The title of this blog is actually a quote from a client who brought his shredding and his old shredder into the Leppert office one day for shredding. His point was that his shredder was getting pretty long in the tooth and it didn't warrant repair so he thought he would just get it recycled along with his current need for shredding. While this is kind of funny as shown in the attached picture it actually reflects a significant trend in office operations that has been underway for many years.
Office systems as a service
As this recent client has done many of the things which used to require capital cost, maintenance, and supplies costs have become service focused items where a supplier handles the whole set of functions for a client .
This has happened in bookkeeping and accounting services, Human Resources Management, recruitment, labour supply (think temporary employment services) and many other areas where traditionally businesses had to provide all of the components of their operations themselves.
Shredding services are common and takes a distasteful task away from office employees and turns it over to outside service (us) that is better equipped for handling them efficiently.
Software and hardware as a service
In IT operations there is no question that there has been a major shift to services based systems with many organizations moving away from installing and maintaining their own systems. The rapid growth of cloud based computing where software, hardware and storage is supplied by a third party supplier with the client using a web based or VPN connection to permit users to interface, has become a norm for many companies.
Eliminating the need for specialized talent which is often hard to obtain, continuous hardware and software upgrades and upfront costs has permitted organizations to modernize and quickly adapt their systems.
The trend to cloud continues to grow as computing has become more commoditized. Leppert has been a partner in growing this trend for many clients having introduced its own Canadian based cloud hosted Document Management Solution, docUcapture over fifteen years ago. Targeted to Canadian based small businesses, SMBs, this service has permitted easy entrance into the electronic filing field for many clients. Now offering the ability to add workflow components to manage filing flows it is the kind of advanced tool which many companies say they would like to have but are afraid to make the capital investment to acquire.
Hardware as a service is most easily understood when you look a managed print services where all the components of network printing operations are provided under one simple per impression contract. Instead of having to buy or lease hardware, sort our service and supply contracts and manage the selection of equipment, under a managed print contract contracts can have all of their print related needs met by a supplier who manages the whole process. This is a trend which started in large enterprise contracts but which has evolved into solutions which can support mid and smaller companies as well.
Why these trends
These trends follow a fairly simple business maxim: stick to your knitting. What this means is that instead of trying to develop and control all of the components of expertise that it takes to manage a business it is better to focus on the core parts of what makes a business successful. Those components which make up its core products and services that clients want and need from you.
Outsource and acquire through services contracts those ancillary areas of your business that are needed to support the core. Don't attempt to become expert in each of these ancillary areas, hire those who can offer this expertise effectively and efficiently. Use them to support your core and grow your business in this critical area.
Perhaps it is time to look at your own shredding and see if you should shred your shredder.