Future Opportunities for Office Equipment Dealers: Interview with Tami Beach, HP

Modern workflows have changed dramatically, and so has the way buyers want to procure their services and solutions. The world of office print and copy has been slow to catch up. With so many remote workers now in the field, and with fewer pages being printed year after year, something must give. How will OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) like HP help facilitate the transition and help dealers and providers to embrace the new opportunities that new work paradigms demand? 

Join West McDonald, Chief Noise Maker at Tigerpaw Software, and Tami Beach, Head of MPS Channel Sales at HP, as she lays out what the future could look like for dealers willing to evolve and seek new opportunities. You’ll learn: 

  • What HP’s vision of the office looks like with print volumes in decline 
  • Why satisfying MOBILITY is the key to growth and the future of work 
  • Why we need to stop looking at “product and place” and instead focus on “people and productivity” 
  • What cloud enablement means for the future of the office equipment channel 
  • Why DCAs and CPP business models need a paradigm shift in order to satisfy new buyers in a new era 
  • What “managing the seams” is all about and why the opportunities this presents are many 
  • How younger workers are more intentional about the data they give away in return for the services and goods they value 
  • The five new words that will help us frame new opportunities in a new business landscape 

If you’ve wanted to hear how one of the world’s largest OEMs is going to meet the future needs of work, this is an episode you can’t afford to miss! You can access it here: 

While you’re here, be sure to check out all the other incredible content designed to help dealers and providers run a better business and sleep better at night. Don’t forget to subscribe so you never miss another piece of important learning content.

0:00:26.4 West McDonald: Hey, everybody, West Donald here, and I wanna thank you for tuning into another episode of TigerTube, and if you can’t see us, that means you’re listening in on Tigerpaw Radio and I wanna thank you for that. Don’t forget to like this episode, make sure you subscribe and get access to lots of great content designed to help you better your business. So, really excited today. One of my favorite companies as an MPS specialist was always HP. And today, I’m very lucky to have Tami Beach who’s the head of MPS Channel Sales at HP on the interview today. And Tami, in a second, I’ll get you to introduce yourself to our audience. And I will give you a little history on my love of HPs. When I was doing managed print assessment, so I was actually a specialist, we’d go through the offices and catalog which kinda devices they had and make recommendations for either consolidation or upgrades or sometimes fewer devices, etcetera, but the number of HP4s that I saw functioning in the marketplace, those old devices, it was incredible. And HP was also one of the first devices that I worked with that had the full panels on them to be able to embed software on them for user tracking. So definitely, the brand is near and dear to my heart. But that was yesterday, and we’re gonna be talking about today and in the future maybe a little bit too. So Tami, if you could introduce yourself for our audience.

0:01:52.2 Tami Beach: Hi, hi everyone and hi, West. Thanks for having me. I’m super excited to be here. And I have a great love for the HP brand as well. I’m a lifer myself. I’ve been with HP 25 years, and so… And I’ve done all of that from my home state of Boise, Idaho, so I’m born and raised and based out of Boise, Idaho. If you haven’t been here, I invite y’all to come and visit because it’s really a fantastic place to live, work and play. Let’s see. So I’ve been married about 30 years. Well, 30 years, not about, but 30 years. [laughter] I have three daughters, one lives in Seattle, and two live with us at home, one’s in college, and one is just getting ready to graduate from high school, so that’s a lotta fun, keeps me busy. I started my career at HP in the channel doing channel training, and so it is a place that I love. I also started in the print industry, which is a place that I love. And I had did many years in the print side of the business, doing different roles from category management to channel programs and development, and also bringing to market some of our first managed print solution offers and programs.

0:03:06.4 TB: That was fun. I like to kind of joke that I… And in fact, I joke about getting a t-shirt that says I survived [0:03:12.4] ____ [laughter] and all of those things, all those experiences have been great and have not only built my capabilities and awareness of this space, but also help HP to really learn about this space a lot more. I did also work in our PC organization for about five years and worked on Lifecycle Services and bringing to market our kind of managed offer for PCs. That was fun. And then, I did a stint in our consumer organization on a global role, working with our line partners, spent a good amount of time working with partners in China and working on our consumer print apps, which was a pretty big departure from the work that I had previously done, but also probably where I learned the most and what has formed my outlook going forward, which I think we’ll talk about later. And then three years ago, I found myself back in the place that I love working with, working in the channel, working with these partners, and leading our dealer channel for management services.

