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ISM Article

Becoming the “Info-mat” Source

16 Jul, 2008 By: Sand Sinclair imageSource

Becoming the “Info-mat” Source

I want to coin the term “info-mat.”  As we’re a provider of vast information,
I need a shorter way to combine “information and automat(ion) to cut to the
chase. Fewer words, bigger meaning. Never mind that imageSource works like an
automated teller of digital information that you can easily access like an ATM,
the idiom just sounds right when you’re helping to change the face of the dealer
channel, filling their pipeline with, well, the latest info-mat. Ten years worth
to be exact.

July marks an imageSource milestone to honor a decade of being a “provider to
providers.” This anniversary is no small feat as achievements go, successfully
enduring to become a Folio award-winning magazine (with its tradeshow adjunct,
ITEX) in delivering cutting edge, credible infomat to the document technology

Charting New Frontiers

Imaging Network, who publishes trade magazines, along with newly created
info-Web tools & portals, custom magazines, and the annual ITEX show, has forged
ahead as a leading innovator in supplying and delivering content and strategies
to the industry since the early 90s. Always uncovering methods to help launch or
reinvigorate industry businesses, they haven’t simply changed with the times but
instead, have actually been a step ahead, having found a way to keep their hands
on the pulse of “what’s up next.”

Much like knowing when to bypass those outmoded word processors in favor of 
the bigger better computer, Imaging Network has respectfully transcended the
days of standalone copiers to expose the merits of the more complex playing
field with its bevy of document technologies. In some instances, even coining
terminology or phrases still in use today, adding consistency to the ever
changing landscape evolving in leaps & bounds. 

Thumbs Up Kudos

Stewart Krentzman, CEO and President of OKI Data Americas, pays homage to
the company’s contributions with, "As a business, we often look to the
industry's experts, such as imageSource, to help us better understand the market
trends and needs of the dealer channel.  It is the publication's insight and
in-depth analyses that have proven to be most valuable to OKI Data Americas. And
the annual ITEX trade show,” says Krentzman, “has always served as the premiere
channel event for the dealer community, as well as for OKI. It provides a
centralized venue for Industry Leaders, Vendors and Dealers to jointly
collaborate by reflecting on the channel's past performance and learning about
future trends and challenges that lie ahead.”

Krentzman goes on to say that, “ITEX is the perfect opportunity to provide
our valued Dealers with a preview of products and solutions to come, such as our
game-changing, CX3641 MFP which we officially launched at the ITEX 2008 event in
February.  Both imageSource and ITEX remain expert resources as well as a
trusted partner that continuously supports our efforts to grow our business and
that of our dealer partners.”

Glowing words indeed for a company whose goal is that of delivering quality
business tools that educate, notify, challenge and exemplify what directly
affects industry professionals in this “document arena” of ours.

Looking Back to Move Forward

Anniversaries usually bring attention to looking backward at our chronology.
But the fundamental principal of imageSource’s journalistic role has been and is
(along with Imaging Network) to foresee what’s ahead, alerting and advancing the
channel forward.

Before becoming the traditional “print publication” that imageSource has
evolved to, the innovative founders, Marc Spring and Barbara Bertani Spring,
began their “pre-imageSource days” with a Web-based dealer networking site for
the copier/printer community. Being entrepreneurs, the Springs’ envisioned a
wider application for trading useful information, so in 1997 created a “dealer
to dealer” supply exchange resource, compiling inventories of various products
to choose from, found on their imagingnetwork.com site. Like the premise behind
eBAY, a buying, selling, trading resource, the grass roots company grew its
“legs” quickly.

According to Spring, “The launch of ImagingNetwork.com was to initially offer
an extensive website to serve the needs of copier and laser printer dealers. The
website provided listings of equipment, supplies, even job opportunities.” The
high-powered database linked buyers with sellers, allowing them the conduit to
conduct business, while controlling  their  data from the company’s online user
interface. They called it, “Internet Commerce for the Office Automation
Industry.” Back then they talked  about the advent of  the Internet & how it
will change the way business will be conducted.

Spinning the Magazine  

In mid-1998 and dubbed, The Image Source (later revamped to just
imageSource) as a more in depth spin-off of the website, the magazine grew to 15
pages and needed an “official team” to increase the design layouts, the
editorial and advertising presence, and most importantly, the dealer readership.
Barbara Spring took on the role of creative art director as well as group
publisher, and added an art and editorial department, while Marc oversaw the
sales and marketing staff, whereby the magazine began to blossom.

