Lexmark Channel Program Has Full-Solution Focus

The new initiatives, slated to be announced at CMP Media&'s XChange 2005 show in Orlando, Fla., are focused on Lexmark&'s software offerings and new levels of support for VARs. As part of the channel effort, the Lexington, Ky.-based printer company will require additional investments by its partners. Lexmark will offer new training, marketing and service opportunities.

The program includes a top-level Certified Solution Provider and a midlevel Solution Provider Specialist tier, both of which aim to give Lexmark&'s channel more weapons to provide software, hardware and services. A Reseller level covers current partners that do not want make the investment in the new program.

“This is probably the most significant channel announcement we&'ve ever made,” said John Linton, vice president of Lexmark&'s solution provider channel. “It&'s all partner-driven. This is based directly on feedback from our partners. The real focus is on value.”

Certified Solution Providers will be required to invest about $5,000, which Linton said could be negotiated on a case-by-case basis. It also requires a core competency in software and non-hardware workflow solutions and investments in training and education.

Sponsored post

In return, Lexmark will authorize partners to resell its software solutions, including the Lexmark Document Solutions Suite, and offer additional sales and demand-generation assistance and technical support.

The Solution Provider Specialist tier calls for online training in areas including security, color solutions, multifunction solutions, device management and discovery needs.

Before formalizing the offerings, Lexmark enrolled several solution providers in an early stage version of the Certified Solution Provider program. Several solution providers involved gave it high marks.

“They&'ve provided Certified Solution Providers with the tools to do a lot of data processing and provide solutions which are open-ended,” said Tom Carswell, president of Carswell Data Products, a reseller in Rochester Hills, Mich., who was an early entrant. “If you have the ability to write scripts, you can do just about anything you want on a data-processing end, not just with printers.”

“Overall, it will probably turn out to be pretty good,” said Mike Hicks, general manager of Electronic Business Machines, a Lexington-based VAR and another early entrant. “We&'re getting involved in health care. I really like that side of it.”