Copier Buyer Beware: MPS Is Not a Lease Extension Plan – the Devil You Know Is Not Always the Best Option

man from mps company holding an mps lease extensionAs many true Managed Print Services (MPS) companies will agree, a lease extension or equipment upgrade prior to the end of term is most often not a good idea from a total cost of ownership perspective. It’s interesting that we have recently seen the following tactics from copier manufacturers.

1. We have seen them extend leases at low costs to keep machines that they manage in place with hopes of differing their customers’ decision on going to market.

2. We have also seen them offer unsolicited proposals to try and get their clients to upgrade equipment with as much as 3 years left in their current lease commitment. There are some important things to think about.

Top 4 things to think about before approving the copier company’s proposal:

1. Significant cybersecurity risks. Copier equipment typically has significant risk from malware attacks and as a network entry point for hackers; and almost all copier device brands (old and new) can’t be managed with software tools that can support automating locking devices down from threats, remediating a cybersecurity attack if one happens, or reporting on potential areas of risk and cybersecurity activity.

Recommendations:

  • Dig deep, most of the manufacturers will assure you that their devices are bulletproof from cybersecurity threats. They aren’t! No matter which brand there is always the risk from hackers, but there are some leading brands in this space that are many years ahead of the competition.
  • Deal with independent experts, independent MPS companies are services companies and should provide
    recommendations for best in breed equipment, while taking cybersecurity hardware brand capabilities into account. If they can’t explain how you are best protected (automated security profiles, reporting etc.) then keep looking for the right partner. On the other hand, when you deal with the manufacturer, the sales rep/dealer rep has one purpose, to sell as much hardware as possible; therefore, not necessarily in the best interest of the customer.

2. Early upgrades can cost your company dearly. If the copier manufacturer or reseller sold you on a 60
month lease and the equipment is already failing to meet the expected up-time for your users, then it is the
wrong manufacturer and partner. The early upgrade is typically positioned where they say they will make the
existing lease go away; in actual fact, they are always adding the remaining financial commitment of the old
lease to the new lease amount. Re-financing is not recommended!

Recommendations:

  • Do not replace failing equipment with the same brand of equipment. You will most likely be in the same
    position in 36 months.
  • Find a leading MPS company to help you with short and long-term strategies to improve your office printing environment, which may include moving troubled device(s) to a lower volume area and getting them out of the environment when it makes sense.

3. What you had before is not what your users need today. Like for like replacements are usually not a good idea. A lot has changed since your company last upgraded copier hardware. It’s time to look at the full office printing environment.

Recommendations:

  • Engage a trusted independent MPS company to assess your environment and recommend devices and
    software that will improve your business’s competitive edge with more efficient document workflow and lower total cost of ownership.
  • Be sure that your buying committee looks past historical brand preferences. As experts in this space, many of the biggest brands have not invested enough in research and development to build equipment and solutions that will keep your organization efficient and safe, now and in the future.

4. It costs more to run that old equipment. Extending an existing copier lease is the wrong decision. The old copier devices are typically more expensive to run, even with the cost of capital (whether leased or purchased) factored into the monthly operating cost. With printing and imaging devices it now seems to fall in line with Moore’s law as related to the processing power and storage capabilities of technology that consistently doubles every two years.

Recommendation:

  • Find an independent MPS company that will recommend best in breed hardware that will last for the required term of your company’s refresh plan.

If you are interested in understanding more, please contact us.

Still Going About the Old Way? Office Printing-As-A-Service Is the Future

At SmartPrint our Managed Print Service (MPS) Consultants work with clients every day to help them improve their office printing environment.  What’s quite amazing, is that we consistently run into mid-sized companies and large enterprise organizations that on the outside look well organized, and I’m sure they are in core areas of their business, but frankly, their office print environment is almost always out of control. Nothing is more frustrating for users than an out of control print environment.

