It goes without saying that the copier industry's quest to deliver managed IT services has not met the industry's actors' great expectations. Over a decade of attempts, thousands of hours in classrooms, millions of dollars spent on consultants, and still the transitions are far from where most thought they would be.
I have a couple of questions regarding the lack of successful transitions.
1) With all the help available to dealers, why has the transition failed?
2) Why do those helping the channel continue speaking of the channel's success when it's obvious there is very little success.
The reality to those two questions is that all those helping dealers transition to any product or service outside of print are not motivated by a single dealer's success in the transition. The good intentions of these organizations are rewarded by multiple dealers selling their products or service. If 25,50 or 100 dealers do one deal, the vendor gets their money even if the dealer loses money. The vendor can thereby claim success. However, miserable the dealers are in their success.
I suggest to dealers considering the attempt or a reattempt at IT services to pick those vendors based on what they can do to help you. Many of these organizations have great marketing departments; however, marketing is not a business plan. Unfortunately, the failures in the transition to IT are caused by a lack of business accume regarding the IT deliverable, and the misunderstanding of IT's complexities over the print services deliverable.
Every time I hear someone telling the copier dealers how positioned they are or how their past successes in print will guarantee a victory in IT services. I realize those saying that are entirely out of alignment with the realities of the managed IT services deliverables.
Those from within the industry you can expect that kind of argument toward their greatness. However, when those outside the channel say these things, I consider it as pandering and very problematic as it causes dealers to be overconfident.
Being overconfident can be extremely deceiving when the mistakes in delivering IT services are hiding behind revenues and profits of the core deliverable of print and its services. Those who are in this situation will soon discover the luxury of robbing Peter to pay Paul will end. The core deliverable of print will not provide the revenues or the profits as it continues to decline based on digitalization advances.
Over the last year, I have discussed IT services quite a bit. I have profiled one of the most successful IT services business models in the industry. That of Nashville's ImageQuest LLC. You can listen to an in-depth interview with Milton Bartley, its CEO/Founder on my members only, Ray's Café Venue. Here's the link if you wish to listen.
The two years I spent with Milton as his COO taught me many things. I will tell all my copier dealer friends that your past successes in the print equipment and services business will not guarantee you successes in a completely different business model. Without a clear plan and without the support of those who care that you're profitable. All your attempts will fail, and this last decade will repeat itself over the next decade.
Unfortunately, this next decade the evaporation of the core deliverable of print will stress many of the industry's actors to the tipping point, a point many may not survive without diversification. There's simply no more time for misguided attempts, or platitude pushers.
I suggest that all dealers who engage a Master Service Provider question them on the business component. Not just what services they can do for your customers, but how your business will benefit profitably in using them. Can they help you design a business model that they can prove successful?
Also, I am now seeing some print OEMs attempting to have dealers engage them as master service providers. I would ask the OEM to share the IT services only revenues and profit numbers of their direct copier operations delivering IT services.
In other words, if they are not profitably offering IT services through their direct copier offices, how will they help your organization deliver profitably? If the OEM has not successfully transitioned or incorporated IT services, how will they help you succeed in your transition? Remember OEMs can loss hundreds of millions of dollars before they act - you can't.
My friends, stop looking for those ridiculous platitudes and look for those who have the fortitude to tell you the truth and the abilities to help guide you in understanding IT's business. Once you have defined the business metrics and clearly understand all its costs. It will be easy to find help marketing what you will now deliver professionally and profitably.
If there is an organization wishing to help dealers succeed in IT services, I welcome a conversation. Together let's help our friends change the game.
"Status Quo is the killer of all that will be invented."
If not already Let's connect here on Linkedin
CEO/Founder TEASRA,The Innovation Channel and Host of The End of The Day With Ray! https://www.endofthedaywithray.com/
I welcome everyone to subscribe to my YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCULKZDBCR1ozWXmu4Tob66A?view_as=subscriber
Comments will be approved before showing up.