Foreseeing the Future22 Mar, 2006 By: Eric Stavola, Witt Company imageSource
Foreseeing the Future
As I sat back in a Starbucks
coffee house answering emails on my PDA and listening to Los Lobos on my IPOD, I
was astounded by how far technology has progressed in such a short time.
It made me ponder a few things: am I really this much of a “geek,” and, of
course, where will the copier industry be five years from now? I started to
think of the possibilities and came up with the following lighthearted, but
hopefully thought-provoking look into the future of the industry.
The “New Age” Sales Rep
The industry has crossed the line into the IT department. So it only makes sense
that the “new age” rep will not only be a sharp-tongued, skilled salesperson,
but extremely tech savvy as well.
Sales reps will have industry certifications such as MCSE (Microsoft Certified
Systems Engineer) and CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate). Think that is
farfetched, look back five years ago and no sales rep was CDIA (Certified
Document Imaging Architech) certified, but now it is becoming more commonplace.
All Color MFP World
No big surprise here—black and white will be ancient history. Every MFP will
have the ability to produce high-quality color and output will be below a penny.
Users will no longer have to recall their passwords because all MFPs will have
biometrics for security, which will require just a swipe of their fingerprint at
I know I’m going out on a limb here, but with profit margins being slim to none
in hardware, the big push for the new age rep will be in software. After all,
that’s how they will make a majority of their money.
And as software drives the industry, the copier will be a commodity and clients
will look for value-added services such as training, programming and routing of
documents. This will be an important revenue stream for dealers and a gross
profit center for sales reps.
Value Ad—the New
After the industry bans the term “solution” due to gross overindulgence, a new
buzzword arrives, “value ad.” As mentioned above, dealers will realize the need
to start marketing and packaging services unique to their business.
The Modern Cold Call
On-site cold calling will still be a must, but instead of leaving a business
card, the new age sales rep will instantaneously beam over contact information
with links to websites, brochures and value-added packages from a PDA directly
to a key contact’s email.
In addition, salespeople will no longer have to turn in business cards to
managers in order to prove that they had been cold calling because they will be
tracked via GPS through their company cell phones.
• IT geeks become cool and are seen as the new “babe magnets.”
• Gas will be $10 a gallon.
• Geico will still save you a lot of money on your car insurance.
• Clay Aiken’s love child will win American Idol 15.
• Did I mention IT geeks will become cool?
Seem a bit farfetched? I will give you the fact that IT guys are far from babe
magnets, but the industry already has the capabilities to accomplish a majority
of what I discussed. It’s just a matter of understanding the possibilities and
adapting because what appears to be a look into the future is quickly moving