Sunday, January 24, 2010

What's In Store For You in 2010? Your MPSA Doesn't Have a Crystal Ball, We Got Ed - ;-)

Good Times? Bad Times? Which One of These?

Last year, at the 2008 MPS Conference in San Antonio Texas, Ed (CEO, Photizo Group) claimed that 2009 would be the "Year of MPS". I was there, I heard it and saw the slide-deck with my own eyes.

True to prediction, MPS is the hottest thing going, well at least in terms of discussion groups and industry buzz - hell, even iTEX is talking about the "hybrid-dealer". Ed should have trademarked the term. Anyway.

Your MPSA is hosting a quick Webinar, January 28th 11:00 AM EST - which of course means I will be attending in a bath-robe and leopard thong, feet up on the desk, sipping my java.

Aren't you happy we ain't doing the webcam thing?

Go here. Register for the Photizo Webinar.

While your at it, RSVP for the webinar February 28th, "The Anatomy of an MPS Deal" presented by Great America - good peeps all around.

Yeah, I doubt the young, bikini clad ball-gazers will be there, but you never know.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The DeathOfPrint or Just a Nap?

Stats from IDC.

I would take caution in our tone, when referring to the mythical "recovery".

The future ain't what it use to be.

According to researcher, Jake Wang, of IDC:

- “Starting with the fourth quarter of 2008, we saw a definite drop in printer page outputs”

IDC uses computer software to monitor the use of 700,000 printers and MFPs in the U.S.

“It was like going over a waterfall.”

Total of 1.5 trillion pages for the year, or 5,000 sheets of printouts per man, woman & child.

Predicts drop of 10% in 2010.

“When an economy sheds million of workers, there are that many employees who aren’t doing the printing”

“I’m thinking fewer contracts are signed. Fewer documents sent from one person to another”

Expects increase in 2011 after the recovery.

Forrester Research predicts that electronic bank statements will start declining in 2010.

In 2007, the Securities & Exchange Commission stopped requiring corporations to mail out printed annual reports to shareholders.

As initially reported by: Neal Petermann CDIA+

Thursday, January 14, 2010 Chimes In On MPS and A4's in 2010

As the economy recovers, buyers look to office products for cost savings
Canon, Xerox, Sharp, HP and other office equipment manufacturers forecast 2010

By Nancy Hitchcock -- Purchasing, 1/14/2010 2:00:00 AM

As businesses look ahead in 2010, industry experts are "cautiously optimistic" that the economy will improve and predict that companies will continue to evaluate their office environments, implementing measures to improve efficiencies, increase productivity and cut costs.

"I don't believe anybody in 2010, as in 2009, is going to be spending money unless they're spending money to save money," says David Bates, vice president of product marketing at Xerox in Norwalk, Conn. "The good news is we're helping people save a lot of money."

Companies gain the most value out of their office equipment—often with assistance from suppliers—by adopting several solutions: They're implementing managed print services (MPS), consolidating office equipment, installing multifunction products (MFP), shifting from A3 to A4 devices and improving the flow of electronic information.

MANAGED PRINT SERVICES. Aiming to drive down costs, businesses review their printing infrastructure to assess where to improve efficiencies. Companies are leveraging expertise of office equipment providers to rightsize equipment and improve information flow.

"Companies have been offering MPS for a few years, but it is gaining traction now because with the economic times we're facing, it's a way for companies to lower their costs substantially," says Keith Kmetz, vice president of hardcopy peripherals solutions and services programs at IDC in Framingham, Mass. "I've heard from companies that they've seen as much as 50% savings, but probably on average, savings are in the 20% to 30% range."

Canon provides customers with tools and advice to better manage costs. "Typically when customers come to Canon looking for services, we help them analyze and understand the costs associated with their existing output environment," says Dennis Amorosano, senior director with solutions marketing and business support at Canon in Lake Success, N.Y. "They would be looking for recommendations like software tools and other technologies to rightsize their fleets and put in place the necessary infrastructure to help them manage those costs. We've been doing that for customers, and expect that to continue in 2010."

Konica Minolta assists clients with managing their overall print environment with its optimized print services (OPS) program that it launched in January 2009. "Over the past several years, we have witnessed a growing awareness in our customer base of the need to develop and deploy strategies to better manage their print assets," says Kevin Kern, senior vice president of marketing at Konica Minolta. "The solutions approach to the business is a critical part of helping customers be more efficient."

SIMPLIFYING PRINT PROCESSES. Another solution that companies implement to save money is to consolidate the number of inkjet and laser printers sitting on desktops and use more shared workgroup devices in the office. Centralizing equipment leads to fewer devices to manage. Companies can better control supplies and maintenance of the devices as well.

"Often, companies will have a range of different suppliers, contracts and leasing arrangements," says Kmetz at IDC. "It can become very difficult to manage, and it's challenging for a purchasing manager. Under a managed print services contract, you consolidate everything, and perhaps it's under one contract.

