Could you imagine if in 1994 Jeff Bezos had attempted to explain to his investors and try to implement then everything Amazon is today? He would have sounded insane; his investors would have run from the room. Jeff Bezos instead focused on e-commerce books and built from that by acquiring the talent and the companies who delivered what he intended to improve.
Now, nearly three decades later, Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world, and Amazon has a 1.65 Trillion market cap, employs over 800 thousand people, and operates the world's largest online marketplace. Today, Amazon has grown way past books and what even Jeff Bezos once imagined.
Sometimes when I hear or read the fantastic imaginations from some of the Document Imaging Channel's actors. Fantasizing on the tremendous successes of new ERPs or the immense progress in delivering profitable IT Services or the massive growth in production print. I think about the question which started this article. It seems many of the channel's actors are still imagining what could be, and after more than a decade their not delivering what they believed things could be.
Did the Imaging Channel imagine past its capabilities?
Over this time, we all witnessed dealers attempting to pivot into IT services. We observed these dealers ripping out ERP systems. We see software developers trying to reinvent IT software platforms into print service platforms. All in hopes, these things would pave the road to the channel's innovation.
The dealers must stop trying to reinvent what already exists or worse stop trying to incorporate the past into the present in hopes of a better future. Instead, we should learn from Jeff Bezos and buy a company already doing what you intend to do. Then improve and capitalize on what together you are now doing.
We have all heard it for over a decade.
"The Document Imaging Channel will be unbelievably awesome selling Managed IT Services. Just wait, you'll see." Said by Many
Well, the wait has been so long that those with these original good intentions are now retiring. It has been so long that those who replaced or bought new software are returning to the software that worked. It has been so long without success; it is now time to honestly decide to continue with imagined hope or critique how that hope turned to failure.
After watching and participating in the transformation from print-focused to IT service-focused, I am now of the belief that the dealers waited too long and simply ran out of time to transition organically either on their own or with a partner platform. The time for on the job training has expired.
I believe that dealers should instead acquire an existing IT services company and build from what they buy.
Buying a current IT Services company means there's no need to reinvent anything instead focus on selling more through systems already proven successful. The stipulation is, the Managed IT Services company you buy must actually be successful with influential, capable leaders.
Do not buy IT companies through asset sales. Buy profitable, successful ones. Remember, the leadership and business acumen regarding delivering IT Services are your reasons for investing. This investment will provide you the tools needed; the subject matter experts required; you will have the necessary leadership to compliment your leadership.
The proper acquisition will now position you to continue selling IT Services as opposed to starting to sell IT Services, and through time and perseverance, you will do what is needed to ensure a truly integrated organization. In the meantime, you should run the two organizations separately, each standing on their own profitability using the tools and processes designed for each deliverable. Trying to make an IT Services company, a Copier/Printer business is past insane.
In all reality, the Managed IT Services company you buy should swallow the print services company, not the other way around.
It has been over a decade of failed attempts in partnering. The fantasy that partnering would ease the transition has obviously failed. I am sure there will be those who will argue this point I would say, "count the home runs." as you listen to the partners, cheer their successes.
Partners can be successful without your success; it's that simple. Partners make money from you, and as long as the partner keeps getting more as you, they can appear successful. Dealers can't put their partner's success in the bank; what is in the dealer's bank is a result of their own success.
This pandemic has to be the motivator for a changed approach from building your own or partnering to instead seriously considering buying. This buying approach was always one of the three options, and the other two options did not farewell. So, why will they now?
Those dealers who elected to build or partner can no longer allow the mismanagement and profit losses from their failed IT Services deliverable to be absorbed by the revenues and profits of print. That luxury is no longer possible as we exit the virus.
We are living through a pandemic. The reality is that both dealers inside the Document Imaging Channel and Managed IT Services providers are facing challenges, and these challenges will create opportunities.
I suggest all dealers and IT Service providers think differently as the world's circumstances are entirely different than they were in January 2020.
It is a little scary when you see minimal shifts in the dealers' mindsets and those attempting to help them transition. We still see meetings, webinars, and marketing as presented pre-virus. For some you would think nothing has changed, nothing is challenging, and nothing is threatening their status quo. Those who believe these nothings - I say' "Status quo is the killer of all that will be invented."
The dealers in the Document Imaging Channel must evolve or be consumed by those who do. Dealers, it's time to stop fantasizing on what you think you can do and instead invest in those already doing it. Stop trying to reinvent what already exists.
Transition your mind, and accept the realities there's no time for on the job training. The navigation through the needed transitions will take those with the expertise, and those with this knowledge must be part of your organization and held accountable to your PnL.
When Amazon first decided to have brick-and-mortar food stores, they did not build from scratch or partner; they bought whole foods. When Amazon went past books, they bought the needed talent. Amazon did not hire partners to help them grow; Amazon purchased the partners they needed, and today Amazon, has become far past what those original investors could have ever imagined.
Like Jeff Bezos, have grand plans, but don't let these ambitious plans of what you might be one day, get in the way of what you should be today. There is simply no more time to transition organically go find and buy what you already should be and grow from there.
"Following the same directions without ever reaching the destination, probably means the map needs updating."
"Status quo is the killer of all that will be invented."
CEO/Founder TEASRA,The Innovation Channel and Host of The End of The Day With Ray! https://www.endofthedaywithray.com/
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