Category: Office

Does Your Company Need a Technology Refresh?

Sheryne Glicksman
Oct 17, 2017

After missing Print17 and BTA in Philadelphia because of Hurricane Irma, I was more than thrilled to travel out of my home state of Florida to attend Loffler’s Tech Fest 2017 in St Paul, Minnesota this past month!  Tech Fest is a one-day annual event that Loffler hosts bringing partners and companies together to learn about the latest technology trends and tools. Their focus on educating the audience about a technology refresh, message of helping customers and giving back to the community was clear throughout the entire day. If you haven’t heard of Loffler, you might want to check them out at https://www.loffler.com/. They started their business in a garage in 1986 and have grown to become one of the mega-dealers in the United States.

As quoted by James Loffler, Vice President – IT Solutions Group, “At Loffler Companies, helping our customers succeed is the “Why” behind what we do.  Tech Fest is an example of that commitment.  The day is spent sharing best practices, educating on the latest technology and leadership trends and strengthening customer relationships.”

Here are three best practices I would recommend for anyone considering their own Tech Fest:

Start with Having a Panel Discussion

Loffler’s Tech Fest started with a panel of four local business leaders representing the retail, legal, healthcare and hospitality markets. Discussion around top IT Security and Business Continuity concerns was kicked off by James Loffler and hosted by Jeff King. Security, industry regulation, more educated customers and IT governance came up during the panel discussions. It was noted that augmented reality will drive future sales in retail with the new iPhone coming out allowing shoppers to scan store aisles for specials.  It was also stated that small incremental changes based on needs are the best approach with technology. Most of the panel experts said we should pay attention to artificial intelligence and look at data around value based outcomes. Of course, security was top of mind for everyone who stated that companies like Loffler are key to helping businesses with specific strategies related to security needs. It’s ok to outsource some of your IT work to free up your own internal IT staff. What are you doing to leverage IT strategies and protect your business?

Highlight your Vendor Support and Do Breakout Sessions

Loffler partners with key vendors in the digital imaging channel and they have their own business units of expertise.  Scattered between the vendors, they set up their own specialty booths highlighting their experience in Managed IT, Managed Print Services and Loffler Consulting and Management Services. This company walks the talk of being more than just a copier company! I was pleased to see some familiar vendor partners such as Square 9, Xerox, Perceptive Solutions, Quest and networked with vendors I haven’t met such as Biscom, FR Secure, Artic Wolf, Communication Systems Specialists, Zerto and many more. I would suggest continuing to leverage your partnerships with key vendors and industry analysts, we can help drive business leads your way!

I found that Loffler’s Tech Fest breakout sessions were extremely educational. They prompted additional dialogues throughout the day around leadership, careers in technology, the importance of continued learning and the fact that we all need to be comfortable being uncomfortable with the pace of change in technology happening so quickly. Attendees were interested in how they can get more information on industry trends and blogs and they were also interested in learning more about how technology tools will help them solve their business problems. (I may have helped Loffler sell Square 9, not that they need my help).

They talked about the importance of IT. That it can no longer be considered a tactical part of business. That applications dictate our business processes and good data is important so we can mine it and make intelligent business decisions with it. Today, companies still lack the data they need or they must pull it from many places. What are you doing to streamline your applications and data to be more efficient?

It was noted that Shadow IT in an emerging challenge to pay attention to. Shadow IT is a term often used to describe information-technology systems and solutions built and used inside organization without explicit organizational approval. It is happening when departments choose to deploy their own solutions without involving IT.  The IT department must be at the table with the business units so everyone is on the same page aligning the business with the technology. I believe it’s one of the first steps in crafting a technology refresh for your company.

Commit to Partnerships, Culture and Diversity

Everyone has a mission statement and culture description on their website however how many of you really believe in this mission and support the culture you represent online? It was exciting to see that Loffler’s online persona and in person presence matched with their core values.

At Loffler, they believe in blending together voices from all types of people to move forward with one shared purpose of exceeding the expectations of their clients, employees, partners and community. Diversity in IT matters. This was even more apparent when key note speaker took the stage.

