Office Document Strategies Blog

Black Friday For The Print Industry?

Posted by Lee Kirkby on Wed, Nov 23, 2016 @ 08:11 AM

In the next few days and all of next week we are going to continue to be inundated with ads for all kinds of Black Friday related promotions, offers and specials.  In addition the popular media will be telling stories of all kinds of things people are doing to be sure they get to take advantage of the Black Friday deals whether it is camping out to be first in line, working as a team to make sure they get to all of their preferred sales or simply stories about how important this period is to the success of retailers. 

Of course in Canada Black Friday is not as key to everyone's lives as it is in the US since the sales are not as giant, the weekend is not always the biggest sales day of the retail year and the focus is a little less hectic since we have already celebrated our Thanksgiving and our retailers usually save their best for Boxing Day.

Then there is Cyber Monday next week which kicks off the primary online sales period designed to match Black Friday and extend the frenzy into the online sales fields.

Commercial markets don't fully mimic retail

For businesses focused on the commercial market and who sell primarily to other businesses Black Friday is not quite the same.  Since most commercial business is less emotionally driven than consumer sales the excitement of a Black Friday is pretty hard to build and is hard to replicate across varied industries.

There are however periods in every business type where opportunities can exist both for sellers and for purchasers to create something with a part of the energy that seems to fill the Black Friday period.

Think of Open Houses, Anniversary Sales, Industry Workshops, Trade Shows as some of the commercially supported Black Friday proxies designed to bring buyers and sellers together in ways to make deals happen.

Characteristics

To become a Black Friday proxy the activity needs to exhibit some specific characteristics:

  • Offer enough special value to get people talking about it
  • Be time sensitive, with only a short duration to take up the promo
  • Offer limited range of special promotion items or services
  • Be publicly promoted at least to a set target potential group of purchasers
  • Provide unique value that is not going to be replicated soon again
  • Focus on rapid deployment and as close to instant return as possible.

 

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Topics: sales

Wind Power May Have Value Without Subsidy | Microsoft Buy

Posted by Lee Kirkby on Wed, Nov 16, 2016 @ 08:11 AM

Recent announcements about Microsoft contracting for massive amounts of wind generated power to run several of its data centres causes me to think that this kind of  renewable energy just may have a good life without massive government structured subsidies.  

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Topics: technology tools, Canadian Legislation, Environment, Canadian Pricing

3D Printing Is Much More Than We Might Think

Posted by Lee Kirkby on Wed, Nov 9, 2016 @ 08:11 AM

When 3D printing was first talked about what we saw was neat production of small plastic parts that might be used to assembly a toy, a display or some sort of interesting art object. Today this type of use is become pretty mainstream with small 3D printers being introduced for home or office use either for educational benefit or for design display. 

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Topics: technology tools, Printer

Paying For Online Mobility

Posted by Lee Kirkby on Wed, Nov 2, 2016 @ 07:11 AM

Anyone who travels frequently whether on business or for pleasure quickly confronts the challenge of determining the right solution to obtaining online flexibility especially for data. 

Most roaming plans restrict substantially, the level of data that you can use and the upcharges for going over the plan can be large.  For that reason people often start seeking out free wifi in all kinds of locations.  Unfortunately, free wifi can be pretty cumbersome.

I recently experienced this on a personal trip where we were using campgrounds to stay over night.  Virtually all of them offered some sort of 'free' wifi on their site.  The quality and usability of their connections varied substantially and did not equate to the price of the stay.  In fact the poorest connection was in the campground where we paid the highest rate per night and the best connection was in the one where we obtained and end of season discount rate for staying.  Luckily our daily connection needs were pretty low and could be met with a roaming plan on my cell phone which sufficed for our travel planning.  If more intensive needs had been prevalent something different would have been important. 

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Topics: IT connectivity, mobility

Canadian Credit Cards For Sale

Posted by Lee Kirkby on Wed, Oct 26, 2016 @ 08:10 AM

Regular readers of this blog will know that we spend a fair bit of time dealing with warnings, updates and suggestions on dealing with IT security and data protection.  At times it seems like we never talk about anything else and I wish we didn't need to cover this topic so heavily.  

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Topics: data security, Canadian IT

HP Acquires Samsung Printer Business

Posted by Lee Kirkby on Wed, Oct 19, 2016 @ 08:10 AM

Just about a month ago HP and Samsung announced a deal that will see HP acquiring Samsung's printer business which is said to be about $1.8 billion US annually.  It appears that after many years producing print products as an OEM supplier and then a few years doing so under its own name Samsung has decided that it should focus on other aspects of its electronic industry.  

