The Choice is Ours

Last month, the 24th annual Lyra Symposium was held in Palm Springs, Calif. A yearly kick-off to the convention season, the Lyra Symposium is a great roundup of the previous year’s OEM performance. The Lyra organization comprises some of the best analysts in the industry, and I have found them to be extremely honest and their presentations factually based.

This year, just like the last four years, Lyra reviewed all the major OEMs’ financial performances. And just like the past four, the news is NOT encouraging. I won’t get into the bloody details, let’s just say EVERYONE is down versus the last copier heydays—2007. When looking at the combined revenue in 2011, compared to 2007, the industry is off 28.7 percent. It’s worse. Cross Research Group is calling for “flattish” page revenues, with year-to-year growth of 0.7 percent in 2012 and negative 0.7 percent in 2013. The word “secular” was used instead of “cyclical”—this is the new normal.
And Wall Street is not enamored with the imaging industry, whose stocks lost as a much as 50 percent in 2011. There is plenty more bad news to go around, but isn’t that enough?

The one glimmer of positive information is coming from Xerox, and if you ask me, it looks like they are redefining imaging as not only toner on paper, but also as all the processes around information. The assimilation complete, the “ACS” name is gone as services like Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and Information Technology Outsourcing (ITO) are now standard Xerox offerings. Everybody inside Xerox who has a quota has an MPS number to reach, which means the organization is committed top to bottom. Working with Xerox has never been easier. PagePack 3.0, or whatever it will be called, is more robust, and Canadians are going to start spelling their country’s name “Xanada” after the LaserNetworks acquisition. The company is on the move, steaming ahead and away from the fleet.

What about us? What about a channel?

Printed pages, the “P” in managed print services, are decreasing. BPO is a part of MPS and MPS is a component of BPO. For us in the channel, it has never been clearer—engage all the tools available in order to get away from marked pages and into the process. Again, now is the time to chart your course—the choice is ours.