Wednesday, October 5, 2016

HP & Samsung: A Faster Horse?


There is no evidence that Ford uttered the phrase, "“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

Still, the feeling is relevant - "If we had asked OEMs what they wanted, they would have said dozens of more copiers..." Of course, we only ask OEMs, not customers.  Customers, might say things like, 'fewer copiers' and who wants to hear that?

Print volume is down, printer hardware placements are off, but studies(IDC) reveal growth in contracted hardware somewhere between 4% and 40% increase.

Could this mean while printers are dying off, copier volume is increasing?  No.  As the MpS trend continues, a portion of print volume is captured as a 'contractual' type.  It wasn't tracked like this before MpS; same images, different billing scheme.

No. New. Clicks.

From a great webinar, BPO Media

Industry chatter supports the IDC report as dealers report stable and growing MpS/Contractual volume.  Following the logic, HP's do-over makes sense.  They are digging in somebody else backyard.

Who knew?

HP Inc., and her crew, are excited about this turn, it is a new wrinkle in an otherwise boring and waning realm.

Yet,
  • An HP/Samsung adventure is not disruptive - the HP Series II was "disruptive".
  • The Mopier and Hawk were not disruptive - the Internet was "disruptive".
  • Pagewide ink is not disruptive - the Gutenberg was "disruptive".
The effects will be subject of discussion for months, but the industry won't buck, markets won't gallup into 'black' and end-users will not race to print and copy like it was 1999.

What does it all mean?

For the Copier Dealer - "Isn't this horse dead? Kick it again."

This steed has been around the track a few times; the pitch borrowed from Edgeline:

"IT departments trust the HP logo."
"Your cost with HP is less than copiers."
"We're looking for loyal partners."

All true.

Just a few things to remember:
  • HP believes everybody works for them - even clients
  • HP will not be happy with being your 'second' choice - the rules change every October
  • Your clients who purchase HP, are really HP's customers, not yours - it's not your name on the box
If you haven't been approached by mother blue, you are not on their radar.  HP is hitting up the larger dealers for 'partnerships'.  Pinstripe suits, great meeting venues and bags of cash - what could possibly go wrong?

For VARs - "Rebates"

Print still sucks and you don't want anything to do with hot machines, dirty boxes and a help desk inundated with paper jam questions.

So HP will take that headache.  Contractual programs supported by HP, all you need do is work your customers, sell the machines and pass it on to the blue Goddess.

What could possibly go wrong?

Customer - "I watch NASCAR"

The trifecta winner is the customer.  You know clients love to complain about copiers.  They leave sticky notes and write meme's about their multifunction device.  Pictures of exploded toner flood the inter-webs.

Cheaper, smaller, simpler devices will rule the day and nobody does A3 better than HP.

At the Finish Line, its HP - "By a Nose"

Not like Man-O-War or Secretariat, the Blue Gorilla may win the day by being the biggest, not the best.  The sheer size of HP allows great losses before the organization fades into darkness.  Also, this isn't the same HP that purchased and arguably destroyed COMPAQ, Palm, and WebOS - the names are different - maybe

For dealers and VARs, if you're into supporting devices that mark paper, I would jump on the HP wagon.  Keep a clear head, understand that HP's loyalty only goes as far as stockholder's wishes and dividends.

You will never be a true, Partner.  Form an alliance, benefit from the HP logo, sell a few more devices and keep your options open.  It could be a short but profitable ride.

Indeed, when that Last War Horse of a printer is sold, it will be an HP.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

HP, Inc. to Buy The Largest Toner Recycler on the Planet

9/2016

"We will own the third party toner market and then we will destroy the third party toner market."

In what can only be described as one of the boldest moves by an OEM to control its destiny, HP Inc. is positioning to 'disrupt' the aftermarket supplies niche with its $1.1 billion take over of "...the world’s largest collector and recycler of imaging supplies..."

After years of competing with firms that 'recycle' empty cartridges by re-labeling, re-assembling or simply manufacturing exact duplicates of their product, HP Inc., in one intrepid motion, becomes the largest supplier of recycled toner cartridges - not only HP, but a multitude of other manufacture's aftermarket supplies are now under the control of HP, Inc.

The industry is rife with shocked response...

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Let not your heart be troubled, the above statement is a journey into the absurd, macabre and fiction.

But imagine the consequences of such a move.

The next time you complain about how HP has "screwed its customers" by initiating software that checks toner cartridges for a chip, consider mother blue setting up her own recycling factory south of the border.

On the other side of the coin, when HP exclaims the 'disruption of the A3 industry', take it with a grain of salt.  Sixteen new copiers does not a 'disruption' make; buying her way into the aftermarket niche would cause great turbulence.

Food for thought...


Friday, September 23, 2016

You Should Be Selling ITAM with Copiers, Printers and MpS


Gartner - "IT asset management (ITAM) provides an accurate account of technology asset lifecycle costs and risks to maximize the business value of technology strategy, architecture, funding, contractual and sourcing decisions.”

