Just because you sell it does not mean it is not extinct! About five years ago, I was helping my then-teenage son search through websites of cable wakeboard parks in the United Kingdom. Interesting was that two of the parks had the following next to “fax” on their contact information:

  • this is not the 90s
  • if you want to contact us by fax you are too old for what we offer

This clearly spells “extinct.” Yeah, if you are still selling facsimiles to your clients you should be fired!

Paperless vs paper “less”

Over the past couple of years I have seen a consistent decrease of paper (prints) in the clients we manage. I recently read a number of articles (mostly OEM sponsored) claiming paper usage is growing and alive.

If you really understand managed print services (and not only the jargon that goes with it), you must realize that if your “MPS” clients’ volumes have increased you have not successfully delivered to what you promise ­ – and should be fired.

I read somewhere:

Guy 1: “How did you go bankrupt?”

Guy 2: “Slowly, slowly and then suddenly!”

I see a (near) future where the volumes slowly, slowly dissipate and then the avalanche – not paperless but definitely substantially paper ”less.” I know, that’s what they said in the early 1990s, and then Google came around and saved the OEMs’ day with internet searches doubling print volumes.

Big data becoming actionable dashboards

Now I see big data, very easy to use interactive Business Intelligence (BI) and informed customers all actively searching for the truth -- actively searching to remain relevant/competitive through process reengineering with digitization at the heart of it all.

I see OEMs reducing staff, restructuring, selling their businesses, trying to retrain staff to become digital thinkers, adopting and developing software that is linked to their (extinct) devices, and calling it “digitization.” Staying relevant most times requires a total overhaul, starting from scratch, sacrifices and pain, and getting rid of the institutional IP that hamstrings the true efforts of a few to actually embrace the future. In times like this your biggest assets are equally your biggest liabilities – cull them.

I see social service delivery (services with an all-inclusive approach that is data-driven and evidenced-based); the death of complex ERP systems, the birth of social systems that involve everyone and let everyone take part and look after their own, real-time, actionable data that will spread responsibility, reducing the reliance on the “experts.”

Genesis

Assets are the genesis of your business, and yet are one of the most neglected areas in all businesses. Do you know your assets? Do you know where your assets are, how they are being used, where they are in their life cycle? Have you talked to your assets recently and have they talked to you? Traditional asset management systems put a few in charge to manage all. The future is social asset management, where everyone gets involved, where assets Tweet and the end user can follow his/her own asset. It is a system that you have never used before, but you know it because you Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Putting the informed customer back in charge

I see MPS for dummies, reducing the OEM to a support and maintenance provider, putting the client in charge of his own destiny.

MPS BI (irrespective of the systems that you use) has actionable dashboards, decision trees that enable the customer to make informed decisions that impact positively on their income statements rather than their suppliers. I see a cloud-based MPS leadership board comparing/reporting on makes/models/OEM performance/cartridge performance that will enable companies to make informed decisions on their future strategies for going paper ”less”

The end (for now) 

  • Digital (dashboard and interactive decision trees) — “self” MPS
  • Digital equipment selection based on OEMs/device/consumable performance across devices and industries
  • Substantially reduced makes and models – last survivors in a dying market

Resulting in

  • Substantially reduced print revenues
  • Increased digitization revenues
  • Reduced hardware and maintenance staff headcounts
  • Substantially increased margins
  • A completely new workforce

Digitize or die

Don’t rethink your business — redo your business. Don’t do the same thing differently — do different things, recruit people you would never have recruited before, form partnerships with unlikely partners, be uncomfortable. Be relevant.

Jannes du Plooy
Jannes du Plooy

is an experienced Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the different services industries; skilled in identifying/creating opportunities and converting these opportunities into business. He has extensive experience in digitization and is the founder of ifileme.