Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Managed Print Services, Spiral Out

The above video is an
exposé on how the Fibonacci sequence is present in the composition of the song "lateralus" by the band Tool.

Tool has had a profound effect on me personally, primarily in regards to the music from the album "lateralus".

Much of the lyrical content from this album speaks to the idea of self discovery, embracing the unknown and learning from experiences that reside outside of what is considered common, ordinary or mundane.

These ideas while easy to understand in the context of rock and roll are more complex when considered as guides for behavior in more conservative rolls such as the position of a professional in the corporate world.

While not always easy or acceptable I often try to apply these very ideas to my role as a managed print services professional.

(I like to pride myself on using both rock and roll and said ideas to promote printer repair.)

I wanted to share some of the ideas that I had for my own company that were accepted as well as some ideas which were not accepted as viable options for our brand of MPS in hopes that they provide inspiration to others in the industry. Essentially I am proposing for these ideas to spread laterally or to "spiral out".

Lets take a look at some of the lyrics from the song mentioned above...

"Over thinking, over analyzing,
separates the body from the mind.
Withering my intuition, leaving
opportunities behind.

One reason that we don't see innovation and creativity expand exponentially as a widespread phenomena in all industries all of the time rests within the fact that many businesses and corporations choose to rest on their laurels. That is to say that they choose to use a system of thought that while useful to build and sustain their organization, lacks the dynamic of evolution.

Over thinking and over analyzing leads to shutting the doors on risk and creativity, leading the decision makers to choose an outdated system and re-branding it with a new name to provide themselves with the illusion that they are a forward thinking organization when really they are simply doing the same things they have always done.

This kind of behavior robs the organization of what possibilities and opportunities rest outside of the box which they both sustain and refuse to admit working within the boundaries of...

So what are some ways in which an organization can escape the box and tap into the creative powers that be?

1. Tapping Your Employee Base

In so many business there are untapped resources of brilliance laying dormant in said organization's employees. While most corporations will try to brain storm new ideas with the c-level professionals in their business, it is uncommon to tap the mind of the custodian or perhaps the production crew for ideas in relation to corporate growth, marketing and or sales simply because they don't have the "expertise" necessary to make said decisions.

Tapping into your employee base and asking for feedback on what they think may be good ideas to help grow the company can be an invaluable resource for creative growth. Chances are their is someone in your company who while proficient at the mundane tasks they have be given, have ideas that could send your business into a new level of prosperity.

If your CEO was to ask around and dig into this idea, they may be surprised to find it is the man or woman who has no college education that has the next great idea that your company needs.

I can say this with a certain level of certainty because I have no college degree and built my own career within marketing by asking for it. Due to the fact that the owner and president of my company have not been afraid to take major risks in both creative and "out of the box" ideas, I have had opportunities many folks would love to have but have been denied.

2. Go Further

While I have been able to do some wild stuff here at Expert Laser Services that are ideas no one else in the company would have ever suggested and proved them to be profitable, there are some ideas which have been shot down.

I would like to present my ideas about moving forward in managed print services here but first, let's take a quick look at another set of lyrics from that same song...

"Feed my will to feel this moment, urging me to cross the line.
Reaching out to embrace the random.
Reaching out to embrace whatever may come."

"And following our will and wind,

we may just go where no one's been.
We'll ride the spiral to the end and may just go where no one's been.
Spiral out. Keep going.
Spiral out. Keep going.
Spiral out. Keep going.
Spiral out. Keep going."

Here are my thoughts on what should be "next" in managed print services...

Augmented Reality Analysis

What is augmented reality? Wikipedia has this to say...

"Augmented reality
(AR) is a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. It is related to a more general concept called mediated reality, in which a view of reality is modified (possibly even diminished rather than augmented) by a computer. As a result, the technology functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality."

I propose that augmented reality applications via smart phones could be used in conjunction with video, panoramic photography and the current USB network scanning technology to supplement the physical walk around of a traditional printer fleet analysis.

My argument includes using this piece of equipment to make a three dimensional map of a managed print services customer's business.

While I do not posses all the technical prowess to synchronize each of these technologies to create the application of which I envision, I know there are people who could make this happen.

My boss, while amused with this idea did not decide to look into making this a reality.

While I understand that the budget needed to make this technology available most likely exceeds what funds we have, I know that if I at least present the idea perhaps there are other people who have the funds and other tools necessary to manifest said application.

Some of you who realize the potential of said vision are probably thinking it foolish to share this idea here with the possibility of another organization capitalizing on the concept.

To which my response would be, "go ahead". While I would love to make some form of profit from this idea I would rather see it come to pass by the hands of another in hopes that managed print services as a whole is benefited as I would hope said benefit would be passed on to the customers.

I contend that these separate technologies could be synchronized with services like PrintFleet to allow a virtual collection of data post physical analysis to streamline and improve the continued data collection process as needed in any true comprehensive managed print services/document output management plan.

So if anyone out there can do this and shares my enthusiasm...

Have at it.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Take A Second To End Huntington's Disease

Above you will see a picture of a friend of mine. Her name is Faith Degenhardt. I met Faith via her brother Lee who is a close friend, a man who used to do sound for my band Jabooda in the early years of our live performances.

Faith suffers from Huntington's Disease and her ability to speak and walk varies due to the complications from this disease.

Years ago when when the band had just started out I often remember Faith acompanying Lee to our performances. She was always very quiet, a very gentle soul and kind person and at the time there was no inclination she would someday have serious issues with mobility and speaking.

This disease has robbed Faith of simple activities that many of us take for granted. Her ability to go for a walk, play sports, dance and speak is challenged by this disease.

Currently she is bound to a wheel chair much of the time but does have days where can she walk short distances.

I can't imagine how frustrating it must be to deal with this on a daily basis. Not only is this clearly a hard reality to face for a young woman but even speaking about the issue itself is challenge for her on some days due to how the disease makes talking a challenge.

I am telling her story here today because I wish to ask you a simple favor.

Please go to this website and click "vote"
by doing so you may very well help to fund the study for a cure to this debilitating disease and provide much needed medication to thousands of people like Faith.

It will literally take you one second and cost you no money.

I thank you for your time in advance.