Their long-term partnership with the Minnesota Vikings and key note speaker Kevin Warren hit home for me. Mr. Warren spoke from the heart, showed passion for what he represents and does for a living. He spoke highly of the true partnership that Loffler has with the Vikings. He spoke about how important it is to evolve as a company, support diversity and streamline efforts on the business side to grow. I was blown away by the new interactive campus they are building in Egan. He showed us the new U.S. Bank Stadium where Super Bowl 2018 will be hosted. (I’m currently available to attend)!

Technology Refresh

In closing, it’s been noted that 3% – 7% of a company’s revenue will be spent on IT. Have you thought about your own Tech Fest? How are you leveraging your vendor partners? Have you looked at your own website lately to make sure it represents who you are today?  Are you having dialogue with your customers to understand their business challenges and prepare for growth while aligning the technology tools to help them? Do your sales reps know what challenges technology can solve? If so, you are on your way to building a technology refresh for yourself and your customers.

Print17 – First Take

Pat McGrew
Sep 21, 2017

by Marc Mascara and Pat McGrew

PRINT 17 made timely return to Chicago as multiple hurricanes impacted the southern United States. Roughly 20,000 attendees had the chance to learn from this year’s display of innovation and technology from over 450 exhibitors. The top five vendors remained the same, with only slight changes in booth sizes and rankings, but there was a renewed excitement with more hands-on equipment demonstrations and theatre presentations.

Print 17 Size Table

While PRINT is not a packaging, label, or wide format show, all major vendors were talking about these applications alongside solutions for enterprise and commercial print. It is a big decision to bring hardware to a show, yet a significant number of presses, toner and inkjet, along with finishing solutions were on the show floor.

A focus on print quality resonated throughout the show floor with announcements of new and improved inks, color management and automated calibration systems. Exhibitors such as SCREEN and Xerox are bringing to market ink formulations that enable offset-like quality on standard paper stocks, broadening the debate regarding pre-treatment of paper for InkJet presses. The emergence of inksets and priming solutions for offset stock continues to grow causing end users take note of potential lower costs that give them alternative paths to the print quality their customers demand. While not yet a trend, it will be interesting how ink and priming options play out as a factor in the overall equipment purchasing decision.

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HP Announces New PageWide Devices, Workflow Scanners & Solution Services @ Reinvent – World Partner Forum 2017

Barbara Richards
Sep 11, 2017

HP Reinvent World Partner Forum is a reinvention of their annual global partner conference bringing together 1400+ global partners, including channel partners and system integrators. At the event, HP announced several new products and solution services.

New PageWide Devices

HP announced several new contractual and transactional PageWide printers and MFPs rounding up their 2017 spring product launch portfolio. The new products range in speeds from 45ppm up to 80ppm in general office mode and will feature the same low cost per page, best in class energy efficiency and full enterprise capabilities as the Spring launch  of LaserJet products. http://client.keypointintelligence.com/bliQ/InfoCenter/Document/Item/b275b875-af12-461a-b78b-adeb4737eac6

The A3 launch will be supported by the Smart Device Services Ecosystem (SDS), an “Internet of Things” (IoT) solutions toolset that funnels information via the cloud from devices to service partners aiming to lower service cost and provide more device up-time. Product availability is scheduled for this fall.

Figure 1 – New HP PageWide Printers & MFPs

pagewidedifference

Workflow Scanners

HP also announced the latest ScanJet portfolio of single function scanners, comprised of a wide range of products. The device groupings consist of Small Work Team, Document Management (Workgroup), and Document Management (Departmental). The newly announced Flow 8500fn2 Digital Sender boasts a fast 100ppm scan speed; 10,000 page a day duty cycle and HP technology such as WebJetAdmin, FutureSmart, EveryPage and HP scan software.  In addition to the 8500 fn2 Digital Sender, HP announces the new Flow N9120 fn2 A3 scanner.  At 120ppm scanning speeds, this device is suited towards sophisticated departmental scan and capture environments with needs for more volume and large page/document sizes.

HP Solution Services

In addition to the new product announcements, HP is introducing new compatible solutions to capitalize on the trends of “mobile,” everything as a service, “smart” devices, and security.   According to HP, their portfolio of new solution services will “reinvent the power of print” aimed at addressing customer’s path of work. With this in mind, HP announced several new innovations at Reinvent World Partner Forum 2017.