Today, the size of imageSource has more than tripled. It’s advertisers are
the best in the business. The new look is now edgier, with colorful  layouts &
in depth editorial. Articles are written by the leading forces in the
channel-from successful dealers and vendors to industry consultants, service &
sales gurus, marketing wizards; the list goes on. The magazine has deservedly
become a Folio award-winning publication that supports, yes, a Folio award
winning show (ITEX).

The Springs’ admit, “Arming dealers with strategies to succeed is what we do
best. It’s in our DNA. Exploring the world of digital technology & uncovering
the opportunities it brings, and delivering them so that providers can
capitalize on them, is our core mission.”

Once  aided by a  few interested advertisers while spouting the current state
of industry news, the Springs’ blazed a trail that ten years later has led the
company to being a leading force to not only copier/printer dealers, but to a
much broader audience that covers most facets of the office equipment channel.

A Positive Nod

Greg Schloemer, President of DocuWare, and a leader in document management
insists, “imageSource magazine has been the quintessential change agent for the
ever-evolving copier industry. Both imageSource and ITEX’s leadership, through
Marc Spring, have helped an entire industry focus on transitioning from selling
commodities to selling solutions. The MFP has dramatically changed the world
with the advent of producing a digital image, and very early on they saw and
shared that the MFP technology is the on-ramp to corporate intelligence.” 

Schloemer adds, “Clearly, imageSource as the voice of change, has propelled
the industry forward by bringing together in one publication, a source where
dealers and resellers could come for credible information and knowledge. ITEX
saw this potential and brought together in one event, a unique approach to the
industry. This included educational seminars where the content is focused on
relevant topics for a changing industry, and a show where peers  are able to
network and share experiences, both positive and negative, again geared
primarily to dealers.” Adding, “As a vendor, the magazine and event has been
invaluable to us at DocuWare, especially in attracting new partners and in
spreading the word about the benefits of our company overall.”

The Genesis of imageSource has its history, but was a no brainer when it came
to what the industry needed in a good trade publication. The ongoing vision and
hard work to achieve that goal is something else altogether.

Mike Stramaglio, CEO of MWAi, the machine-to-machine automated intelligence
solutions/systems, says emphatically, “Marc Spring had an idea and against all
conventional wisdom, established a leadership position within the industry with
both imageSource magazine and the mega-ITEX show for all to participate and grow
from. imageSource is not just a source for important information but has
established itself as the engine that drives the ITEX event, which industry
leaders have come to recognize as the best education symposium & trade show
forum for the dealers, OEMs and multi-providers who lead our channel all around
the world.” Continuing, Stramaglio reflects that, “During these past ten years,
the industry has migrated from analog to digital, from hardware sales to
solutions selling, from major account sales to managed print services, from
service replaceable units to customer replaceable units….an increasingly long
list of other significant technology advancements not the least of which is the
all new machine to machine technology. imageSource was right there to recognize
the importance of these changes, reporting on them to help promote the benefits
for the dealers and OEMs alike.”

Stramaglio adds, “Besides informative editorial to help guide the industry,
when serious industry events occurred such as Xerox acquiring Global, or Rick
Taylor joining Konica Minolta, ECi acquiring OMD/Lacrosse, or Konica Minolta
acquiring Danka, imageSource gave us real insight into the reasons, answering
the questions each of us wanted to know, providing a voice not readily available
to us. That ability to gain vital information then sharing it with the industry
is invaluable.”

And the Beat Goes On

Ten years and ten zillion words later, the staff and management at Imaging
Network, including imageSource, are a bit humbled by all the effusive praise
bestowed by fellow industry peers to help celebrate a worthy anniversary.  One
year ago, Imaging Network became part of Questex Media, who recently honored the
Springs’ with an "Entrepreneur of the Year” award for their efforts in driving
the company forward. (Operations/Event Mgr, Eneida Lojewski, was also honored
with a distinguished award for Service).

For Imaging Network, all the fuss is appreciated, but in reality, it’s just
the beginning of yet another, mind-altering decade for the company that is
primed and ready to report on everything worth knowing in our channel. Charting
new frontiers to develop what’s best for the office equipment channel and the
solutions and opportunities to be found there has been, and will remain, at the
core of the company’s ongoing game plan. And as it should, the info-mat beat
goes on.

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