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Facilities Manager Server Certificate Changes

Print Audit changed its web server certificates to use SHA-2 on April 7th, 2016. What changed and when? ICE software installed on older Windows operating systems may generate the following error: ICE was unable to verify your license: Soap call “VerifyLicense” failed. Error: Unexpected error occurred: 12175. This error occurs whenever the ICE software is
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New Features in Facilities Manager 3.14

With the release of Facilities Manager 3.14 on April 12th, we are pleased to announce the following enhancements: Mono and Colour Life Counts Added to Alert Information The mono life count and colour life count can now be optionally added to emailed Alert notifications. These fields are included in the Web Post and Email attachment
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Is Office Printing Increasing or Declining? Answer: YES

Is Office Printing Increasing or Declining? Answer: YES

By West McDonald, Vice President of Business Development, Print Audit & Owner, FocusMPS If you are in the office equipment industry one of the things you rely on is people printing. As your primary revenue source relies on the equipment and supplies that allow people to print you need to ask a very important question:
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How to make sure your clients use the toner you pay for

How to make sure your clients use the toner you pay for

By Ian Dunsmore, Director PAE Business How to fill the gap between low printer / MFP price and profit? With Toner. Page Click Margins are narrowing. A contract won or lost can depend on fractions of a penny difference. Customer loyalty will go with the contract. Optimising Toner usage and supply is one part of
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Ignite & ITEX 2016: Elephants and Golden Eggs. Print Audit

