The XEROX/HP saga playing out is proving that many can't see past what's in front of them and have limited imagination to assist them in discovering how things could be, based on how things should be. It has been a few months since Xerox took the bold action and beat HP to the table in a merger discussion.
BUT XEROX IS TOO SMALL TO BUY- THE GREAT BIG HP!! Say those looking with no imagination.
Yes, HP should have approached Xerox. HP having three times the market cap acquiring the smaller Xerox, obviously makes more financial business sense. However, in today's business environment being bold and decisive are better attributes than being big slow and arrogant to yesterday's circumstances.
What would Bill Hewlett and David Packard do today? I would say they would have called Carl Icahn and brought the two companies together they surely wouldn't be sitting in silence. Bill and Dave were creators of the future, not managers of the past. Today Xerox seems much more focused on delivering the future to the present and much bolder towards accomplishing that.
"A company becomes obsolete when it focuses on delivering the past to the future instead of delivering the future to the present."
HP seems to be sitting quietly by hoping Xerox just goes away. I conclude that HP's silence is loudly defining their absolute lack of boldness. It appears as though the newly appointed HP leaders are more concerned with maintaining power as they create visions from memories. Where the Xerox leadership team is decisively expressing a desire to recreate tomorrow for an entire industry, a tomorrow where Xerox imagines two iconic companies coming together to reinvent the industry they both gave birth to. Xerox giving birth to xerographic print technology and HP giving birth to digital printer technology.
Of course, Shareholder value is essential, so, is a company's relevance, and most agree that relevance is what provides continuous shareholder value.
Some suggest this is all about Carl Icahn making money. Well, Carl does know how to make money. However, Carl is also a leader who is watching an industry that is quickly resembling another industry. Remember KODAK? I see Carl's interest as an interest not only about shareholder value but an interest in preventing two iconic organizations Xerox and HP from becoming victims of maintaining yesterday; something the world watched kill Kodak.
Remember, it was Carl who re-aligned the Xerox board, re-evaluated the leadership, and the direction of Xerox during the attempted sale to Fuji by the evicted past administration. I see Carl Icahn as one who is concerned for an industry and is showing his leadership in reinventing it, starting with the appointment of John Visentin as the new Xerox president, which has proven to have been the right decision.
Where's the outspoken HP Board Member? Arguing for Status Quo. Is HP's Board merely a rubber stamp for HP's brand-new executive team? We sure don't see any Boldness from their Board or Executive team.
HP's leadership is missing the value of this merger or, worse, are more concerned about protecting their positions than protecting their shareholders. The industry of print equipment and its services is unbalanced between supply and demand. Anytime supply exceeds demand adjustments are mandatory to bring back balance. Over the last couple of years, we continue witnessing declines in both document printing and copying, thereby declines in sales and manufacturing. The industry must consolidate, and HP's arrogance to ignore Xerox's offer is not in the best interest of the HP shareholders.
HP is gambling that they don't need what Xerox brings them. However, they are also risking that an alternative acquisition by Xerox won't affect them. These two gambles are foolish bets in a declining marketplace. Especially as the two are current market leaders in their core competences.
Xerox's ability to sell and then service what it sells through a push economy process utilizing a world-class direct and dealer partner distribution footprint. HP's dominance in desktop printing and compute equipment mostly sold through pull economy processes. Both Xerox and HP are globally recognized brands and they should capitalize on this.
HP is jeopardizing its dominance in a declining market, and if XEROX decides or is forced to move in a different direction, HP could face disastrous results. Use your imagination and think about the possibilities. The industry is consolidating, and all manufacturers are facing challenges with their financial outcomes, both revenues and profits are slipping downwards with increasing speed.
In closing: I would suggest that all those looking for the reasons this merger won't work instead imagine the possibilities of how this merger will work and regarding the noise around Xerox having too much debt as the buyer. Think about a strategy where Xerox sells an equity position in the newly formed Xerox/HP company. There're a few manufacturers I can think of who would be ecstatic to join in the re-invention of an industry. Think about Canon or Fuji. Yes, we all remember Fuji and Xerox once had an equity relationship.
In times of declining markets in need of diversification and consolidation, strange bedfellows emerge. As I have mentioned, it takes boldness and decisiveness to deliver the future to the present.
"Status quo is the killer of all that will be invented." HP don't get stuck in Status quo."
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It seems as more of the same is the mindset for many in the Imaging Channel. Over the last year, as print volumes continue declining, as dealers continue over-specking and over-selling, nothing seems to wake up the channel to the threat of consistently delivering out-side market realities. However, soon the end-users un-awareness will end.
"The channel's threat is a new competitor who takes advantage of where the customers are going while the legacy way attempts to keep customers where they were."
In mature markets, the suppliers of goods and services can become consumed in their history as they plan their future. In other words, they create visions from memories rather than imagination.
"Without the ability to look past what's in front of you, you will always follow. Unfortunately, in declining markets, following memories will lead to obsolescence."
The Imaging Channel dealers are taking their eyes off the customer as they instead focus on keeping the customer in what made the dealers comfortable. This blindness to market realities is creating an enormous opportunity for outsiders to disrupt the status quo of the channel.