0:04:22.1 WM: Well, that’s great. And actually, that was a really good segue into the question that I’m gonna start with. And you’ve seen a lot of change, obviously having worked in so many aspects of HP, and we’re going through that again, and the pandemic certainly accelerated a lot of the changes that were already happening anyway. Maybe you can tell me the kinds of things that people used to Print and decline, and how are we starting to do that? What are some of the strongest areas that print opportunities post-pandemic?

0:04:52.4 TB: Well, so I think I’d like to start by saying that the pandemic accelerated a lot of things, a lot of the mega trends that we were already watching. And I think that even before the pandemic, in my mind, the biggest opportunity for Print was this kind of trend for mobility and trend toward hybrid working. We saw that happening again. Accelerated over the past few years when we had to do it, there was no choice, we had to do it. And this is not just about shifting workforce from work to home, but anywhere that work can get done. And not only the place, but how they get that work done. So I just kind of go back to the opportunity that I would speak about before, which was, it’s not really about the place or the product, we tend to get caught in those words, it’s more about the people and the productivity. And so when you shift, when you make that tiny little paradigm shift from place and product to people and in productivity, it opens up kind of a new space and new thought process about where the opportunities are. The most obvious one being the workflows, right? How do I get the content in the apps and the systems cloud-enabled, so that people can access them anywhere they are and from any screen or portal or device, because that whole landscape is changing.

0:06:22.5 TB: I think there’s also though some opportunities for us to innovate in terms of business models. We have these contracts, we have cost per page based contracts that we tend to rely on. There’s this movement toward… That’s dependent on being able to connect devices to DCA and management and monitoring technology that is maybe getting old and outdated. And devices are connected, for sure, but are we tracking pages? Do we need to track pages? Pages are moving from this device to that device and in this location to that location. So do we need more subscription-based or SEAT-based kind of business models? I think device installation and set up and support and all of those things can be re-thought in a world of remote first, mobile first, instead of some of the legacy ways that we have done that. We can buy cars online from start to finish. And if we can do that, then we can most certainly do that for a copier or a printer. So I think that there’s huge opportunities in those basic areas for our business innovation, but I also think that there’s some opportunities in what I call kind of managing the scenes.

0:07:41.3 TB: It was interesting through COVID, how much I realized personally, and I think a lot of people did, how maybe… And I think IBC used a term called, digitally distraught. How digitally distraught companies are, and they’re not really and weren’t really prepared to make the transition, and they’re still not. So there’s an opportunity for us as an industry to kind of fill in the gaps there, or what I say is managing the seams of that transition from where they were to where they need to be. What does that look like? How is that architected? What stack do you need for that? What support and services do you need for that to make that possible? I think companies are really struggling with. And so I think that’s a huge opportunity.

0:08:31.2 WM: Well, I love it. And I’m just gonna interject here because you said a couple of things which are both very near and dear to my heart. One is the SEAT-based billing. So I did a series of SEAT-based billing road shows years ago, and I actually do a live stream every week, which is called Flat Rate World, because I actually do work with and help dealers to actually get on subscription-based programs for their print. So I am 100% behind looking at helping, like you said, helping dealers, helping customers to make that step, that transition, right? The other one I’m 100% in agreement on is, when you talk about looking at people and not devices, and as an assessment specialist, that’s the first thing I always did when I was working with the sales reps, was to say, “We need to make this a people-focused assessment, it’s not a printer assessment,” because then, we understand what the people are trying to do it, right? Device won’t tell you that, devices will give metrics, but it won’t tell you what they’re trying to accomplish, how they’re trying to get work done. Right? So maybe you can tell me some of the things that you’re excited about that you’ve seen the channel due to adapt to changing workflows because we have been adapting it. So what are some of the things that maybe you’ve seen that I’ve gotten you excited?

