Trends, companies, and people we’re watching in 2022.
Each year at this time, we identify the trends, companies, and people we will be tracking in the coming year. Although our list is comprehensive and far-reaching, we have never intended this list to be all-inclusive. If that were the goal, our WatchList would fill volumes because—in all honesty—we watch everything and everybody. So, without further ado, let’s start watching.
A4 is Good Enough – A4 is not a technology to be trifled with as print volumes decline, and more businesses realize they don’t need the speed, rated monthly volumes, and many of the bells and whistles associated with A3 devices. And with the remote workforce here to stay, more robust A4 devices will replace many of those consumer models that people already have in their homes. The question around A4 after reading Frank G. Cannata’s “Frank’s Forecast” column in this issue is, will the production of A4 devices slow down in 2022 in favor of A3?
Acquisitions – Contrary to what we speculated in last year’sWatchList issue, acquisitions did not accelerate in 2021 as much as we predicted. At last count, there were approximately 60 acquisitions compared to the 46 reported in our 36th Annual Survey in 2020. As business picks up, some of those dealerships interested in selling may become more attractive acquisition targets in 2022. However, as we’ve seen in our Survey, most acquired companies tend to have revenues of well under $5 million. We expect that trend to continue but are curious to see how many mid-size dealers, if any, are acquired in the coming year.
Anything as a Service Continues to Expand – The anything as a service (aas) trend continues to expand beyond software and now includes hardware, devices, and even furniture. With many users comfortable paying monthly or yearly subscriptions for their software, expanding that model to other products is a natural.
Breaking Up Branches – Ricoh set the table when it sold some of its branches to select dealers a few years ago. In 2021, Konica Minolta did the same and could possibly unload more branches in the coming year. What other OEMs might follow that model in 2022? Canon seems most likely, but so far, there is no sign of Canon interrupting the status quo. As far as the other three OEMs who make up the Big Six—Kyocera, Sharp, and Toshiba—we believe it’s more beneficial for them to maintain their branches than break them up.
Call Waiting – Last year 5% of dealers ranked Telephony/VoIP as a diversification opportunity in our Annual Dealer Survey. This year, that percentage jumped to 32%. What’s nice about VoIP is that it fits neatly under the managed IT services umbrella. Expect to see more dealers offer VoIP in 2022.
Cybersecurity Rising – With greater numbers of employees working remotely, the need for cybersecurity tools and services is something that most businesses understand. Who better to address that need than a dealer that offers managed services? Any way you look at it, cybersecurity is a great conversation starter and an excellent way to add value to existing product and services offerings.
Digital Transformation (DX) Accelerates – The “2020 Pandemic Business Impact Survey” conducted by IDC in July found that 59% of IT decision-makers say pressures stemming from the pandemic are accelerating their digital transformation efforts. Studies also show that digital interaction with B2B customers is now two times more important than through traditional channels, a 30% increase since the pandemic struck. For dealers, assisting customers with their digital transformation = opportunity.
e-commerce Comes to the Dealer Channel – Like it or not, this is a business model that dealers will eventually have to embrace. How much longer can one sell commoditized products such as low-end MFPs, A4 devices, and printers when the new hybrid workforce can easily find those products elsewhere? Keypoint Intelligence recently introduced an e-commerce platform that brings dealers into the 21st century (See article in this issue.) and will be aggressively promoting it in 2022. We don’t expect e-commerce to take the channel by storm in the coming year, but the seeds are being planted.
The Future of A3 – Has the pandemic placed the proverbial nail in A3’s coffin? Things don’t look promising for A3, but this segment’s run is far from over. The technology may no longer hold an esteemed place in the hallowed halls of corporate America and within small businesses, but the technology continues to improve and gain new capabilities such as connectivity to the cloud and enhanced security features, which give it panache and utility. We expect A3 placements will continue to decline as businesses print less, but A3 won’t disappear in most of our lifetimes, at least for those of us older than 50.
The Impact of the Great Resignation – According to Copier Careers, a recruiting firm for the imaging industry, during the past year there was an acceleration of people leaving businesses within the channel. There were also layoffs because no one knew, for a period of time, what was going to happen. When the workforce shrank for the industry, many individuals just chose not to come back. They either retired or left the industry and moved on to something else. As a result, Copier Careers is busier than ever trying to find candidates for their clients. What the company has found is that if a client is interested in a candidate, they need to decide within 24-48 hours; otherwise the candidate will lose interest and focus on other opportunities. Prior to this year, the client had a week to consider making an offer. The question remains, will the great resignation continue to impact the channel in 2022? Copier Careers believes it will.
