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Looking Back and Looking Forward by Ed McLaughlin

Looking Back and Looking Forward by Ed McLaughlin


Its hard to believe it is only three years since Shawn Cashmark and I started Predictive InSight. So much has happened in that tiny sliver of time. I find myself reminiscing more than I have ever done. Maybe its an action we engage in as we advance in years, but I do look back more and more. Now thats not to say that I dont look forward; I spend an abundance of time still looking around the corner. Im not sure if its a habit I could ever break.  

We started Predictive InSight on June 15, 2020. Right, smack at the beginning of the most reactionary pandemic in human history at a time in my life when many were encouraging me to slow down. That was never going to happen. My late wife Donna encouraged me in her last months to continue my quest to learn continuously. She had been my guiding light for over 50 years and still is. Perhaps its no accident that we launched Predictive InSight on Donna and Is 52nd wedding anniversary. Good Karma, for sure.

Both Shawn and I are passionate advocates of finding a better way to do things, and it was that mindset that led us to EKMs Insight product and convinced us that we could help dealers improve the work environment for their employees and, as a result, improve the customer experience and retention. If you had asked me back then if, three years later, we would have over a thousand resellers using our services, I would have said that I didn’t even think that there were a thousand resellers servicing print. The truth I that not all those using the software are BTA Dealers. Many are providing IT and other services but are also managing print. Our clients range from those servicing a few hundred units to those servicing hundreds of thousands of devices. 

There were the nay-sayers (but there is never a shortage of them) that felt that supporting the print industry on its way down was a dead-end and that there was no need for a different DCA. Our feeling was and continues to be that as industries mature, they need more effective methods and more accurate data to improve operations and find ways to provide better support; while putting less strain on their employees and infrastructure. The increasing acceptance of our offering proves that the need was there and that the forward-thinking business people in our industry were ready to embrace it. To all of you early adapters, Thank you!

This same idea of better-supporting efforts for customer development and improving the customer experience led us to our relationship with ShopBlocks, our partner in the e-commerce space. Our approach here is not a cookie-cutter approach. We are cognizant that the marketing of the complicated MFPs may not be conducive to self-service. Still, we also know the end users want to get information and engage in some transactions without using the sales rep coming out for the traditional visit. Ours is a true B2B offering and may partially require a dealer to disconnect from their traditional transactional processes. Its a challenge for many but a path all will have to make eventually.

In comparison, we have yet to have rapid acceptance of e-commerce. I am optimistic that we may be challenging the sales process more so everyone is ready. That said, a few are starting to develop a more account-centric approach, and as they do, we are here to help make that transition more productive and a competitive advantage. 

There are features and process improvements that we continue to add to the Insight product with the help of EKMs fabulous engineering staff. More integrations and additional efficiency improvements are introduced multiple times per year. There is still much to be done, and we are committed to leading the way.

As we entered our third year, we added another DCA offering, MPS Monitor. Its a product that Shawn has always felt would provide some dealers some additional value. I agree. We find that both lines have a fit in the market and are excited to be a provider of both systems.  

Let me close with a statement that I couldn’t have picked a better partner than Shawn; he is tireless in his passion and is insistent on always doing the right thing. Its been a fun trip all the way. We find humor in most things, and a quest for doing it better every day. As we have grown, our entire staff is the same way, easy to laugh and nothing too much for our customers. Were having fun. Im not ready for any press releases just yet but stay tuned. We are not standing still.