By: Anton Herbst
With the World Cup over and as the harsh realities of the recovering market begin to set in, things are returning to somewhat of a state of normality.
But is it really ‘business as usual’? And should we let the same challenges we were facing prior to the World Cup madness continue to prevail?
I’d like the answers to those questions to be ‘no’. And my reasons for this are simple.
Leading up to the World Cup, the market took on a very transactional focus with companies vying for the big deals, sizeable tenders and attractive contracts the event brought with it.
But now those deals are done and those contracts are over – and for the most part, our minds must shift back to adding value to our customers in order to make a living.
And I think there are still huge gaps when it comes to solution provision in the sense of building innovative routes around the printers and consumables we sell, to not only make our customers’ lives easier but allow us to add something unique to their businesses that differentiate us and them from the herd.
And it’s clear that concepts such as cloud computing and the increased exposure of IT infrastructure as ‘services’ are shaping the future.
While many believe that printing won’t have a place in this world, I couldn’t disagree more.
The way we think about print services and how printing solutions are packaged just need to change slightly.
A perfect example of this is HP’s recently launched e-Printing solution, which is nothing more than the ability to e-mail your document to your printer’s e-mail address from anywhere in the world and swing by it later to collect the print-job, or simply tell your client it’s waiting for them at their printer.
This will undoubtedly change the way people print forever. But how will this apply to us in the consumables market?
Well, the important thing is that printing is still taking place, even though the printer itself might be located somewhere else than your client’s office. The fact is that a printer – possibly at the office of your client’s client – will still need its ink or toner cartridges to be replaced regularly.
It’s up to you to put the models in place that embrace this and many other new ways of working, so that you can capitalise on these opportunities when the shift comes.
And believe me, that shift is coming faster than most of us think.
Besides good memories, the World Cup leaves South Africa with more bandwidth than what it’s ever had before.
In fact, we as a country might finally be ready to embrace cloud computing on a local level. If we don’t capitalise on that, customers will move their cloud services offshore – and we will most certainly lose out.
While it’s difficult to map out exactly which business models will work, the one thing these kinds of changes generally herald is new cost efficiencies and more streamlined supply chains.
But if we don’t keep an eye on these developments, we’ll never know.
So in the spirit of knowing, let’s keep our eyes peeled and our ears close to the ground.