Here’s a typical environment we see:

The IT help desk is overwhelmed with print issues, users are frustrated with devices that can’t support what they need to accomplish; from an expense standpoint there are too many copiers (MFP/Ds) that are on expensive extended leases and are underutilized, and there are often printers in work groups and on desks that are over 15 years old. Finance management is asking what does all this cost, and no one knows. The print devices on the network can be huge security risks, and the person who is responsible to run the RFP for the copier upgrade is ready to lease new copiers that are also a security risk. IT management and the help desk want to get away from supporting the print environment and focus on core IT projects and keeping the lights (IT infrastructure) on for the users. Often the organizations think that this is just how it is. Well, it really doesn’t have to be.

It’s time to change! There is a better way! It’s time to look at office printing-as-a-service and get out of owning and managing print hardware and software. You can ensure that users have what they need and that the print infrastructure is highly available, and managed as service. According to IDC by 2021, 45% of all office print device shipments worldwide will be sold as part of a printing-as-a-service contract. We’ve had this offering for a number of years and it is growing in popularity.

Another interesting prediction in the same analysis is that by 2021, 60% of  MPS RFPs will include the provision of ongoing security auditing services of the print and document infrastructure. IDC is a very reputable firm in the global technology industry for market intelligence, so, it is very exciting for SmartPrint to already be ahead of the curve offering both MPS as a service, and print infrastructure security remediation and management as a service, especially when you look at what it could cost to deal with a  cybersecurity breach. Further, IT World Canada recently published an interesting article about the potential vulnerabilities of print devices on the network and the cost of a potential security breach.

SmartPrint can easily take over the management of the whole environment through a proven, rapid implementation process; upgrade technology; implement important security software and other secure document processes, and workflow software, all while saving more than 50% over the current state costs! We can do this with no capital investment (as-a-service), and we can get companies away from the legacy equipment that is dragging down productivity in their businesses.

If it’s time to clean up your print environment while saving money, freeing up IT headcount, resulting in happy users, it’s time to do it with a printing-as-a-service program. If you can get out of ownership at half the cost, there is no barrier to entry. Also, through the same process, you can lock down your print infrastructure.  If you’re ready for change, reach out to us to see if we can help.

 

 

SmartPrint Employees Volunteer at Daily Bread – Helping the Fight Against Hunger

On Wednesday, January 31st 2018,
SmartPrint team smartprint employees helping sort food items at daily breadmembers, Tim Lomax, Rob Farrell, Carol Berro, Steven Ryan, James Dunn, Andrew Thompson, Carolyn Allum, and Mike Hishon volunteered at Daily Bread Food Bank which is a registered charity and distribution hub that provides food and support to almost 200 food programs across Toronto. Daily Bread also works towards long-term solutions to hunger and runs innovative programs to support people on low incomes.

James Dunn always had a strong desire to volunteer at a food bank where the impact would be immediately recognized. James put
together the plan for the SmartPrint team
to be able to give back to the community, and
encouraged staff to make a monetary and/or food
donation.smartprint employees outside of daily bread

When the team arrived at the Daily Bread, the staff quickly and efficiently organized the team into different roles with tasks to restock food for local pick up as well as work with supporting food bank customers in shopping and check out.

President, Tim Lomax shared his thoughts on volunteering:

“Having the opportunity to help out the Daily Bread Foodbank was an honour. Great cause, great people, great chance to give back to the community.”

VP, Rob Farrell also shared his thoughts:

“It always feels great to give back to our community and it was fun to do it as a team effort. The Daily Bread volunteer day will definitely be an annual event for SmartPrint moving forward.”

Overall, everyone felt it was such a fun and rewarding experience for a great cause that provided a direct impact, and brought everyone closer together with the singular goal – to help the fight against hunger.

SmartPrint Comes Together for Women in Need – The Shoebox Project

At noon on Friday, December 8th 2017, SmartPrint
shoeboxes under christmas tree for the shoebox projectteam members Carol Berro, Jannine Foster, James Dunn, Janine Marais, Carolyn Allum, Jen Infuso, Karey Ross, and Saul Collas participated in The Shoebox Project for Shelters, supported by Dream, which collects and distributes gifts in the form of shoeboxes to women who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness in communities across Canada and the US.

