CRN Exclusive: Xerox To Roll Out Vertical Workflow Automation Apps To North American Partners

Xerox's North American partners will soon gain access to apps that convert paper-based processes into automated digital workflows in the education, healthcare and finance verticals.

The Norwalk, Conn-based vendor said its channel-exclusive Productivity Packs are targeted at solution providers who want to deepen their vertical capabilities, but lack the in-house software skills to do so on their own.

"We're giving partners an opportunity to grow from their starting piece and increase their footprint one department at a time," Leah Quesada, Xerox's vice president of global SMB channels marketing, told CRN .

[Related: CRN Exclusive: Xerox Taps Tech Data Vet Pete Peterson for Global Channel Leadership Role]

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The Productivity Packs, available next month, can be deployed on any Xerox ConnectKey multifunction printer, Quesada said. They have a manufacturer suggested retail price of $200 per pack, and only one pack can be associated with each device. Solution providers are given a key to download the Productivity Packs, Quesada said, and can resell them to end users under a per-machine contractual agreement or an as-a-Service model.

All 29 of Xerox's new printers unveiled last month have ConnectKey interface, and included in the launch were multifunction devices tailored to both larger workgroups and smaller workgroups. The Productivity Packs were introduced to European partners in November, and will be available to solution providers in the United States and Canada in late May, Quesada said.

Each Productivity Pack has workflow applications focused on copying, scanning, scanning to the cloud, invoicing, and services and supplies, Quesada said. But what exactly each application does, Quesada said, depends on whether the Productivity Pack is targeted toward the education, healthcare, finance or general office markets.

For instance, Quesada said the scanning software for the education pack is capable of lifting information off paper-based exams and inserting it into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to make the grading process much easier for teachers. But in the healthcare pack, Quesada said that same productivity app would scan surveys and extract and collate key information.

"The same workflow can literally be applied in multiple ways," Quesada said.

The scan-to-cloud apps are compatible with several different providers, including Dropbox or Google Drive, Quesada said. The invoicing app, meanwhile, works the same across verticals, Quesada said, turning paper receipts into digital documents that the customer can sign as part of an electronic workflow.

The services and supplies piece also works the same across verticals, Quesada said, facilitating contact between the end user and the service provider when ink, toner or another component is running low.

The Productivity Packs are best suited for partners that want to get away from box-selling but haven't yet truly mastered workflows, Quesada said. The packs address department-level SMB workflow needs in areas such as IT, operations, sales or customer support, she said.

Solution providers looking to deepen their end customer relationships should identify the most paper-intensive department or processes in the client's ecosystem and pinpoint ways to digitize and automate those through offerings from Xerox or other channel partners in the app gallery, Quesada said.

Smaller customers of Fort Collins, Colo.-based Professional Document Solutions also need to archive and retrieve documents quickly, just as their larger counterparts, the company's president, Troy Tafoya, told CRN. But these customers are often stuck using solutions that require three or four steps and are easy to misfire, Tafoya said.

"The Productivity Packs will be additional value we can bring to our smaller and medium-sized customers," Tafoya said. "Since the software in these kits is so simple to use and customers get automation at a low price, I think Xerox has hit a niche here."