No one would deny that copier companies have been slow to make the transition from print specialists to IT service providers. Why is this? Is it due to lack of investment, lack of effort, lack of confience, lack of knowledge, bad decisions, plain bad luck? Or is it, as Stuart Evans, CTO of UK document management specialist Invu, suggests, simply because solutions and services provision is not in their DNA. Speaking to PrintIT Reseller recently, he said: “The whole copier reseller market traditionally has absolutely no culture of customer care or business solutions. It still sees a solution as a number of clicks. They have made a lot of their money in the last fie to 10 years in selling print management solutions, which is really just another way of dressing up clicks while selling less clicks. It’s not a business solution.”
Warming to his theme, he added: “To sell business solutions you have to have two or three things that they simply don’t have built into their DNA. First, you have to have the ability to listen to customers and understand their needs as a business, not just as people pressing buttons. And you need to be able to deliver into that, which means understanding their other software systems; understanding what fiance systems really do; and understanding what people want out of those systems in their different roles – what a fiance director wants out of that system, what an accounts payable clerk wants out of it and what a regular person in goods inwards wants to do with it. I don’t think those businesses traditionally have the whole business model and engagement model with customers to fid that out.”
Konica Minolta will hope he is wrong. It has just launched a new product and is hoping to reposition itself as an IT services provider (see page 34). At the launch, John Zannos, vice president of Alliances/Business Development at Canonical, told PrintIT that Konica Minolta’s history as a printer vendor gives it an advantage in selling services as its regular interaction with clients when servicing devices or discussing the progress of a managed print service provides a valuable insight into customers’ needs. Time will tell whether Evans or Zannos is right.
James Goulding, Editor