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Xerox MPS for SMB Markets - A Growth Opportunity (interview)

8 Jul, 2010 By: Interview Randy Dazo & Sand Sinclair imageSource

Xerox MPS for SMB Markets - A Growth Opportunity (interview)

In an interview with Russell Peacock, President, Xerox North America, initiated by Randy Dazo, Director, Network Document Solutions, InfoTrends, and imageSource Magazine Editor, Sand Sinclair, together they get to the bottom of what’s behind Xerox’s MPS program that specifically focuses on addressing the needs of the SMB market - and the opportunities that dealers and resellers will find there.

R. Dazo & S. Sinclair (RD & SS): What new developments are you seeing in the managed print services arena?

R. Peacock (RP): The most exciting trend is the explosion of MPS for the SMB market. Xerox has chosen to participate in this market by enabling our network of channel partners to deliver MPS to their SMB customers. This represents a significant opportunity for growth for both Xerox and our channel partners.

(RD & SS): Can you briefly explain Xerox's MPS program for SMBs and the key benefits? Why should a dealer or reseller join your program?

R. Peacock (RP): Xerox helps dealers and resellers worldwide grow their businesses through a broad range of products and programs.  Xerox MPS programs deliver a set of services and tools that help partners better manage their customers’ printing infrastructure and reduce costs. Xerox gives partners the flexibility to build their own branded program while taking advantage of the training, services, supplies, software and technology support provided through Xerox.

Many organizations spend far more money than is needed on office printing and have deployed more copiers, faxes and printers than they actually need. This opens the door for dealers to “right size” a print environment to meet the unique business needs of SMBs with a managed print services solution.

Dealers who have the ability to offer MPS to their customers will realize recurring revenue streams as they administer the day-to-day maintenance of the device fleet. Managed print services programs also provides dealers with an avenue to become a trusted advisor to customers as they service their devices over the course of the contract and make additional recommendations for improvements to their business and document processing structure.

SMB customers are looking for ways to reduce costs, increase productivity, and optimize their workflow.

(RD & SS): What makes Xerox’s program different from other programs available to solution providers?

R. Peacock (RP): We believe our multivendor approach is unique.  A one size / one vendor solution does not fit all. When this capability is combined with our partners’ own offering, then the differentiation becomes even more pronounce when compared to traditional vendor-based programs.

Xerox’s MPS programs are the first to offer partners the ability to manage their customers’ entire fleet of printers and multifunction printers. Partners will receive detailed reports about a business’ fleet of print equipment and usage patterns. Additionally, partners have access to third-party supplies and repair and maintenance support for competitive equipment at favorable terms negotiated by Xerox. This information and access allow the partner to be the single touch-point and service provider for their customers.

Xerox pioneered the MPS market and continues to earn industry recognition as the leader because of our proven approach and impressive history of delivering results. Now our partners and their customers can benefit from the company’s managed print services that Xerox provides directly to corporations like Procter & Gamble, The Dow Chemical Company and KeyCorp.

(RD & SS): What do you think some of the top barriers a dealer may have working with an OEM MPS program and how do you overcome them?

R. Peacock (RP): Many dealers and resellers believe that OEM MPS programs are built on the premise of selling hardware. Some OEM MPS programs are designed to make the customer purchase new hardware at the start of the contract.  Not exactly what customers want when their goal is to reduce costs. Xerox’s MPS strategy is to enable our partners with tools to manage a customer’s fleet as is from the very beginning. It is difficult for a solution provider to know what to replace until they have had time to manage what exists and collect enough information to identify opportunities for improvement. A well-designed MPS solution utilizes a mix of new and existing equipment to optimize a customer’s print environment over an extended period of time. Xerox understands an accomplished MPS provider must be able to manage a multi-brand fleet with the customers’ best interest in mind.

(RD & SS): How can dealers and resellers get started with MPS?

