Xerox partners said putting the cutting-edge ConnectKey interface on all 29 of the company's new printing devices will make the portfolio more appealing to customers.
The launch marks the first time ConnectKey will be available on all of the Norwalk, Conn.-based vendor's smaller, tabletop A4 devices as well as single-function printers. Partners said extending ConnectKey to the entire portfolio will provide a greater sense of continuity by ensuring their apps are compatible with any device.
"Xerox has cracked the code on ease of use with this," said John Hand, managing director at Fairfield, N.J.-based Complete Document Solutions. "It's a conversation that doesn't talk about feeds and speeds and dollars, but work processes."
Xerox's philosophy had previously been that it sells one machine, and everyone needs to adapt to how that machine works, Hand said. But with a tablet-like interface that can now be customized to meet the specifications of each individual user, Hand said Xerox has brought its devices to the point where they can be managed like other technology in the user's life.
"Even though our user interface is graphical today, it's buttons, not icons," Hand said. "Xerox has leapt a century."
Since everything from Xerox's smallest A4 to its biggest A3 now operate on the same platform, partners no longer have to learn a way to develop apps outside ConnectKey or be restricted by the type of device at a client site.
"If you develop an app, it can go on any machine," he said.
Professional Document Solutions was very pleased to see that Xerox's entire new product line offers seamless cloud storage and the same user interface, said Troy Tafoya, president of the Fort Collins, Colo.-based Xerox partner.
"We have always had a few ConnectKey products but were short in the A4, and with consistency across the line, today Xerox changed that," Tafoya said. "The solutions I will be giving my customers will represent the latest technology and be consistent across every model to meet every need."
Xerox hopes its release of 12 A4 printers and 17 larger, freestanding A3 will allow the company to improve its revenue trajectory starting in 2018, said Kevin Warren, Xerox's chief commercial officer. More specifically, the new product line is geared at growing Xerox's A4 market share – which currently sits at just 6 percent – by one point each year, Warren said.
One of the best decisions Xerox made with its app practice was to go with an open platform so that the vendor wasn't responsible for generating and developing all of its ideas, Warren said. Enlisting channel partners to develop apps has brought innovation directly to the doorstep of clients, according to Darren Cassidy, president of Xerox's United States channel unit.
"They move at a speed we just can't do," Cassidy said. "Their agility is incredible."