There is so much turbulence in the industry today, it's tough to figure out what to do.
  1. Margins continue to drop
  2. The OEMs are locked in a War for the remaining 'clicks and you're in the line of fire
  3. Customers are demanding more than "scan once, print many'
We know you're going to survive.  What can you do to thrive?  How about selling asset lifecycle management?

There is a great way to remain relevant in the eyes of your customers and sell more services without the hassle of establishing third-party partnerships, investing in a NOC, or falling into a huge time-suck.
  • No need to retrain your sales staff.
  • No heavy investment in software packages that require an MBA to operate and understand.
  • Keep your existing toolset
There are plenty of tools out here to support an ITIL model, you just need to commit to the philosophy.





Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Samsung & HP: Another Technology Firm Sells Off Print

Kali
9/14/16

Check out the first article about Samsung/HP, here.

Samsung, recognizing print’s demise, ejects 6,000 employees and 6,500 patents - HP, Inc., like the family dog, sniffs up the crumbs.  Todd Pike looks to be the smartest guy in the room.

Just three years after marching into the world of print and boldly pronouncing, "We're poised to lead a paradigm shift. We feel the world of printing is changing.”, the Korean chip maker waves the white flag, retreating to the fiery world of cellphones and silicon.

HP is buying Samsung's 'formidable' print/copy apparatus.  It wasn't more than five years ago, Samsung built a copier that worked.  No really, I attended the roll-out in Jersey.  A couple of new qualities they pitched were aligned output vs. skewed and variable sized dots.

Stunning.

So now, the questions begin:
  • What does this mean for the industry? Not much.
  • Is this bad news for the Japanese OEMs? Of course.
  • How does Canon come out of this? Like Oliver Twist, "Please sir..." 
  • Who is the big winner? Mother Blue, Kali, goddess of destruction.
So too, do the pontifications:

  • "HP's acquisition of Samsung gives them the opportunity to disrupt and truly innovate in this space at a time when most other OEM's are struggling. It's a real Game Changer!!!" - LinkedIN
  • "This will shake things up a bit!!" - LinkedIN
  • "HP to acquire Samsung's Print business is big news and will further enable our managed services business. We are driving disruptive change by bringing value to our clients." - HP
Here's my take:

Not disruptive; turbulent.  

HP shelled out less for Samsung than Ricoh for RiKON and may spend half as much on marketing into A3.  Regardless of what happens on the OEM side of life, no degree of consolidation, no merger or acquisition, is going to entice customers into generating more 'clicks'.

This is War.  HP Inc. is maneuvering to be the last standing.

Today, Monday, September 12, 2016, you are witnessing the beginning of the greatest campaign in our slight history.  HP Inc.'s marketing war chest is huge and they're not doubling down on print, the farm is on the line.

But what else can they do?

In The War for Marks on Paper, HP Prevails.

There should be no doubt, HP Inc. is in it to win it.  Even with the decline, the last person selling buggy whips is still the only one selling buggy whips.

With the infrastructure and money to put service trucks into every major market in the U.S.,  HP Inc. looks like a mega-dealer.

Think about that.

Supplies and service direct from the OEM.

Every service manager should be shaking in their boots at the prospect of HP Inc. riding into their town.  And now, HP Inc. has a value proposition which includes A3.

This is not the same HP that purchased Palm and Compaq.  These aren't the folks who clustered Hawk or propped Edgeline as the next coming, only to let it fail.  No.

HP Inc. is the real deal; they've got a plan, money and can reach from the F100 boardrooms to the SMB kitchen tables.  The

But enough about print.  Print is not the end-all and HP Inc. is not infallible - how can you differentiate yourself from the big MpS players?

Don't sell MpS.

Instead, offer IT Lifecycle Management.  If you can sell copiers or managed services, I know IT Directors will take you more seriously when you suggest helping them manage their IT asserts instead of "lowering print costs by 30%".












Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Copier Model is Sinking: What's Next?

Rose, after 'A Night to Remember'.
9/2016

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!” 
- Hunter S. Thompson

In 2009, we jumped on the MpS bandwagon, supporting Photizo, evangelizing Preo, Printelligent and the new opportunities MpS could provide...

In 2011, we consulted companies into the world of managed IT services recommending Collabrance and others...

In 2014, we suggested getting to know PrinterLogic and expanding into tele-medicine...

In 2015, confronted with the most turbulent run ever,  we heralded in the End the copier industry as we knew it...

Through every turn, zig and zag, one constant remained; there is ALWAYS a tomorrow. So it shall be with our niche.  Once everything settles, when leverage money guys leave, and a single OEM remains, when the channel is nothing but a memory, you can prevail.

You can sell this as a service.
As a copier sales professional, you know how to work with leasing companies and construct a complicated finance deal.

