Kodak Alaris Revamps Channel Program, Opening New Revenue Streams To Partners

When Eastman Kodak spun off Kodak Alaris as a stand-alone entity after exiting Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2013, the newly formed document and imaging company made a commitment to be more responsive to its channel.

The Rochester, N.Y.-based company has sought to deliver on that promise in the four years since its inception, and for the Information Management division, those efforts have yielded an enhanced partner program that earned 5-star honors in CRN's 2017 Partner Program Guide.

A major fruit of that labor is the new Alaris IN2 Ecosystem, which allows solution providers to potentially expand their Kodak Alaris solutions by wrapping scanners, software – including data capture, information input and asset management programs – as well as professional, managed content and maintenance services together into one document information capture solution.

[Related: 2017 Partner Programs Guide: 5-Star Emerging Vendors]

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Alaris IN2 Ecosystem use cases range from records management, particularly in the document-heavy government and financial services spaces, to forms processing, customer on-boarding and streamlined accounts payable processing.

"It gives new partners the opportunity to enter into new markets or offer new customer solutions," said Jackie Horn, who became worldwide channel marketing director at Kodak Alaris in January. "For partners that are familiar with us and are succeeding with us, it gives us a broader portfolio of solutions to offer them. The growth potential for the partner is pretty limitless."

More than 90 percent of the Kodak Alaris IM division's revenue comes through resellers or distributors.

Maia Mosillo, Kodak Alaris' senior digital marketing manager, said Kodak Alaris will make a strong push to develop new partnerships over the next two quarters as its sales and marketing teams determine how best to leverage the channel. The program features roughly 1,500 resellers, although Mosilla said many of those are e-tailers that Kodak Alaris is aiming to convert into full-fledged partners.

In hopes of luring more partners to its IM business, Kodak Alaris has lowered the requisite revenue thresholds, added higher rebates, and bolstered the program with a suite of resources aimed at helping solution providers generate and maintain new revenue streams.

Those include a new cloud-based social media syndication platform, Social on Demand, that allows partners to automatically distribute and customize prepackaged social media content. Kodak Alaris also has instituted a similar syndication service for web content.

"It makes it easy, gives them an instant social presence and the end user can see them as an industry expert," Mosillo of Social on Demand.

A demand generation-focused marketing program, complete with concierge services, customized materials and paid search consultation, is available to partners as well. Kodak Alaris has created co-branding around its latest digital marketing campaign – emails, banners and landing pages that solution providers can also customize – that the ecosystem can leverage.

Kodak Alaris has specialized the structure of its program's incentives, in some cases building them around specific offerings. One data capture-related example: Some offerings are meant to aid distributed companies with multiple branches, like a bank, that wants the information management to take place in the branch location. Other customers may prefer to centralize their information for high-volume processing.

Kodak Alaris has tailored its incentives to fit both scenarios.

"It's exciting to have the possibility to say they're going to provide a specialized segment of this part of the market," said Jason Abare, vice president of eBizDocs, which has been a Kodak partner for more than a decade. "That allows us to drive specific industries -- we need to sell this type of scanner with this solution to this customer."

When it comes to current partners themselves, they're taking notice of the IM division's investment in the channel.

Mark Hinson, chairman and CEO of Nashville, Tenn.-based solution provider InStream, said Kodak Alaris has done well to shed the "cavalier" marketplace approach of legacy Eastman Kodak. The vendor's deal registration program has also improved, he said. Whereas it was "a little bit flaky in the past," the refreshed version features more exclusivity and support for partners.

"With the new brand, the new leadership, new ownership, they've gotten away from that," Hinson said. "They're less cavalier, which has been refreshing."

InStream has sold Kodak products as a partner since its founding in 2004.

Abare said the program has been especially effective for Albany, N.Y.-based eBizDocs, which employs about 50 people, because of its easily accessible marketing and sales assets.

"They've always been a great resource for us being a small business, giving us tools to be successful. With the new partner program, it's done an even better job – if we can have a tool to easily send social media tweets and LinkedIn feeds out on an automated basis, we're able to do that with Social on Demand application," he said.

In line with the company's pursuit of partner program expansion, Mosillo said Kodak Alaris has prioritized the optimization of its new partner on-boarding process and the development of an overhauled partner portal. The portal will be made available globally in the coming months.

The new portal, she said, will centralize deal registration, co-branded marketing collateral, automation tools and, most importantly, a single space where partners can request business development funds. Previously, requesting those funds was a clunky process for partners, who needed multiple email correspondences and website visits to make a request.

"The new portal is going to bring everything into one place," Mosillo said. "They sign in once and they can go right to their business development funds, place requests online and track everything there."