0:09:41.2 TB: Yeah, so I guess to start again, the most impactful workflow change that I’m seeing is not really around document management at all, it’s really around the buying process. And this industry has had a pretty static buying process for decades. They know how to do it very well. A lot of people have built great businesses and become very wealthy on the buying process of the past. But that’s really changing. And I was really struck actually by the, who was it? Marcus Sheridan that talked at the BTA Conference in Chicago. And talked about the digital consumer. And I wholeheartedly agree and resonate with that. I think the statistic, I don’t know, if he used it or I heard it somewhere else is that, 70% of the buying process is done digitally, right? That doesn’t mean that they don’t reach out, you don’t talk to them in that process but it’s done digitally. So what I get excited about is, when I see channel partners investing in their online and their digital footprint and presence, whether it’s their website or other social media strategies that they might have. If they’re prioritizing and in making those investments and how they show up, and not just how they show up, but how they analyze the data. And Marcus really went through some really great examples in the pool industry of how it uses the data to improve that digital presence and to be where his customers are in that purchasing or buying cycle.

0:11:12.7 TB: So I think that we can’t underestimate the importance of the digital presence. And then there’s also then if you’re using the analytics and you’re learning what works and what doesn’t work, it leads partners to real-time quick quoting and e-commerce and solutions and support models that are digital first. And so those are the things that I get excited about when I see partners doing. ‘Cause I think they’re readying for, getting ready for really preparing themselves to continue for the next 10 decades.

0:11:47.0 WM: And how important it is, right? And I know that probably before the interview, you probably checked on my LinkedIn profile. I checked on yours. And there’s so much information there that’s available before we physically meet. So really incredible. And that’s just obviously for our personal and professional digital presence, right? And like you said, let alone these things that we can do as organizations to make sure that we’re out there, right? That people are seeing us in different ways. One of the objectives of this program, obviously, is to help people better get to know Tigerpaw through education and learning, nothing about us and that digital presence to help people and in when they’re ready. Like you said, that 70% of the research they’ve done, hopefully, we’ve taught them something that they appreciate learning and maybe they’ll come back and have a look at us for what we do, right? It’s absolutely critical that organizations do that, right?

0:12:41.1 TB: Exactly. Yeah, yeah, I mean, I buy that way. I assume you do too.

0:12:46.9 WM: Absolutely.

0:12:47.4 TB: And so… [laughter] And more and more, and bigger and bigger purchases.

0:12:51.9 WM: Yeah, I just recently bought a glamping tent. I’m not sure if you’ve seen those. But it’s one of the larger bell tents, and I spent probably a good week doing online research, reading about the tent companies, how well they held up, looking at user reviews, looking at any kind of industry awards that they might have had, etcetera. And literally… And these glamping tents, I’m not sure if you know, they’re not cheap. [laughter] They’re pretty expensive. And when I was finally ready to make that decision, it was literally, the phone call that I made was just to get a couple of questions answered and then, “Okay, I’m ready to order,” right?

0:13:29.1 TB: Right, well, exactly. I’m doing the same with the couch, and in the couch purchasing process and what style and size, and what are the features that I really need to know? What are important to me? And then I’ll go to the store and test it out, but I already walk in knowing what it is that I want and the questions that I need to ask. And it’s funny because you talk about how you show up online digitally, but also, how you’re listening because… I mean, literally listening, because sometimes now, I will just stand in… When I was doing my stint in the consumer software team, we were doing a lot of work on building print path with Amazon and Google and others that are voice-activated. So Amazon, print my boarding pass or print my calendar, what have you. So my house was filled with these voice-activated speakers. [laughter]

0:14:28.1 WM: Mine too… [laughter]

0:14:29.4 TB: And the ones that have a video on them, you can see the articles that pop up are being served up to you based on the conversation that you’re having in the house, and some people that freaks out and it freaked me out at first too, so I shut it all off. [chuckle] And then I realized, I’m not getting my customized personalized information served up to me. So I turn it all back on. And now, I stand in the kitchen and I go, “You know, I could really use a black rug for this kitchen.” And then what do you know? I’ve got 25 black rug options on Amazon device.

