‘Five Years From Now’ Showed Up Early
“The imaginations of the analyst are always about how the past lives in the future, the imaginations of the visionary, is seeing how the future eliminates what the analyst sees.”
Those who call the document imaging channel home are in the greatest battle of the industry’s history. Some will fight for relevance, and some will fight for survival.
Yes, there is a difference in a business seeking to maintain relevance and one fighting for survival. Those two business mindsets, I describe this way:
- A constant relevance mindset will eliminate all that obstructs the visions of relevance. Regardless of how sacred anything from the past is, the visionary will destroy it if needed.
- A survival mindset will eliminate all that threatens its past exitance from continuing. A survival mindset in business is a disastrous course for the focus is keeping old things and outdated processes alive, thereby is counterproductive to staying relevant.
I have been reading the analyst as they describe the future of the document imaging channel’s dealers. None of these analysts describes the future of the business processes that will deliver the new deliverable of print equipment, supplies, and minimal needed service, or all the new deliverables they describe. It is as if dealers will simply add them to their current offerings, and their customers will just start writing checks. Or, signing new leases.
In other words, all these folks are spewing buzzwords and regurgitating what the industry has known for years but did very little to change course. So, one must be suspect to believe now they will miraculously do what others are already doing.
Amazingly, there is still no talk about the industry’s future delivery system in the industry’s most significant crisis in its history. It seems all these analysts continue predicting the channel remains as it is and delivers the future through the outdated vehicle of the past.
As a small example, none of these analysts describes the harsh impact of massive amounts of A3 being replaced with A4. None of these analysts describes how A3 customers will be presented A4 through digital commerce platforms and alternative channels. It seems none of these analysts sees themselves as future analysts analyzing the new channel created through convergence.
Those who continue to hide behind the A3 migration to A4 are doing a real disservice to dealers. Dealers need to understand that without the revenue and the glories of what A3 has provided for decades, the deliverable is completely disrupted. Pretending that dealers can just add IT services or IT security into a business model itself under duress is just “nuts.”
The visionaries out there surely see that a 1990 dealer business model is entirely eliminated by the year 2025. Where is the reality in the analyst thinking? Why are the analysts not discussing the real threats to the dealers, these new outsiders who are currently delivering products and services the Document Imaging Channel believes they can deliver better?
It seems many of the channel’s analysts are continuing to promote what is best in keeping yesterday alive instead of truly understanding and then explaining how dealers can prepare for tomorrow’s threats and circumvent these threats as they modify towards enduring relevance.
Instead of listening to analysts describe a future where the dealers are easily delivering every imaginable buzzword as an automatic alignment with a 1990 delivery system. The dealers must align their current deliverables with today’s present realities. Why are the dealers so obsessed with having a false sense of reality spewed by analysts unsure of their place in a fast-approaching future?
The channel has talked about many things over the last decade. In this article, I want to discuss IT Security Services. The channel has spoken of IT security for over a half-decade. Yet, most dealers do not even have their own IT environments up to date, let alone secure. How many dealers have moved their ERP system to the cloud and are running the current version, for example?
Those analysts who promote the possibility that dealers will sell IT Security to the thousands of customers who buy print equipment from them are pure nonsense. IT Security to most of the dealer’s SMB customers will be delivered through a commodity system.
Yes, a commodity system.
Think about our friends at AT&T; they are positioned much closer than the copier dealer to deliver IT Security to most of the copier dealers end-users. AT&T bought a company called AlienVault here’s the link to the website of a significant competitor to the document imaging channel’s attempts in the IT Security space.
Now I ask this: Have any analysts from the document imaging channel ever discussed AT&T as a threatening competitor? Of course not.
Now, think about our friends at Salesforce, who recently bought an RMM company. Yes, Salesforce will be an IT service provider as one would not have imagined a few years ago. Read this article. Buzzwords do not make money!
How many dealers are making money off seat-based billing for copier/print equipment?
The dealers must seek out experts in the deliverables they intend on delivering. Any analyst describing these buzzword deliverables as if the dealers can just bolt them on an outdated business process model are delusional.
The dealers will not move the needle without understanding how to deliver and, more importantly, how to make money in what they provide. The expertise needed; is in creating the business model to deliver the services profitably.
The most important thing for dealers today is understanding the impacts of becoming something different than what they are now.
IT Services and IT Security Services are not a deliverable dealers will sell profitably if they intend to sell all their copier customers these services. The major enterprise organizations such as AT&T, Salesforce, Apple, Amazon, yes-Amazon, to name a few, will beat dealers to IT.
IT Security and managed IT services delivered profitably is not about selling thousands of customers or even hundreds. Delivering IT services profitably is about understanding the customers you intend to deliver. Remember you can be a ten million dollar a year IT Services company with less than 100 customers and 25-30 employees.
Whatever deliverable you intend to diversify with make sure it can live by its own means. The days of throwing new things into your deliverable and hoping that the print volumes on all your printer/copier MIF will offset poor planning or no business plan are ending.
Without the glories of all those A3 accounts of the past, none of these buzzword deliverables will sustain a dealer’s profitability. Those who build plans based on what the buzzword actually entails have a chance to change their fate. Those who continue adding these deliverables and betting on massive amounts of A3 equipment and services revenue to offset the lack of a plan will not weather the storm.
The marketplace is not going to wait for the document imaging channel to sell based on realities. Each day the dealers procrastinate, is another day their customers hear of alternatives.
I will remind you, as I always do as I wind up, that status quo is the killer of all that will be invented. Don’t get stuck in the status quo.
Have you found this article, “’Five Years From Now’ Showed Up Early” helpful?
Ray Stasieczko is a forward-thinking and often controversial writer and speaker. You may not want to agree with everything he says, but you are compelled to read and listen. To do otherwise could spell doom.
He has called the imaging channel home for nearly 30 years and served in various roles and has contributed nearly 100 articles to the industry’s publications. Ray has also spoken at the RT Media Summits in Cairo, South America and China. You can contact him and watch him on LinkedIn.
Read Ray’s other blogs:
- ‘Five Years From Now’ Showed Up Early
- Meeting Standards Means Staying Relevant
- Thankfully My Doctor Wrote a Prescription Not My Obituary
- Business Opportunities Offered by this Pandemic
- That’s a Lot of Toner For a Market in Decline
- The Toner Wars Between Cartridge Suppliers
- When Will HP Write the Check to Xerox?
- The Imaging Channel is Not Alone in Needing Diversification
- Making Your Printer Consumables Business Profitable
- Are Acquisitions the Feel-good Drug in a Declining Market?
- Recognizing Disruption as a Creator and not a Competitor
- Managed Print Services is Not the Door to Managed IT Services