Lexmark Launches Managed Services Package

Called Lexmark Fleet Manager, the services are open to all partners of the Lexington, Ky.-based printer manufacturer. The package includes free sales and technical training, operational support, customized sales and marketing tools, and free hosting through 2007.

Fleet Manager has asset, billing, consumable, availability and optimization components and can be integrated with most major managed-service platforms, according to Lexmark. The package is designed to boost solution provider business by helping them transition customers to digital environments, sell more toner, discover and track printing assets, proactively service printing devices and generate recurring revenue, the company said.

"We're making sure our partners get the full benefits that matter to them," said Paul Rooke, executive vice president at Lexmark and president of the company's printing solutions and services division. "This offers you opportunity and growth in the SMB and enterprise, opportunities to reduce costs and optimize fleets, opportunities to double revenue in key accounts."

Rooke made his comments during the Fleet Manager rollout at CMP Media's XChange Tech Innovator conference in Huntington Beach, Calif. Solution providers at the event welcome Lexmark's new managed-services offering, saying it will help them create revenue and profit streams they've been missing out on.

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Though many managed services platforms allow solution providers to monitor devices attached to a client's network, Fleet Manager offers deeper, more targeted capabilities that will help them increase hardware and service sales, VARs noted. Mitch Feather, vice president of Creative Associates, Madison, N.J., said such a tool could spur him to offer more printing solutions, which currently aren't one of the solution provider's core offerings.

"The interesting thing about this is it could increase opportunities for more integration services and wider value-added offerings," Feather said. "The interface looks very slick, and the package shows that Lexmark is not one of those companies that tells its partners, 'Good luck and see you later.' "

To set up Fleet Manager, solution providers create a new account on the Web portal; gather the device data for asset tracking, billing, consumables monitoring and fleet optimization; and then register the assets for the devices to be managed. The software can sit on a PC at the solutions provider's end, with Lexmark hosting the Fleet Manager platform on its back-end systems. After a one-year grace period, Lexmark will begin charging solution providers a .001 cent-per-page fee, which will be capped at 2,000 pages per device per month.

"We don't want any runaway costs associated with this," Rooke said. "We want our partners to be in control."

Stephen Leedy, a network administrator at Electronic Business Machines in Lexington, Ky., said he jumped on the Fleet Manager pilot program because his company is looking for a way to offset falling hardware profits with higher-margin services.

"We're trying to make managed services our next offering. We think the recurring revenue stream will help us out," Leedy said. "Fleet Manager seemed like something we could easily manage. The training was superb. This gives us a good, solid tool to work with. And we wouldn't get into something like this if we didn't think we could make money at it."