"The MFP fits into that device consolidation message," he continues. "It's not only consolidating the functions into one box—the MFP is not just a printer, it prints, scans, faxes, and copies—but you're also dealing with supplies management. If you have a fax machine, a printer, and a copier, they might be from three different suppliers, plus the purchasing manager needs to procure three types of supplies. If you have an MFP you're just dealing with one supplier."

The transition from single-function printers to MFPs is very strong in the color laser market, reports Kmetz. About 46% of the shipments in this market are MFPs and "that is projected to grow, reaching 53% in 2010 and upwards of a little over 60% in 2013," he says. "The strongest shift is in the inkjet market where that has pretty much turned over to a virtual MFP category."

In the MFP market, a shift to color still exists. "In 2009, we saw 27% color penetration in the MFP market and that's expected to grow to 31% in 2010 and continue to increase," says Kmetz.

Printing with black-and-white printers is still the lowest cost option for printing, he says, adding that the market will continue to operate with 80% black-and-white devices and 20% color.

A3 TO A4 STRATEGY. Another cost-cutting measure taking place in the market is a shift from A3 to A4 devices. As companies evaluate their printing and copying requirements, they're realizing that the majority of their output is on letter-sized paper, yet the majority of their printers and MFPs offer ledger-sized media.

"Purchasing managers should consider whether they could replace some of their higher cost, higher-to-maintain A3 equipment with lower cost A4 equipment and still have the same productivity and efficiency, but lower their costs substantially," advises Kmetz. "They'll still need A3 equipment but maybe not so many devices."

Sharp finds that many of its customers don't need full-sized MFPs and introduced a product line last year called the Frontier series. "The letter-sized MFP is a derivative product of our full-sized MFP and we've seen phenomenal growth," says Mike Marusic, vice president of marketing and service at Sharp in Mahwah, N.J. "That's where the market is exploding."

Sharp will also introduce the Frontier Scan Pro A4 MFPs featuring a more robust scanner to meet the higher scanning demands on an MFP.

ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS. Green initiatives will stay on the priority list because they also provide cost-cutting measures. "Overall, to us the environmental story and the cost story are exactly the same. If you reduce your environmental impact, you lower your cost," says Larry Trevarthen, market development director, laserjet enterprise solutions, imaging and printing group at HP in Boise, Idaho. "If you want to reduce costs, you can have fewer devices that run on more energy-efficient platforms. For example, instant-on technology, which we have on products, uses 50% less energy than competitive products, which lowers your energy bill. Another example is duplexing, which reduces paper and the paper bill."

Xerox launched the ColorQube 9200 Series MFPs in 2009, a high-speed solid ink device that eliminates 90% of waste because it has no cartridge; it uses a block of ink. MFPs lower costs by enabling customers to pay only for how much color is used on a page. "That's been popular because it's a completely different paradigm in the metered page world," says Bates. "Customers are buying the device because they're spending money to save money."

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Canon's Bid for Oce in Jeopardy; Offer "Meager"

Jan. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Canon Inc.’s $1.1 billion bid for Oce NV may be in jeopardy after holders of 13 percent of the Dutch company said they won’t tender their shares and a group representing about 200 investors said the offer was too low.

Hermes Focus Asset Management Ltd., with 3.3 percent, said on Jan. 11 it won’t tender its shares, calling the Canon offer “meager.” Orbis Funds, with about 10 percent of Oce, in November rejected Canon’s bid. Investor group VEB, which represented 211 shareholders with about 0.003 percent of Oce at its last shareholders meeting, judged the bid too low.

Tokyo-based Canon, the world’s largest camera maker, may have to raise its offer or lower its minimum threshold to below 85 percent of Oce’s outstanding shares to see the deal through should more investors oppose it. With the takeover, Canon is seeking to expand its printer operations and widen its lead in the global market for office equipment.

“If Canon’s determination for completion of the transaction is strong, it’s possible the company will add some premium after discussing with Oce’s investors,” said Hisashi Moriyama, a Tokyo-based analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co. “On the other hand, Canon could drop the plan, if the company judges adding premiums isn’t merited.”

Canon in November agreed to buy Oce, the world’s largest maker of wide-format printers, for about 730 million euros ($1.1 billion) in cash. The company said Nov. 16 it would pay 8.60 euros a share, or 70 percent higher than Venlo, Netherlands- based Oce’s last closing price.

‘Not in a Hurry’

“We believe we are offering an adequate price,” Ichisei Hanada, a spokesman for Canon, said yesterday. “There’s no change to our plan to start the offer by March 31,” he said. Canon hasn’t received letters from investors similar to those from Hermes and Orbis, he said.

Oce, which yesterday reported a fourth-quarter net loss of 23 million euros, closed at 8.59 euros in Amsterdam trading today, close to the Canon offer price.