According to The Shoebox Project website, since 2011, The Shoebox Project has distributed over 91,000 shoeboxes, valued at over 4 million dollars and believes that a small gesture can make a big difference.

Carol Berro, Accounting Supervisor came up with
the smartprint employee loading shoeboxes into van for the shoebox projectidea, suggested it to a few others that felt as passionate as her, and then an email was sent to all staff to see who would be able to donate, and also to see who could participate in wrapping and filling all donated items in the shoeboxes.

In total, 18 shoeboxes were then wrapped, and filled with items that had been generously donated from many SmartPrint employees. Each shoebox contained items valued at approximately $50. High quality items received included gift cards, skin care products, soaps and shampoos, make-up, chocolates, warm socks and mittens – nice products to help women feel special. Personal messages were also written for each recipient of the shoebox to convey our understanding and support to help women staying at shelters across Toronto remember she is not forgotten, cared for, and that she remains a valued and respected member of her community.

Once all the shoeboxes were ready, they were placed under our Christmas tree in which Saul Collas collected them, loaded them into his van, and dropped them off at the center to be distributed.

Overall, everyone enjoyed their time spent with their colleagues as it was a great team building exercise with many laughs shared at wrapping the shoeboxes.

SmartPrint Celebrates its 30th Anniversary

30th anniversary awardOn October 27, 1987, together with my partners Patti and Sanford McFarlane, I bought a small company called A&M Carbon and Ribbon – named after it’s founders Jim Allan (A) and Andy MacIntosh (M).

With just 6 employees, we generated $732,000 in annual sales selling; carbon paper, typewriter and word processing ribbons and these new-fangled things called floppy diskettes. Our tiny office would now look like a museum with black rotary dial phones, typewriters and a big ledger book for entering all the accounting entries – by hand! Not a computer, printer, fax machine or copier to be found. Surprisingly, it was one of the tightest run ships you’d ever see – very profitable and every penny accounted for. Filling Mr. Alan’s shoes would be no small task.

It was both an exciting and scary time for a young 27-year-old with just 2 years of working experience and big dreams of owning his own business. I was also the youngest employee on the payroll. What made it even scarier was that the stock market had crashed the week before (the second biggest crash since 1929 that sparked the great depression). We didn’t know it at the time, but it would take years to climb back to 1987 levels.

Over the past 30 years we’ve:

  • Rebranded from A&M Carbon & Ribbon to A+M Data Corp. to SmartPrint Inc.
  • Moved 4 times to accommodate our growth and a changing business model.
  • Bought 4 more companies – G&M Data, 3R Laser, LaserCorp and Dynacharge.
  • Sold millions of ribbons, toner cartridges and diskettes and printers.
  • Hosted 29 Christmas parties and ate hundreds of staff Birthday cakes.
  • Survived, prospered and evolved to outlive most of our competitors.

So here we are, all these years later.

My dream to have a successful, well respected company filled with people I love to work with in an industry that both challenges and rewards has come true in so many ways. I still get up every day loving what I do, working with a great group of people and I am extremely proud of all we do for our customers, vendor partners, fellow employees and our families.

SmartPrint today is exactly what I’d hoped it would be when I excitedly signed all those legal papers back in 1987. I’ve read that only 4% of businesses survive past 10 years. For the past 30 years, we’ve put people ahead of the bottom-line and it’s these relationships that continue to make SmartPrint grow and prosper year after year.

Thanks for a great ride, may the next 30 years be just as much fun as the last!

Tim Lomax, President

Ransomware Hits Law Firm – How It Could Have Been Protected​​

We’ve been blogging a lot about print infrastructure security recently and want to share SmartPrint’s comments on the Toronto law firm that was hacked as it’s a good example of a situation where if they were equipped with the right equipment and configurations, they could have avoided the ransomware breach completely.

Our systems engineering team work with clients from legal, financial, healthcare, manufacturing companies and other types of organizations to help them lock down the office print infrastructure. It’s a very important practice given that according to IDC, 40% of Canadian companies had security breaches in 2016, and 54% of those hacks were completed with the print infrastructure as the entry point. Scary isn’t it!

