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AIIM Spotlights Partners

Partnerships and solutions hogged the limelight at the AIIM/On Demand Conference and Expo in Philadelphia last week, with several hardware vendors touting new solution provider relationships in the increasingly aggressive document space.

Specifically, Sharp Document Solutions Co. America, Xerox and Canon U.S.A. each disclosed new partnerships with the value-added channel in an effort to whet the appetite of a converged IT-office products market hungry for new workflow technology.

Sharp, Mahwah, N.J., and Notable Solutions, a content capture workflow solution provider in Rockville, Md., have reached an agreement to integrate the ISV's customer workflow software into Sharp's Imager multifunction printers. And Captaris, a fax- and document-delivery software maker in Bellevue, Wash., said it had agreed to tailor its RightFax MFP Module for Sharp's Imager line.

Xerox, Stamford, Conn., is trumpeting its new Partner Solutions Catalogue. The listing names 14 technology partners with 28 separate solutions that have been developed for the Xerox DocuShare platform.

Xerox and the partners have entered into reseller relationships, whereby Xerox resellers or solution providers can tie DocuShare, partner applications, and Xerox printers, copiers or multifunction devices into a single end-to-end document or workflow solution, said David Ferretti, director of worldwide sales for Xerox's DocuShare Business Unit.

Canon, Lake Success, N.Y., has reached a similar type of partnership with Ribstone Systems, Chicago, which makes software that captures and helps process documents for the legal marketplace. Canon executives said the partnership is significant because it represents the first-ever vertical market solution based on Canon's Multifunctional Embedded Application Platform for its ImageRunner multifunction devices.

The move toward a solutions-oriented approach drew crowds for at least one solution provider exhibiting at the AIIM show.

Matthew Espe, chairman and CEO of Ikon Office Solutions, said the flight toward solutions and partnerships has left the Malvern, Pa.-based company especially well-positioned. On the show floor, Ikon's solutions booth was busier than many vendors' displaying flagship point products.

In the past year, Ikon has reorganized to focus more on professional solutions, he said. In some areas, where Espe said its major vendor partners, including Canon and Ricoh, have gaps in their lineups, Ikon has come forward with its own branded solutions, such as printers for the high-end graphics space, Espe said. "The customer cares less about the technology and more about the solution and how it helps drive efficiency."

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