In the announcement HP has said this is the largest print related purchase that it has ever made.

HP has long used Canon engines for many of its laser printers and with this deal it gains the potential to move much of its engine production and R&D to the Samsung based designs.

I observe that it is only a few years that Samsung has been producing and selling its own brand of A3 (traditional 11 x 17 copier sized) products and it may be access to this area is one of the keys for HP.  Over the past ten years or so HP has struggled trying to find a fit with multifunction printer devices under its brand which can take control of the office print market like they have successfully done with their laser printer models which are primarily A4 (letter/legal) sized.

By acquiring Samsung they instantly obtain a recognized set of full bore A3 office multifunction devices in both colour and mono which can be branded HP and could complement other units in their offerings.  For those dealers which have been selling Samsung equipment it presents a bit of a challenge, but not one they will not have handled before.  Potentially they may have a broader set of options presented as HP fills out the line.  For most they will be dual branded and will have another line to use to fulfill customer needs.

Industry Changes Ongoing

This acquisition is just another step in a steady shift in the print market as the volume of paper changes and the moves to a more electronic or digital document world continue.

Konica Minolta was created through the merger of two separate brands in 2003.  Ricoh has built up its operations through a string of brand purchases over the years, Ricoh acquired Savin, Gestetner, Lanier, Rex-Rotary, Monroe, Nashuatec, IKON and most recently IBM Printing Systems Division / Infoprint Solutions Company.  

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Topics: MFP, Printer, Copier

Canadian Government Data Breaches Increase In Number

Posted by Lee Kirkby on Wed, Oct 12, 2016 @ 07:10 AM

“As in years before, ‘accidental disclosure’ was the most common cause cited for breaches,” ..... “highlighting the need for institutions to ensure proper procedures are in place to protect Canadians’ personal information."  

This paragraph begins a report in IT World Canada outlining the summary of the Canadian Government experience in the period ending March 2016.  It shows that government information continues to be a target for hackers and others seeking to take advantage of the massive amounts of information that is collected by governments at all levels.  While the report referenced deals primarily with federal government information we can be sure that similar issues can arise in the broader public sector including provinces, municipalities and government agencies like education and hospitals.

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Topics: data security, network security

AP Automation In The Cloud | Introductory Video

Posted by Lee Kirkby on Wed, Oct 5, 2016 @ 07:10 AM

As we have discussed in a couple of previous articles AP Automation is one of the fields which can offer significant benefit to most businesses.  Currently the average business is still handling at least 50 percent of its accounts payable in a paper format taking time, aggravation and risk when compared to the potential of a more streamlined process using newer technologies.  

One of the things which holds many potential adopters back is the concern over installing, maintaining infrastructure and financing the cost of setting up a solution for AP.  Like any software implementation it is a challenge to figure out if the returns are going to offset the costs of the hardware, software and the administration of the potential solution.  In light of this inertia often prevails and the status quo becomes the default option.

Enter the cloud

One of the reasons that so much interest and attention has developed over the past few years around cloud computing  is the potential to reduce the pressure for this default inertia when new system potential is identified.  

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Topics: document management, AP Automation

4 Top Data Security Practices | IT World Canada Video

Posted by Lee Kirkby on Wed, Sep 28, 2016 @ 08:09 AM

Data security is an issue for every connected company in Canada.  Figuring out what to do to help you keep your critical information safe is a challenge for everyone but probably even more of one for the typical business professional without solid IT background. 

This recent video published by IT World Canada offers some helpful insight through a Data Security Consultant's eyes which can assist business managers to focus some of their attention in the right places.  In most instances it will take the assistance of someone with a solid IT security technical background to set up your operations to carry out the suggestions made in this video, but it can go a long way to help you ask the right questions and perhaps determine who could be the right fit for your needs.

In summarizing the video, CSO Digital: Security Situations series editor Ryan Patrick highlight four things:

  • Implementing effective security awareness for all in your organization, new and old employees
  • Maintaining the right levels of access to data of each type, with privileged access only to those who need it
  • Protection of data at source, as close as possible to where it resides, internally or in the cloud
  • Implementing threat hunting practices to help identify activity on the network which is outside of the norm

 

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Topics: data security, IT network

13 Reasons To Implement Automated AP Processing

Posted by Lee Kirkby on Wed, Sep 21, 2016 @ 09:09 AM

In a 2014 study or the levels of use of Account Payable automated systems respondents indicated that paper invoices remain a big part of their payables operations.  70 percent said that at least 50 percent of their invoices are still being tendered in paper format and less than 9 percent said paper invoices are less than 10 percent of their total volume. 

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Topics: AP Automation