Wednesday, January 22, 2014

One More Time...

Dear Reader - Thank You,

On December 31, 2011, I submitted the last post for The Death of The Copier. DOTC was to stand unchanging as a historical marker signifying the beginning of the End of the imaging industry, as we know it.

And honestly, there is nothing more to say about MpS or copiers. It can be summed up this way:

1. Print is decreasing; Print is Dead
2. MpS assists this movement, but user behavior is driving the shift
3. The OEMs have LOST control over the populace
4. The Independent dealers are in a great position to survive and thrive
5. The strong will survive
6. The “Next Thing” is content, Big Data, Business Process, business intelligence and mobility
7. Ultimately, like no other time in history, the real power falls to the individual

From that very first post, in 2008, my views were never and are never meant to be vindictive – I do not celebrate the demise of businesses, displacement of good people or the end of an era.

I do, however, bristle when observing blatant disregard for the obvious, can't stand bullies or their enablers and loath those who use fear to fill classes or manipulate.

But that isn't why I'm addressing you now.

Somehow, the DOTC following is growing - .  In my voluntary absence, DOTC peaked over 300,000 lifetime views – without any NEW content.

I’ve attended three shows this year and at every show, you’ve come up to say hello. Hello to me, and Jennifer. She and I have had our names screamed across a crowded bar and been challenged on our views around paperless.

This is overwhelming and humbling.

Our New Enterprise, Walters & Shutwell, is a platform for growth beyond MpS/Imaging – there is a bigger world out there. I encourage anyone with interests that transcend MpS to visit.

This is what I have decided to do here on DOTC:

It is my intent to share edgy views with those who are willing to see. Whether that be two people or 200,000 - it doesn't matter to me.  Entertainment value, perspective and stuff I would read myself - that's pretty much all I was after.

I plan on contributing back to DOTC, but not on the same schedule as the previous four years.

I will tell it as I see it.  You are more than welcome to visit, read or express your opinions.

Either way, strap in.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Time to Put the Cost Per Copy Model Down.

Oh yeah, we're going there.

It started long ago.  In the beginning, making copies of business documents - memo's, invoices, reports - was slow and tedious.

So we built devices to perform these duties.

Thousands of moving parts, heat, static electricity and heavy handed employees contributed to a dynamic and precarious environment - they required a good amount of attention.

To put it bluntly, our machines broke down so often we needed a way to pay for technicians.

To support the machines in field the 'industry' hatched a plan:

"Why don't we sell service with the machines?  We'll make it impossible for anyone else to supply our devices, so we'll combine service and supplies into a billable line item, determined by how many pages come out of our devices...and will call these 'clicks' after the noise a meter makes with every copy and call the billing model Cost Per Copy..."

Genius, really.

Oh sure, there were other schemes - blending ...

Read the rest, here.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The paperless office will come to being over a copier rep's dead to speak.

Yes, I believe the long standing transactional business model of the copier industry will have to die before the paperless office ever stands a chance.  Indeed, the majority of the die-hards in the industry are motivated, trained and developed to increase paper in the office, not decrease it.

You see on the vendor supply side, there are different types of providers.  For the purpose of this blog, let's focus on the die-hards, the traditional copier companies that dig in their heels, resist change and insist that the old school way is the best way.  Or at times...the only way.

It is no secret that thousands of owners, managers and copier/mfp reps thrive on six and seven figure incomes all derived from selling office machines to produce as much toner/ink on paper as possible.  The die-hard copier teams have goals to sell copiers/printers/mfp's to businesses "without regard".  That is without regard except for the numbers.  The higher the number the better the number whether its in units, price or pages.  Hear that cow bell ring...seriously.

Read the rest, here...really good stuff!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

013: Managed print Services And The Last Generation Gap

The Last Generation Gap- from 2013...

If you remember back to the '60's - riots, Viet Nam, Presidential and political assassinations, hippies at Woodstock, the Beatles, Stones, the Peace Movement, and a vaguely remembered issue called the "The Generation Gap".

This Gap referred to the difference between younger generations and their elders. Back then, teenagers regarded their parents' established social norms outdated and restrictive - many rebelled:

At Transform2013, I attended Terrie Campbell's presentation, "GenY's Idiosyncrasies - Can your Business Survive Them?"  If you ever get the opportunity to hear Terrie present on the current generation gap, do so.  She has an acute understanding of the inner workings of the different generations within the business environment.

From her presentation, here is a profile of the Baby Boomer demographic:

  • Born post WWII – early 1960’s
  • Believes personal face-to-face interaction as the highest level of service
  • Will likely exit the workplace by 2021; significant experiential knowledge will leave with them
  • Typically a contrarian point of view on the long-term viability of technology which they interpret to suggest human knowledge and skills become less valuable than a “computer”
  • Will oppose change with a vengeance if they are asked to work differently
  • Transacts limited personal business online
"Typically a contrarian point of view on the long-term viability of technology which they interpret to suggest human knowledge and skills become less valuable than a “computer” - Boomer
And here are the characteristics of the Millenials, Gen “Y”:

  • Prefer the use of digital information and technology
  • Will represent more than 50% of the workforce in less than three years
  • Very team-oriented with less focus on personal recognition
  • Defining the use of text, chat, and social media as a primary communication medium
  • Transacts all personal business online and sees immediate accessibility and ability to self-serve as the highest level of service
  • First-generation to have internet since kindergarten
Mind the GAP, eh?

