Just keep talking
Just back from Barcelona where I attended Photizo Group’s European Managed Print Services (MPS) conference, which you can read about in great detail in the next issue of PrintIT. The keynote address was given (without notes) by motivational speaker Peter Sheahan. His subject was how to prosper and seize business opportunities at a time of rapid change.
For those present, the change in question was the move from traditional printer/MFP hardware sales to managed print services. This transition is opening up the printer market to new competitors, principally IT outsourcing providers, and forcing existing players to acquire a new set of skills in order to compete.
Sheahan told delegates that during periods of transition, it was important to question one’s assumptions, to develop a strong narrative that gives a brand added value in the eyes of customers and to communicate effectively.
One of the many case studies he used to support his arguments was the way in which the Sony Walkman brand, once synonymous with portable music, was eclipsed when Apple launched the iPod. What intrigued Sheahan was that Sony had had everything necessary to make a digital music player: it had the brand – Walkman owned the portable music space – it had the hardware, the software to digitise music, the distribution, the retail presence, it even had the content. Yet, it still missed the ball.
Sheahan related how when he was in the presence of a senior Sony executive he couldn’t contain his curiosity and asked how Sony could have missed such an opportunity. “That’s easy,” the executive said, “people stopped talking to each other.” Sony had the expertise, but it was in separate silos and different project teams were too busy pursuing their own interests to share their knowledge.
The importance of collaboration is driving many of the most interesting developments in office technology today (see the Salesforce Chatter story on page 34). There will still be winners and losers, and there will still be organisations that fail to spot opportunities. But don’t let it be for lack of talking.