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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Three Alternatives to ‘Clicks’

 It’s been almost a year since I’ve written about copiers here at The Imaging Channel. During that time I’ve been in the field, in the IT realm, watching office print disintegrate from the end user side of things. It isn’t 1999 out there; companies are not buying big, 11x17 copiers as they once did and end users are not printing emails or recipes by the thousands anymore. On the good side, end users don’t hate printers or copiers as much. Unfortunately, that’s because end users hardly, if ever, think about print. To them, toner on paper is approaching irrelevancy.

Can anyone deny that this niche is in the midst of historically turbulent times? We’re witness to the transformation of an industry embedded in the fabric of modern living. Every person in the business world recognizes the copier and printer as foundational tools of the trade. Our industry is all over the world, but that world is changing, transforming daily away from the mundane, away from slow processes and away from paper.

We see the results of this movement in the way our OEMs are fracturing: Xerox is splitting, HP has split, and Lexmark is disintegrating. The Big Three of American office automation are shattering into stars.

This turbulence affects the independent channel as well. Merges, acquisitions and the entry of investment groups tell the tale of a smaller, less-populated landscape. Indeed, as the manufacturers fight for their lives, how can the independent reseller manage? Should you jump into the fray, slapping a “For Sale” sign on the front door? Should you shutter the place and simply get out?

I’ve noticed a peculiar thing:

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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Your Assets: Surrounded By Water

How much time do you commit to a physical inventory of your IT assets ?

What resources do you allocate to the task? Once the numbers and locations have been collected, how long do you sit in front of your computer, tabulating the necessary data into usable information?

Do you access multiple applications, aggregating relevant data by straining multiple streams? Are spreadsheets and pivot tables your ‘best friend’? Do ASCII dumps, report generation and saving files as “.xls” give you the chills? How about converting .PDF to .XLS?

Yeah, we know.

Contemporary IT managers have more tools available than ever before - for every type of end-point, there is an application:

  • WebJet Admin see’s your printers
  • PrinterLogic shows end-user print activities
  • SCCM tracks servers
  • MobileIron helps managed mobility
  • LanDesk aids in dispatch and support
  • Etc.

Individually, these applications are considered best in class and provide meaningful information within their specific niche. Of course, when viewed globally, these niches become silo’s - if not islands.

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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Of Sex, Printers and Universal Translators

Printers are about as sexy as asset management and neither get a rise out of any IT professional. But just like sex, everybody does it - albeit with varying degrees of...satisfaction. To get it just right, there's a lot take in. Different inputs from multiple angles. It would be easier to reach apex, if there was a tool that made sense of these mixed signals.

It would be cool if there were something like that for sex, too.(not for you or me, for those not as experienced as we...)

For now, what would your asset/printer management nirvana feel like?

Is understanding the condition of all the printers in your organization through WebJet Admin, good?

Is knowing the number of service calls placed for each device as reported by applications like Service Now, fulfilling ?

How about the exact operating spend for each device found on a report generated in e-automate? Would this bring you to fruition?

Consider the following data items associated with managing print devices:

  • Toner levels
  • Service alerts
  • Current meter readings
  • Geographic location
  • Number of help desk calls logged against the device
  • Past service calls on a specific device
  • Print Cue information
  • Current lease and service billing amounts Lease expiration dates
  • The list goes on...
In the above example, there are six or nine separate software tools monitoring redundant or specialized areas of the same fleet. Each application is perfect for their specific function. Yet, at the same time, isolated and silo-centric.

This how of business process efficiency is achieved. Separate divisions of competencies - service, support, dispatch, contracts, warranty, sales, marketing, accounting on and on - each perform a defined set of functions within an organization, for the common good. This ideology flows through all organizations and is reflected in the portfolio of software you use everyday - separate packages for specific uses.

Chances are, you’re using a great set of tools to get an handle on all these data flows.

How would you like to see relevant data, presented as information, from ALL you applications, on a single screen? View toner level and alerts from WJA, number of service calls, help desk tickets generated from your dispatch/service desk and the physical location - all at the click of an icon, on one screen, presented on a floor plan.

Wouldn’t that be something?

It is possible, I have a solution that doesn’t require a “rip and replace” of your existing sub-solutions.

It’s a piece of software that sits in between your applications, pulling relevant data then presenting on a single screen.


Not just for printers - whatever you’re monitoring today - Servers, PC’s, tablets, printers, service vehicles, mobile devices, water pump controls, nurse's carts, cattle - we can distill into immediate actionable information where and when you need it.

Its not a pipe dream and this isn't an add in the back of the OC Weekly. Sound interesting? The system is installed healthcare and IT support environments today and I'd love to share more.

This is real, no faking allowed. Reach out to me.

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Greg Walters, Incorporated