Inkjet Opportunities – Inkjet has made its mark in the production and industrial print space and will define those segments for years to come. Its impact on the lower end of the market—the A3 and A4 space—is not as clear. Epson continues to set the pace at this end of the market with its inkjet MFPs and printers. However, the question remains how much of the market for toner-based products will it capture? We don’t expect 2022 to be the year of inkjet, but we expect its acceptance in corporate America and with hybrid workers to creep upward slowly.
Let’s Get Physical with Physical Security – This is another emerging growth opportunity referenced by dealers in our Annual Dealer Survey. This encompasses security cameras and other devices that protect premises and people. A dealer can add this product category to its menu of managed IT services.
The Managed Workplace – Smart offices, smart meeting rooms, security, unified communications—these are all components of the managed workplace. Combined, they are changing the look and feel of the managed IT segment of the industry. Canon, Konica Minolta, Ricoh, Sharp, and Xerox represent the most prominent names in a managed workplace scenario, but with physical security and unified communications in the mix, expect to see additional players competing for dealers’ attention.
The Persistent Pandemic – COVID-19 and the new variants continue to take a toll. It has had a dramatic impact on our daily lives, including where and how we work as well as our impressions of co-workers and colleagues. Barring a miracle, we’ll still be impacted by the virus in 2022.
The Rise of the Remote Worker – One of the most significant discoveries during the pandemic was that remote workers could be just as productive, maybe even more so, than onsite workers. While this varies depending on location, we expect to see more people, at least part of the time, work remotely, particularly in metropolitan areas.
The Supply Chain – In the spirit of the holiday season, dealers need to settle in for a long winter’s nap as they wait for supply chain issues to be resolved. There are various opinions as to when that will happen, but the reality is, no one knows. What we expect to see is dealers, and even the OEMs, come up with creative ways to navigate around the problem and meet their customer’s technology and consumables needs. Just don’t expect to mark a date on your 2022 calendar for when things will return to normal.
Virtual Event Planning – As I write this, live industry events are coming back, and more are planned for 2022. While the past two years have seen a fair share of virtual events as well as hybrid events, we expect the hybrid approach will continue with many larger industry events having a virtual component. It may be more expensive to conduct events in this manner, but it allows more people to attend, particularly with continued concerns about COVID exposure as well as the challenges we’ve seen with flights to and from these events.
What’s Next for HP’s Amplify Program? – Depending on whom you speak with about the program, it is either a positive program for the channel or a program that could end up being detrimental to the channel. The Cannata Report did its fair share of reporting on the program in 2021, and HP keeps enhancing the program to make it more attractive to dealers. Even Frank G. Cannata, who took issue with the program in print and on video, now sees some positive attributes in the program. So, will the controversy around Amplify continue in 2022 or will it peter out? We’re betting on the latter.
Wide Format Rising or Declining? – This technology has been hailed by many as an excellent way for a dealer to get into the production print space. The wildcard for wide format is applications and signage. However, be careful if you think you’ll find abundant opportunity in legacy markets such as engineering firms, where more documents are being viewed and marked up on screen rather than on printed output.
Will Production and Industrial Print be Limited to the Haves or Will the Have Nots Have Their Say? – Frank G. Cannata is a vocal advocate for production and industrial print as a dealer diversification opportunity. With companies such as Canon, EFI, Konica Minolta, Ricoh, Xerox, and others expanding their offerings in this segment, this product category primarily remains the domain of well-heeled dealers. Some of us at The Cannata Report don’t think that will change all that much this year or in years to come. The onus of growing this segment beyond the haves is not on Frank or The Cannata Report but with the OEMs who need to make this an attractive addition to a mid-size dealer’s product offerings.
Companies to Watch
AMUR Equipment Finance – Do dealers need another financing option? Rhetorical questions aside here’s a new option for dealers. We expect AMUR to be aggressive in the coming year as it shows dealers it is a legitimate leasing partner. The addition of Rob Parker as vice president of sales (see separate entry on Rob Parker) should be an asset.
Brother USA – This is a company in the A4 space that we can not ignore based on the strength of their performance in our Annual Dealer Surveys in the past two years. The number of dealers who identified Brother as either their number one or one of their four A4 providers has been growing exponentially, not a surprise to us since the company has made a concerted effort to recruit dealers during the past three years.
Canon U.S.A. – There’s no denying that Canon is one of the premier names in the imaging technology space from the low-end to high-end production. It also has an extensive product offering beyond production, which is reason enough to pay attention to them. But what’s going to happen with the Canon branches in 2022? Denials of breaking them up aside, don’t be surprised to see customers in some Canon branches shifted to dealers over the next 12 months.