Here’s an example of how this law firm could have protected itself:

  • With best in breed office print equipment, a malware attack could have been stopped immediately. Once the print job with malware went to the print queue, or printer, the device would have immediately re-booted, and staved off the attack.
  • If the client was running the latest print security software that SmartPrint recommends and implements, the software would have notified IT of the attempted breach so that the attempt wouldn’t go unrecorded.
  • The firm would have been able to automate the processes around print infrastructure security and report on status at any time. They would have also been able to warn and train the user group regarding the attempt to improve user knowledge of future malware schemes.

What shocks us every time we complete a print infrastructure security assessment for a client is that  the organization thinks they are in good shape; however, the assessment comes back with significant security issues/holes. If you think you don’t have budget to invest in your environment, guess what? When we complete a free assessment and recommend updates, potential upgrades and implement simple software to monitor the environment, we always decrease the total cost of ownership for the organization. It’s really a win/win! A locked down print infrastructure at a lower cost; not to mention a more productive environment for users.

If you are interested in making sure you are secure, contact us.

Photizo Group Selects SmartPrint as Leader in Managed Print Services

2016 Leaders Index badgeLexington, KY (February 14, 2017)—Photizo Group has recognized SmartPrint Inc as a leader in managed print services (MPS). SmartPrint Inc was one of 11 independent channel partners that Photizo Group selected to participate in the 2016 Leaders Index for MPS Channel Partners, based on demonstrated leadership in MPS.

The Leaders Index for MPS Channel Partners is a collection of hand-selected, independent MPS partners from around the world that are regarded as the gold standard in managed print and document services. Photizo Group classifies this index of elite providers from across North America, Europe, Africa, and Australia as a lens to view the current landscape of MPS.

Tim Lomax, President of SmartPrint Inc shared his reaction, “it’s a great achievement to be recognized as one of the Top 10 MPS Providers within the 2016 Worldwide Leaders Index, based on our significant revenue growth, operational excellence and service performance that drives an outstanding experience for our clients.  This recognition not only validates our continued MPS market leadership, but inspires us to continue reinventing to outperform in a rapidly evolving industry.”

Ed Crowley, CEO of Photizo Group said:

“As the managed services landscape reaches maturity in many markets, we continue to see a demonstrated need for measurable best practices and benchmarks built on real-world results by recognized leaders in managed print and document services.”

Crowley continued:

“These MPS leaders not only demonstrate leadership in MPS, but a genuine interest in the pursuit of best practices that benefit the industry and the customers it serves.”

About the Leaders Index for MPS Channel Partners

The Leaders Index for MPS Channel Partners explores many aspects of the partners, including the following:

  • partner profile;
  • financial and performance metrics;
  • customer profile;
  • team structure;
  • sales and marketing approach;
  • service, support, and operations metrics; and
  • key performance benefits.

Only partners that Photizo Group determines to be among the best in the world are invited to participate in the Leaders Index. These aggregate results serve as a tangible set of benchmarks other partners can compare their own performance against.

Chosen MPS partners receive no compensation for participation.

About SmartPrint:

SmartPrint, Canada’s most recognized independent MPS provider, helps organizations make sense of complex print environments. SmartPrint’s team of Managed Print Services (MPS) consultants leverage the markets best tools and systems offering best in breed office printing equipment and software to help simplify printing, scanning and document workflow. Our clients experience dramatic improvements in user efficiency, reduced costs of 30% to 50%, reduced helpdesk calls by 25% and significant administrative efficiencies through vendor consolidation. SmartPrint’s solutions are not about printers and copiers, they’re about people.

To find out more about SmartPrint, please explore our website: www.smartprint.com.

