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11 september 20

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ans of gadgets will have watched with disappointment as Steve Jobs stood down from his post as CEO of technowizards Apple recently. During his time in charge he has been responsible for some of the most ground-breaking and revolutionary technological innovations of all times, with the iPod, Apple Mac, and iPad all coming to market on his watch. While the IT world may be losing one creative genius, there is still plenty of innovation going around that office supplies salespeople can get involved with. As our IT Report feature discusses, the business of selling IT products is still booming, despite early pessimism surrounding the industry. And with new opportunities, such as selling to home and small offices emerging all the time (see IT update), there is still plenty to gain from this industry, and still plenty for salespeople to learn to make the most of future sales. All this innovation should mean that, even without the inspirational Jobs, a salesperson’s job is made simpler and more customers receive the products they need to keep their business up to speed. Enjoy.

M att Ja ne


contents 01 IT NEWS The latest developments in the IT industry


How IT sales have remained a booming business


Selling print solutions to small and home offices

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 BIG GROWTH PROJECTED The worldwide front projector market grew by 16% in Q2 2011, compared to the same quarter last year, according to figures from Pacific Media Associates. PMA divides the front projector industry into three brightness ranges, each associated with its own set of buyer types and applications: new era (under 500 lumens), mainstream (500 to 4999 lumens); and high-end (5000 or more lumens). The New Era range showed a 195% upturn in unit sales against the same period last year. Part of this growth can be attributed to an increase in shipments of products with embedded pico projectors,

such as camcorders, digital still cameras, and mobile phones. The new era projector category also gained ground due to strong initial shipments of Wide XGA personal projectors. In the mainstream range, unit sales dropped by four per cent in Q2 2011 compared to Q2 2010. Education remained a strong market and the number of interactive projectors increased dramatically in Q2, but corporate and home markets have been affected by the world economic situation. “The year-on-year slowdown in the mainstream market was seen mainly in developed markets, many of which saw buoyant sales during last year’s second quarter because of the industry’s postrecession inventory correction, sporting events and strong education technology spending from the US stimulus,” said Michael Abramson, VP of projector research at PMA “Despite the weak comparisons, ultra-shortthrow projectors, including the emerging interactive models, continued to outperform the overall market, even in developed countries.” Sales of high-end models continued to outperform the overall market, with volume rising 26% from last year.

 SECURITY STILL A WORRY Cyber security continues to be a huge concern for businesses, ahead of traditional crime, natural disasters and terrorism, according research undertaken by Symantec. Respondents ranked cyber-attacks as their top concern, followed by IT incidents caused by well-meaning insiders, and internally generated IT-related threats. Nearly half (47%) of respondents said mobile computing was affecting the difficulty of providing cyber security, followed by social media (46%), and the consumerisation of IT (45%).

The number of organisations seeing attacks over the past year dropped from 75% last year to 71% in 2011. The top three reported losses were downtime, theft of employee’s identity information and theft of intellectual property, while the costs included productivity, revenue, lost organisation, and brand reputation. The report suggests that today’s IT administrators should validate and protect the identities of users, sites and devices throughout their organisations.


Businesses have been advised to use online resources to improve their networking, according to a new report by InterExec. Online networking was the second most popular way to network, just behind industry events. In addition, the report revealed that while 97% of UK headhunters think senior executives should have a publicly-accessible profile on LinkedIn, 86% think that senior executives should not have a Facebook profile. Kit Scott-Brown, MD of InterExec, commented: “The rapid rise in technology and social media has meant that more and more senior executives are turning to the internet to network. Meeting people online for business has become more popular than the annual business golf outing.”


Server sales grew by 17.9% during the second quarter of 2011 to $13.2bn, according to figures from the International Data Corporation (IDC). This is the sixth quarter of growth and unit sales also grew 8.5% to 2.1 million boxes. The IDC classifies servers as volume, midrange enterprise or high-end enterprise. Volume and midrange grew by 16.6% and 16.7% respectively, while high-end boxes saw sales grow by 22.6%. Blade sales grew 26.9% year-on-year in cash terms. Linux-based systems grew 47.5%, thanks to Fujitsu’s K-computer HPC system. Windows-based machines also grew by 12.4% year-on-year. IBM and HP are almost tied for the top spot with 30.5% and 29.8% market shares respectively, but IBM grew revenues 24.5% on last year compared to 9.3% for HP.