0:15:00.8 WM: Yeah, I love it. I think that I call it a digital currency, that a lot of the things that we’re willing to give up as long as we feel that we’re getting enough in return to be able to make up for that, right? And it was actually a millennial that I saw speaking at a conference once, and they were actually being… This was quite a number of years ago, but they were being grilled obviously, by some of the older folks in the room saying, “You just do too much online yet, you’re gonna get burned,” and it’s… You’re young and stupid. You know the whole trans-generational thing, right? Yeah, the person that was on the piano was very calm, relaxed and said, “No, we’re not ignorant to what we give away online, it’s just we view what is currency.” In other words, if there is value in what they’re offering us, then we’ll give them a little bit of our information. If we don’t feel the values there, then we don’t. And I was like, “What a neat way to look at that.” I’m like you, my whole house is piled up.

0:15:56.2 TB: Right. And we’re just giving it away, but I totally… I teach a marketing class a Boise State. I always ask the same question. How do you feel about this? What is your perspective on this? Because the assumption is, is that, Yeah, you’re the riskiest generation. But I think that they are just more intentional.

0:16:13.7 WM: I think so, yeah. And that’s, like I said, that conference years ago, that just stuck in my brain because it was such a great answer. It’s like, we know what we’re doing.

0:16:22.1 TB: Yeah.

0:16:23.3 WM: That’s great. That’s actually a good segue into this question. So a lot of people long for the good old days, when I remember the early days of the internet. When I started in the managed print space, I worked for an organization called Print Fleet. There wasn’t even software yet for managing the devices other than the OEM direct software packages. And I’ve been through this whole manage print phase from the early days of when the internet was dishing out so much information, there was just so many things to print, right? And with the younger generations doing different workflows and stuff, we’re not going back. There’s no such thing as the old normal. So what is this new normal? And obviously, the one question I always love to ask is, what opportunities does it present? Because there’s always opportunity, right?

0:17:10.9 TB: Right. Yeah, exactly. Well, I would describe the new normal with five words. And when you just hear the words and you sit with them for a while, again, it’s kind of like making that paradigm shift from product in place to people and productivity is shifting words in our head causes us to open up all kinds of new ideas. And so the five words, and actually, we just released… HP just released a video called Work Happy, that has some really great visuals of what I’m about to describe. I didn’t make this list based on that video, but it fits really, really well. So at first, I think mobile. I mean, everybody knows that mobile is happening. And again, we can say it’s hybrid, it’s office and home. But when you switch that word to mobile, you really say, “Okay, this is… I can live, work and play wherever I want, anywhere.” Flexible. And what I mean by flexible is that, I can live, work and play whenever I want. Not just wherever, but whenever. Morning, noon, night, different time zones, I could work around my family and my personal activities that I do. I can work that in, and it makes me a much better happier employee. I’m a pretty happy HP employee, very, very loyal.

0:18:39.8 TB: I have the opportunity to work whenever I want, I have children, I have a husband, I have social activities, I do, I teach at Boise State, I have some side hustles here. And I think that more and more, we’re going to see that that is the norm for people. I read an article where they called this polygamous careers, because we may stay with a single company, I mean, it’s rare that you see that anymore, but you may stay with a single company for your whole career as long as they afford you the opportunities to develop professionally and personally and have that flexibility. Virtual. And what I mean by this, this is the however. I can live, work and play however I want. It doesn’t matter the device, the operating system, the content or the app, I should be able to seamlessly move and collaborate virtually as much as I need to to be as productive as I can. Augmented. And this is really my experience in consumer software world really started to form my ideas around augmentation and what that can do for us, make me better, faster, smarter. You don’t have to take me over, but make me better, faster, stronger, jump higher, run faster, don’t make me do things that I don’t have to do that aren’t a good use of my time, and that is super, super important.

0:20:05.8 TB: And then the last word, and again, this is formed from my consumer experience, and of course, we’re all one person, and our consumer experience bleeds into our professional life and back and forth. Personal. I am a party of one. There is enough data, I have a big enough data digital footprint for you to know me well. So serve up your offer to me, serve up the experience to me that you know that I’m going to value. And so there is opportunity to be so personal in this new era with all of the data that we have available. So use the data and make the experiences personal because that’s really then what will stand out and differentiate, I think. So I think in terms of opportunities, again, thinking about those words and the that you might… I mean, if you just sat down for a day and talk through those words with your organization about what you’re doing today and how you can make those shifts to better embrace those words, and then what are all of the brand new things, whether it’s gaming or AR, VR or accessories, we are investing a lot of time and money in headsets and gloves and sensors, and not just for gaming, but to enrich the whole collaboration experience in the office, in the education space, and in training, and in construction and in public sector.

