The Imaging Channel recently sat down with Gary Stevens, CEO of Agiliant Inc.

What’s your current state of mind?

Optimistic and charismatic. The convergence of the MPS and managed network services markets is presenting unbelievable opportunities for growth and business transformation, especially within the BTA channel.

What is the greatest challenge you face today?

Resistance to change, complacency and an underestimation of how hard it really is to transform a traditional product sales business into a services business. Many MPS providers have the misconception that integrating MNS into their existing business is as simple as finding a NOC to outsource their help desk function to. The reality is that making the leap into MNS isn’t the difficult part; it’s landing on your feet and learning how to run with it, sell it, deliver it, and make it profitable and sustainable that proves to be immensely challenging.

What do you see as your biggest opportunity?

Building a nationwide managed IT services business from the ground up that tightly integrates output and network services hasn’t ever been done before, and therein lies the opportunity.

What qualities do you look for when making key hires?

Smart, committed and energetic people that continuously demonstrate the desire and the ability to elevate their contributions and value to the organization beyond the lines that frame their specific job description. Creativity, passion and drive are also must-haves in a fast-paced, rapidly growing environment such as ours.

What would you consider your greatest achievement?

Professionally, there is nothing more rewarding than building a successful company from scratch and being able to provide good jobs for a lot of really great and talented people while simultaneously accomplishing something in your respective market or industry that’s never been done before. I’m extremely proud to be making that a reality for the fourth time in my life.

If your customers were to describe your company in three words, what would they be?

Innovative. Agile. Ahead.

Managed print services or managed services?

As a pioneer in MPS, it somewhat pains me to say this, but definitely managed services. In the technology products and services space, you’re either evolving or dying; enough said.

Where are you investing the most within your company this year?

We’re continuing to build our core services engine and scope, growing our Affiliate Network and evolving our offerings to create a further competitive advantage and differentiation for our Network.

What is your greatest concern for this industry?

That it’s unable to make the changes it must make to keep pace. The convergence that is occurring is different than this industry has ever seen before. If this industry approaches and tries to navigate it the way it did MPS, there will be a lot of really good people and companies in a lot of trouble because they simply won’t be able to transform, and they will become obsolete.

How would your employees and co-workers describe you?

Passionate, visionary, charismatic, demanding and a holder of exceptionally high expectations for myself, my people and our collective performance and results.

Why do you hold your current business position today?

Because I’m passionate about this industry and our vision/mission, and it enables me to work side by side with some of the most brilliant people I’ve ever met.

Do trends exist in this industry?

Absolutely. The real magic is in deciphering important, game-changing trends — those that force you to focus on embracing, navigating or battling them before you get too far behind to do so — from trends that don’t ever materialize into much more than hype and distraction. … The nature of trends is that they change with the times. Today, the big trend is the convergence of managed print/output and network services, and even though there will be those that embrace (and benefit from) it and also those that never really commit to it, this trend is clearly here to stay.

Who is your next hire?

The next person I meet that’s smarter than I am in an area that’s important to my business: Someone who can demonstrate ingenuity and effectively convince me that I’d be a fool not to hire him or her.

What is your favorite quote?

“There’s a way to do it better — find it.” — Thomas Edison. “Never before in history has innovation offered promise of so much to so many in so short a time.” — Bill Gates