For the second year running, Xerox took the ARC award for Workgroup Color Printers, again edging out Hewlett-Packard and Oki Data, in that order. Superior to HP in nearly every category, Xerox led most heavily in reseller-critical partnership criteria, such as ease of doing business, communication and partner portal. (For that last category, Xerox was recognized this month, separately, by the CRN Test Center for innovation in its eConcierge printer-supply replenishment program.)
"It's great," said Gary Gillam, Xerox's vice president of channel operations for North America, regarding the company's most recent consecutive victories. "It's great that we have a string going again. It was broken several years back, and we went to work on feedback from partners."
The latest of its new services, eConcierge provides users with free on-site service for their Xerox printers as long as they continue to purchase consumables through the service. According to Mike McCann, vice president of U.S. field and sales operations for Xerox, resellers in most cases have only to sign up accounts; automation does the rest. "When supplies run low, a message pops up on the customer's screen and with one click they place an order. Ingram,Synnex or Tech Data drop-ships the supplies and cuts a percentage check to the reseller."
Gillam credits those types of services for the difference in Xerox's partner ratings. "Our programs have evolved over the years to fleet management across heterogeneous environments. EConciege is an on-ramp to that and timing was perfect." The program has been available for roughly two years.
In terms of ranking, Xerox was named No. 1 in 2011 (and outranked HP) everywhere except in the subcategory criteria of compatibility and ease of integration, for which HP was most highly ranked. Still, the score average for Xerox in the three subcategories of product innovation, support and partnership was higher than HP by as many as 4.7 percentage points.