Xerox Announces Channel Partner Initiatives to Drive Growth

By Jamie Bsales, Senior Editor, Solutions, October 6, 2014

While it seems the strategies of some OEMs is to focus on direct sales and enterprise solutions, leaving their independent dealer partners out of that loop, Xerox Corp. is looking toward its dealer base to help fuel further growth. During a briefing with key analysts, the company outlined several products and initiatives that should bolster its channel support and offerings.

“Our indirect channel is the engine of growth,” said John Corley, president of Channel Partner Operations at Xerox.

He pointed out that the company’s channel partners represent 50 percent of the technology revenue for Xerox now, and he expects that share to grow to 66 percent by 2016. One of the factors contributing to that increase is continued demand from the SMB (small and medium business) segment that channel partners are adept at serving. Internal market-size analysis by Xerox shows that, in the North America and Western European markets, SMBs (defined by Xerox as companies with 1,000 or fewer employees) will print 1 trillion pages annually, spend $40 billion on printing and technology services and purchase 8 million printers and MFPs. Corley further noted that Xerox continues to transform into an indirect company to serve the SMB space, and that that, “we are focused on growth through partnership.”

Toni Clayton-Hine, vice president of Channel Partner Operations, reiterated that sentiment. “We want to offer access to our full product line,” she said.

CPO’s ultimate mission: to help partners outpace the competition and deliver differentiated value. To do that, Clayton-Hine outlined a three-pronged strategy around three basic tenets: to help channel partners expand into new sources of profitable revenue, to connect Xerox technology and managed print with their unique solutions to extend customer ownership and acquire new customers, and to simplify how work gets done for a customer to solve business pain points and improve dealer “stickiness” with the customer. Some of the keys to this strategy include MPS (managed print services) offerings tailored for SMBs and delivered through the channel, not directly from Xerox; automated supplies replenishment handled by Xerox on behalf of its partners; cloud-ready MFPs and “apps” that let resellers add value and improve “stickiness” with their customers; and more ways to tap into the lucrative color-printing market.

On the MPS front, the company announced two new offerings to help channel partners gain and retain MPS customers. The first is Xerox PageConnect Services, which will help partners control their costs and improve productivity via remote management of the SMB clients’ networked printers and MFPs— regardless of the manufacturer. Xerox also announced availability of the Xerox PrintAssist Services, a remote monitoring tool that identifies potential issues such as paper jams or low consumable levels via LabTech’s monitoring tool, which can help an MPS provider improve device uptime and increase customer satisfaction.

One plan to help partners expand into new markets and grow their customer base is the Xerox Small Office Savings Plan. Under this initiative, channel partners will offer a free printer to their customers, and those customers will simply pay the dealer a predictable monthly amount for supplies. This “printers as a service” model is aimed at offices with 10 devices or fewer, and Xerox is offering a range of printer/MFP models customers can choose from. After a 1- or 2-year commitment, the customer can re-enroll or simply cancel and return the hardware.

A key to making sure customers want to continue with their Xerox reseller is to simplify and improve business processes in the office, so the MFP is not just viewed by the customer as an easily replaced output device but as the hub of critical workflows. That’s where the company’s ConnectKey platform comes in, since it enables partners to deploy ready-made and customized solutions that reside on the MFP to help customers work more efficiently.

BLI has already reviewed the ConnectKey Share to Cloud and Connect to SharePoint offerings developed by Xerox and available for resellers to place with customers. During the briefing, Xerox announced availability of ConnectKey App Studio 2.0. This easy-to-use tool enables independent partners to create customized MFP-resident “apps” for their customers, such as an app to scan files to the customer’s Microsoft Office 365 account. For more complex apps, channel partners can interface with a developer enrolled in the Xerox Personalized Application Builder (PAB) program to build the required ConnectKey apps for them.

Republished with permission from Buyers Laboratory LLC ( ©2013 Buyers Laboratory LLC