An Interview with the KING of MPS aka Greg Walters

 

2017-10-09_22-39-02Six months in the making and I finally had the chance to offer up some questions to the King of MPS aka Greg Walters.  I'm thinking it was six years or so ago that Greg launched his "Death of the Copier" blog. 

Greg was in the MPS business at the time and was writing about the MPS industry in his spare time. 

Greg & I finally had the chance to meet a few years ago at the Photizo Event in Orlando.

Greg, whatever possessed you to move from Big Bear Mountain California to the East Coast?
 
Wow - the answer is best served over a few shots of Jack.  Let's just say, I had and still have, the best of reasons in the world for moving the Davidson, NC.
 
How did you get involved into the printer business and when?
 
It all started with one of my first HP LaserJet sale back in the 80's.  I had just sold a small legal office a system - Compaq Deskpro, WordPerfect, and the laser.  After a bit of training, we set up a mail-merge for around 30 letters and hit print.  Lo' and behold, out crept the first letter, then the second, then the next, and next. Her face broke out in a huge smile and I said, "see how easy that was?" After about the 20th page, remember, this was at a speed of nearly four pages a minute-her face sank.
 
She realized, I think,  she was witnessing the evaporation of one of her primary duties and quite possibly, her job.  I will never forget that experience.  That was 1989 and I think it was an HP IIP
 
Well,  I stayed in technology for a while, then did a stint outside the industry selling everything from uniforms to AFLAC finally getting back into tech in 1999 by joining OCE.  I've worked with a Panasonic dealership, IKON, ultimately landing at a west-coast VAR, SIGMAnet, working inside a brand new managed print services practice (2007).
 
The MpS practice tanked and I was given the opportunity to try and turn the ship around.  After building a great team, a eight months of work and ownership support like no other, we brought the department out of a -$25,000.00/month tailspin into +$1.4M sustainable, practice.  It was a great experience.
 
Walters & Shutwell, sounds like an accounting practice, but what are you guys really doing?
 
We consult providers helping them understand their existing customer service gaps and implement change.  We also write and speak about technology, society, and existing in today's wild and crazy, connected world.
 
Our favorite activity is helping end-users manage and optimize their IT service portfolio.  We help companies understand the need of their internal customers and engage the best vendor mix to support those needs and the business objectives.  IT departments and players are looking for ways to be more relevant by contributing the direction of the company and supporting the technology requirements of the organization.
 
It can be complicated but that's really what we do - we simplify the complex.
 
What makes Walters & Shutwell unique and special in the market place?
 
We help our clients identify the GAPs between the maturity levels of their end users and their IT providers. Which means we help design the internal IT portfolio, mixing outsourcing and insourcing and optimizing the entire process.  In the managed print services space, we advise providers on what not to do when implementing MpS and help end users design self-maintained MpS programs.
 
The Walters Shutwell uniqueness is derived from our many years of experience applying technology and marshaling  the resources to support business goals.  Secondly, our end-user or 'buyer' centric approach - we believe in the people trying to make the best decision for their company and we thrive on helping "aware" organizations transform.
 
Does Walters & Shutwell support any trade associations, and if so why?
 
We believe in CompTIA and the Managed print Services Association.
 
I always tuned in to your blogs and enjoyed them immensely, now that you’re more involved with enabling dealers to expand their services. Do you miss blogging every day and if so or if not why?
 
Admittedly, I do miss the blogging world a bit - but that was then, this is now.  We both blog on our site and two books are in the works - one very overdue, the other, Jennifer and I are putting together as a practical guide. We like to contribute to the industry by helping individuals thrive within and beyond our niche.
 
Blogging on Walters Shutwell is different than DOTC and who knows, if the mood strikes, we may spark the site back up.
 
What are your thoughts about 3D printers & office equipment dealers is this some synergy?
 
Be careful, drawing too many similarities between 3D printing and copiers could be foolish - toner may be a metaphor for resin but so what?  
 
All I remember is the difficulty we had moving from analogue to digital, monochrome to color and implementing MpS.  These devices make things and even if they are priced around $5,000.00, do we honestly believe that there will be one on every floor of a business?  Can we see selling a couple to the same church who picked up a color machine to run programs or the real estate office that still uses fax?
 
Will they need service as often as our copiers do today?  I don't know.
 
I DO think 3D printers will impact manufacturing, retail, medical, consumer goods and even more.  I also think millions, if not billions, of 3D printers will be sold. Maybe, just maybe, there could come a time when we see 3D printer retailers on every corner, just like Inacomp, BusinessLand, MicroAge and ComputerLand once were for PC's. 
 
3D printers are an idea in search of a channel and almost and answer is search of at problem.
 
Are you a sports fan, and if so what are your favorite sports teams?
 
I grew up outside Detroit, so the Wings, Tigers, Lions and Pistons are all favorites.
 
Have you ever had the special order or sale that made you say “that’s why I do this” and if so please tell us about it.
 
There have been too many instances to remember. 
 
I consider you the face behind MPS, what are your thoughts about the future of MPS, can MPS survive?
 
Survival depends on how one defines MpS - for some, "copier sales is MpS" so it's been here since the 70's and will stay as long as the copiers survive.  
 
When we define managed print services as the "Active management and optimization of output devices and related business processes", MpS will never go away.
 
If, on the other hand, we define MpS as simply toner/service delivery, exactly like the copier model, I give it 5 to 10 years, maybe not even that.
 
Facts are stubborn things, print/output is going down.  It may not be for you or your dealership but overall, people are printing less. No amount of mobile print software or lower toner cost will stem this tide, people are communicating differently now days.
 
The key for survival is adaptability - we are in the 'information/communication management' business and evolving into that mindset core to sustainability..
 
Over your career in supply sales I’m sure you may have a funny or humorous story, can you tell us one?
 
I have plenty.  Once, I engaged my HP PBM(rep) to attend a "quick and easy" user training session.  I did not know she wasn't familiar with the toner filling process on the new device.  While I was talking about the device, I asked her to fill show how easy it was to fill the device.  Facing the group, my back was to her, I sensed something was not right.
 
When I looked, her head was down and half the bottle of toner had spilled all over.  She was embarrassed and frozen
 
Silence.  Crickets from the group.
 
You know what I said, it's what we all say when something goes wrong with a demo, "I'm glad this happened…now we can show you how easy it is to vacuum our toner out of the carpet.  May we borrow yours?"
 
We all laughed and moved on.
 
It's the human aspects of this crazy business that both stymie and amaze me.  
Good times.
 
Greg can now be found over at Walters & Shutwell, and for those of you that are wondering the "Death of the Copier" site is still functional and still offers up great reads about MPS.
 
-=Good Selling=-

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