Xerox, in support of its campaign to drive more channel sales through the SMB market, has constructed a pioneering package of ConnectKey software solutions to enable better customer adoption of apps and services from MPS Accredited partners.
Announced Tuesday, the MPS Essentials Suite is a bundle of core managed print offerings that includes cloud-based mobile print management, advanced scanning solutions, secure authentication features and partner productivity and support capabilities. MPS Essentials is the first of what will eventually be multiple bundles, Xerox executives told CRN, citing positive partner reaction to this first software collection.
"We're working on other versions that will move further up the stack made available to the partners at the higher end of our MPS accreditation," said Darren Cassidy, president of Xerox' U.S. Channels Unit.
The MPS Accreditation Program, launched by Xerox in July 2017, provides specialized training, sales and marketing support and exclusive analytics tools to the vendor's top managed print services providers. The program stacks on top of Xerox's partner authorization program and features three tiers of distinction.
The release of MPS Essentials marks the next chapter of Xerox's quest to establish more meaningful and valuable SMB client relationships with its channel. A key part of that is helping partners move away from the traditional "hardware plus cost-per-copy" model, Cassidy said, and toward more margin-friendly recurring revenue streams.
Another component involves the wide range of customized apps developed by partners since the massive launch of Xerox's ConnectKey-enabled devices last year. End customers had an array of options, but no one-stop offering meant to address a broad set of print service needs; the easy deployment of MPS Essentials fills that gap, Cassidy said, and it should prove to be a key differentiator for partners.
"We set out to create a game changer … We're in MPS to win, and we're in it to win in the SMB space exclusively with our channels," he said.
The scanning solutions include partner-developed apps such as the CapturePoint Transformer App, which allows clients to scan documents and convert them into searchable, editable formats like Microsoft Word and Excel.
"CapturePoint is a tremendous differentiator," said Monica Wilmore, director of solutions and IT services marketing at Xerox partner Virginia Business Systems. "Traditionally to provide that functionality to SMBs, there has been a server infrastructure requirement. The fact that it's cloud-based makes it a function that every office can utilize."
Wilmore also praised customer response to a scan-to-cloud email app that allows scanned documents to be emailed or saved to the cloud, and a translation app that can convert language on uploaded documents into one of 40-plus other languages. VBS has found particular success with the translation app in school systems, as well as clients with social services and behavior health departments, VP of Sales and Marketing Rick Lingon said.
However, demonstrating the value of productivity and support-focused apps is the major challenge at hand for partners, he added.
"It's still (about) educating the end-user and the market about what's out there … here's the next platform going into the tablet-based app market. That's where it is. It's the future, and the future's here now," Lingon said.
Chris Gallagher, print management consultant at Chicago-based Green Office Partner, has won key SMB deals in large part due to his knowledge of document security and compliance laws. He said the security elements baked into ConnectKey devices give add to the value proposition Xerox partners can deliver on with the MPS Essentials bundle.
"It's easy to explain to the value to the client that Xerox is not here to sell you a box," Gallagher said. "As a vice president of sales, are you going to take the call from the guy who's talking copier language? Or one who's talking about an example of a similar company that has increased its sales by 10 percent by personalizing customer experience, being able to edit documents and translate into different languages quickly. Now we're talking their language."
Also among the components of MPS Essentials are a Xerox-developed print management and mobility service solution, which allows for remote access to printer fleets, the Firmware Connect app, which allows customers to automatically receive those updates, and the Xerox Support Assistant App, which will enable customers to track service and supply requests.