Ignite & ITEX 2016: Elephants and Golden Eggs

By West McDonald, Vice President of Business Development, Print Audit & Owner, FocusMPS I’ve been in the Managed Print Services space for over 14 years and one of my favourite events every year has been the ITEX show. It’s one of those rare shows where you get a 3-for-1: Tradeshow, educational event, and networking bonanza.
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Monthly Archives: March 2016 Is Office Printing Increasing or Declining? Answer: YES Posted on March 23, 2016 by Print Audit iStock_000004327361_Medium By West McDonald, Vice President of Business Development, Print Audit & Owner, FocusMPS If you are in the office equipment industry one of the things you rely on is people printing. As your primary revenue source relies on the equipment and supplies that allow people to print you need to ask a very important question: Are people printing more or less than they used to? There are a dizzying amount of contradictory statistics and claims around office printing. Some say that print is declining at record rates while others state that office print volumes are actually on the rise. Whose numbers should you trust? How do you sort through the noise to get to the real answers? The good news is there are tried and tested tips to help you fight through the confusion to get to the meat. Here are the top 3 questions you need to ask to dig deeper and get to the truth. Tip #1: Break it down by print category Recently, I saw a graph that showed office printing volumes going up. This generated a lot of excitement judging by some of the comments around the post I was reading. But closer examination demonstrates that while total volumes are on a slight increase, the sources of those spikes may or may not be an opportunity for your business. Let’s look at the chart: Chart1 There are two clear areas of growth in office printing according to this chart. The largest is in High Volume Production print. The other is in Business Inkjet. Close examination of the chart shows that both traditional Workgroup Toner and Large Volume Production are being cannibalized. This is important because it says that you may have to examine your product portfolio to ensure you remain competitive and take advantage of categories that are experiencing growth. What you sell today may not be what makes you money tomorrow. Tip #2: Be leery of statistics that aren’t granular A couple of years ago I was at an OEM event where the speaker said “Good news! Volumes on our devices have seen a huge spike in total volumes over the last 3 years. Office print is growing!” The room went up in applause. Well, most of the room. I had questions. Before we get to those questions, let’s talk science. One of my favourite subjects in school was science. I learned that there is a difference between “causation” and “correlation” and that a scientist’s main job is asking a lot of questions and performing a lot of tests to get to the finer truths. A good example my grade 12 science teachers gave was that of Malaria. There was a time when people thought Malaria was caused by “bad swamp gasses” because the closer people were to swamps the more likely they were to get Malaria. It was up to one skeptic to perform some better testing to prove that this simply was not the case. This one scientist holed himself up near a swamp to see if the gasses would give him malaria. To control any outside influences he holed up in a screened in area to keep out insects. That scientist didn’t get malaria. He soon deduced that mosquitoes and other biting insects could be responsible. So there is a correlation between being near a swamp and malaria, but the cause is mosquitoes biting people and transmitting the disease. Getting to this truth has saved innumerable lives over the decades since being discovered. Mosquito Oh, right, we’re talking about volumes on devices going up or down, not malaria. The same principle of introducing controls to find the real reason for per device volume increases holds true. I cornered the presenter at the OEM event and asked a few questions: 1. Was there recent device consolidation? Fewer devices means more pages for the remaining ones. 2. Have offices been hiring more people? More new hires also adds volumes to existing devices. 3. Have total volumes risen, stayed the same, or declined? If the answer to the first two questions is “yes” total office volumes could still be less than years prior. Knowing this is really, really important. The presenter shared with me that he wasn’t sure about the answers to my questions, that he wasn’t provided with those kind of details. And as we all know, the devil is in the details. Tip #3: Study your own customers If you are in the office equipment space you likely have some customers that have been loyal for 10 years or more. Studying these long-term customers is an excellent way to understand what is happening in your local geography. Some ways you can better examine print volume trends in your own customer base: 1. Total page growth: The customer could be printing more overall. Find out if this is due to new business processes, increased staff numbers and/or regulatory/compliance needs. 2. Winning: Another reason for total volume increases on the devices that you manage is that you are doing a great job of winning unmanaged devices when they come up for renewal. You are getting more share of existing volumes. 3. Vertical Analyses: Print Audit’s Insight dashboard allows Premier members to compare their own MIF with the “market at large.” Is their own share of market lopsided? Are there verticals they don’t touch that are rich with devices and pages? This powerful dashboard allows Premier members to see which verticals have the most opportunity and compares that with their actual market penetration. CHart2 Getting answers to all of these questions (and the actions they inspire you to take!) could be the difference between a blockbuster or a lackluster year for your dealership. The only way to get the real answers is to ask the hard questions, and lots of them! If you are serious about growth you need to be serious about getting the facts. Hopefully this post will make it easier for you to do so. Now it’s your turn! What are your thoughts on the state of office printing? Are volumes increasing overall? Are they decreasing? What surprising things have you discovered and what questions did you ask to get to the truth? Leave your comments and share