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Digital Support: The Cornerstone of a Successful Digital Strategy

The Digital Revolution in the Office Environment
It is no secret that the market for analog copiers is declining as the installed base is rapidly being replaced by digital devices. CAP Ventures research reveals that in 2000, the installed base of Segment 1- 6 black & white copiers in the U.S. consisted of approximately 5.6 million units. Of that total, 75% or 4.3 million were analog, and 1.3 million or 25% were digital. By the year 2006, CAP Ventures expects that the total installed base of copiers will be 5.5 million. However, 89% of those devices will be digital. The remaining 600,000 thousand or 11% will be analog. This is a dramatic change for a short period of time.

As businesses encounter this shift and all of its implications, office equipment companies face problems as well as opportunities. The problems lie in the support function, while opportunities exist in solutions and consultative services.

The analog to digital transition has created the need for a paradigm shift throughout the office equipment industry. Companies that do not embrace new ways of doing business will find it difficult, if not impossible, to reach revenue and earnings targets.

Revenue opportunities are shifting from hardware to digital support and solutions. The introduction of faster digital devices is expanding the print-on-demand marketplace, bringing more opportunities for digital support revenue and solutions centered on the document life cycle.

To be successful selling in new environments, companies must adopt a consultative sales model rather than the traditional hardware model that is often centered on demonstrations and trials. This is a new concept for the office equipment employee as well as the customer. Copier sales representatives are being asked to sell to people they do not traditionally sell to, such as MIS and IT personnel.

A major challenge for office equipment companies is that not every office equipment sales representative or customer understands the added value of consultative services. Many are accustomed to hardware-based sales. Most office equipment companies are working on making a transition away from that sales model.

For those providers that have large installed bases of analog copiers at customer sites, the message is clear: companies must make the transition to digital technology and reposition themselves as service providers. To protect and grow their market share, providers must make sure that they have adequate infrastructure in place from a sales and operations perspective. Those who fail to make this transition and continue to embrace the old copier sales mentality will be doomed to obsolescence as digital devices and network connectivity become the norm.

The preceding was an excerpt from CAP Ventures’ report entitled Digital Support: The Cornerstone of a Successful Digital Strategy. To learn more about the report, visit our Web Site or call Stewart MacDonald at ext. 175.



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