The business model, where the problem is created from fantasy, never works. All business solutions must actually solve a problem to have validity in charging one to solve it.
As I continue watching the insanity of some within the Document Imaging Channel regarding the Work From Home (WFH) Phenomena I cringe.
The Document Imaging Channel's Dealers must look to the broader deliverable and build IT platforms to Manage the broader services to the Remote Worker. I realize that the acronym of HMPS Home Managed Print Services was so easy to understand, and any acronym without a (P) for Print would be considered blasphemy to the industry.
My friends, I give you a new Acronym (RWS) Remote Workers Services. It is past time to have conversations with business leaders regarding the home office's infrastructure to ensure the home worker can navigate information secure and safe as they would have in the office.
However, please do not have conversations about DCA tools, auto toner replenishment, MFP scanning, or begin articulating stories about the home worker killing themselves because they ran out of toner in the middle of the 10-page document, a document they never in their life will print.
Here are a few things which are real issues of concern for executives as they move workers remotely.
Secure access to databases; if remote workers use a VPN, are they updated, and who's monitoring the updates?
Secure ISP, Are the workers using the neighbor's open ISP?
Are the remote workers using their address as the password to access their ISP?
Do the remote workers have a clear password policy?
Are the remote workers required to use 2 Factor Authentication?
Do your remote workers have the TikTok app or other questionable apps on their work Smartphones or iPads?
Do your remote workers have clear policies on all handheld devices with work-related information on those devices? Do you have a mobile device management program?
Are work devices being used by the worker's teenagers who play games with unknown people and entities around the world while the worker sleeps?
Are remote workers using free WIFI's as they attend meetings at Starbucks or other venues?
My friends, there are copious amounts of needed solutions regarding the Remote Worker. The Remote Worker phenomena are opening the minds of all the Document Imaging Channel's end-users. The time to garnish the attention of end-users is now. The question is, How will you attempt in getting their attention.
While you are running around trying to develop some insane program to manage sub $250.00 printers in the remote workers' home. IT Service providers are addressing the real problems needing real solutions, and oh, they are collecting real money as they solve them.
While you are putting together graphs showing print activity which no one has read or managed from in a decade. IT Service Providers are putting together details on threats they eliminated, updating compliance issues, monitoring firewall activity, managing SOC and NOC services, managing mobile devices, educating end-users on phishing, and ransomware threats.
Most importantly, while the Document Imaging Dealers are forcing its sales teams to set up appointments with end-users to discuss MFP's that were turned off during the pandemic or talking Home Managed Print Services. The IT Service providers already met with these customers engaging them to update their IT Service agreements to include the changes the Remote Worker Support caused. I suggest you don't wait till alternative providers have the chance to visit all your customers.
While the Document Imaging Channel was combing through their CRM looking for lease expirations. IT services providers were combing through data, researching new threats, and keeping their customers safe.
The remote worker will need secure environments, and they will need clear guidelines addressing the company's data and its use. Remote workers can be unconsciously incompetent regarding IT security and its threats, and I am not talking about leaving printed documents on their kitchen counters for the housekeeper to find.
My warning for the Document Imaging Channel is. As you engage in conversations with your current print equipment end-users and believe these end-users are concerned about print as they were in 2000, you are foolishly distracted. Stop ignoring the real problems that must be addressed as more workers become remote.
The remote workers will buy and expense a sub $250.00 SOHO printer, and the companies they work for won't manage the print; they will instead manage the information and the infrastructure the information resides.
It's time for the Document Imaging Dealers to stop creating solutions to solve problems no one cares about and focus on the ones they do. Print on its own as a dealer business model is fast fading. Office printing is quickly losing its importance in the technology stack.
This is not saying print is going extinct. What I am saying is print will decrease rapidly in value. It will be those alternative providers who sell with a means closer to the value which will win. This shift to alternative providers continues increasing as legacy dealers continue forfeiting all the customers who refuse MPS agreements.
The dealers need to increase their value through valuable diversified offerings over attempting to create unrealistic values around print as a standalone deliverable.
The pivot to IT Services
Dealers can no longer attempt to manage their IT pivot by those who only understand print. As the dealers themselves must learn broader solutions, so must the print-centric consultants the channel uses. There are many opportunities to provide solutions to the remote worker. Focus on real problems and then deliver practical solutions.
Figure out a strategy, so when they need those sub $250.00 home printers, you can provide them a means to acquire them the way they want, and always have - by going online and ordering them. For example, Some of the larger organizations you currently support may provide opportunities to build e-commerce portals into the organization's intraweb for the remote employees to acquire the products they need.
Remember, if you insist on making the remote worker printer needs complicated. The more likely your customers will go back to Amazon or the other providers who have been supplying the Document Imaging Channel's end-users ad-hoc printers, supplies, and services for decades.
Managing Print is an enterprise deliverable. The obsession of the Document Imaging Channel to treat all print applications the same has cost them millions. Let this pandemic close the book on the stubbornness of selling solutions that solve no problems.
The dealers must evaluate their customers' real concerns, not the made-up ones created by those who can't respond to a marketplace realities, so they instead fight to bring an outdated deliverable to an updated marketplace. This desire to deliver the past to the future will end in disaster as it always does. Just ask Blockbuster, the Taxi industry, or even the brick and mortar indoor malls.
"Status Quo is the killer of all that will be invented."
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CEO/Founder TEASRA, The Innovation Channel, and Host of The End of The Day With Ray! https://www.endofthedaywithray.com/
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