It is easy to spot complacency in legacy players. The legacy way will always argue for their own comfort, not that of their changing customer. Listen to the arguments the channel will have to continue over-specking and over-selling as an example. Nearly all their arguments are related to the pain caused to the dealers or manufacturers processes in moving from the product-centric A3 to the customer-centric A4.
The market realities are now becoming very apparent. For the first time in the channel's history, it's end-users are beginning to recognize alternative solutions as they now are being presented alternative narratives. I believe these alternative narratives to the deliverable will increase and disrupt the legacy actors as more customers replace their un-awareness with awareness.
The status quo and the disruptor have a fundamental difference in how they argue. The status quo will argue for keeping things as they were; the disruptor will argue to create things the way they should be.
The Imaging Channel will be disrupted by a shift in the delivery and the equipment delivered as the buyers will migrate to A4-equipment. The better experience of A4 will capture the imaginations of those wishing to disrupt the channel. The market realities are too compelling for the legacy way to continue fighting for the more complicated A3 approach.
If the current actors do not face this reality, they may be left with just the A3 buyers; however, there won't be enough of them to keep the dealer in their current circumstances of revenue and profits.
The solution to selling based on the market realities is simple. Dealers must look at their deliverables through their customer's eyes and be honest with what they see. Data proves the reality of volumes, needs, and usage. The dealers must develop a strategy to sell the most significant part of their customer base, which is producing volumes on MFPs under 8k a month. A better alternative than constantly upgrading and buying out leases, overselling A3 to meet commission plans or manufacturer quotas.
It's time to provide buying options such as e-commerce and understanding the importance of supporting and accepting transactional business. Not all buyers are contract buyers, and the channel is losing hundreds of millions of dollars by not providing an on-line transactional solution.
The disruptors will focus on your largest customer base, those producing 8k or less the commodity mindset buyers. Dealers can't afford to lose this vast portfolio of business. So, the dealers must change the processes to deliver and service. Migrating from A3 Equipment to A4 Equipment is not something you have a choice in. It's where the market is going.
However, you do have a choice to allow a new competitor to beat you in providing the A4MFP solution which a majority of your customers will in-fact migrate to. Simply said-with you or without you, your customers will go to the future and will be quite comfortable leaving behind all vendors who refuse to modify as market realities changed.
Don't be the vendor with the greatest relationships and loose to the innovators who delivered a better experience. For more and more customers, A4 equipment is the better experience.
"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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"Innovators rarely have the skills of the industries they disrupt. Many times, the old way becomes overconfident that their abilities to perfecting what was, will defeat the innovator's skills in improving what it should be."
Over the last 18 months, I have been on a bandwagon to educate the dealers on the importance of delivering customer-centric solutions. Unfortunately, Today many in the Imaging Channel, are still more focused on outdated processes and products then customers.
My friends, it is 2020; we started a new decade, and it is time for the Imaging Channel's actors to switch their mindsets from products to solutions based on customer realities.
The Imaging Channel's greatest threat is their unwillingness to modify the deliverable aligning to today's customer realities. This procrastination of modification will cause outsiders to invade the channel. Many dealers and some manufacturers believe they control what the customers buy. In other words, some believe customers have no means to explore options that exclude the processes used by the current channel's actors.
Disruptive innovations are about a process, a process that reinvents the old delivery mechanism. Yes, Innovations can include products; however, it's the processes in the product's go to market strategy which disrupts the old-way. In nearly all disruptions, the innovators looked at what the old-way was doing against what was best for the customers they serve.
The Imaging Channel understands the reality of declining print; they know the truth of over specking and overselling; they know there is data available to help them improve; they know that 2000 sales mythologies are past the expiration date of relevance. However, even though most of the channel's actors know they must modify their deliverables - to align closer to the customer's real desires, they remain status quo.
Those outsiders who intend to invade will start with an education process to the channel's customers. The outsiders will have zero baggage to yesterday's rules, and these outside invaders will bet that the channel's stubborn complacency will continue a little longer.
Most disruptions are a result of the old way fighting to keep things as they are. Mature industries become product-centric because the modifications needed to remain customer-centric is too painful to their current circumstances.
"Deconstructing is always the first step in constructing a new relevance."
Disruption is built as innovators listen to the arguments of the old way to keeping things as they were. These arguments define the selfish importance of the processes the old way fights to save. These arguments define for the innovators the product-centric mindsets of those they intend to defeat by delivering a customer-centric approach.
"The old way is consumed by the innovator when the old way miscalculates the timing of current relevance."
I challenge my friends in the Imaging Channel to use their imaginations as they listen to what outdated processes their peers insist on keeping relevant even though that relevancy is contrary to the market and customer realities. Then develop a new path for their business to align with both customers and market realities.
Any time a mature industry needs to argue how relevant their products are, they are giving birth to a product-centric mindset. Innovators think with a customer-centric mind. Innovators understand customers don't buy products customers buy desired outcomes. Innovators sell products that create a better means for customers to reach those desired outcomes.
The entire Imaging Channel must understand that over-specking and over-selling based on outdated processess is creating a path for the innovative disruptor right to your customer.
I suggest instead the Imaging Channel disrupt itself.
"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/