“Looking at the share price, investors are not anticipating the bid will be raised,” said Niels de Zwart, an Amsterdam-based analyst at Fortis Bank Nederland. “The market seems to think: This bid will go ahead at 8.60 euros, no matter what these shareholders are saying.”

Since Canon has indicated that it will largely let Oce operate on a stand-alone basis in the first three years, it “may not be in a hurry to get 100 percent of the shares,” said De Zwart, who has a “sell” rating on Oce.

He said it is unlikely Canon will withdraw its bid entirely. “Canon aims to become the number 1 in printing and to get there, they need Oce.”

Canon Supporters

The deal would be Canon’s biggest purchase, giving it control of the world’s largest maker of machines that make blueprints and advertising posters. Ricoh Co., Japan’s second- biggest maker of office equipment, in 2008 agreed to buy Malvern, Pennsylvania-based Ikon Office Solutions Inc.

Canon’s offer was 1.2 times Oce’s projected book value per share for the year ending November, according to the average of six analyst estimates. That was in line with projected multiples at office equipment makers such as Xerox Corp. and Brother Industries Ltd.

Ducatus NV, ASR Nederland NV and ING Groep NV, which hold about 19 percent of Oce’s share capital, have agreed to sell their stakes to Canon, Oce said Nov. 16. Bestinver Gestion SA, holder of about 9.5 percent of the outstanding stock, provided an irrevocable undertaking to tender. Canon said on Dec. 1 that it held 25.3 percent of Oce’s ordinary shares.


Pictet & Cie, Sparinvest funds and Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP, which own about 5 percent each of Oce, according to Bloomberg data, declined to comment on whether they plan to tender their shares.

The Dutch shareholder association VEB said the price doesn’t fully reflect the savings that can be expected when Oce operates within a stronger group.

“Oce was negotiating from a position of weakness,” David Tomic, a spokesman for VEB, said in a telephone interview yesterday. “That makes it unlikely that a good price was offered.”

Orbis Funds, the Bermuda-based manager of $20 billion in assets that challenged Warren Buffett’s bid for Clayton Homes Inc. in 2003 and led investors in pressuring Citigroup Inc. to raise its offer for Nikko Cordial Corp., in November rejected Canon’s bid. The fund said Canon’s offer “significantly undervalues” Oce’s assets.

No Counterbid

“Shareholders need to consider if they want to bet on a higher bid and take the risk the whole deal is cancelled,” said Peter Olofsen, an Amsterdam-based analyst at Kepler Capital Markets, who recommends investors accept the offer. “The question is how far Canon wants to go to become the number 1 in printing.”

Hermes this week said Canon’s indicative bid was “a meager representation of the true value of Oce, when profitability potential and the depressed share price are put into a proper perspective.”

“Following integration with Canon, and with profitability in line with industry standards, the company’s equity would indicatively be worth some 75 percent more than the offer price,” Hermes said.

Oce’s management said it still supports the deal.

Fortis’s De Zwart said it’s unlikely there will be a counter offer for Oce.

“A bidding war is unlikely as other potential buyers already indicated they are not interested,” he said. Konica Minolta Holdings Inc., the Japanese lens and office-equipment maker, on Nov. 17 said it had no plan to counter Canon’s offer.

Oce Scraps dividend.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Your Managed Print Services Association Needs You - You Need The MPSA

As a reader of DeathOfTheCopier, you are part of an elite crew.

Thank you for visiting.

You should be part of another crew, the MPSA, let me tell you why.

Odds are, you're an owner/principal of a copier dealership. Or you're a new copier rep, a MPS Practice Manager, toner supplier, IT VAR or Seasoned Old Dog, you could be with one of the "big guys" X, I/R, or HP.

Your office may be a cube in New York City, the front seat of your car on the streets of Jersey or anyplace on the globe. Indeed, from to Japan to London, Amsterdam to Australia, the DOTC Universe is both huge and connected, a small world indeed.

Either way, you are a Professional, a unique individual, making your way.

The collective mind of the MPSA board is comprised of the sharpest, MPS oriented individuals on the planet. What's more stunning is that ego's and personal agendas are left at the door.

From defining MPS to establishing M.I.B. standards, the board is not backing down from huge issues for our industry. And yet, we remember our humble beginnings – the “down the street” sale.

Your MPSA is here for you – and by “you” I do not mean the fortune 500 gorilla X or the blue behemoth that is HP. I mean you – the manager reprinting one of my articles for the sales team, or you, the squeaky clean, new rep researching MFPs on a Sunday night and you, the grizzled Copier Dude, enticed into reading by the Girls of DOTC.

By “you”, I mean us.

Companies don’t bleed, or know the meaning of “sweat equity”, individuals do. A corporation doesn’t close deals, get commissions or pay taxes, individuals do.