You know how to SPIN, how to uncover business challenges and discover new prospects.  More importantly, you know how to present a piece of hardware with services and derive revenue from your efforts.

These skills translate into the new, 'Everything as a Service', economy.

Ask yourself, "What's the difference between a copier and a commercial air conditioning unit or managing lighting usage/costs vs. managed print services?"

What's the difference? You are the difference.

You know how to assess, construct a proposal and present both complex sales as well as simple engagements.

Also, those industries are going through the same pressures we experienced,  almost a decade ago; shifting from equipment only sales to services-led engagements.  More than managed services or doubling down on MpS, shifting into adjacent industries represents the greenest of greenfields.

Trane is monitoring equipment.

To prove my point, consider this statement:

"...With industry-leading expertise, innovative equipment, and cutting-edge technology, we can help your business operate better than it ever has before. Our clients have found they have the capacity to run smarter and more efficiently. To operate more sustainably and cleaner. To realize better outcomes and provide more for those who live and work in your environments..."

If somebody gave you this value proposition to use in your copier/printer/MpS/MNS/toner sales efforts, you could, right?  It makes sense.

Which OEM made this statement?  Ricoh? Xerox? Konica Minolta? HP? Lexmark?  Did the copier dealer across town or a big MpS software company put forth this value proposition?

No.

TRANE, the manufacturer of heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems and building management systems and controls said this, here.

TRANE has been this business since 1885.  They've experienced turbulence and transformation along the way and are currently trying to address the IoT, remote monitoring and service of their equipment.

This is ONE example.  There are many more and the number is growing every day.

After surviving the Titanic, Rose let go of her past, embracing all possibilities.  Exploring West, elephant riding, barnstorming, family - adventures once imagined, lived.

Our industry has deep damage along the starboard side - the ship will sink.


Darkness and gloom lurk. No one is to blame, it is the way of things.

Do not listen to the OEM's siren song of new partnerships and growing print business.  Do not believe pundits parroting, "Remain calm, everything is under control..."  You are in control, not them.

This night shall pass.

When it does, where will you be?




Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Copier Model is Sinking


8/2016

Print volumes are down, businesses continue to shed devices, MpS providers are evolving from marks on paper to IT services and what do our OEMs do?

They release more than 20 'new' devices, each; fighting for every, last print, click, and cartridge.

To the end.

They're jostling for deckchairs nearest the pool - on the Titanic. What's worse, they expect you to fight with them - never mind that gushing sound.

"Better" toner, special ink, embedded keyboards, 'intuitive' user interfaces, digital on-ramps, document management software (tied to an equipment quota) will not save the vessel - 'rebates/kickbacks' and special hardware pricing is and always has been a 30 day approach.  Nothing can stop the water - people will not print as much as they once had.
There are no new "clicks."

It's refusing to believe in icebergs after being gouged from bow to stern.

But a few of us know. The Signs have been there, the writing was on the wall, and icebergs have been easy to spot.

We've paid attention to the quarterly earnings reports, understood the consolidation of our industry is now the disintegration of companies:
  • Paper plants have long shut down.
  • HP split in two; too big to fail?
  • Lexmark consolidated, then sold.
  • Xerox fading; too big to purchase?
  • Dealers coagulating then sell to investment groups.
  • Leveraged toner remanufactures closing all watertight doors, polishing the brass, then hoist the "For Sale" sign - as a whole or in pieces.
  • Who know's the truth with the offshore OEMs, they're steaming off into the fog, oblivious and happy.
Do not believe the tired old lines of "print is not dead".  It's the crew's way of not spreading panic.  Phrases like, "...its business as usual...", "...we see this merger as a way to better serve our customers...", "...we're excited about the opportunity to inject cash into new ideas..." are delivered to placate and numb you to the truth - "this ship will sink".

Recognize that your OEM wants more shelf-space and will wrap their machines in solutions, apps, rebates or warm, apple pie to get you to place units.

This Gregism is as true today as it was back in 2007,
"On the first of the month we sell solutions, after the 15th, we move machines."
This is a losing argument.  Today's technology prospect understands "the cheapest image is the one you never print".

We've got lifeboats, but you remember about the lifeboats, don't you? There are only so many.

Lifeboat One - Sell out. If you can, do it.

Lifeboat Two - Stay and swim. Good luck, Jack.  It took nearly a decade before Kodak went away, maybe you'll have the same luck.

Lifeboat Three - Find your way and survive to thrive. If you can sell copiers, you can sell anything. MpS practitioners can apply the same skills; assess, analyze, recommend and implement - to ANY 'As A Service' offering.

"As a service" offerings are materializing faster than print is dying.  Now is the time to look beyond the assessment, quota, clicks, billing scheme, and the old copier model.

But hurry, there's water over the bulkheads, its only a matter of time.

grw

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"The Ship Will Sink"






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