Figure 2 – New HP Solution Services

HPSolutionServices

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Using the Mopria Print Service in a Home Office

Christine Dunne
Aug 31, 2017

We write a fair amount about mobile printing at Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends, but sometimes the best way to assess it is to try it ourselves. I was motivated to do so after I learned that the next version of Android (8.0) will integrate the Mopria Print Service from the get-go. No additional download will be required.

I wanted to see how things stand as is. I recently switched from an iPhone to a Samsung Galaxy, so figured it made sense to try printing from my new device. I still have Android version 7.0, and may not have access to 8.0 for another month or so.

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According to recent InfoTrends U.S. Enterprise Office Primary Research study, 40% of IT decision-makers indicated the #1 hurdle for digital conversion is cost.

Barbara Richards
Aug 29, 2017

Recent survey results from InfoTrends U.S. Enterprise primary research study of IT decision makers found that Enterprise customers see the cost associated with converting to digital processes as the greatest hurdle to conversion and this was most prevalent in the manufacturing (47%) and prof. services sectors (44%). Furthermore, they are also worried about the IT resources and the preference for paper—whether these are perceived or actual.

As far as initiatives or policies to reduce paper are concerned, the enterprise customers surveyed have mostly shifted to simple digital processes, such as sharing document more via e-mail (62%) or default printing on both sides of a document (53%). While more complex digital processes, such as document collaboration via cloud or Dropbox, are beginning to take on a more dominate role within these larger workgroups (51%).

What are the major hurdles to converting paper processes to digital?

Digital Conversion Hurdles by Vertical in Enterprise

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ECi Software Acquired by Apax Partners

Jeff Hayes
Aug 15, 2017

Apax Partners LLP announced it has agreed to acquire ECi Software Solutions (Fort Worth, TX) a provider of enterprise resource planning software solutions for small and medium-sized companies in the distribution, field services, building and construction, and manufacturing industries. The sellers are The Carlyle Group, a global asset management and private-equity firm which acquired ECi in March of 2014, and Level Equity. No financial terms were disclosed, but clearly the timing and price were right for the sellers.ECi Logo

Apax is a leading private equity firm headquartered in London and New York that primarily invests in companies across four global sectors of Tech and Telco, Services, Healthcare, and Consumer. The company has investments in 23 companies in the Tech and Telco sector including Exact Software (Delft, The Netherlands), a provider of subscription-based shop management, ERP, accounting, and CRM software for small to mid-size manufacturing companies. Read more »

Do You ChannelCon?

Sheryne Glicksman

CompTIA ChannelCon event was held in Austin,Texas in August. It was an amazing event filled with tons of educational seminars, interactive events, several vendors, great dialogues along with fun things to do like participating in a 5K walk/run and going to an event where we were fitted for cowboy hats. Everything is big in Texas!

ChannelCon’s message of Be the Change was apparent throughout the event. Cool posters were on the wall all over the venue such as the one highlighted that I captured while walking to another session. Discussions around diversity drove home the need for everyone to focus on unconscious bias and prioritize inclusion to help change a rigid culture. I believe one of the most important elements to a successful digital transformation is a collaborative culture with diversity at top of mind. Diversity IT Matters.

ChannelCon3 (3)

Community forums such as Advancing Women in Technology, Advancing Diversity in Technology and the Technology Lifecycle Services held various meetings throughout the week. Women in Technology had a great discussion on the importance of mentorship including insights on reverse and pacing partner mentoring. Advancing Diversity had a launch party to kick off this new community and we were informed that the old ITSS Community now includes the MPS group and has a new name.

In one of the sessions, it was stated that disruptive trends such as Cloud, Mobility, Big Data, Automation and IOT will result in $2 trillion of IT spend in the future. These trends are creating different expectations from our customers as we change our conversations from product focus to the experience of impact focus. A large corporation we all know stated they are flooding the market with technical resources to help partners craft solutions. Many experts stated that subscription or pay as you go licensing programs will continue to emerge and new companies will be born in the cloud.

