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Xerox and Cisco executives told CRN the alliance is their first step toward "building a document highway together," an initiative that will include more services and offerings down the road.
"Today's print is not really part of the IT infrastructure. We want to remove print as an impediment. If we do that, customer success and channel success will grow over time," Dastin said. "We want to modernize print. The thing that goes on as we become more mobile is the borderless printer becomes part of the borderless network."
Wenceslao Lada, vice president of Borderless Network architecture for Cisco's Worldwide Partner Organization, expects Cisco's VARs to look to add print managed services to their portfolio.
"They're bringing a different perspective to the customer. You're going to bring the integration and also manage another service that typically hasn't been part of the network. With that, you're going to deliver better opportunities in terms of provisioning, mobility, security, how you manage printing devices," Lada said. "You're going to expand into a mobile printing environment that is secure because it's being provided by the network environment."
Managed print may not be a sexy area for many IT organizations, but the Xerox-Cisco alliance provides a solution that can solve a lot of critical problems, Forrester's Whiteley said.
"There are a lot of different transforrmations under way -- a move to more mobile, more personal, more virtual devices," Whiteley said. "Printing in general is something that's not been thought of in all these new architrecures. But a lot of customers are looking to transform a branch office or try to moderntize their mobile device strategy. Only when they push into production that the problem occurs and they can't print from that device or printing works but it's impacting productivity. What's most interseting about the Cisco-Xerox solution is it's specifically targeting a way of adding print back to all those intiativies and doing so in a cost-effective and easy way."
Cisco VARs interested in selling the Xerox print managed services will need to complete one of two Xerox curriculums, either the three-day PagePack package or the five-day Xerox Partner Print Services program.
Lada said he wasn't sure how many current Cisco VARs sell managed print services, but regular discussions with numerous partners led him to believe the interest is there. "We believe we're creating revenue generation for the next three years with them, he said.
"We really think this is good news for the industry and customers. We think the world is converging, particularly in the IT space. As the workforce changes in its mobile [needs], Xerox and Cisco come together for this alliance will lead the way, Dastin said. "The world has gone mobile. Office workers are gone. Bringing our mobile print solution with Cisco router technology is something that belongs together."