R. Peacock (RP): Dealers who have embraced a solutions and service mentality, as opposed to focusing only on selling hardware, and fully ingrained themselves in their customers’ business have been the most successful. To supply the best possible experience and service for their customers, dealers need to ask the important questions during pre-sale conversations – what are your goals; what applications are you using; what are your expectations; and what efficiencies would you like to gain? By setting expectations and agreed upon dates for completion before the closing the sale and obtaining knowledge of the customers’ true requirements, dealers can position themselves as a business partner and create relationships that will help them outpace the competition.

Take some time to learn about the offerings in the market.  Does the offering require you to connect various systems and vendor applications or do they have a complete, integrated solution.

It’s not enough to just have MPS offerings in the portfolio. Dealers should consider bringing an MPS expert on board who has the leadership skills and operational knowledge to ensure effect implementation, handle contracts and set profitable margins. For some, this may not be realistic. But with a billing infrastructure for monthly charges and the right selling skills in place, it is easy to get started.

Training your sales staff will be imperative to ensure they explain the benefits of MPS to customers and understand how it’s implemented. Partner with a vendor that provides best-in-class training.  What does the training offer from a sales and operations perspective?  What about vendor support?  Partner with a vendor that will work with you and support you as your capabilities grow.

(RD & SS): Do you provide solutions to partners that want to get into workflow as part of their MPS program?

R. Peacock (RP): There are a variety of add-on service opportunities for dealers, especially as they gauge their customers’ printing needs and patterns through assessment and reporting. These add-ons include storage, additional hardware devices and a variety of software offerings including scanning software and a content management platform like ScanFlowStore and Xerox’s Scan to PC Desktop and DocuShare.

(RD & SS): Can you describe some of your MPS tools used to automate the MPS process and can they be used to support mixed fleets?

R. Peacock (RP): There are several MPS tools available that support mixed fleets and help to automate the process. Xerox offers 3 assessment tools to fit the type of opportunity dealers may encounter; from a one-unit opportunity to a large, enterprise fleet. Without leaving their office, dealers can now securely access the customer’s print activity and receive automatic updated usage reports. In addition, partners can manage devices remotely as well as receive device notifications and alerts, thereby reducing their costs and management time as well customer downtime. Dealers can streamline processes for their customers and develop new revenue streams as they identify weaknesses or opportunities in their customers’ entire print workflow.

In addition, access to real-time data reduces costs and downtime for maintenance. From ordering supplies to servicing the printer, dealers can provide a level of convenience that was not possible before.

(RD & SS): Do you provide training and ongoing support services to the channel?

R. Peacock (RP): Yes. Xerox has always been committed to ensuring our partners receive the training and mentoring they need to be successful.  As part of Xerox’s MPS programs for partners, we deliver a comprehensive accreditation and mentoring course covering areas key to a managed print services deployment, such as assessment, design, implementation and management, is available.

Our highly-differentiated trainings and mentoring programs assist partners in developing the skills needed to implement managed print services and be successful throughout the life of the contract. The 12-week mentoring program includes tracks for sales managers and business owners, covering topics including how to present the business case for MPS, how to compensate your workforce and how the financial model works.

(RD & SS): If a dealer or reseller does not have a service team or support services to support their customers do you provide assistance?

R. Peacock (RP): Yes. Many partners rely on Xerox to provide support services. Xerox offers partners the choice to manage service directly or work with Xerox to provide support. Partner can select the appropriate service delivery model at the device level, ensuring the maximum flexibility.

(RD & SS): What benefits have your partners and their customers realized from implementing MPS?

R. Peacock (RP): According to Xerox partner Tom McDonald with NSI, customers have a million other issues they want to focus on such as email, servers and applications, and implementing a managed print services solution allows them to save money and apply those savings to other projects or right to the bottom line.

Getting to the bottom line of all areas of Xerox’s targeted MPS program for the SMB market is exactly what InfoTrends and imageSource/ eMPS were aiming for.  For further information on the program’s features and benefits, dealers and resellers can visit http://www.office.xerox.com/resellers or call 1-800-835-6100.

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