0:21:38.5 TB: These are things I think we were… We know that audio visual is a big opportunity, but what about the headsets, the gloves, the sensors, those kinds of things that go along with that collaboration experience that are beyond just the audio video. So those are some of the things that I started to think about, that I get excited about that personalization, industrial printing, 3D, I mean, all of these things where HP is really… We have our fingers in, so that we can bring those opportunities to our channel partners.

0:22:10.3 WM: I love it. And these are opportunities that, like you said, that five years ago, probably wouldn’t have been even possible, but we’ve gotten used to kind of these things. I love the five, right] The mobile. What a great word instead of home office or remote or whatever, right? ‘Cause it could be anything. This idea of flexibility. So before our call, my wife’s a retailer, she had to take her mom somewhere this morning, so my daughter’s filling in at the store, and I had to drive her down, help open the store and then get ready for this interview. And that’s how the ideal is, right? And that’s how you wanna live, and this idea of virtual, being able to do things virtual, and the augmented stuff is very cool, but probably most important what I love what you say there is the personal, that it’s this idea of a tailored experience of really thinking about the consumer, getting to know the consumer better and helping them to make purchase decisions based on that added time. Wonderful. Well, that’s great, I can’t thank you enough for that. Right? But in respect for your time, we’ve reached the point in the interview, which I like to call the impossible question. [chuckle] And the impossible question is, if you had one piece of advice for office equipment dealers and others that are providing imaging and print to customers, what would that be?

0:23:29.6 TB: Well, I think that… Again, based on what I learned by leaving this industry, this business, not this industry. But when I went to the consumer side of the business, I think what I learned the most is that, the industry you’re in should not be your reference point, [chuckle] right? The customers that you’re talking to every day and the people that you’re surrounded with every day, maybe shouldn’t always be your reference point. But looking beyond that, looking outside to other industries. What service in the past won’t necessarily service in the future. We’re just moving too fast. Modern businesses are too different. I like to say our customers are getting so much younger, and we’re getting so much older, and our buyers are almost unrecognizable. So if you look outside the industry, the types of businesses that are being successful and in the types of leadership that is enduring and being successful. Look what has happened in music and in entertainment, and in healthcare and in retail, and automotive…

0:24:32.7 TB: Automotive is changing right before our eyes right now. And so if you look to those industries… And there’s good things and bad things, right? What are the best practices and worst practices? But don’t underestimate the value that you can get from looking outside of your own circle, and in your own industry and using those insights to inform your path forward because there’s lots of really great ideas and lots of really great best practices that are going on out there if we kind of open our eyes and pay attention to those.

0:25:06.8 WM: That’s wonderful advice, right? That in order to learn and expand our horizons, we always have to get outside of the box that we’re in. I lead a group called The Top 100, which is a bunch of folks in the office equipment channel and other places. And one of the people that I have in there is from Gap Intelligence, Valerie Hayman. And her focus area is actually the consumer print side of the world. And at first people say, “Why do you have somebody from the consumer side in?” And I said, “Well, with all these people working, I’m gonna use your word now, working mobile, that the types of devices people need are gonna be shifting as well, right?” And so it was fascinating to see some of the numbers that they provide on what’s happening in the consumer world, and then marrying that with the business world. So that stuff gets me really excited. Well, listen, in respect for your time, we’ve definitely come to the end of the interview, and I cannot thank you enough. It’s been an absolute pleasure to be able to interview you.

0:26:07.5 TB: Thank you, I have had a great time. I’d love to know how I can join you on your group 100.

0:26:16.3 WM: Yeah, I love it. [laughter]

0:26:16.3 TB: That sounds super interesting. A great group of people. So anyway, I look forward to talking with you again soon.

0:26:26.8 WM: Yeah, wonderful. And to all of our viewers and listeners, cannot thank you enough for joining us for another episode. And remember to subscribe, hit that like button. And until next time, keep learning.

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