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01 it news

02 it report

03 IT update

Still flying high While many expected to see a slump in Q2 following a strong first quarter, James Rankin suggest IT solutions are seeing continued success as the year goes on

James Rankin Account manager for IT and office hardware 0870 603 8220


fter an exceedingly strong first quarter within the office hardware markets, helped both by extended sales periods throughout February and March and further technological advances, many expected to see the second quarter of 2011 fall back into year-on-year declines. Instead, GfK R&T UK data has seen a split within the office markets with more IT, such as print, seeing strong year on year growth for the second quarter, both from B2B-focused laser machines and a growing range of mid-segment home office inkjets. Compared to this positive outlook, if we look at other areas, including stationery and office based machines, we begin to see sales drop off along with total value in many of these markets. These areas have not been helped by the continuing strict budgets applied to office infrastructure with many businesses, large and small, still worried and far more cautious about excessive spending and it appears that this is unlikely to change in the near future. This leaves it up to private individuals to help stimulate growth and while we continue to see innovation, particularly in areas such as shredding and stationery, the majority of value is still made up from the corporate sector purchases that focus on high-end items as a whole. Writing instruments have suffered during Q2, with areas such as colouring, marking and writing, all seeing declines in sales over the period. Looking at past trends and recent campaigns made by manufacturers, the expectation for Q3 looks positive with many expecting back to school sales to be strong across all areas this year, certainly helping to take the sting out of Q2’s poor performance. Looking at more positive areas, specifically printing, where we continue to see positive growth particularly from the system houses, as high-end laser MFP machines help push up value contributions in the B2B segment. At the same time we see both ends of the inkjet MFP market perform relatively well. As medium-to high-end machines see more additions, such as duplex functionality and feeding trays, we continue to see value increase despite falling prices across the market. At the low end of the inkjet market we have continued to see strong growth with regards to volume, as increasing competition in

all channels forces prices to drop with three-in-one MFPs commonly below the £39.99 price point. In other markets, the growth of web books has had implications for other product groups within the IT category. Keyboards specifically designed to be used for web books accounted for 3.2% of the total value of keying devices sold in Q2 2011, compared to the same period in 2010 when these devices didn’t account for any sales through GfK’s panelmarket. These devices also had an average selling price of £50 in Q2 2011, compared to £17 for other computer keyboards in the same period, explaining the fact that web book keyboards had such a high value share within keying devices, despite only having a 1.1% share of the volume sales of the product group. This contributed to the overall keying devices product category increasing in value terms by eight percent between Q2 2010 and the same period in 2011. Conversely, pointing devices experienced a 10% value decline in the same period, as many new touchscreen devices don’t require mice, but might still warrant the occasional use of a physical keyboard.

With thanks to GfK

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01 it news

02 it report

03 it update

small but


in the world of home and small ofďŹ ce printing, bigger is not necessarily better. Matt Jane looks at the latest options and considers how salespeople can make the most of sales to this market


ecent working trends have seen more flexible options, with employees given more freedom to work remotely from home and an increased number of small businesses starting up in front rooms and home offices. This gives office supplies salespeople the perfect opportunity to sell appropriate print solutions to a broader customer base, as the requirements for these smaller enterprises will differ from those of larger organisations. While the specific requirements will be different for small and home offices (SOHO), the need for efficient, costeffective and easy-to-use solutions remains constant. “With this in mind, printers with wi-fi capability, fast print speed at a low cost-per-page and features such as duplex printing that >

