Xerox Combines Agent, Reseller Partner Programs Under New President

In a move that is expected to bring more focus and opportunity to partners, Xerox said Tuesday that it has consolidated two partner organizations into one and brought on a new president to lead the charge.

Xerox has brought the North American Agent Operations and the United States Solution Providers organizations under the same roof. The two groups previously operated independently until the consolidation at the beginning of the year.

The U.S. Channel Group will be headed up by Kurt Schmelz, who previously led the U.S. Solution Providers business.

[Related: Xerox Rolls Out Hardware, Software, Services Offerings To Deepen Channel Push]

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The changes are designed to make it easier for agents and solution providers to do business with Xerox, as well as increase their capabilities and opportunities in different technology areas, Schmelz said. For example, solution providers, which Schmelz said traditionally focused on A4 printers, will be able to expand their repertoire in A3 equipment and solutions that agents have previously specialized in. On top of that, Schmelz said the changes will allow Xerox to continue its "keen focus" on managed print services (MPS).

"I think those areas of the business will see incremental growth opportunities from all sides," Schmelz said, referring to A4, A3 and MPS.

While the two organizations have already come together in some common areas, Schmelz said the changes will help smooth and streamline friction areas with a single management team and more cohesive coverage of partners.

"It made sense. It was the right time to bring the two tighter together as we're pursuing more common areas of the business," Schmelz said.

On a practical level, Schmelz said Xerox's first focus is to bring the sales organizations together as a single face to the partner community.

"We're working on that right now," Schmelz said, adding that the process will hopefully be completed by the end of the first quarter. The next step is unifying the back-office operations and systems, he said.

Schmelz will lead the integration as well as the partner strategy going forward, reporting to Xerox President of Channel Partner Operations John Corley. Schmelz previously was President of the U.S. Solution Providers group, which is part of the integration.

"My job is to make sure we're executing on the strategy and we're making the right decisions for our partners, for the business and right now in the short term it's really leading the efforts to bring the two organizations as one," Schmelz said.

Prior to joining Xerox, Schmelz had an extensive channel career at GE Capital and Global Imaging Systems, which was acquired by Xerox in 2012.

Joshua Justice, president of Waldof, Md.-based Southern Solutions, attended Xerox's agent partner event last week and is on the President's Council for the agents. He said Schmelz's background is "impressive," especially his background as a reseller executive.

"I'm really excited about that, to have someone in this role that has ran a reseller-type company for that long. I feel like ... he understood our challenges because of his position and his experiences. I think that is really important," Justice said.

At the agent partner event last week, Schmelz seemed "enthusiastic, knowledgeable and confident about the opportunities," Justice said. He said the atmosphere at the event was "really excited" as Schmelz outlined the opportunities on the table for agent partners.

"He came out strong and was very enthusiastic, and we all got excited for what's coming with the new channel," Justice said.