One specific and alleged challenge revolves around knowledge transfer.  It's thought by some since these two segments don't communicate, the collective Boomer knowledge base will be lost forever.

The Boomers believe it is the Millennials who need or want the knowledge that they, the Boomers, have between their ears.  They think their way of conducting business, administering quotas, designing cold call campaigns and generally motivating through pay, is the only way to get things done.

And they worry the Millennials don't get it.

Think about it: How will the Millennials know how to answer emails?

Will they learn proper email etiquette? - this worries the Boomers...
If Millennials believe in the 'we all deserve a trophy' philosophy, what impact will competitive quotas and contests have on productivity? - "...the foundations of business will crumble...", the Boomers exclaim...

There's more:  If the two generations aren't talking, how will these youngins know how to evade responsibility or shift blame to a co-worker?  How will these young bucks learn the art of ejecting tens of thousands of employees?  Who will tell the generation after them, " good", "Always be closing..." or "Put that coffee down! Coffee is for closers..."??  

 The real burning question nobody wants to ask is:

    "Who says Millennials should act or think like Boomers, anyway?"
More importantly, SHOULD any generation feel compelled to follow in the Boomers' shadow?

How is it Boomers feel so entitled?

Boomer-Relevancy has slipped the surly bonds - The Andy Griffith age has passed.   Why care what they know when their experience and wisdom got us in the situations we're in today?  Indeed, how much can a Millennial, who is connected 24/7, learn from someone who reads his/her news 8 hours after it happens? Can a Boomer sales manager answer any specific question around selling as quickly as Google?

The Boomers may be the last paper generation.  Not because they all saved millions of trees; they are the last generation comfortable in consuming information at a snail's pace.

How Do Millennials figure into Print?

The gap we're observing could not be more illustrated than by the difference in how one generation uses paper and the other does not.  One generation believes paper is like stone, the other, if they even consider it at all, feel print is too slow.

Don't get me wrong, elders of every civilization possess collective wisdom - but that's nothing compared to having access to all the wisdom of all the generations of all current and past civilizations, a few thumb-strokes away.  I exaggerate, but you get the idea - how important can it be to pass on the art of buggy-whip manufacturing, when we all use Skype, WebEx, etc.?  Does anybody still use Morse code or programs in Fortran?

The 60's generation gap is not all that far from the current Boomer/Millennial void - one generation is raring to go the other worried about going away - each thinks they know it all, both are wrong.

Another similarity is music - these guys aren't Janis Joplin, but the generational angst is just as thick.

"Thank you for feeding us years of lies 
Thank you for the wars you left us to fight 
Thank you for the world you ruined overnight 
But we'll be fine, yeah we'll be fine..."

Special note:

I mentioned the 'age of Andy Griffith' as being past...this is a temporary event.  Human to human communication is the root of growth and evolution.  The point here is entitlement.  One generation is not "greater" than any other and all generations end up like the previous, only slightly enhanced.

But in the end, it's the personal contact that fuels innovation and propels us along.  Paper, glass, the internet, and quantum physics, these advancements will all lead us back to us.

How Millennial Are You?  Take this survey and find out.   Care to know more?  Check this.

Click to email me.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

013: "MpS in a Box", "Managed Services in a Box" and other Silly Things Marketing Comes up With

We can call this out, because we've been part of the movement.

I saw another services-in-a-box marketing statement the other day.  They were advertising a webinar about something or other - managed services in a box.

It struck me, weren't we just complaining about the commoditization of MpS?  Wasn't it a couple of years ago, when we started to see "MPS in a Box" offerings? And once we put ourselves in a box, are we not off to see our maker or worse, a commodity?

Why do we do this ?

Like you, we've been spoon fed the " a box..." value proposition time and time again.

From the word "solution" to the phrase "Professional Services", unique approaches to unique problems do not easily translate into predictable ROI.  So they box, barcode and ship creating commission gates forcing us to attach the latest software sku to our boxes in order to collect the pittance.

Think I'm wrong?  How many faxservers, DocSends or ECopy did you sell?  Without a copier?

Here's the deal - we in the field do not place our expertise in a box.  We are unique as individuals and when we discuss opportunities with clients, our uniqueness shines through.

The only people who want to place expertise and acumen in a box are those who manufacture the box.  What are they making in those plants, anyway?

  • Are they assembling business solutions? No.
  • Are they putting together answers to complex business problems? Not really.
  • Are the container ships unloading Workflow or Process Optimization? Nope.
  • How about Business Acumen?  Oh heck no.
What leaves their shores and hits our docks is a box - glass, plastic and tin - that's all.  As long as the factories kick out machines, machine based quotas will continue down stream into the trenches - from the manufacturer, to the branch/dealer, to the sales manager, down to you my good friend.  Scrub your MIF, churn n burn, and call it ALL managed services in a box.

"On the first of the month we sell solutions, after the 15th, we sell boxes..."- Ikon, 2005ish.

Remember when "think outside of the box" was the mantra of the day?  What fools we were back then, buying into the whole think differently mind set which was only true as long as our different thinking on the 1st of the month brought in more boxes by the 28th.  Fact is, back then, we could of attached George Forman grills to our copiers and people would have signed 68 month leases anyway.

It just didn't matter.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The other day, Jennifer and I had the privilege of visiting one of the premier software companies in the world headquartered locally. The campus was impressive and facilities as opulent as the Wynn.

We were there as guests invited to check out something called Visual Analytics: a long way from the Ricoh Demo-Rama at IKON.

The rest of the story...