ConnectWise – Don’t underestimate managed IT as a dealer diversification opportunity. ConnectWise is one of those companies that can help dealers get started and achieve success. The company keeps growing through acquisition, adding to the number of resources for its clients. In addition, its various IT Nation Connect conferences throughout the year in a variety of locations globally provide unparalleled education to MSPs and dealers alike.
DocuWare – Ever since DocuWare was acquired by Ricoh in 2019, the ECM/document management provider’s profile in the dealer channel has risen exponentially. And it’s not just Ricoh dealers who are embracing DocuWare. We don’t see interest in the company’s products waning in the channel in 2022.
Epson America – The COVID-19 pandemic slowed down the company’s momentum in signing up dealers in 2020. The past year was better and expect Epson to build out its network of dealers for its inkjet products even more in 2022.
GreatAmerica Financial Services – What we’ve always liked about GreatAmerica is that it is more than just a finance company given its Collabrance managed services and its PathShare HR services. As with some of the other finance companies serving the channel, GreatAmerica helped dealers navigate supply chain issues in 2021. They’re also a company to watch because they have a presence at industry events that is second to none. You can’t attend an industry event without bumping into somebody from GreatAmerica.
HP, Inc. – As we’ve seen in our Annual Dealer Surveys, HP has been gaining modest traction in the A3 space within the channel. Supplanting one of the “Big Six” OEMs and even Xerox as one of a dealer’s A3 providers is a tall order, and we wonder if HP has hit a wall or if its penetration into the channel will accelerate in 2022? We believe the former is more likely. However, the company remains a viable provider of A4 and standalone printers to the channel. We expect its position in those two product categories to possibly grow stronger as dealers begin to add an e-commerce component to their websites. Looking at the positive financial results the company posted in November, HP must still be doing something right.
Keypoint Intelligence – With new president, Anthony Sci, at the helm, the company is looking to raise its profile with the dealer channel, as well as expand into new markets with new products and tools, including an e-commerce platform for dealers. (See related article on page X.) Although Keypoint has been a presence at industry events both as an exhibitor and as a member of the press and analyst community, we guarantee you’ll be seeing and hearing a lot more from them in the coming year.
Kofax – In early December, Bloomberg reported that Thoma Bravo, the private equity firm that acquired Kofax from Lexmark in 2017, has put the enterprise software company up for sale. According to Bloomberg, the asking price is $3 billion. Now, let’s see if the new year will ring in any takers at that price.
Kyocera Document Solutions America – If our Annual Dealer Survey is any indication, dealers are still adjusting to the company’s new leadership. Change is hard, and Kyocera dealers have been extremely opinionated about some of the changes that have taken place over the past few years. That said, some Kyocera dealers are extremely satisfied with the company and its new leadership. However, what hasn’t changed is a steady stream of solid products and a strong inkjet production device that offers dealers an opportunity to dip their toes into production print. We expect to see more traction, at least on the product front, in 2022.
Lexmark – This is a company that knows how to diversify. In 2021, Lexmark introduced its Optra IoT platform to enhance its managed services businesses as well as expanded its cloud offerings with a suite of cloud-based services to provide remote device management, print job management, document accounting, and scan management features, enabling users to always be able to print and scan documents. Lexmark is making all the right moves to remain relevant with dealers and position itself as more than just a supplier of A4 products to the channel. We’re looking forward to seeing what’s on tap for 2022.
Macquarie Group – According to our Annual Dealer Surveys, most dealers have, on average, approximately two leasing partners. Some have four or more. Knowing that, it’s not surprising that new finance companies continue to vie for their business. A year ago, Macquarie Group entered the fray with a team of finance industry veterans familiar with the dealer channel, including Fred Carollo, vice president of originations, leading the charge. The company is slowly gaining traction in the channel, and with 2022 its second full year of doing business in the channel, we’ll be watching to see how the company performs in our 37th Annual Dealer Survey.
MPS Monitor – Our 36th Annual Dealer Survey revealed that 72% of dealers offer MPS. With such a significant target market of dealers, this company was expanding the number of dealers using its product in 2021 and will be doing the same in 2022. Barely on our radar prior to 2021, a constant stream of news releases about partnerships with the likes of Microsoft and gap intelligence as well as key product enhancements indicate this is a software company to be reckoned with in 2022.
NEXERA, A BEI Services Company – We can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard the phrase “data is king” in the last year, and if there’s any truth to that statement, Wes McArtor and his team at NEXERA wear the crown. As technology becomes more advanced, the cloud becomes more prominent in our industry, and as service becomes more remote, data will be an important component here and NEXERA will be at the forefront.