For Press or Analyst inquiries please contact:
Rob Farrell
rob.farrell[@]smartprint.com
905.475.6177 x234

About Photizo Group:

Photizo Group is a leading Marketing Intelligence and Strategic Consulting firm for the imaging industry. The firm has twice been on the Inc 5000 list of fastest growing privately held companies. It has received three (2011, 2012, and 2014) leadership awards from the Managed Print Services Association. Photizo launched the industry’s first Advanced Analytics Division in 2015 and is pioneering the use of Predictive Analytics to bring value to the IoT data generated by over 100 million digitally enabled imaging devices installed globally. The firm conducts research and consulting in over 40 countries globally, and has offices in North America and Japan.

For more information, please contact Mario Diaz at +1 602-571-6530 or mdiaz@photizogroup.com.

SmartPrint Makes CDN Top 100 Solution Providers List – Again!

2017 cdn top 100 solution providers[Toronto, ON, Canada] – [May 11, 2017] – SmartPrint ranked # 85  in the Computer Dealer News (CDN) Top 100 Solution Providers List this year, up one spot from last year. The 2017 CDN Top 100 Solution Providers List ranks IT solution provider applicants based on revenue earnings for 2016.

The organic growth that SmartPrint experienced was in large part due to the significant amount of net new clients that were brought on board this year, an increase in provisioned services to existing clients, as well as being named HP’s Print Partner of the Year.

SmartPrint will continue to grow and evolve along with their clients by helping them gain control of increasingly complex print environments.

About SmartPrint:

HP’s Print Partner of the Year, SmartPrint is Canada’s most recognized independent MPS provider, helping organizations make sense of complex print environments. SmartPrint’s team of Managed Print Services (MPS) consultants leverage the markets best tools and systems offering best in breed office printing equipment and software to help simplify printing, scanning and document workflow. Our clients experience dramatic improvements in user efficiency, reduced costs of 30% to 50%, reduced helpdesk calls by 25% and significant administrative efficiencies through vendor consolidation. SmartPrint’s solutions are not about printers and copiers, they’re about people.

To find out more about SmartPrint, please explore our website: www.smartprint.com.

Digital Transformation for the Mid-Market, One Step at a Time

document management system document controlDigital transformation can be thought of as embracing digital technologies to improve the efficiency of manual processes; many identify digital transformation in the office with going paperless, which typically includes Enterprise Content Management or Document Management Systems. Transformation should be the development of new and innovative ways of doing things, rather than simply supporting and improving traditional methods.

In a recent article by IT World Canada, they identified that 38% of Canadian executives in large enterprise companies are rolling out their digital transformation strategies, and 50% of them are in the planning and building stage, with 12% still trying to determine a plan. What is interesting is that it is very hard, as well as very expensive to transform a large enterprise. There is also typically a significant disconnect between the “C-level executive” and the front line employee.

Canadian mid-market companies are slower to move, with 31% of them taking steps toward digital transformation. However, what is extremely interesting is that the significantly large group of mid-market companies in Canada, are actually much more nimble, and with limited investment can more easily make strides towards significant efficiency gains through digital transformation. They can do this one step at a time without stalling or impacting departmental throughput. Another supporting factor is that mid-market companies have more readily adopted cloud technologies, so they are perhaps more ready for transformation than they realize.

Here’s an example of a simple workflow integration to a Document Management System and ERP or financial system.

AP Processing

document management system sample ap workflow

1. Capture AP Invoice – Inputs

a. AP Clerk scans paper invoice to input into AP workflow.
b. Fax technology monitors inbound fax over IP for invoices and automates input of invoice to AP workflow.
c. Email technology monitors inbound AP email for invoices and automates input of invoice to AP workflow.
d. AP Clerk drags and drops digital invoice files that may have come from other digital sources to input invoice to AP workflow.

2. Document processing and routing

Once the invoice is input into the AP workflow, the processing engine captures the document, converts it to a text searchable PDF, and captures the important data (i.e. company, invoice number, purchase order number etc.), then matches the important data with the financial system’s AP data and routes the document to the AP clerk’s workspace (Electronic Document Management System or Document Control System) and is ready for the operator review step.

3. Operator review and approval – this step can be an “exception only” step

AP clerk reviews to ensure that the document is correct and approves it for payment.

