Monday, September 21, 2015

The Next Managed print Services Event

“Wrath”- One of my favorites

Another stage, power point, round table, expert panel and cast of hundreds looking to commune and see the “new MPS” …again. I've witnessed multiple iterations and others broken promises since 2007. I’ve attended many such gatherings and presentations: Lyra, Photizo, ITEX, ReCharger, MWAi Executive Summit. I’ve spoken with thousands of customers, hundreds of resellers all the OEMs and countless dealers about MpS, copiers, printers, toner, managed services and the like.

Now, a new effort is in town. The "Top 100 Summit" focusing on the future of managed print services; "MPS is Changing" is the tag-line.

In the beginning, managed print services was mocked for being nothing more than facilities management or copier-service on laser printers. Something the more “forward" thinking copier providers and OEMs had ‘been doing for decades’ - not really.

But even back then, in the frenzied years of possibilities, there were those who saw managed print services literally; a service that managed print. Some of us understood ‘print’ to be any media - from 8.5x11 to voice mail. Further, we recognized this managed service as a path to higher thought, more relevancy and a foundation for a sustainable business model not increased shelf space, capturing clicks, or trapping clients in 60 month contracts.

We knew the future of print had less to do with copiers, printers, ink or toner hitting paper. We eagerly embraced the talk tracks and value props around ‘more efficiency in the office’, reduction in costs and optimizing the print environment - and we meant it.

We attended new and interesting shows. In April of 2009, Photizo ushered in this bold new concept and talked about managed print services well before ANY other pundit, consultant, training house, OEM, toner remanufacturer or copier dealer - yes there were a few true managed print services providers but most of the traditional imaging industry either explained away the movement as ‘just another gimmick’ or claimed to have been in managed print services for “25 years”.

We believers "...gave the Future to the winds and slumbered tranquilly in the Present, weaving the dull world around us into dreams.” Designing a future of connected devices, less print and optimized business environments. Yet, like most promises, our dreams were burned away by the reality of equipment quotas and dogma; more specifically, in toner and ink.

Spin the dial six years into the future and it seems who can spell “MPS” can sell “MPS”. Bags of ink are the new MpS. Analytics are the new MpS. Copier service is the new MpS. Despite consistently declining equipment placements, shuttered paper plants and industry lay-offs, increasing print volumes are the new MpS. It is an upside-down world.

 The Universe according to Greg:

  • Print Analytics - Who Cares? We do, but do our clients?
  • Ink vs. Toner - Who Cares? We do, but do our clients?
  • Print is not dying - Ignorance is bliss.
  • Managed (IT/Network) services is the future - Oh, really? Even the IT guys understand MS is short term - look up Software Defined Workspace.
  • Print volumes have been going up - rearranging the deck chairs, nobody is creating new "clicks".
So what about all this?

Is it still the doom and gloom era? Not really. But no matter how many round tables, expert panels, sales classes, consulting services, or business transformations our industry attends or participates, we’re all simply talking to ourselves; alone in the dark. Until we stop looking at our prospects as ‘targets’ to be ‘trapped in an agreement’ or design ‘sticky’ marketing schemes and start ‘solving’ instead of ‘selling’ those who do survive, will wander the the abyss; shadows of the once might ‘copier industry’.

Which brings me to the Top 100 Summit. Will we usher in a new era? Will the sins of our past support positive change or drag us into the depths of irrelevance?

Big questions and unseen answers.

I suspect we’ll have a great time. I see us sharing new ideas and expressions of hope. Ultimately, what really matters, is how everyone feels 72 hours after the show; sinful and atoned or raptured ignorance.

Get more, here.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

September 11, 2001 - September 11, 2015

For as long as I can remember, I've played this video on 9/11.  Super Bowl 2002, months after the attack, our country was numb and jumpy.

Well before self-loathing americans started calling our movements in the middle-east "invasion" and "occupation", patriotism was on every street corner.

I remember that night; I remember seeing it live.  I can't tell you the football teams playing, but I can say it was one of the deepest, moving TV moments, ever.

U2 - that Irish rock band, stood up on the world stage, honoring the greatest country on earth and her fallen citizens.  Names float to the sky, as the rousing "Where the Streets Have No Name" beats on.  The song, second of the half-time set,  was written about a place without class stigma, where the distinction between religions and income are no more; a World Without Sin?

Bono ends the tune exposing the Stars and Stripes - Triumph.

Here we are, 14 years laters - The Twin Towers, replaced by that defiant Freedom Tower, slip deeper into fog with each passing 911.  The threat remains the same, if not more pronounced.  Do you honestly feel safer now than you did that faithful day of empty skies, September 12, 2001?

Day of cogitation: What have I learned in these 14 years?

  1. Nothing lasts forever, life is fleeting...
  2. Suffering is a choice...
  3. Like "tears in the rain", ALL promises eventually drown...
  4. Every turn, every occurrence, is exactly as it should be...
  5. Relationship is EVERYTHING...
After 25 years, I recently reconnected with a special woman.  We met, we remembered, and just like we had so many times two and half decades ago, we talked under the stars into the small hours; faces hurt after so many smiles.

Yet, like the intersection point on the infinity sign, we went our separate ways, cherishing the memories and recognizing our past holds more than any possible future.


"You see me now, who I've become and still, you make me feel beautiful, inside and out."