PaperCut Software – As print management solutions go, PaperCut is far and away the solution of choice for most dealers. At least that’s what we see in our Annual Dealer Survey. With ACDI distributing the product and PaperCut now having a strong marketing presence in the U.S., we expect PaperCut (the company and the solution) to be highly visible in 2022.
Predictive InSight – This new data collection company entered the market in May of 2020 and by the end of the year had introduced its first self-healing DCA. Since then, the company has partnered with organizations such as Stramaglio Consulting and Supplies Network and is signing dealers at a frantic pace. According to Ed McLaughlin, co-founder, the company may have to slow the pace down because the number of dealers it is signing has exceeded expectations, and it’s a challenge to keep up. As challenges go, that’s not a bad one to have.
Ricoh USA – There are plenty of reasons to watch Ricoh in 2022, but we’re mostly going to focus on its leadership in production and industrial print. Most of the products it released in 2022 fit squarely into those two categories. Looking beyond production and industrial print, it will be interesting to see if it builds out its A4 offerings in 2022, which would certainly make its single-line dealers happy.
Sharp Imaging and Information Company of America – Here’s a company that seems to have avoided many of the supply chain issues plaguing its competitors. That’s not to say Sharp and its dealers haven’t been impacted, but from what we have heard, less so than others. That’s one reason we’ll be watching them; can they keep it up? Another reason is their managed office offerings as well as other technologies that are elevating them into the upper pantheon of imaging technology providers.
Square 9 – Ever since Ricoh acquired DocuWare, we’ve seen the percentage of dealers who select Square 9 as a best ECM/document management provider decline. Still, the company is not far behind and well ahead of any other ECM/document management provider. Square 9 remains a legitimate contender with new offerings such as its Education Essentials cloud-hosted solution for the education market, and its Work Essentials solution, introduced in 2020, which effectively diversifies its product offerings. Add to that its partnership with Kyocera, which expands its reach into the channel, and Square 9 is a company to watch in 2022.
Toshiba America Business Solutions (TABS) – The truth is we watch this company every year. Always the subject of rumors and speculation, TABS and its parent company in Japan have continued to take a licking and keep on ticking. The recent news that the company was breaking up into three separate entities might make one think that the future is foggy for its imaging technology business, but its president & CEO says it’s not so. Keep an eye on TABS’ POS retail offerings, which the company identifies as a significant growth area. On that front, it’s not clear where those products fit into the dealer channel.
U.S. Bank – It may not be as vocal as some of its competitors in the finance industry, but U.S. Bank is well respected by dealers. In our 36th Annual Dealer Survey, it was barely nosed out as “Best Leasing Company” by a few percentage points. U.S. Bank has also stepped up its game to help dealers navigate supply chain problems.
Visual Edge IT – The industry is already familiar with Visual Edge as a prolific acquirer of independent office technology dealerships and managed IT companies, but this new division focuses on providing an array of managed IT services across a variety of industries. When launched in April of 2021, the company had already onboarded more than 5,000 new managed IT services customers and was on a mission to bring its IT services to even more. If 2021 represented its launch year, 2022 will help determine the viability of Visual Edge IT as we watch to see how this business grows throughout the coming year.
Xerox – We haven’t heard much from Xerox lately. Through 2019, there was a steady stream of press announcements, then things slowed down like everything else in 2020, and with an exception or two, the company flew under the radar again in 2021. There have been rumors that Xerox is an acquisition target and one potential suitor is HP. Honestly, we don’t see that happening, but with all the streamlining of personnel, including those in the Global network, a future acquisition is a distinct possibility.
People to Watch
Patrick Banno, president and CEO, Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. – Banno assumed this prestigious role at Konica Minolta with a different pedigree than his predecessors. Formerly head of Konica Minolta’s IoT Business Center in the U.S., he brings a strong technical background to the position. For that reason alone, he is a person to watch in 2022.
Tami Beach, head of MPS channel sales, HP, Inc. – An HP veteran with more than 24 years at the company, Beach has become the face of HP in the dealer channel at industry events and select dealer peer group meetings. Considering she’s responsible for leading the development of HP’s Premier Managed Print Channel and growing HP’s business printing hardware and solutions, we expect she’ll continue to be highly visible in 2022.
Chelsey Bode, president, Pearson-Kelly Technology – The Cannata Report is a strong advocate for young people in our industry. We’ve seen an increase in high-profile young movers and shakers in the imaging channel, and the one with the highest profile in our estimation is Bode. In 2021, she became sole owner of the dealership that her father Mike Kelly and a partner started 16 years ago. That’s a significant accomplishment for someone under 40.
