Another MPS event.
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 8.5×11 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 re-manufacturer 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 anyone 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 mighty ‘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 irrelevancy?
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.