On this day of reflection, consider not only the ones who've helped you see who you are, but remember the hearts you've "imprinted"; son's, daughters, mothers, fathers, friends, lovers and ex-lovers, customers and co-workers.  Be gratified knowing you've changed somebody's life for the better - we all have.

Take time to remember those on the 98th floor, at 8:47 AM, sipping a Starbucks, considering a sales forecast or the regret of not saying "I love you, I always will..." on that morning, 14 years ago.

"I want to run
I want to hide
I want to tear down the walls
That hold me inside
I wanna reach out
And touch the flame
Where the streets have no name..."

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Things IT People Never Say

This is funny - because it's true. Shot on location, some of the actors are PDS employees.

"Still nothing better than a RoloDex..."

"Printers always seem to just work..."

"I like to think of it as the Blue Screen of Life..."

Monday, August 17, 2015

HP Inc. — Will It Make a Difference?

The papers are served and signed. Finances and property equally assigned, all “proper” procedures dutifully, if not coldly, have been followed and filed. She said separating was for the best, months after announcing “we’re better together.”

Now comes the hard part. “You take those, I don’t need them. Oh, this is yours. You brought it with you.” Reliving each memory again and again with every packed picture frame — the Christmas trees, fireside chats, corporate presentations — all “tears in the rain.”

Not all spit-ups are the same, indeed this is an atypical separation as both parties retain their last names — "Hewlett" and “Packard."

The biggest split-up in imaging history is about to take place as HP splices, creating two $55 billion companies, HP Enterprise and HP Inc. HP Inc. will offer PCs and printers with HP Enterprise pitching professional services and everything else.
Not since IBM created and then spun Lexmark has there been such a move.

So what does this mean for printers, copiers, and managed print services? In my calculation, HP Inc. could usher in the last “Golden Age” of office print — again.

Here’s my SWOT analysis:

StrengthsToo big to fail

By all indicators, HP Inc. will be a $55 billion corporation with...

Read the rest, here.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Why You Need a Print Policy

...with Print Policy design and execution...
There's a movement, on the provider, not the customer side, pushing the relevancy of print metrics to your business analytics.  For instance, some are twisting print volumes and number of devices into relevant, actionable information.  As if knowing how many color prints duplexed between Monday and Thursday, in July of 2013, has any impact on EBITDA.

In an even more ludicrous folly, experts in the industry are aligning usage figures with business intelligence (BI).  

Wait, what?

For providers of managed print services, knowing the turbulent usage patterns will help manage the decrease in print.

But end-users don't care all that much and CIO's care even less. 

I put forth this idea: before entertaining the idea of 'business intelligence' based on print history, consider a Print Policy.

Every  organization looking to optimize or manage the costs associated with creating, moving and presenting information in the form of a document, should first invest in developing a strategic Print Policy.

The Policy should:
  1. Document all internal processes associated with the support of information the form of documents
  2. Put in place  practices that support the organizations mission
  3. Carry the approval of Executive/C-Level leadership
  4. Be a 'living document'
Developing and internal Print Policy is daunting requiring input and support from multiple layers and departments.  Seeking assistance from outside the organization is a good idea. Yet trusting a firm who sells devices intent on printing, seems counter-intuitive.

I recommend working with your IT firm.  If your IT partner is a big-box, commodity based entity or lacks basic expertise in the print and copy niche, feel free to reach out to me and I will try to connect you with a good match.

Stay tuned - next post will be, "Who to work with when designing your Print Policy: The Copier/Printer/Imaging or IT folks?"

Click to email me.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Designing a Print Policy Supporting the Organization’s Goals and Mission Statement. Step One: Who are you?

The definition of a Print Policy

“A Print Policy is the documented outline of procedures, illustrating the organization’s current output related decision making processes. This policy is endorsed at the highest level of executive management, contains milestones and supports the organization’s business goals.”

Step One
A majority of organizations do not put in place a formal Print Policy. The process is complicated but the payoff is worth the effort. The first step with most projects of significance is the most important. So what should you do when starting a Print Policy project?

Every journey begins with a step. In designing a print policy, the first step is understanding who you are, what you do and why you do it. “Knew” thy self.

Why does your organization exist?
This is not a trivial step. Building a program that supports the goals of the organization, adds to the relevancy of the project in a universal manner. This is important. As end users begin to hear about change, they will ask, “Why?”. Once your project goals match the organization’s, presenting the ‘why’ is easier and understood by all.

For example, if your mission includes, “…improve the health of the community….” crafting a message to explain how your print program improves the “…health of the community…” is clarifying.

All you need is a few people around the table, a clean white board and the company’s mission statement. That’s all. Started by asking, “How is this print project going to help us show we are contributing to the health of the community?”

Don’t over think. Give it 40 minutes and settle upon a project value proposition statement. The statement is your talisman, a touch stone in the project. As the project progresses and questions arise, reflect back to the statement for guidance.

This exercise results in a most important deliverable — in a word relevance.

Your IT project is not thought of as a top down, IT driven set of corporate rules. But rather a goal the entire organization can aspire to achieve, with the help of IT.

Today’s turbulent business conditions present an opportunity for IT.

The right set of circumstances exist for IT to contribute to the health of the company and establish relevance with a concise and relevant Print Policy.

It all starts with "Who Are You..."

Click to email me.