your experiences! You can also contact me to learn more about what I’ve learned by conducting hundreds of end-user assessments over the years. Posted in Managed Print Services, Printing | Tagged assessment, business, business strategy, IT, managed print, MPS, Office Equipment Dealers, print audit, Print Behavior, print management, print tracking, printers, printing, printing trends, Revenue, sales, selling, strategy, success, technology, tips | 0 Comments Ignite & ITEX 2016: Elephants and Golden Eggs Posted on March 17, 2016 by Print Audit BlogImage1 By West McDonald, Vice President of Business Development, Print Audit & Owner, FocusMPS I’ve been in the Managed Print Services space for over 14 years and one of my favourite events every year has been the ITEX show. It’s one of those rare shows where you get a 3-for-1: Tradeshow, educational event, and networking bonanza. It is a place to discover new offerings, to learn new ways to do business, and to meet with partners (old and new) in one convenient location. ITEX 2016 was no exception, though I would have to say that it is definitely a year that seemed to be one of transition. There were some interesting signs of a need for change, which I like to call the “Elephants,” as well as a host of even more positive surprises which I like to call “Golden Eggs.” Below are my takeaways from the ITEX Show 2016: Elephant #1: Location, location, location: How I LOVE Ft. Lauderdale. How I LOATHE their convention centre. The place doesn’t feel like it was built with human beings in mind. The scale of the place feels more like it was built for giants. The vendor floor felt underwhelming as there was simply too much floor and not enough booths. The rooms where the learning tracks were held had the same problem of scale. Even session rooms with 50 or 60 attendees felt sparse and barren. This is not reflection on InfoTrends and I’m certain that ITEX 2017 is going to blow us all away. Someplace else. I’m almost certain. BlogImage2 Elephant #2: Page decline. According to the keynote delivered by Jeff Hayes, President of InfoTrends, page volumes are predicted to decline at a rate of 1.5% per annum through 2020. That’s up from a previous prediction of 1.2%. The slow burn is heating up. Though certainly not a number that predicts the death of print it is one that says we need to start taking diversification and efforts to take market share from competitors more seriously. Selfishly, I think it further solidifies the need to examine different billing models, like SBB (Seat Based Billing) to mitigate revenue loss from declining pages. Elephant #3: Where were the OEMs? Other than a keynote by HP and a private room where you could look at some of their new toys, the OEM presence was all but barren. At least for the A3/A4 providers. 3DSystems had a booth in conjunction with Synnex and it was incredible! I spent an hour there with my jaw on the floor looking at all sorts of unbelievable 3D printed objects. Now if only I could have taken one home… BlogImage3 As I mentioned in the beginning of this write up, there were far more “Golden Eggs” than “Elephants”. Here are my top 3: Golden Egg #1: INTEC Ignite “speed dating” really works. This is the third year that I’ve attended the INTEC Ignite event and it was well worth it, particularly the “speed dating” sessions where suppliers and potential customers got to spend 15 minutes together. Print Audit had over 20 meetings in this format which led to a bunch of follow up meetings to talk more in depth about how our offering could help them strengthen their offerings. A big hats off to Brian Stevenson and his team for a truly unique and worthwhile way of bringing suppliers and customers together. BlogImage4 Golden Egg #2: GreatAmerica Financial Services’ booth! The cafe theme was an absolute hit! The espresso bar was a welcome addition too as the conference centre Starbucks was closed the entire time. The creativity and execution of this booth made for an environment you really wanted to be a part of. I’m sure the conversations and quality business interactions were as energized as the caffeine. A big Kudos to the entire team at GreatAmerica for an exceptional job! BlogImage5 Golden Egg #3: ITEX 2017 and with InfoTrends at the helm. ITEX 2016 felt much the same as ITEX 2015 in many respects with one clear exception: The InfoTrends sessions delivered on the promise of truly educational and provocative learning sessions. I have no doubt that Jon Reardon and his team will be taking education much further in 2017. He is one of the smartest and most strategic people I know and I am excited to see what he does with ITEX 2017 and a clean slate. BlogImage6 ITEX is an event that has done our industry great service for many, many years. I really do believe that with InfoTrends at the helm that it is going to evolve and become something even greater in the years to come. The golden eggs far outweighed the elephants in the room and I, for one, am excited to see what ITEX 2017 will become: A new format, a new location, and a new (and bright) future. Bring it. Posted in Managed Print Services, Printing, Technology | Tagged Billing, Ignite, InfoTrends, INTEC, ITEX, managed print, MPS, OEM, Office Equipment Dealers, print audit, print management, print tracking, printers, printing, printing trends, SBB, seat based billing, selling, strategy, success, technology | 0 Comments Not So Mickey Mouse: What Walt Disney Can Teach Us About Re-Energizing Our Businesses. Print Audit

Not So Mickey Mouse: What Walt Disney Can Teach Us About Re-Energizing Our Businesses

By West McDonald, Vice President of Business Development, Print Audit & Owner, FocusMPS Remember the golden years of Walt Disney?  When you think about your favorite Disney flick what comes to mind?  Bambi?  Snow White?  Cinderella? What if I was to suggest that the era of princesses and funny cartoons has been replaced by something
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Insights Into The Imaging Industry Like You’ve Never Seen Before!

KABLAM! WHOK! KAPOW! Insights Into The Imaging Industry

By West McDonald, Vice President of Business Development, Print Audit & Owner, FocusMPS KABLAM! WHOK! KAPOW! Insights Into The Imaging Industry Like You’ve Never Seen Before! The Imaging Industry is changing and changing fast. We’ve all seen it in the news and most of us are starting to understand that there is a window we need to hit
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