by Raegen Pietrucha
The F-16 is a truly exceptional, multirole aircraft. The fighter plane’s nimble design, efficiency and graceful maneuverability allow the U.S. Air Force to establish air superiority. The genius of the F-16 is its ability to blend superior technology with common sense, enabling one pilot to engage in an air battle against larger “competitors” and still emerge victorious. The F-16 blends the best air technology has to offer, creating affordable, effective planes that greatly enhance the probability of a successful mission.
In a similar manner, office technologies markets seek ways to enhance their overall success and client satisfaction. Companies are integrating in ways that, when done strategically, significantly increase the potential of all involved. Strategic partnerships can be culled as “force multipliers” that take each partner’s core strength and align it with those of other market leaders, creating solutions that provide unsurpassed value to their customers.
Technology United (TU) has established its place in the market as such a uniter, bringing industry leaders with a best-of-breed mentality together to deliver fully-integrated enterprise solutions and services to end users and ensure an effective long-term market strategy for its customers and partners alike. Forged together in July 2011 with complementary strengths such as document management, IT and security, TU represents a collective vision that will profoundly affect the swiftly evolving industry that inspired its formation.
“Technology United is really an industry first, … something I’ve been thinking about for a few years, watching the industry go from a hardware service model to something that was radically transitioning to software-supporting documents and machines,” said Mike Stramaglio, president and CEO of Arizona-based MWA Intelligence and chairman of TU. “As the business model changed from selling boxes or MFPs to all of these different applications and solutions that would make the devices more intelligent, it became apparent that the successful companies that would be able to penetrate the marketplace at any level would have to have some very strong, interconnected partnerships. … We started surveying the landscape, and we built out a concept that would embrace companies like Intel, Green Hills Software and others who could bring the vision and the technology together with us. It was a mile wide and a very shallow river, but we had to go out there and find those key businesses to bring to the table to help the distribution grow. We needed great partners to make this work.”
TU’s partner list is indeed impressive. The group’s founding members include Intel, Green Hills Software, NewField IT (a Xerox Company), LMI, ESP, Barrister and MWA Intelligence. As TU members have different strengths across the various marketplaces and regions, TU has a global reach. U.S. companies work with European companies to help boost the latter’s U.S. sales, and the European members reciprocate in their markets, all the while upholding TU’s standards and commitment to excellence.
What Technology United promises its clients
Technology United had a very specific goal in mind when it came to serving this industry. “You have a large number of individual companies trying to go out and co-market, co-develop or individually market support, services, engineering, etc.,” Stramaglio said. “Frankly, that puts the burden on the distribution to find out which of these independent companies actually work well together. What we wanted to do was put together best practices and best-of-breed (providers) in an unprecedented hub-and-spoke mentality … (and) do so in a way that distribution and/or the end user did not have to worry.”
When one considers the many aspects of print management TU’s partners cover — for example, NewField IT arming MPS salespeople with the software tools they need to assess environments and generate proposals, Barrister providing technical service to the devices present or newly installed on-site, or Green Hills Software bringing its security software expertise to secure printing and protect against IT threats — it’s easy to see how an alliance among the companies who provide these offerings can make it simpler for end users and vendors alike to understand all the MPS needs out there and fulfill them. TU provides access to these companies and experts vetted via its organization so that clients can get the answers they need, said Ken Marx, national account executive at Barrister. Robert Newry, co-founder of NewField IT, put it quite simply when he said, “Under the Technology United umbrella, leading companies have come together to figure out how they can provide a common platform to customers so that they don’t have to figure this out themselves.”
TU helps vendors eliminate the confusion that often results from having to talk to one company about IT matters, another for document management and so on. “There is confusion that happens when you have so many vendors with so many types of solutions trying to sign up all these MPS providers,” said Mark McCuen, information architecture VP at MWA Intelligence. TU seeks to alleviate this confusion, not only granting clients one-stop access to experts across a variety of related disciplines, but offering them a fully integrated enterprise solution to handle everything from billing, document management and security to machine procurement and service. “If a customer identifies ESP as being the power management company they want to work with, ESP will present the opportunities of working with them. Part of ESP’s presentation is TU-focused and will let the customer know about parts of a business that our team can help with. Members point to the benefits, the value-add of doing business with MWAi or NewField,” for example, McCuen explained.
And TU even seeks to deliver something beyond the many benefits it already offers end users and vendors. “TU is committed that every single partner is looking at the parts of the business that they belong to and where their core competency is,” Stramaglio said. “They then provide that insight and wisdom to the rest of the group,” which allows for possibilities never before considered to become a reality. “Technology United brings individual capabilities together into integrated solutions that solve the largest problems in the industry,” said Gordon Jones, VP, INTEGRITY Secure Virtualization, Green Hills Software.
