7 Deadly Topics from 7 Deadly Sinners at Top 100 Summit (Part One)

What's one of things I found out about on my recent trip to the Top 100 Summit (hosted by Print Audit)?  I'm a stone cold junky for sea level oxygen!  Having lived at or around sea level all of my life, meant that I had no clue that my body would have some discomfort at 7,800 (estimating) feet.  So, what was one of the first things I did when I arrived at Chateaux Deer Valley, I ran up a flight of stairs!! Just maybe I should have read up on how to acclimate to high altitude? Naw, not me, full steam ahead and dam the torpedo's is my motto and then read the directions last.   On my next visit, I'll be sure to relax some on the first day.

 

There's been a few blogs already posted about the Top 100 Summit since I arrived home, me, I still had to do my day job, thus the reason for writing this so late.

 

I've been to many events over the last fifteen years, and many of them I considered excellent events.  All of those past excellent events have now moved down a notch.  With out a doubt the Top 100 Summit was the most collaborative and thought provoking event I've ever attended.  How could it not be, with the minds of the 7 Deadly Sinners (of print) in attendance?

 

There was and will be additional conversations about Seat Based Billing for printed pages.  Too me, not an MPS expert (however, I'm an expert with copiers), I was mesmerized with the talk track that centered about the pro's and con's of seat base billing.  I'm a fan of seat based billing, because I believe that we need to understand our clients wants, needs and habits.  As far as I see it, there are many more pro's than there are con's.  The main con seems to be that no one wants to charge by the seat for managing printers and allow for unlimited printing.

 

I'm thinking I got this figured out when we had our own round table discussion at the event.  We were in agreement that you can't offer seat based billing unless "own the network".  Owning the network means that you would have a managed service plan (MNS) in place for the pc's and servers.  Thus, you would have the knowledge, the data and the metrics to offer seat based billing for printers as an upcharge to the current MNS billing.  Probably can't offer it to everyone, however, like I stated there are many more pro's than con's that I see.  Heck, I want to bring this to copiers/MFP's.

 

Another statement that hit home, was that most companies should have a print policy in place.  I like it, because when approaching a "C" level executive, the question of "Do you have a print policy?", that statement alone should provoke the usually yes or no, and when we are posed with No, the question should be "why not?"

 

K, I don't want to get too long with this blog, because I still need to update the site and it's past 11:30pm and I still have to do my day job.

 

Just think of this one point, if your client was under a seat based billing for print, and a competitor tried to slither their way in.  What would be one of the first questions that competitor would ask?  Uh...., how many pages do you print a month? Under seat based billing our client would have no answer to that statement. I'm guessing the answer would be, "we don't know".

 

Deadly Topics addressed equals 3 (seat based billing. owning the network and print policy)

 

Need to see pics of the event click here, check back because I'm still uploading more!

 

-=Good Selling=-

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Originally Posted by txeagle24:

I disagree that you have to own the network in order to offer seat-based billing.  Before I go into why, can we (imaging industry) please stop referring to Managed Services as MNS?  No one in the IT world uses this term; it's industry jargon that makes you stand out as a copier dealer 1st and an IT Services provider 2nd.  Managed IT Services, Managed Services...fine.  MNS needs to die.

 

Now, here is why I disagree that you have to own the network as a client's Managed Services provider in order to offer seat-based billing.  The network (PC's, servers, thin clients, switches, routers, storage appliances, etc.) and print although connected to one another are mutually-exclusive to a certain extent.  Think of the printing environment as a peripheral instead of as part of the core infrastructure. The dealer must have some level of access to the infrastructure in order to make sure server and client print management nodes are properly maintained, but that is where our involvement in the network ends unless we are the MS provider as well. That being said what you MUST have is in-depth data on the printing behaviors of every user that could possibly print in the client's business.  This includes remote users since they could print over VPN or occasionally when they go on campus.  You have to know to what devices each user prints, how much is mono vs. color, how much Ledger is printed, how much color is printed from Outlook & the web, etc.  From there, you must collaborate with the key influencers and decision-makers in the account to develop print policies that will be implemented as part of the onboarding process.  Once these are agreed upon then you propose the cost per seat Agreement.

 

The reason I say the print policies must be agreed upon PRIOR to the proposal is that rules which route large jobs to low-cost devices, convert unnecessary color to monochrome, require secure release for certain departments/applications, etc. will influence the level of risk the MPS provider has in the proposed contract.  The less risk and the more serious the customer is about printing in the most responsible manner, the lower the cost for the client.  The greater the risk, the greater the cost.  Mutual agreement on the goals and policies of the program aligns both the client and provider, because we are both better off if they print less.  

