CRN Exclusive: Xerox Launches MPS Accreditation Program With Eyes On 'Huge' SMB Growth

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Xerox has unveiled an accreditation program that offers extensive support for the vendor's top managed print services (MPS) partners as it looks to bring more of that business to the channel.

Companies that join the Xerox MPS Accreditation Program gain access to enhanced sales and marketing support, specialized training and exclusive analytics tools designed to help partners penetrate the largely untapped, high-upside SMB market.

Jim Joyce, VP of MPS in Xerox's U.S. channels unit, said industry analysts had estimated a 24 percent MPS saturation level of MPS in the SMB market, while 60 to 75 percent of MPS clients in that space are projected to change vendors when their current print contracts expire. Given that data, Xerox sees a tremendous chance to expand its $3 billion MPS business.

[Related: Xerox to Move Tens of Thousands of Direct Accounts to Channel Partners]

Before Xerox can really take a bite out of the market, however, the Norwalk, Conn.-based giant wants to ensure more partners fully grasp the nuances of MPS practice, such as industry-specific security requirements and environmental sustainability requirements, and understand how to apply best practices to the needs of a diverse client pool.

"Any time you look at a huge market with upwards of 80 percent market opportunity, that's the importance of bringing our leadership into the channel space and getting these partners properly accredited," said Joyce. "It's to really teach people so they can dominate in the market."

The MPS accreditation program stacks on top of Xerox's already-existing partner authorization program and features three levels of distinction: MPS Accredited, MPS Master Accredited and MPS Master Elite Accredited. Those tiers are determined not by revenue, but rather the scope and success of a particular partner's MPS practice – factors such as the number of projects and devices managed, maturity level and focus on specific vertical industries.

Xerox said that more than 100 of the 900-plus MPS-authorized partners had met requirements for the accreditation program, which launched earlier this year, and more than 300 more are "charging toward" accreditation. Only a small percentage of those 100 accredited partners have achieved Master Elite status.

"People would become authorized in MPS and go through some training. But it didn't require them to do any of the doing," Joyce said. "That's why I use the term best practice. You just get better and better when you're doing it."

As part of the accreditation program, partners are put through an intense week-long partner training session conducted by consulting experts, many of whom can claim more than a decade of MPS experience. Xerox also has a number of its business channel managers on hand for brainstorming sessions, with the goal of improving collaboration efforts and better identifying pipeline opportunities.

"A real hands-on, very valuable week. Very well-attended," said Ana Fernandez-Parmet, president of Parmetech (Havertown, Pa.), a Xerox partner. "We got a lot of value from it. Time well spent out of the office."

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