What Technology United promises its members
For starters, Technology United provides its members with ever-powerful strength in numbers. Within TU, a company can easily surpass anything its individual business might be able to achieve on its own.
Current members pointed to two particular areas in which they see the benefits of their membership shine clear. The first is with respect to invention. Two heads — or in this case, several — are always better than one. “Technology United offers key executives in multiple disciplines an opportunity to collaborate as we redefine ‘state of the art,’” Jones said. This results in the achievement of TU’s “common goal to drive innovation and integration among software and infrastructure providers in the MPS industry,” Newry said.
The second is the extension of each members’ reach beyond the bounds defined either by its business model or area of expertise. “Since Barrister does not sell products, we complement — not compete — with the resellers that we support,” Marx said. “Thus, working with TU, we have the ability for growth by reaching more organizations through the alliance.” Jones elaborated with respect to his company as well. “Green Hills brings government top-secret-level security to commercial markets. Technology United offers Green Hills the unique advantage of partnering in commercial industries where Green Hills does not have a strong presence and an opportunity to work with best-in-class companies and products, delivering a highly effective integrated solution for next-generation connected devices,” he said.
Companies like these that understand that market convergence is a reality and that have the vision to move forward are excellent candidates for TU membership. “The way the Technology United program is set up is that we do not treat it as an exclusive empire,” Stramaglio explained. “We look at the people and companies we think have done a great job, built a great product, are healthy and are fiscally responsible. However, the key component for us is a very human one. Some of these companies are huge, like Intel, but we work with a few very talented and visionary people.”
While TU values both the individual and collaborative spirit of the alliance, Stramaglio pointed out that TU is not simply a loose affiliation of “handshake partnerships.” TU has strict guidelines that apply to voting, the approval process and quality assurance that underscores the alliance’s mission of providing the best user experience possible. “We have a very responsible group of people,” Stramaglio said, “and the hope and expectation is if we set the bar high, then people want to join and be a member, and that is what we’re seeing.”
So TU continues to grow via word-of-mouth and industry buzz. “For us, this is the most exciting group of people that I’ve seen in 35 years of business,” Stramaglio said. “They always come with vision, resources, product growth mapping goals and a very, very powerful desire to impact the marketplace. … There’s nothing like this out there. I expect things (with Technology United) to grow — and grow more compelling — as we grow the relationships.”
The TU Members
The partners of Technology United work together, integrating innovative ideas and superior technology to optimize the customer experience. They include:
Barrister is a provider of multivendor IT services. Barrister serves commercial, government and consumer markets through direct and indirect channels. (barrister.com)
Edocument Sciences offers technologies and services that proactively help companies control and protect sensitive information and data. (edocumentsciences.com)
ESP is an established leader in power protection. The company’s innovative technology helps businesses and consumers get optimal performance from their electronic equipment while reducing energy consumption. (espei.com)
Green Hills Software is the largest independent vendor of embedded software solutions. The company’s platform-independent, certified safe and secure real-time operating systems and embedded development solutions support the broadest range of hardware and software platforms. (ghs.com)
GreenPrint provides best-in-class software solutions to eliminate unnecessary cost and waste associated with enterprise and individual printing activities. (printgreener.com)
Genius Bytes is a software development company specializing in workflow improvement, output management, device management and fleet monitoring for the document processing industry. (geniusbytes.com)
GreatAmerica Leasing focuses on helping office equipment dealers and resellers sell equipment and solutions as well as operate their businesses in a way that makes them more successful. The company specializes in administering managed print services and is the home of FleetView, info-zone.com and InTune. (greatamerica.com)
Intel is a world leader in computing innovation. The company designs and builds the essential technologies that serve as the foundation for the world’s computing devices. (intel.com)
Intellinetics is an enterprise content management (ECM) pioneer with industry-leading software that delivers cloud ECM-based solutions on demand. (intellinetics.com)
LMI is a recognized pioneer in the manufacturing of aftermarket consumables and now offers dealers the exclusive LMI Page Track Advangage — the industry’s most powerful, all-inclusive MPS solution. (lmisolutions.com)
MWA Intelligence Inc. (MWAi) provides M2M (machine-to-machine) and M2P (machine-to-people) solutions and tools that support the exchange of real-time information, optimizing all MPS needs. (mwaintelligence.com)
NewField IT is a global, leading software and professional service supplier that provides technical, functional and software-based solutions to optimize print and document management environments. (newfieldit.com)
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