Before I go into why, can we (imaging industry) please stop referring to Managed Services as MNS?  No one in the IT world uses this term; it's industry jargon that makes you stand out as a copier dealer 1st and an IT Services provider 2nd.  Managed IT Services, Managed Services...fine.  MNS needs to die. - Spot ON!!!!!!

 

Been saying this for years...there is no such thing as MNS

No, Art.  You're spot on.  I haven't had many jobs outside the industry, but the majority of the old guard is so proud of the way they've always done it & receives so much validation from other dealers with the same mentality (via BTA, CDA, SDG, et al) that they often refuse to admit the need to change until it's practically too late. 

There are ideas & concepts that I brought up 3-5 years ago that were considered to be "interesting but not really necessary" that we're suddenly latching onto as if it's some kind of a life raft, but even those were only implemented after spending far more time (=$) evaluating, testing, reference checking, etc. than the cost of just jumping in head first for a year to see how the market responds.

So many pay so much lip service to evolving, being innovative and talk about being leading edge & solving business problems via unique services & solutions, but if the last week of the month comes along and all your managers talk about is pressing customers to take delivery early, rearranging delivery schedules & getting D&As signed, I have news for you: this thing you think you built is dying on the vine, & you're too short-sighted, dumb and stubborn to even recognize it. 

**Drops mic**

Is it just me, it seems that the general rule of thumb for the copier industry to end users is "the take or leave approach".  Meaning, come hell or high water we're not going to change the way we bill, the way we support, or the financial solutions that we offer.

 

While I was at the Top 100 conference, a rep from Wells Fargo spoke about the billing options that they now have in their leases.  One of the options was for seat billing for managed IT services.  My thought is that if it's available for managed IT, then it's a no brainer to make it available for copiers (A3 & A4). 

I will also add since you mentioned wanting to do this on copiers/MFPs:  our industry also needs to get the idea that MPS only has to do with printers & A4 MFPs out of their heads.  Output is output, & our clients don't see any difference so why should we?  Properly deploy what systems meet the client's needs (or just get rid of them if that is best) & be of service in whatever way you can.  Hell, our customers want all of this stuff to go away (just wait til the Millenials are in the C-Suite).  Either you help them or someone else will.

Tx, awesome post!  The conclusion for managed IT was at our own round table and not the general audience.  One of the dealers in my group is heavily involved with managed IT, and thought it would be great offer.

 

Yes, it was stated that MNS is only used by copier dealers and should be referenced to what you described.  TY for the awesome reply!!

I disagree that you have to own the network in order to offer seat-based billing.  Before I go into why, can we (imaging industry) please stop referring to Managed Services as MNS?  No one in the IT world uses this term; it's industry jargon that makes you stand out as a copier dealer 1st and an IT Services provider 2nd.  Managed IT Services, Managed Services...fine.  MNS needs to die.

 

Now, here is why I disagree that you have to own the network as a client's Managed Services provider in order to offer seat-based billing.  The network (PC's, servers, thin clients, switches, routers, storage appliances, etc.) and print although connected to one another are mutually-exclusive to a certain extent.  Think of the printing environment as a peripheral instead of as part of the core infrastructure. The dealer must have some level of access to the infrastructure in order to make sure server and client print management nodes are properly maintained, but that is where our involvement in the network ends unless we are the MS provider as well. That being said what you MUST have is in-depth data on the printing behaviors of every user that could possibly print in the client's business.  This includes remote users since they could print over VPN or occasionally when they go on campus.  You have to know to what devices each user prints, how much is mono vs. color, how much Ledger is printed, how much color is printed from Outlook & the web, etc.  From there, you must collaborate with the key influencers and decision-makers in the account to develop print policies that will be implemented as part of the onboarding process.  Once these are agreed upon then you propose the cost per seat Agreement.

 

The reason I say the print policies must be agreed upon PRIOR to the proposal is that rules which route large jobs to low-cost devices, convert unnecessary color to monochrome, require secure release for certain departments/applications, etc. will influence the level of risk the MPS provider has in the proposed contract.  The less risk and the more serious the customer is about printing in the most responsible manner, the lower the cost for the client.  The greater the risk, the greater the cost.  Mutual agreement on the goals and policies of the program aligns both the client and provider, because we are both better off if they print less.  

Czech

 

funny you should mention that "wolverine" look, it was actually one of the "challenges" at the event.  Whom ever had the most completed challenges won a MS Surface tablet.  I did not win.

Is it just me, or does West McDonald look like Wolverine?

 

I watched the Seat-Based Billing video that was posted from the Top 100 Summit. Definitely some interesting points going back and forth. Print Audit has done a great job of persistently marketing seat-based pilling to the copier industry.

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