Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Let the games begin…

2000 years ago the way it was intended:

Psalm 23 (New International Version)

Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not be in want.

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside quiet waters,

3 he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.

4 Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

6 Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD

The way it is now:

Pselling 23 (New Pirate Version)

A Psalm of Pirate Mike

1 He (Ricoh) is my Manufacturer and Employer; I shall not want for a new Canon or Konica Minolta box.

2 He makes me go into print shops without a mid production color machine,

He leadeth the PPBG right into my accounts and offers them my bread,

3 He continues to retrofit the C900.

He guides me in the way of business class color

For his reputation sake, and because he taketh away my Konica Minolta equipment.

4 Even though I cold call

Through the valley of the death of the copier,

I will fear no Xerox, Canon or Konica Minolta dealer or direct channel,

For you are with me in my RFP's with pricing support,

Your toner and drums,

They will offer us profitability and high yields.

5 You prepareth my compensation and high quotas as we approach a new fiscal year,

In the presence of my competition you give me a machine that useth fuser oil;

My oil applicator runeth over with that damn oil.

6 Surely you will offer me a promotion and company profit sharing,

All the days that I sell your product,

And I will dwell in the demo room, (at the direct request of my regional production director)

Forever. (Or until I can figure out to get a transfer to professional services, or managed print services)

Amen and Amen

Pirate Mike Commentary:

The bloodletting in this industry is just beginning. (Bloodletting is the withdrawal of often considerable quantities of blood from a patient in the belief that this would cure or prevent a great many illnesses and diseases - Wiki) Konica Minolta is finally merging Danka Imaging with Konica Minolta Business Solutions and going through reorganization. Maybe into a group named something like Konica Minolta Imaging? You can be sure there will be plenty of announcements short coming as they get ready to start a new fiscal year April 1st. Expect to see them position the Danka group as their production experts as they try to hold onto their Canon base and high volume accounts. They leveraged a relationship with Oce and bought a Xerox dealer and pitch used docutechs and other odd equipment they couldn't market or support. I am sure that the "Danka" group will be how they try to reposition their production print business group as they move forward in the world of production printing. They have cut tons of positions sifting the wheat from the chaff or at least leaning down the talent that they feel is expendable. Their annual report is a good read but their Slides for 3Q / March 2009 Consolidated Financial Results are a bit grim. You can look at them yourself here. (Slides for 3Q/March 2009 Consolidated Financial Results)

Xerox has reduced their first quarter view by like 80 percent. You can read more about that in Business Week here. (Xerox cuts 1Q view nearly 80%) Canon is hell bent to replace IKON with its own direct organization while Oce just bleeds to death. All the meanwhile Toshiba and Kyocera keep plugging along hoping to challenge the big 4 while Xerox, Canon, Ricoh and HP figure out how to outlive the economy. Ricoh will do its own bloodletting soon as they look at their first born RBS and step son IKON get ready to battle it out. Be prepared to struggle to get first row seats as this bloody battle will be worth watching; as the IKON gladiators dismember RBS and their PPBG group. Soon the streets will be full of copier salesman that didn't see the writing on the wall. We are about to witness the death of the copier era, and then we will usher in a new era of managed print services and outsourcing like we have never seen before; as we all look for a new identity. Our jobs really don't end they just morph into new expectations and roles as we chameleon into what the industry and our customers dictate. As their needs change and evolve so do our products and offerings and the way that we offer them.

As the plot thickens watch for more takeovers and bold chess moves as companies start to gamble with everything they have to jockey into position to be around next year. It is anybodies game and no one can completely predict the outcome as the cast of characters thins down like a bad murder mystery. As the "who dunit" is still waiting to be unveiled to the unsuspecting witnesses. I wrote the above play on the Psalm that is well known as a parody to what is my life. As I look around for a solid indication that things are going to be ok what I do notice is more industry unrest.

This bloodletting that I am witnessing is getting more common and it is amazing how many people are showing up looking for jobs. All I can say is that it has been Mr. Toad's Wild Ride and was definitely worth the "E" ticket! I am excited (as I have no other choice) to watch the second round bouts between Gartner's Leading 4 and to see how the Challengers bring to bear their tactics and strategies to market. We are looking at gorilla warfare for sure as the pressure mounts so does the antics that go along with the business. I am interested to see how this affects the ancillary functions of our business like research, development and support, or if those areas go unscathed.

Wishing You Well in 2009

Pirate Mike

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