Thursday, March 5, 2009

Cain & Abel – A copier odyssey of biblical proportions…

Typically my stories are filled with the normal corporate piracy and plundering, in this saga what is interesting is that the piracy is between blood brothers. Truly what is funny is the older that I get and the longer that I am in this industry the more the truths of my parents and the stories that I grew up with have more meaning. It is never shocking how the stories that we grew up with becomes more clear and are eternally applicable in many circumstances in our daily lives. The sad thing is that many times I am living the stories out and wish that I could just be a casual observer instead of being cast into a lead role.

As you will remember from the story Cain and Abel was the first and second son of Adam and Eve. Their story is much like the deepening division and dangerously real world drama between Ricoh Business Solutions and IKON. Cain the first born, a farmer, commits the first murder by killing his brother Abel the second born and, a shepherd. I liken this to the ongoing and ever growing attack from RBS the first born son of our Father Ricoh known as a farmer in the world of document management solutions and equipment and IKON the second born son a shepherd of high volume production solutions and a hunter. After the merger we were told "we are part of the Ricoh family." During this time offerings came forth showering IKON show rooms and offices with upgrades and golden trinkets in the form of upgrade incentives and lease forgiveness. We all felt the love from our father as we were welcomed into the family fold.

Both brothers were given a gift of the Ricoh Pro C900 Digital Color Production System. Cain went out into the field and started plowing the fields and looking for seed. Abel left for the forest to find a good place to perch and scout new kills from. Cain set out to wait for the rain, while Abel looked for something new to kill and takedown. The twist is that the coat of many colors had been bestowed upon Abel for his hard work and diligence like the biblical story in which Abel was able to please God with his offering. IKON was acquired and given the coat of many colors due to its hard work hunting and able and willing desire to lead in the hard world of production print. IKON was groomed to be in a place of authority in the production realm. Cain had worked hard and had produced the PPBG a dedicated (Production Print Business Group) and although they tilled the land they were unable to produce a crop. (even with the NexPRESS and IBM Infoprint) IKON with no former knowledge of the Ricoh family story was able to hunt down new opportunities and develop relationship which would place him in favor with his father and sell the new production device the Ricoh Pro C900.

Cain furious with his father and in great despise of his brother went constantly out of his way to position his brother in poor light. Constantly hammering away to move Abel away from the production opportunities and him shamed in the father's eyes. I have always been raised in this business believing that there was honor among thieves. It is interesting to me how 2 brothers can fight so furiously about accounts that one has no knowledge or presence in. Why would you cry so hard over something that you cannot manage in the first place? They admittedly do not have years of production experience as they have never had a product to sell into that space. They do not have the proper infrastructure and service organization to service such accounts. Nor do they have the professional service and analysts that are needed to be successful in these environments. And why would they want them? They are low margin, high maintenance and very frustrating at times. To please their father? To secure their position as the head in the family? And why would they try to destroy what their father just purchased? Do they think if they can discredit the purchase that will make themselves more valuable? Do they not understand that both the farmer and the hunter are needed in the family?

If we are working for the good and betterment of our father would it not be considered selfish to take on tasks that can be better served by another? The inherent selfishness of Cain, his jealousy, rivalry, and aggression are central to this ever evolving story. I would get deep into the details but they are still unfolding and I don't want to ruin the ending for you when I myself do not know what lies ahead. What I can tell you is as we travel further down this high volume and production print road with nothing but the Ricoh bag of tricks I can promise you that you will hear many an IKON warrior say over and over, "He is not heavy, He is my brother!" If only they could see that now, the pain and damage they could save us all.

And the honor they would bring to their father, if they only knew.

"In the end all we are left with are the memories of those that loved us and the stories we told to them." ~ Pirate Mike

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