You don’t know what you don’t know!
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
by Daniel Gash-Jones
Editor’s note: While most readers of this Blog are LRS customers, we’ve seen our audience grow to include partner companies, analysts, and even competitors. Today’s post is written for the hard-working Managed Print Services (MPS) community from an author who until recently counted himself among their ranks.
Several years ago, I was part of a team competing to win the MPS business of a major manufacturer here in the UK. We went in to the first meeting with a well-oiled client engagement strategy that had worked countless times before, selling what we saw as a market-leading service that provided great benefits to our customers. We planned to “wow” our prospective customer by demonstrating how we’d deliver huge cost savings, drive efficiencies, reduce wastage, and consolidate printers into departmental devices. We’d reduce soft costs through automated meter readings, toner delivery and service provision. Then we’d show how we could reduce carbon footprint through fewer wasted prints, enforce uptake of mono and duplex printing, yada yada yada… Sound familiar?
The problem, as we soon discovered, was that we were dealing with a very informed IT procurement professional in an organisation that had already benefited from all of these areas in their previous MPS cycles. He nicely (but firmly) explained the state of their environment in a calm voice:
- We’ve already consolidated our printers as much as is reasonable.
- We have a follow-you print management product we’re very happy with.
- We have a great system to manage the distribution and storage of scanned documents.
- We print only 4% of our output in colour and we enforce duplex printing wherever possible.
Then he underscored his point. “There is no further benefit you can sell us that we haven’t already achieved. We’ve finished the MPS journey and realised every possible saving and cost reduction. All we need is your best price for replacement hardware and service.”
Despite numerous attempts to demonstrate extra value, as it turned out, our informed IT procurement professional was absolutely right. They’d realised all their value and there was nowhere else to take their MPS.
Or so I thought… until a few months ago when I joined LRS.
Had I known then what I know now, I would have moved the conversation away from the typical MPS focus areas to subjects that would have held real value for this customer. We would have discussed assured delivery for label and barcode printers, of which they had many, but which were not part of their existing MPS agreement. This would have led the conversation to how we could achieve highly simplified management of their SAP printing, inclusion of mainframe / host print into the MPS, and reduction in Windows and other server infrastructure. We certainly would have talked at length about the benefits of “view-not-print” in terms of both the environment and, more importantly, cost. And we most definitely would have talked about how they could easily manage Unicode printing in languages such as Japanese — something which was very relevant to this client.
Ultimately, we would have delivered game-changing benefits and levels of cost reduction to this client and helped them to go way beyond MPS. (And we might have won their business as well!)
Using the VPSX Enterprise Output Management layer, all of the above benefits can be achieved. In fact, they already have been realised for many of the world’s largest and most well-known manufacturers, as well as many of the world’s leading banks, insurance companies, retailers, logistics companies, and healthcare providers.
So the lesson here, for both IT procurement and MPS sales professionals, is a simple one. Never assume that there are no more cost benefits or service improvements to be achieved, just because you’ve reached the limit of what you know. As a former colleague of mine was fond of saying, “you don’t know what you don’t know.”
Never were truer words spoken!