Xerox targets partners for managed print blitz

Xerox Canada channel chief Ajay Dhingra

Xerox Canada channel chief Ajay Dhingra

Vaudreil-Dorion, QC – It’s already the biggest managed print services company, both in the world and here in Canada (a move its purchase of LaserNetworks helps to cement), but Xerox is looking to extend the managed print message to channel partners.

Since January, the company has been introducing its Xerox Partner Print Services (XPPS) strategy to its existing channel partners, and now at ChannelNext Spring here this week, it’s gone public in its drive to recruit solution providers.

Ajay Dhingra, vice president of channel operations at Xerox Canada, described XPPS as a flexible approach, designed to help a variety of different types of solution providers add managed print to their solutions offerings.

“We see the market growing, and our desire is to help the VARs that see this as a growth opportunity, by providing with them world-class tools,” Dhingra said.

Dhingra described XPPS as a combination of a program and a set of technologies and tools for channel education and enablement. The company’s engagement with partners can range from providing training on the opportunity, to helping deploy tools for print management with partners looking to offer complete managed print solutions, to offering selected services on a white-label basis through partners, augmenting the types of managed print services VARs can offer.

Behind that are a series of Web-based tools that allow clients to manage their own fleets, or partners to manage their customers’ print environments, as well as full ongoing reporting capabilities.

“Our commitment is to help make that journey happen, to get them on-board, certified, trained and educated and help them through the business, then provide ongoing management and support,” Dhingra said.

InfoTrends research calls for 14 per cent CAGR on managed print, with the market in Canada reaching a $700 million opportunity by 2014. And the same research says it’s going to be a market that’s 60 per cent managed by channel partners.

The company has offered XPPS and other channel-centric managed print offerings in other regions in the past, and Dhingra said its learnings in those early editions have heavily coloured the XPPS program being introduced in Canada as part of the company’s build-out of a global partner managed print framework.

Historically, surveys have shown that less than 20 per cent of IT managed service providers have been involved with managed print, making it a very specialist niche. However, the convergence of IT and print, the continued journey towards recurring revenues, and the extension of popular managed service RMM and PSA tools to managed print are driving a convergence between the existing print/copier and IT channels. Whereas before, print and copier were the domain of facilities, and separate from IT, increasingly print is falling under IT’s bailiwick, leading to an environment that favours outsourcing of print management, and doing so with familiar IT solution providers.

“VARs and MSPs are really starting to see it as more adjacent to what they do today,” Dhingra said, and the company is taking steps to make that connection even stronger, working with Cisco Systems on network appliances that would more easily enable managed print out of the box.

At the same time, more solution providers are opting for recurring revenues as some or all of their revenue base, and are looking for ways to extend that into the print arena, Dhingra said. “They’re seeing a flat print market overall, but managed print is an area of growth, and from a customer perspective, it lets them get more perspective on their printing and imaging costs,” he said.

Xerox is hardly alone in developing a strong managed print story for the solution provider community. Most other vendors have offerings in place or in development, and at HP’s Global Partner Conference last month, it strongly made the case for moving print “from transactional to contractual” business in the channel.