Luciana Broggi, senior vice president and head of global route-to-market Centre of Excellence, HP, Inc. – We became acquainted with Broggi while writing our stories about some controversies and misconceptions surrounding HP’s Amplify program as well as her participation in various HP webinars during the past year. Based on those interactions, it’s clear that Broggi is an asset to HP and the press and analyst community.
Carsten Bruhn, president and CEO, Ricoh North America – Bruhn took over as president and CEO on April 1, 2021. Although the pandemic slowed his move from Europe, where he most recently served as corporate vice president for Ricoh Global Services, 2022 will be the year when we really get to see Bruhn in action. He has a strong background in leading global teams that have built digital transformation strategies, and that will be a huge asset to Ricoh.
Fred Carollo, vice president of originations, Macquarie Group – After leaving TIAA Bank in 2020 when the finance company left the office technology leasing business, Carollo secured a position at Macquarie Group. Along with a team of associates from TIAA Bank, Carollo has the challenging job of growing Macquarie Group’s presence in the office technology dealer channel. It’s a tough task considering he’s looking to supplant or complement established leasing companies. With a little over a year in his new position, it will be interesting what Carollo accomplishes in 2022.
José María Estébanez, vice president of corporate marketing, Kyocera Document Solutions America – Since arriving in the U.S. in September 2019, Estébanez has had a high profile with press and analysts. Once he can start traveling regularly and Kyocera can have live dealer meetings again, we’re sure dealers will benefit from his marketing knowledge and engaging personality. One of his responsibilities in his current position is leading Kyocera’s e-commerce initiatives, which is why we’ll not only be watching him in 2022 but also speaking frequently with him.
Kevin Kern, former senior vice president, digital transformation and emerging technologies, Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. – Dec. 3, 2021 marked the end of Kern’s 27-year career at Konica Minolta. Now that he’s a free agent we can’t imagine he’ll remain that way for long as he is one of the most knowledgeable executives from a technical standpoint in the entire imaging industry. There doesn’t seem to be a technology that he can’t speak intelligently about. We’ll be watching closely to see where he lands next.
Mike Lee, senior vice president, chief information officer, Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. – The latest addition to Konica Minolta’s executive team, Lee joined the company in November and is tasked with driving its digital transformation strategy within IT across the business in the U.S., as well as supporting the company’s efforts globally. A newcomer to this industry, we expect Lee to add a fresh perspective to Konica Minolta, which should be welcomed internally and throughout the company’s dealer channel.
Mike Marusic, president and CEO, Sharp Imaging and Information Company of America – He’s been acknowledged by dealers as the “Best Male Executive” in our Annual Survey for three consecutive years. Enough said!
Rob Parker, vice president of sales, AMUR Equipment Finance – We’re going to keep an eye on this former Wells Fargo executive now that he’s with a new company that’s looking to establish a toehold in the dealer channel. AMUR has a superstar in Parker, and he will be on the hot seat as he reaches out to dealers in the coming year.
Anthony Sci, president, Keypoint Intelligence – Industry veteran Sci joined Keypoint Intelligence in August and is on a mission to raise his company’s profile in the dealer channel beyond just that of a testing lab (See article in this issue.). It’s a big challenge, but from what we’ve heard, Sci and his compatriots at Keypoint will be even more visible at industry events in the coming year, educating the channel on the wide array of offerings available to them.
Tawnya Stone, vice president, strategic technology, GreatAmerica Financial Services – Yes, she was recognized as one of our Women influencers in the July/August 2021 issue of The Cannata Report. If you read that article, you’ll know why she’s someone we’re watching in 2022. Her knowledge of this industry and MPS is exceptional and we expect her to have a long career in the imaging technology space. After all, she’s only been at GreatAmerica for 12 years!
Mike Stramaglio, president and CEO, Stramaglio Consulting – With more than four decades in this industry, he’s a master of marketing and promotion like no other. With his rebooted Executive Connection Summit taking place in January 2022, we expect Stramaglio will continue to remain a respected, prominent, and highly visible player in the industry in 2022.
Larry White, president and CEO, Toshiba America Business Solutions – With the departure of Scott Maccabe in 2021, White is on the hot seat in his new role. He’s a trusted friend and a loyal supporter of the TABS dealer community, a huge asset. Will that be enough to navigate the challenges of working with the home office in Japan and all the speculation and rumors that always seem to circulate around the parent company? We aren’t going out on much of a limb by answering yes to that.
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