To the core, the MPSA board is working for you, the individual - this is why I am pitching the MPSA. It isn’t that I do not appreciate the girth, substance or influence of the global leaders – I do.

All I know is that if all us individuals shrugged at the same moment, the MPS Universe would shudder.

So, with this in mind, I urge you to go to the site and become a member.

Try it. This improves you as an individual. As every assesment and presentation enhances your resume, the MPSA can be a touchstone for you as you sail the stormy seas of Managed Print Services.

If you have any hesitations, drop me an email and query me directly.

Go here now -

Friday, January 1, 2010

Managed Print Services, Defined - DeathOfTheCopier Style

Two Decades in the making.

Managed Print Services, defined, has been an elusive seductress.

Trivial? No.

The crossing of swords, the arguments between Old Guard and Young Turk represent nothing less then a War for the Soul of an industry, our niche.

Consider this, manufacturing titans Xerox, HP, Canon, Ricoh, etc., need to, no, require, that THEY define MPS.

This definition, of course, to be in their likeness. It's called shaping the battlefield. It's survival.

There are literally billions of revenue and profit riding on this little rift. And the Big Boys are dumping millions of dollars, pounds, rupees and euro's into marketing, "research", and enterprise channel development.

Blogs disguised as industry forums.

Corporate sponsorship cloaked in dubious research studies and quadrant placements.

Press releases created in the marketing department, cut and pasted and presented as journalism, news.

"How To" classes and con-calls hosted by puppets, regurgitating the corporate playbook to a willing horde of minions.

There are two camps - one looking to the future, the other living in the past.

And here we are, you and I, stuck in the middle again.

Looking back at all the "defining moments" in MPS; the "Three Stages", the "Hybrid" approach, presented first by Photizo, then hijacked by old skool - all the manufacturer MPS programs, all the toner re-mans, service companies, computer VARs and BTA guys, they/we all have our own idea of what MPS is, our spin, our reality.

Failure appears to follow those who search outward for advice, before looking deeply into themselves - Know Thy Self.

So, here we go, the definition of Managed Print Services -

Let's start with GARTNER -

“the ability for the service provider to take primary responsibility for meeting the customer’s office printing needs, including the printing equipment, the supplies, the service and the overall management of the printer fleet."

Three mentions and variations of the word "print". Yuk, but at least the writer takes a stand.

And how about a word from Xerox:

"...MPS is an I.T.-based services offering that is enabled by technology; both Xerox and non-Xerox technology. Clients make decisions on services offerings based on credibility of the team they are working with, and the trust they can put in one firm over the other to deliver the desired results. Our people continue to shine in this competition because of their dedication, commitment and constant desire to learn and grow..."

Interesting, notice how Xerox, the traditional, mother of all document companies, refers to MPS as "an I.T. -based services..." everything else that follows is fluff and marketing.

And the Wall Street Journal

"..."managed print services," a variety of outsourcing in which the vendor takes control of the customer's production of office documents, typically owning the machines, advising on how to use them, and taking a per-page charge..."

Nice attempt; "outsourcing", "vendor", "documents", "owning the machines" - good lord, how many pigeon holes can one fit into?

Evolution Towards Defining: The DOTC MPS Ecosystem

Taped on a wall, right here next to my desk, is an 11x17 sheet of paper covered from end to end to end, with hand written ellipses, squares and arrows - my diagram of the Managed Print Services Ecosystem. (ok, how much of a MPS geek am I? ...sad really, isn't it...)

This sketch illustrates everything MPS involves and touches - and is still incomplete.

I know a more accurate and inclusive illustration requires that we don our "help me Obi Wan, you're my only hope...", 3D glasses, elevating this 2 dimensional model into the spatial, X-Y-Z Axis world.

We could then visualize The Ecosystem, The MPS Ecosystem from all angles.

Two more things - this 3D model is not static, all the parts in there are moving. And the MPS Ecosystem is always expanding, creating new worlds, destroying others.

Are you still with me or have you been amazed and stupefied? Hang on, take another sip of Jack - let's continue...

As I look at this sketch and imagine it's 3-dimensional cousin, two things dawn on me:

1 - this "MPS thing" is difficult
2 - there is no way to define it

uh-oh, what?

Indefinable. Shapeless. Amorphous.

Everything that ever was in office automation and everything that ever will be - That's MPS and it's only a DESCRIPTION.

It is my contention that all attempts at defining MPS amounts to nothing more than narrative and descriptive around how MPS works and what it does.

MPS can only be described, MPS CAN NOT BE defined.

Like the face of God, an attempt to define, to comprehend, leads to grey hair and madness. God cannot be defined. Only the results of His will can be described, remotely understood.

Managed Print Services, simply, Is.

Anti climatic? Yes.

Liberating? Should be.

Happy New Year.

More on description vs. definition, here.