4. Deliver to Document Management System and link to client in Financial System

Approve payment in financial system and save and link document for records and audit.

This is a very simple workflow example that can be implemented easily with workflow software that is integrated into a financial system and an inexpensive cloud-based document management system to support digital storage. Your managed print services partner should be able to recommend the appropriate hardware and software, and manage a proof of concept through to full production and final implementation. We typically see that automating the AP process will cut processing time by 60% – 70% –  now that’s efficiency! Your organization may be ready for this.

Keep in mind that similar, very simple digital workflow processes can be implemented for HR, other finance functions, quality control in production areas, etc. Organizations may not be ready for a complete technology revamp quite yet  i.e. integrating all systems inside and outside of your firewalls. There are so many complexities – all of the organizations your organization deals with would have to support the same systems, standardized protocols and documents. A total technology revamp won’t happen overnight, it will take a considerable amount of time but for now, your digital transformation can effectively be supported one step at a time. It’s time to get rid of those filing cabinets and transition to inexpensive, integrated cloud-based document management systems.

Don’t invest in technology before you figure out the future state!

Before you select a partner to implement your document workflow or document management system, make sure that they have the ability to configure the system to support your business processes – not the other way around. We more often than not see companies invest in software that typically has way more capabilities than they will ever use. Keep in mind that lower cost, open architecture solutions are available.

Get in touch with one of our experts to determine the optimal way to configure your document management system or read this case study to see how this organization benefited from an optimized system.

SmartPrint Participates in Corporate 20-Minute Makeover Spring Cleanup

corporate 20-minute makeover[TORONTO, ON] – [April 27, 2017] At 2 pm on Friday April 21st, SmartPrint team members James Dunn, Steven Ryan, Carolyn Allum, Andrew Thompson, Darren Ranney, Trisha Kosak, Karey Ross, Mike Hishon, Jen Infuso, and Mike Rutledge participated in a Corporate 20-Minute Makeover, which was a cleanup run in conjunction with the Clean Toronto Together campaign aimed at creating environmental awareness and involved cleaning up a space in need such as a laneway, ravine, sidewalk, or parkette. The idea was to see how much cleaning could be done in 20 minutes.corporate 20-minute makeover

According to an email received by James Dunn, Demand Generation Manager, this year marked a record for the City of Toronto as more than 200 businesses registered before the April 11th deadline and was the biggest corporate cleanup day ever!

James Dunn at SmartPrint came up with the idea:

“I’ve had a strong desire to help give back to our community, and with other activities taking place around this time of year to be environmentally corporate-20-minute-makeoverconscious, it got me thinking about helping the environment more and to do something different as a team to take immediate action to clean our environment. I then came across the Corporate 20-Minute Makeover event, and suggested it to other team members who all felt as passionate as I did to pitch in and help clean our environment.”

Steven Ryan, Client Services Manager helped run the campaign by designing custom T-Shirts for the cleanup, and took photos of us in action. Janine Marais, Service corporate 20-minute makeoverDelivery Coordinator and Darren Ranney, Operations Manager helped organize the lunch to ensure we were full of energy before heading out.

Upon registering for the event, the City sent out garbage bags, recycling bags, nitrile gloves, and provided safety and recycling information, as well as posters to help promote the cleanup.

Careful consideration was given as to the best place to do the clean up and Leaside Spur Trail in Toronto was corporate 20-minute makeoverthe chosen area based on the considerable amount of garbage present there.

Dunn continued:

“It was awful, there were baseballs, plastic bottles, empty cigarette packets, glass bottles, coffee cups, plastic bags, pop cans and many other pieces of garbage in urgent need of cleaning up. It’s such a shame that such a beautiful trail could be marred by these eyesores.”

At the end of the 20 minutes, 9 bags of garbage, and 2 recycling bags were collected. Everyone was amazed at what was accomplished in such a short amount of time. The bags were then disposed of carefully in Bond Park bins.

Overall, everyone felt it was great to have been able to give back to our community and we look forward to participating in Corporate 20-Minute Makeover again and contributing to other social responsibility causes in the future.