The office environment and the use of technology within, is rapidly changing and advancing year on year, and businesses are continually pressured to reduce operational costs, improve service levels and offer more products at a competitive rate.
This has resulted in a high demand for Business Solution Providers that can offer holistic office solutions and expertise in all operational areas of businesses and can assist with making them operationally efficient and sustainable.
Green Office has in the past attended the ITEX Conferences, and this year, decided once again to attend ITEX 2019, which was hosted in Las Vegas recently. We were eager to learn how we could leverage these changes and demands in the market and on business, and to identify opportunities for us in context of the South African market.
This year’s ITEX Conference was very much centred around the theme “Owning the Office Piece by Piece” and what dealers could do to quickly ramp up their existing service and solutions offerings, to meet these demands from the market and, how to support them. The conference showcased some new high-growth products that dealers could leverage to expand their product and service offerings. Known product vendors and solutions in the market were also represented at the event.
The office automation industry has seen significant changes and disruptions in the past few years, which has naturally led to the industry moving towards or transitioning into the managed solution space. As most office automation companies have managed to build strong and trusting relationships with their client bases, it would make sense that it would naturally evolve into accommodating more business solutions and the management thereof.
However, navigating this change from being an office automation or managed print service provider to a managed service partner correctly, is critical. If done successfully, one can reap great benefits, however if done poorly, it can put your business and reputation at risk. Having the right skill set, systems and solutions that can support these new products and services will be critical to its success.
ITEX hosted many workshop sessions to unpack these opportunities and threats, which were led by industry and subject matter experts from the U.S. Office Automation and Managed Service Industry. These sessions were packed with great insights on their transformation journeys from office automation companies to managed ones, and what the challenges and the wins were.
These offered great insights. It was also really comforting to see how progressive the South African market is in some areas, whilst identifying other opportunities that can still be leveraged.
The sessions were very interactive and collaborative which assisted in getting maximum audience interactions and added to the value we extracted from the events. We were able to hear the views and experiences of office automation companies from around the world and what their experiences have been in growing their businesses and meeting their clients ever growing demands.
Our favourite sessions attended were the ones posed around culture and technology integrations, as this is where I think most businesses struggle and both are critical to a business’s future success.
1. Company Culture
Company Culture is very relevant to us all in business, as we face rapid change. It is critical for companies to have a solid company culture that drives adaptability, accountability, resilience and resourcefulness in their teams, for them to continually deliver. It could be the difference between winning and losing in business and therefore it should be top of mind in all businesses.
2. Technology Integrations
Technology integrations are also very critical to business as it facilitates automation, risk mitigation and reduced operational costs. If companies do not focus their energy on first internally improving their operational processes using technology, they will miss the opportunity to improve or to innovate, and innovation is key to any business’s success, especially in today’s day and age, where innovation is the new value currency.
‘Steps to Becoming a Managed IT Service Provider’and the‘Non-Metered Billing’ sessions were also interesting and can add great value to Green Office and more importantly our customers in the future.
3. Non-Metered Billing
Non-Metered Billing is a commercial model that has been offered in very limited scope around the world. Managed IT companies typically offer a ‘per-seat’ billing, whereby each employee would require certain IT services (both hardware and software), and these are lumped in a price per-seat/user. These may include and exclude any number of products/services/software etc. One of the advantages to the client in this billing model, as opposed to a per page price in the traditional office automation space, is that budgeting and the accuracy thereof a lot easier.
Only service providers that have a very accurate record of all the data and relevant costs will be able to offer the per device/per seat type offering. With the systems and data we have, we firmly believe that we are well positioned to offer this in the future.
4. Steps to Becoming a Managed IT Service Provider
For most businesses that do not have a strong IT internal division, the complexities around technology and the pace at which it moves lends themselves to the MSP or Managed IT type service. GO has been researching this option for some time and we believe that we could, in future, offer a great MSP as having a focus on managing our clients print through a strong services culture, means that we have the right mindset to be successful in this space in time to come.
All in all, the event was very valuable to Green Office and we are grateful for the experience. We managed to achieve our goals of learning, collaborating and meeting with international industry leaders.
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