Surprises happen when consistency is taken for granted.
The Office Worker, the Company that employees them, and the customers they serve are entering new realities. The last weeks have shown the world that the confidence in technology is allowing for prudent decisions during a time of crisis.
The confinement of the world is only possible because of the world’s technology. The virus will lead the world to new ways of communicating. The communication technology available today was only somewhat taken advantage of. Most in the business world have not significantly changed the way they communicate with or the business processes they use regarding both internal and external customers since the invention of E-mail.
Digitalization will now be front and center of all businesses large and small.
The realities of global software communication platforms will force all those who were procrastinating their digitalization to now be active participants. The longer the circumstances of the virus confine us, the greater the digitalization of those procrastinators will be.
Many industries were benefiting from the lack of digitalization. I think about those who rely on paper in bringing structure to information. Today’s information is born in the digital world, and with the recent shift to workers staying home, more of that digital information will remain digital. Workers for the first time since the copier/printer were invented will look for ways to avoid using their applications.
Over the last couple of years, I have discussed the A4Revolution and talked about the realities of data showing the massive overselling of A3.
Well, the new business circumstances will now make the industry’s end-users aware they don’t need what they have.
Anytime an industry’s end-users are made aware of better ways, they migrate quickly from what they thought they had to have, to what they learned they only need.
The question for the Channel is who will tell the end-users?
Most all office workflow applications could easily be accomplished in the digital world. The occasions of needed printed output will reduce, and those copy needs of the past are fading fast.
As office workers are sent home, some organizations will realize the benefits remote workers offer to the bottom line. When the virus crisis ends, we will see a large percentage of workers added to the already growing remote worker phenomena. The virus will expedite the migration from the office cubicle to the remote worker’s home. Organizations sometimes need a kick start to join a movement. This virus will kick forward five years the remote worker, the gig economy, and the digitalization of businesses. 2025 is now being created and by 2021 it will be here.
What does an industry dependent on overselling do?
They must move to where the customers are going, and they must stop selling themselves on what they believe their value is based on, saving outdated business processes built for a once growing industry.
The print equipment and its services industry, known as the Imaging Channel, must accept the realities of the market they serve. The past obsessions to keep outdated processes relevant are over. Customers are quickly learning new ways to workflows, and their education just got amplified and will not slow down.
Those who sell and service print equipment must, for the first time, admit the industry has now entered the downgrade stage. This downgrade stage will be challenging for some and extremely beneficial to others.
The migration from A3 equipment to A4 will cause many changes. We will see more online buying; service provided by the gig economy will challenge service provided by dealer channels. The business footprint of A4 equipment is so opportunistic for those wishing to disrupt the old way.
Over the last half-decade, I have discussed in detail the threats to the print and its services deliverable and how those threats could be mitigated by embracing what could be by what should be.
Today I want to repeat the biggest challenge to the Channel.
The Channel must stop selling all customers the same way. Yes, some customers require A3 equipment, workflow analysis, and print-related software solutions. However, the more significant population of end-users simply want a device, supplies, and support if needed. This greater population of customers will be presented alternatives to get what they wish the way they want it, and I am hopeful the legacy dealers from industry bring those alternatives.
It is time for new mindsets, and as the virus continues to disrupt our current circumstances, it’s now time to evaluate all that could be based on what it soon will be. Don’t believe that innovators stop looking for better ways during a crisis. It’s just the opposite; they look at how they can make things more accessible based on the realities of a marketplace.
My friends in the Imaging Channel, don’t focus on saving yesterday anymore. Let’s instead focus on delivering the future to the present As, the innovators are.
A Company becomes obsolete when it focuses on delivering the past to the future instead of delivering the future to the present.