Customers will continue to look for partners who understand their business goals and drivers and can help them solve their problems. Sales reps & IT professionals need to move beyond conversations around speeds, feeds, solutions and have dialogues around business outcomes to eliminate the analog mindset. Sales and marketing departments will need to work closer together breaking down silos to drive brand awareness and a better customer experience for everyone.

Did you know that 90% of the world’s data was created in the last two years? This led to discussions on data silos inside companies, the importance of data driven decisions and the continued growth we will see with data along with future career opportunities in technical roles associated with data security.

It was noted that three breakthrough accelerators in 2016 were processing power, storage and bandwidth. Did you know processing power is doubling every 2 years and storage is doubling every 12 months? 5G bandwidth is next on the horizon which will provide us 100X faster connectivity, 50X faster data access and 90% less energy used. By 2030, over 100 billion devices will be connected. The number and nature of the devices that are connected to the internet are concerning to businesses with BYOD and Security at top of mind all related to the Internet of Things (IOT).

In closing with the future of technology, it was stated again that customers said they are using technology to drive business outcomes however many of these small to mid-size customers also stated they aren’t as confident yet in their internal IT staff. This gives opportunity for our future leaders in the IT world to help impact change. I would suggest taking the time to review all different types of candidates coming into the IT world today that can help make a difference in your business tomorrow and into the future.

Overall fabulous event. Look for details on next year’s ChannelCon and join me to Do ChannelCon in 2018.

 

 

Kyocera Hits the Accelerate Button with DataBank Acquisition

Jeff Hayes
Aug 4, 2017

Kyocera Hits the Accelerate Button with DataBank Acquisition

Synergies that go “Beyond the Document” 

 kyo logo
databank logo

KYOCERA announced they have acquired DataBank IMX, a nation-wide provider of distributed capture and business process automation services and enterprise content management (ECM) solutions.  Specific terms of the deal were not disclosed, but although KYOCERA Document Solutions Inc. acquired DataBank, operationally DataBank will report to KYOCERA Document Solutions America, Inc.  This deal is an important move by Kyocera, which typically has focused on organic growth initiatives, and has the potential to create significant new revenue streams and further strengthen their close relationships with independent office equipment dealers.  After meeting with Norihiko Ina, President of KYOCERA Document Solutions Inc., and Chuck Bauer, CEO of DataBank, I had the opportunity of learning first-hand of this latest industry acquisition.

Some Background:  Kyocera’s Total Document Solutions (TDS) Strategy

During their April 18, 2017 Business Technology Conference, the President and CEO of KYOCERA Document Solutions America, Yukio Ikeda, explained that Kyocera’s alliance with DataBank, announced on 9/13/16, was critical to the next phase in their Total Document Solutions (TDS) strategy. Mr. Ikeda described this next phase as TDS 2.0, offering Business Process Improvement, Business Process Outsourcing and IT Services as expanded Kyocera offerings. In his presentation, he went on to explain that all business processes, not just document-related ones could benefit from these additional services.  He announced that within FY18, their North American dealers would be able to “offer business process improvement services through Kyocera and DataBank’s team of BPI specialists.” This acquisition confirms that Kyocera has executed on this approach by fully incorporating the services provided by DataBank – now a wholly owned entity.

Why DataBank?

DataBank claims to be the single largest North American reseller of Hyland OnBase with over 800 ECM installations across the country. The company offers solutions built on a variety of leading document capture, enterprise content management, and business process automation tools.

Kyocera has been focusing on distributed capture and document management solutions for Hyland OnBase and Microsoft Sharepoint customers in document/workflow intensive industries including healthcare, education, and legal. DataBank enables Kyocera to accelerate and deepen its offerings in these areas, as well as provide additional direct sales and professional services capabilities. A quick thumbnail on DataBank:

  • Founded in 1991 with headquarters in King of Prussia, PA
  • Variety of solutions based on Hyland OnBase and Microsoft Sharepoint
  • Extensive professional services for re-designing complex document and data-intensive business processes and implementing and managing automated and outsourced solutions
  • Over 620 employees across 7 Imaging Centers and 6 sales offices in the U.S.
  • Approximately 65% of revenue from healthcare and public services accounts

Other DataBank technology partners include:

  • Hyland OnBase (DataBank is a platinum reseller in North America)
  • Microsoft Sharepoint
  • Anydoc, AvePoint, DocuSign, Hyperfish, K2 Nintex
  • Leading scanner & mailing system vendors

DataBank solutions also connect with a variety of MFPs from other vendors, and Kyocera has indicated that they will not disrupt the support offered to those customers, but will look to shift customers to Kyocera-based devices and solutions wherever possible.  Kyocera also believes they can more tightly integrate their devices with DataBank solutions as part of future product development.

