by Patricia Ames
We recently had a chance to sit down with MPSA President Kevin DeYoung and Vice President Doug Bies and get an update on MPSA goals and objectives one year into a new term for the leadership. Given the dynamic state of the industry in general right now, it is not surprising that the conversation was broad ranging and fluid — so much so that we have had to create a multi-part series to provide you with a good overview. Let’s begin!
You are about one year into a new administration at the MPSA – how is it going?
Kevin DeYoung: I feel really good about the association. It is amazing that this administration is already over 12 months into things. When we started a little over a year ago, we developed a hit list of things that we felt were very important from an association standpoint, and all of those initiatives are now in play.
Can you highlight one for us?
Kevin: How we define MPS as an association was a major initiative. We decided to update the definition to more closely mirror the changes in technology and the offerings our members are providing. I think that was really important because that’s going to start to steer our committees in a different direction. The committees traditionally within the association have been focused on the outputs or infrastructures as related to traditional print. The new definition now incorporates inputs and business process, which forces the dialogue to start to go to workflow. We’re moving towards business process optimization, or BPO.
The discussion around business processes is becoming more and more important for our organization, my company — we need to position for BPO; we want to have that conversation because we’re out there in a market, and we may not have a solution for all the needs presented. We’re asking “where’s the pain?” We are back to doing what I did when I first entered this industry. I started in this industry in 1983, and we would ask back then, “What are the most important documents that you have, where do they go, how do they work, where do they flow, what does it mean to your business, what happens when it doesn’t work right?”
The MPSA committees have to start to steer towards this emphasis on asking what is being done with the inputs and questioning what companies are doing with the workflow because if we’re going to drive value to our association membership and keep the members active, this is where we need to be. This is a sweet spot in this industry. Our members have to start to take that into account as part of their business models, whether they are resellers or an infrastructure provider or involved in finance. Everybody has got to start to take a look at that.
For example, Great America Financial Services would have to look at the product portfolio and ask questions like “how do I finance software, how do I finance these different types of inputs?” Resellers are clearly looking at all the business processes and looking for ways to leverage products. Then there are the infrastructure providers. We have a lot of infrastructure providers in the association that are focused on break-fix and consumables, but what about software, what about consultancy as it relates to the new definition of MPS?
We have tweaked the definition, but now we have to stimulate the association. We have to start to provoke our members and go back to the standards and best practices committee or education committee and some of these other groups and say, “Can we start talking about inputs, can we start talking a little bit more about software, can we start talking about business process, can we talk about processes in general?” That’s really where the leadership of this organization now has to go back to its membership and start to educate them and start to bring that into the dialogue.
Now that you have a new definition, how are you going to ensure that it stays relevant?
Doug Bies: It was difficult to change it, considering so many of our members still continue to make a majority of their revenue through supporting printers. Then you think of the future, as actual print output declines. What’s the MPSA going to turn into and do we go more progressive with redefining it? We may have to come back every two years and redefine it, redefine it, redefine it.
Kevin: We have to keep peeling back on the initiatives and making them more current. This is something that should be considered a living definition.
Doug: One of the tough things too is I think is that the definition evolves. It has to stay in line with the Managed Print Services Association and the whole branding behind our association. If that definition evolves too much, we almost have to re-brand our association in a way. We always have to be thinking of that.
Read Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 of the series.