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View from the channel

Stuart Carruthers, Technology Sales Manager, Midshire Business Systems Northern

Q: What are your customers most interested in?

A: Print mobility seems to be the most important factor from a user point of view, they want to be able to get their prints fast and without having to move very far. However, due to education from people like ourselves, management are starting to wake up to the importance of keeping their data protected. We wipe hard drives and supply equipment that can completely delete cached data on the fly.

BYOD isn’t anything new, people have been using their own devices for a long time in their organisations, however, BYOD outside of your own organisation is getting more popular. For example, the ability to go to an airport and print your boarding passes from your phone to the airport’s printer.

Q: Do clients have the same understanding of industry terms such as BYOD, MPS or MDS, as we do?

A: This depends to whom you speak to and the type of organisation. IT staff and senior management are normally okay with these terms. If you were to use these abbreviations in the primary education sector for example, most times they wouldn’t know what you were talking about.

Q: Where are you seeing most traction at the moment, are there any verticals that are particularly strong?

A: Cloud services are definitely showing the biggest growth, as broadband has gotten faster and more reliable. More and more people are releasing their tight grip on in-house equipment and storage. I wouldn’t say this was in any particular market place, but across all organisations.

Q: When selling MFPs, what are the most popular software solutions you provide and why?

A: PaperCut is by far the most popular solution sale with MFPs. Organisations have switched on to the fact that if their staff are accountable for their print budgets, they are much more likely to waste less print. Other services that come bundled in with the software are very useful too including follow me print, print redirection and many many more!

Q: Where do you get information on the latest products and solutions, and do you feel that the OEMs are doing enough to educate their channel partners?

A: Suppliers and distribution channels are an excellent source of up-to-date product information and the latest offerings. One of the factors in the process for choosing new suppliers and partners is the way they communicate information like this. You can have the best products in the world, but if no one knows about them it matters not. I personally spend a lot of time on the web, looking for innovative ideas and new solutions that I can take to market.

Q: Is your patch particularly competitive – is it national or local competition that you face?

A: The industry is fiercely competitive, with companies constantly finding new ways of making bad deals look attractive. We know what to look for when we come across such offerings. I personally tend to compete against local suppliers rather than national suppliers. I am in a fortunate position as Midshire is small enough not to be a faceless organisation, but big enough to command excellent pricing, which we pass on to our customers.

Q: How do you spend your week – time on phone, face to face meetings with customers etc.?

A: I try to spend as much time in front of customers as possible. This business is built on good strong relationships and I have a lot of customers that I have dealt with for a long time. I’m also lucky to have built some great relationships with referees who are an important part of my success.

Q: What would make your job easier?

A: Other than a magic wand, I don’t think anything could make my job easier!!!

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