Scoring an ARC-Award hat trick was Xerox, which edged out Hewlett-Packard, Oki Data, Lexmark and Samsung in the category of Workgroup Color Printers for the third year running. Xerox topped HP in support and partnership, with Xerox again outpacing its competitors with its partner portal. The vendor was also strong in the communication, solution provider program criteria. However, Oki Data won in the manages channel conflict criterion, while Lexmark took revenue and profit potential, and ease of doing business.
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Xerox lost product innovation to HP, due mainly to HP's stellar ratings in the criterion of product quality and reliability, and compatibility and ease of integration.
"We see this as validation that we're doing the right things, listening to partners and getting feedback every year," said Tom Gall, director of channel marketing at Xerox. Among the feedback mechanisms employed by Xerox is its advisory council, which convenes annually in face-to-face meetings and quarterly phone conferences. "Getting feedback all the time is really critical [as are] taking action and prioritizing where to spend efforts," Gall said.
Bill Loiacano, CEO of SPI Innovations, is a member of the Xerox council. "Xerox relies on a group of core resellers who are instrumental in development of their business plan," he said. A longtime Xerox reseller based in Freeland, Mich., Loiacano said the company had been receptive to partner input even before the formation of the council. "They've always been wide open to suggestions, and many of those suggestions are eventually adopted."
Two areas in which Xerox fell behind HP were in technical innovation, and in compatibility and ease of integration. As someone in the technology business, Loiacano understands that no vendor can catch everything, particularly in small or protected markets such as the finance industry. "There will always be issues from time to time. The manufacturer has to be responsive," he said.loud computing is where one of Cisco's most formidable UC weapons is now found--Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution, which allows partners to sell Cisco collaboration as a service, in a subscription plan. En Pointe Technologies, Gardena, Calif., is one of several well-known Cisco partners that have built practices around HCS. "HCS is gaining a lot of momentum," En Pointe President Michael Rapp said. "As the Cisco field learns of authorized partners, account mapping is gaining momentum and [HCS] deals are coming at a faster pace. A lot of customers already have a significant investment in Cisco."