapers and magazines as well as word-processing and other work files, uses technology that recreates print, not Web, versions of publications. The plastic-encased screen is thinner, lighter—and larger—than’s Kindle. Plastic Logic also is working on a reader flexible enough to bend like paper..."

Imagine - You are walking from your car to your cube, or setting on your deck in the San Bernardino Mountains. You pull out a sheet of plastic, 8.5" x 11" x 0.25" in dimensions, the Drudge Report displayed. A slight wave of your hand replaces Drudge with the Detroit Free Press; while checking the latest Wired articles, an email alert pops in and an S.O.W. needing immediate approval displayed - you sign, send and return to Wired.

This seemingly trivial exercise illustrates the huge reduction in paper use, print generation, energy consumption – The Detroit Free Press no longer needs to be run on huge digital presses, a 500 page Statement of Work document is not printed and FAXED for final signatures – less resources consumed, less energy spent, more accomplished in less time - not a copier in sight.(scroll up and check out the picture of the stack of magazines and a paper pad, the one on top, isn't)

Uh-oh, Uh-oh, Uh-oh

A Silver Lining-

With no paper - the value of the medium will increase - "books" will be important once again, heirlooms. It may be easy to read my copy of Wired or FaceFull on a flexible display, on a daily basis - but the interaction between me and Hemingway, or Thoreau , or Macbeth, the intimacy is enhanced by the human touch.

The Phaser, CLC, Color LaserJet are wonderful technological advances - and now so prevalent their existence is mundane. Yet, can a color, 11x17 output image of Starry Night compare to the original? How many 21-century Monet's are going to use PhotoShop and a Phaser to create the next Houses of Parliament"?

A paint covered brush will still strike paper.

The End of Print is upon us all, once again - but this time it could be for real.

Andrew Keen -

He is an author and a dot com millionaire. In his book, the cult of the amateur, he illustrates and argues how the "internet" and specifically Web 2.0, by democratizing knowledge, has dragged us all down the the level of hobbyists.

He says we can no longer trust the information presented to us, because the "guardians of knowledge" have been usurped, their authority neutralized by that masses.

He finds trusting university educated and trained journalists easier than believing the millions of anonymous bloggers.

In the beginning, I would reference Wikipedia. After reading his book and investigating further on my own, I no longer go to Wikipedia - I, we can not trust the knowledge of the masses.

He thinks we are getting dumber.

He has been called an Luddite.

He is correct on the first and certainly not a Luddite.

His little book held nothing revolutionary for me, but he did crystallize the nagging issues I have about this whole "everyone is published" move.

I recommend the read, but rather then give you his site address, you should Google him, he loves to be Googled.

More to read:

Non other than Dan Okrent, author, Time Editor and "actor" - wrote, The Death of Print, circa 1997.

Click to email me.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Riooh/IKON - The Final Word in 2008

Great Article at imageSource

Summarizes the merger, the impact and the results of the Ricoh/IKON deal.

Another Power Deal in the Making
By Infotrends Authors/Analysts

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Greg Walters, Incorporated