Deep Dive – The Copier Dealership’s Odyssey to Managed IT Services: A Fusion of Expertise and Real-World Success
From Copiers to Cloud: The Blueprint for a Dealership’s Digital Evolution
The Copier Industry’s Existential Crisis
The copier industry is at a crossroads. Once a revolutionary addition to the business world, copiers have become a “misunderstood commodity,” as Daniel Gray puts it in his article on The Imaging Channel. With advancements in document management and a societal shift towards using less paper, the industry is facing a conundrum: evolve or risk becoming obsolete.
“They brought something to the table we didn’t have…They have the knowledge and the expertise to do sales. The office equipment industry is really a sales-focused industry. They’re out there every day selling new equipment to customers, … and roughly one-third of their staff is in sales.”Jeffrey Loeb, “An Acquisition Success Story: Copier Companies Move Into the MSP Space,” CRN
The Digital Transformation
The first wave of transformation came in the early ’90s when copiers went digital. As Gray notes, “Copiers were now connected to the internet, which meant copier dealers now needed to know more about the networks they were connecting to.” This was the industry’s first foray into the realm of IT, and it opened up a world of possibilities.
The Skill Gap Revelation
As copier dealers began working with IT departments and third-party IT companies, they realized something crucial: they understood networks better than most IT specialists they encountered. This wasn’t arrogance; it was a revelation. The skill and service gap between traditional IT support and what copier dealers could offer was glaringly obvious.
The Managed IT Services Epiphany
The next logical step was to offer managed IT services. As Gray explains, copier dealers are “naturally positioned to be effective at managing a company’s network” due to their decades of experience with networks and on-premise equipment. In 2013, Gray’s company officially launched managed IT services, marking a significant pivot in their business model.
A Real-World Success Story: ProSource and Infitech
Jeffrey Loeb, owner of managed service provider Infitech, found his business hitting a sales wall. When he received a call from ProSource, an Ohio office equipment company, he saw an opportunity for growth through acquisition. After the acquisition, Infitech’s customer base grew nearly 10 times, and the company is now on track for a five-year goal of $15 million in revenue. Loeb credits the office equipment industry’s sales-focused approach as a significant advantage. “They brought something to the table we didn’t have,” he said. “They have the knowledge and the expertise to do sales.”
The Technibble Perspective
Technibble, a leading voice in the IT services industry, emphasizes the importance of preparation when selling managed IT services. “If you aim at nothing when selling managed IT services, that’s exactly what you’re going to get,” the article states. It suggests that copier dealerships should have a clear picture of their business goals and the profiles of their target customers. Knowing your clients and their pain points is crucial to identifying business opportunities.
The Benefits of Being an MSP
The transition to offering managed IT services comes with a plethora of benefits. Not only does it protect against the risk of losing clients to other vendors, but it also streamlines the client’s process for solving technology issues, resulting in increased efficiency. Moreover, the IT services industry is booming and is expected to reach $748 billion by 2020, according to Statista.com.
The Questions That Need Answering
However, the transition isn’t without its challenges. There are numerous questions that need answering, from cost considerations to legal issues to staffing. Each of these questions forms a critical part of the transition strategy and must be addressed with due diligence.
The Time is Now
The bottom line is clear: copier dealerships have a golden opportunity to reinvent themselves by diving into the managed IT services market. As Gray aptly concludes, “if companies do not continue to reinvent themselves, they will slowly wilt away.”
- Daniel Gray, “Copier Dealer Growth Strategy With Managed IT,” The Imaging Channel
- Samantha Allen, “An Acquisition Success Story: Copier Companies Move Into the MSP Space,” CRN
– Greg Walters, Head Writer