Xerox is on a mission to grow its channel business in an effort to take a greater share of a market it expects to explode – the demand for managed print services in the SMB arena. The company this week announced a set of new tools and programs aimed at helping partners seek in on that hotspot.
Xerox’s is clear it needs channel support to meet the SMB opportunity, one that it pegs at worth $40 billion in spend worldwide, and which goes 75 per cent indirect. John Corley, president of Xerox’s channel partner organization, says to meet the demand it needs “a productive portfolio of partners,” including both its single-brand resellers, technology solution providers, and volume resellers.
“We will achieve more productive partners by aligning to their market opportunities, focusing on ease of doing business, and executing with excellence,” Corley said. “By focusing on these areas and gaining small wins along the way, we will create a flywheel that will propel us into growth.
Already, the channel accounts for 50 per cent of Xerox’s technology business, Corley reported. And by next year, it expects that number to be more like two thirds, because 70 per cent of the market opportunity for managed print is in channel-owned SMB (five to 1,000 employees) territory.
In support of the SMB push, the company has launched a quartet of new channel resources and tools that it says will help solution providers develop or advance their MPS offerings.
First, the company is launching what it calls the NewField IT e-commcerce Storefront, a place for partners to order and renew assessment tools and services used to help define a customer’s initial MPS strategy and calculate the success of that program.
Secondly, the company is making available an MPS Application Programming Interface, a way for solution providers or third-party toolmakers to hook into Xerox’s own metrics and ticketing systems for managed print.
Those two items are now available in Canada.
Later this year, Xerox is poised to bring to Canada what it calls a service for Enhanced Managed Supplies, essentially streamlining the automation of providing customers not on a cost-per-page program with the consumables they need, a business Xerox says drives margins (an average of 25 points) and customer stickiness.
And finally, the company is introducing Xerox Digital Alternatives, software that allows customers to automate paper-based workflows, including the ability to digitally sign, share, save, and annotate documents, in the U.S. Xerox says there is currently no timeline for the introduction of Digital Alternatives in Canada, “although it may be considered for the future based on market and partner interest.”
Elizabeth Fox, vice president of SMB managed print services at Xerox, said the first new resources are both for partners just building out their managed print practice, and for those looking to “build on first-generation MPS benefits” with new benefits.
“Xerox was the first company to bring a managed print services program to partners, a decade ago, and this next generation builds on proven best practices and adds new capabilities to covers the market opportunity,” she said.
Also coming by the end of the year is “a full PRM system” that will be used primarily to improve the business planning process with the company’s partners, according to Toni Clayton-Hine, vice president of marketing for Xerox’s CPO. Clayton-Hine also suggested that the model of “two-headed sales calls” with both partner and Xerox sales teams calling on SMB customers, which has worked well for the vendor in Europe, will be brought to the North American market.
While Clayton-Hine said the new tools from the vendor would help partners develop their services and improve both stickiness and recurring revenues with customers, she suggested the company is looking for partners to step up and build out their own skills and practices as well to really accelerate the managed services business in the SMB space.
“The value-added services that differentiate our partners’ businesses dont’ come without some investment on their part,” she said.