Why Now?

Kyocera clearly sees solutions as integral to their business strategy and has been impressed with the DataBank management team and offerings. The company is focused on offering customers a new level of consultative expertise in simplifying complex workflows, managing mission-critical information, and optimizing business performance.  Kyocera has also been steadily building out their Total Document Solutions portfolio through internal development and industry partners, with nearly 50 software offerings focusing on distributed capture, data extraction, document management, device management, output management, and security.

Kyocera also has the financial resources to make a mid-sized acquisition, and has not been burdened with integrating previous acquisitions like some competing OEMs. The company has outperformed the industry recently with revenue up 104% over the previous year and has reported 8 consecutive years of growth.  With the steady economy, strong balance sheet, and a good partner in a strategic part of the market, Kyocera believes now is the time to make a move. 

Industry Impact

This acquisition doesn’t change the structure of the industry, but clearly indicates that Kyocera is committed for the long term. Keypoint Intelligence believe this move is important because it:

  • Signals Kyocera’s strategic direction further into the solutions business and enterprise accounts
  • Strengthens Kyocera’s position in important vertical markets (healthcare, government, legal)
  • Significantly expands Kyocera’s professional services capabilities
  • Creates a new services revenue stream around business process automation
  • Provides new opportunities (solutions) and capabilities (integration) for Kyocera dealers
  • Has long-term potential for Kyocera to expand within the U.S. and other regions

InfoTrends’ Opinion

Expansion and contraction has become common place in our industry, with Xerox and Lexmark recently divesting its solutions and service entities, and now with this acquisition by Kyocera – clearly vendors are trying to find ways to better serve the expanding needs of their customers for services that go beyond the document.  Acquisition is one way to accomplish this, and this recent course taken by Kyocera and DataBank, which began as a partnership a year ago, may have been a prudent one that could work to their mutual benefit.  During this past year, both companies have had a chance to familiarize themselves with their respective product and solution portfolios, as well as their corporate cultures. It is also likely that their sales channels have had a chance to work closely together, aligning resources and finding ways to combine forces to better serve their customers.  With this acquisition, it is anticipated that Kyocera will be able to continue on the path in offering expanded technologies and services to their customers, and realize phase 2.0 of their Total Document Solutions strategy.

How effective is your MPS program?

Sheryne Glicksman

On a recent webinar, it was stated that 65% of total cost for an MPS program is associated with consumables and supplies. This can be as high as 75% when we consider the A4 conversion going on. Business firms that offer MPS to their customers must continue to focus on this area to improve their MPS programs.

There are many variables that stack up to make an effective MPS program for your customers. One of the variables is associated with shipping consumables. Customers don’t want to stock extra supplies and you don’t want to ship too many supplies, so how we do find the happy medium? First, it’s important for customers to know that they don’t need to replace the toner cartridge the minute it says running low. Are your reps and specialists speaking to customers about your process for shipping toner and why they don’t need to duplicate efforts? Have you invested in dedicated staff to track toner usage and help proactively manage the program? Do you have any kind of system alerts, such as email notifications to customers, before the toner ships? One of the things you can do is make sure your sales reps can easily explain your MPS program to your customers including the importance of managing the supplies.

Another trend we are seeing is the potential growth of inkjet. According to a recent KeyPoint Intelligence study, 2017 was the year that inkjet in the office is expanding. Epson, Canon, HP and Brother continued making investments in business class inkjet and Riso launched the first high speed (120 ppm) inkjet for the office market. How does your MPS program handle inkjet? What are your plans to proactively consider the growth here to incorporate it into your program? How will you track it? As you can see in the chart below, Inkjet serialized segment 3 forecast the highest growth in the next several years.

