Managed Print Services
More immediately, VARs can participate in managed print services through PagePack, which offers end users a single contract that covers pages printed, maintenance, services and consumables. But PagePack is designed for VARs that already have a significant print business and have customers ready to participate in a full managed print services model. That’s not all customers and certainly not all VARs.
If Xerox is going to be successful in this space, it’s going to need help from MSPs like Ted Warner, president of Connecting Point of Greeley, Greeley, Colo. Warner has built a successful managed services practice but hasn’t ventured into managed print. All he needs is a little push, a move Xerox seems poised to make.
“There’s no doubt that managed print is an important part of managing an entire client network. We have a very robust full suite of managed services that we offer our clients. But there’s been a hole as far as managing the print is concerned,” Warner said.
Warner was one of the VARs Xerox invited to Fusion, one intrigued by managed print but unsure how to incorporate it. Connecting Point long ago lost the printer portion of the IT infrastructure when Warner transitioned the company from a hardware focus to services, he said.
“I have long been a believer that managed print is a little different sales motion than traditional managed services business -- like looking at various network pieces and developing help desk for a client,” he said. “I’ve felt that I would need to hire a new salesperson to do it. I don’t want to burden our traditional account managers to sell managed print. It seemed to me just so much more to do and it might be too much. Because in my opinion, it’s a little separate discipline and a little lower margin, though still appealing compared to a hardware-type sale.”
Warner’s opinion was confirmed after talking to several MSPs and print VARs at Fusion: Managed print is a different animal that requires different skills. But Xerox has heard that argument, executives said, and is ready to arm partners with a new weapon to overcome those challenges -- the eConcierge program.
EConcierge tracks an end user’s printing fleet needs and lets the customer order supplies through a preferred VAR’s e-commerce portal, an initiative designed to dramatically increase the VAR’s after-market supplies revenue.
Warner estimated 75 percent of his customers have HP printers, but eConcierge would allow him to still service those customers with supplies. And, he said, he might be able to rip and replace legacy HP fleets with Xerox because eConcierge gives customers a free service contract for Xerox printers.
“When it’s time to renew and they can buy HP or Xerox and basically get services for free from Xerox, what’s the client going to do? They’re going to go with Xerox,” Warner said. “It’s a soft entrance into managed print, an opportunity to get back into the printer business without a lot of brain damage. I think we will create revenue. I think we will see our sales for printers and supplies go up. Then [customers] may say we’re ready to go into a full managed print solution.”
EConcierge should let VARs add revenue that’s about 10 times the cost of the printer they sold for little investment and effort, said Deb Koehler, Xerox’s director of North American reseller sales, Business Platform.
The big enticement for customers, Koehler said, is the free services contract as long as they keep buying supplies through eConcierge. That feature could save end users hundreds of dollars in service contracts for each device, she said. Koehler estimated that a VAR managing supplies for 500 printers under eConcierge can expect to make an additional $250,000 in supplies sales each year.
Terry Williams, owner of Advanced Technical Support, a Morrisville, N.C., solution provider that piloted eConcierge, said he was able to win supplies business from customers he’d never been able to get sales from before. And he sold six new printers because he had more visibility into existing fleets.
“You can see what their behaviors are, how old are their machines, for a potential future managed print contract,” Williams said. “It’s stickiness. It gives you a compelling reason to get in front of a client. That’s what we’re looking for: to stay in front of the client. If you do that and be very proactive and consistent, you can have tremendous success.”
Buddy Carpenito, owner of Technology Solutions of America, a Winter Garden, Fla., solution provider that also piloted eConcierge, said his customers are so happy with it that no one has even asked how much he’s charging for toner cartridges.”They’re just buying it,” he said. “For most customers it’s a super convenience. Xerox gave us a franchise. They set us up in a business for virtually no cost. I’m very excited.”
The VARs’ reaction was good news for Burns, a self-admitted street-savvy New Yorker who “doesn’t have time for bureaucracy or double-talk.” During her keynote, Burns told VARs she and Xerox have no excuses for not being the best channel partner they can be.
“I looked up the definition of what a partnership is. It had all these unbelievably boring words that are obvious, but one sentence really stuck out with me,” she said. “It said, ‘two or more parties conducting business for mutual benefit.’ If we both keep that in mind, I think we’ll be amazingly successful as we go forward.”