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01 it news

02 it report

will help cut down on print and running costs are growing in demand,” says Peter Silcock, channel manager for business imaging, Epson. An important consideration when selling to the SOHO market is that many of these workers will already be accustomed to the functions available in larger offices and will expect to enjoy similar functionality at home. “Print speeds and reliability are key factors to ensure good levels of efficiency when working at home,” suggests Phil Jones, sales and marketing director at Brother. “Scanning is also a key feature as home workers often need to convert paper-based files into electronic documents to share with colleagues.” Also, features such as document feeders could be a useful addition, which may not seem important in the short term but could prove useful as the business grows. One of the reasons that wireless technology is seen as such an important feature in the home office is the rise in popularity of mobile and tablet gadgets. “More people are printing from and scanning to their iPads and other devices,” says Jones, who adds that small compact A4 printers ensure they don’t take up too much room in the home and also fit in well with the existing technology the customer will be using. When employees are working remotely at home, it is useful for them to use the same type of device that is available in the company’s main offices. “This approach also makes the process of ordering consumables more straightforward,” explains Peter Dresser, product marketing manager at OKI. “If an employee working from homes runs out of consumables, he or she can simply liaise with the office to order in more supplies.” Recent innovations in A4 printers have brought them more in line with the larger machines that users will be accustomed to. Neil Sawyer, head of marketing at Samsung, points to developments, such as faster print speeds and anti-jam technology, that can improve the overall ease-of-use in the long-term. This-ease-of use is an important consideration, given that large companies will have in-house support for maintaining and setting up products. Sawyer says printers that are designed to be easy to use and maintain will be hugely beneficial to home-users, with developments such as longer lasting toner to reduce the need to continuously replace parts helping keep maintenance to a minimum.

MEETING THE NEEDS With the wide range of technology available, it is important to consider the most appropriate solution for the specific requirements of each SOHO user. Silcock says that small offices may need more guidance in their decisions as they will be less likely to have the expertise of larger companies. “Dealers should therefore talk to the buyer about their printing needs

03 IT update

Other innovations that could be useful even in the SOHO environment include more professional features such as disc printing, which Jones explains is “enabling businesses to produce professional looking discs to send to clients, by printing directly onto CD, DVD and Blu-ray discs”. Whenever dealers are selling to small and home businesses, it is important to remember the importance of developing the relationship. “If the dealer has asked the right questions, sold the user the right product in the first place and then sustained an engagement process with that user through consumables sales, [they] will be ideally placed to make the most of any ongoing sales or crossselling opportunities,” says Dresser. With the right approach and the most suitable products, dealers can ensure these small businesses present them with big opportunities.

Home security is less of an issue compared to larger corporations that have internal protocols restricting certain technologies. It is therefore more acceptable to sell wireless and Bluetooth devices and advise and guide them through the different technologies and models on offer,” he says. One consideration that resellers should discuss with customers is the issue of total cost of ownership. Dresser suggests that A4 LED or laser devices are best suited for SOHO users because they combine affordability with high quality documents. “The issue with most inkjet devices is that they are expensive to run – a fact that many small business owners will be aware of. Cost of ownership is typically lower with comparable LED or laser printers,” he says. It is also worth remembering how the different requirements in the SOHO market can allow for technology to be used differently. For example, Tanja Schaefer, indirect channel marketing specialist at Konica Minolta, says that wireless is more suited to the home environment. “Home security is less of an issue compared to larger corporations that have internal protocols restricting certain technologies. It is therefore more acceptable to sell wireless and Bluetooth devices,” she explains. It is also important to remember that in many instances, salespeople will be dealing with a more consumer-focused market. “We are talking about people’s own money rather than a corporation’s money, so the decision is more personal,” says Schaefer. “The approach must be one of a person who understands the need to get the best for their customer and to advise them against a product if it is not for them, rather than sell something that is not suitable.”

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July 2011 Issue 193





1 Issue 192



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UD HEAD IN THE CLO computing Low-down on cloud HOME MADE in the spotlight UK manufacturing IDS LEAGUE 2011 Analysis: part one

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IT Guide September 11  

IT Guide September 11 edition

IT Guide September 11  

IT Guide September 11 edition