Business Inkjet vs Laser: 2016 – 2021  North America Placements Forecast

Pic 3

 

We’ve heard the term “Everything as a Service” associated with the future of Managed Print Services. Let’s also consider “Print as a Service”. In a recent study, we found that vendors will intensify efforts to increase user loyalty by offering various plans to add service components to supplies. MPS is well-penetrated in large organizations, but it has not had the same success in SMB. OEM’s are looking for the right formula to convert SMB’s from transitional to a contract sale or a subscription type program. Other plans, such as fleet supplies, auto-order or individual device re-order will continue to be analyzed and developed.

Fleet optimization is another variable to look at. Talk to your customers about how you can help them design solutions around their workflow during your quarterly business reviews. Most dealers successful in the MPS world are adjusting or making tweaks along the way that help customer’s control their costs in printing. A simple thing like swapping one device for another one based on volume, removing the costliest devices and shifting pages to workgroup printers are all good examples of fleet optimization and right-sizing of the fleet conversations you should be having on a regular basis.

Are you using tools that can help track page yields per cartridge, volume per machines and end-user printing? By adding advanced behavior modification software, you can help drive down costs of printing by 20% or more. Simply by having tools to indicate where to send print job based on the specific job is one way this type of software can help. It can also eliminate printing and with the savings from not printing, you can help your customers use these dollars in process automation tools for their business workflow.

Currently digital tools like email are most likely replacing print though many other options exist with document collaboration tools and business process automation. Does your firm have a paper reduction policy? If so, what resources and tools are being used? How are you marketing this to help your customers? Are you considering factors such as security in printing?

Paper Reduction Policies in SMB’s and Enterprises

Picture 8

The dealers who intensify efforts to increase user loyalty by offering various plans to add service components to their supplies, move into subscription programs such as “everything as a service” and offer security services will continue to be on the leading edge of MPS.

The future of MPS is today and beyond.

Epson Announces Partnership with Nuance and showcases new products at “Prism of Possibilities” NYC Event

Barbara Richards
Jul 27, 2017

epsonlogo nuancelogo

Epson and Nuance form Strategic Partnership

On July 25th, Nuance Communications, Inc., and Seiko Epson Corporation announced a worldwide strategic partnership to enhance the Epson customer experience by providing Nuance document imaging solutions through Epson distributors and resellers. According to Epson, this new partnership brings together the low running costs, reduced intervention and environmental impact as well as the high reliability of their printers, with the ability to securely control and manage print and capture to enhance productivity, while reducing operating expenses for their customers. 

Under the new partnership, Epson will sell and distribute Nuance eCopy ShareScan and Equitrac Office/Express software on their family of inkjet MFPs including the high-speed WorkForce Enterprise WF-C20590 (launched in Spring 2017)http://client.keypointintelligence.com/bliQ/InfoCenter/Document/Item/52413605-84e7-47cd-9f6a-a5e10fb45b1d and LX -10000/7000 series of linehead technology for SMB and corporate workgroups.

In addition, Epson will also integrate the Nuance Omnipage SDK and Epson scanning applications for better OCR accuracy within document workflows and will bundle Nuance’s Power PDF software with a select line of Epson document scanners.

Nuance Solutions to be made available to Epson include:

Epson products Nuance products Nuance products Nuance products
WorkForce Enterprise/Pro Printers Equitrac Office Express Equitrac Express eCopy ShareScan
Document Scanners OmniPage Capture SDK PowerPDF

New DS-410 Document Scanner

At the event, Epson also announced a new commercial document scanner, the DS-410, complete with a 50-sheet automatic document feeder, duplex scanning and 26ppm/52 ipm scan speeds. It offers support for ISIS and TWAIN drivers for seamless integration into most document management software along with a three year limited warranty. According to Mark Pickard, Senior Product Manager of Scanners, the DS-410 is ideal for environments that require a fast and flexible document scanning solution that provides paper-intensive businesses an affordable solution to save, store and protect critical documents. The DS-410 is available today through select resellers and distributors nationwide at a MSRP of $379.

Figure 1- Epson DS-410 Document Scanner

EpsonDS410

 

In addition to the new scanner and partnership announcement, Epson also showcased products from their commercial and enterprise divisions as well as new wearable technologies that will be available later this year.

 

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