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Q&A With James Pittick, Canon UK Director of B2B Indirect Sales

Canon has launched a new EMEA channel partner programme designed to help partners on the print and copier side identify new areas for growth and to broaden its reseller base to include more IT resellers, enterprise-level system integrators and outsourced IT services providers. James Goulding spoke to James Pittick to find out more about how Canon plans to attract these new types of partner.

James Pittick
James Pittick

Q: How will your new partner programme help Canon break into new markets and increase sales for its resellers?

A: Essentially, what we’ve done is build a programme based on five pillars – diversify, collaborate, expand, win and streamline. Diversifcation is the strongest link to that, in two ways. One is working with our partners to assess market sizes and segments, to look at where their strengths currently lie and see how we can help them diversify into a similar market.

The other area is looking at the growth of our technology. The majority of our partners are very successful, but only with certain elements of our offering e.g. office print or large format printing or document management. We will work with our partners to identify new markets or complementary technologies that they can take to existing or new customers.

Q: What are some of the other technology areas you plan to address?

A: Today, it’s less about specific products and more about applications the customer might be using, so things like document digitisation, which could potentially involve scanners and workflow applications; output management, utilising secure solutions for print, whether that be in a SOHO environment or as part of managed print or document service.

It’s all about sitting down with the partner and saying how can we help you maximise the opportunities you have and help you grow into new areas. For a partner that has a strong presence in the education market, it could be a case of unlocking our projection technology so that they can provide a managed image service using a product portfolio that historically would have been difficult for us to open up.

Q: Have you been successful in attracting non-print resellers?

A: It is still relatively early days, but we are now having conversations with technology resellers that are less interested in some of our traditional hardware products and more interested in some of the software applications we have around invoice processing and document management.

I would say they fall into two categories. One are partners that want to sell those applications to their existing customers as part of an entire solution based on our technology, e.g. an invoice processing solution. The other, which is a very new area for us and still largely in development, is working with systems integrators or ISVs that are looking to take some of our software-based technologies and integrate them into their own offering. For example, they might use our data capture engine, but integrate that into their own product.

Q: Does this mean that resellers will be able to start selling products from other parts of Canon, like network surveillance, for example?

A: Network surveillance is operated as a standalone business unit, but we do have a couple of partners, certainly in the SI space, that are very interested in some of the capability we have in that area. Rather than us managing that interaction and sale, we would scope out the opportunity with them and facilitate an introduction. Purely because it is such a specialist area, we would rather partner them up with the right specialists. It’s definitely an opportunity for us to explore and
something we are open to, but it is not a

Q: Do you package an easy MPS for technology resellers that might sell you projectors or scanners and want to get into managed print services?

A: Absolutely. Within the new programme, there are different competencies and levels of accreditation that a partner can attain. We wouldn’t expect a partner with that background to become one of the highest accredited managed print and document services partners overnight, but there is a partner learning journey and accreditation process so where we jointly feel there is a business case to grow in those areas, they can access the right training, the right skills development and work their way up through the accreditation.

Whereas before one of our document scanner partners would have only been viewed as a document scanning partner, we’ve now got the programme in place to have a conversation about where the partner sees their business developing and growing and where they can utilise Canon technologies and skills to do that. If managed print is one of those areas, we have some very simple, tailored and packaged solutions right the way up to very complex, fully integrated services.

Q: Does this include packaged services that the reseller can sell to their customers, with fulfilment delivered by Canon?

A: We are working on a couple of different models. Historically our print and copier resellers will have gone through an accreditation process and we have some building blocks in place to give resellers more of a journey there. At the very low end there is an opportunity for a technology sale with Canon support, but there is an appetite for partners to become more self-sufficient in delivering more complex solutions.

A lot of competitors have off the peg solutions, which is not something you will have seen from Canon, but it is something that will become available. Having a very basic packaged solution that includes a device, some kind of service packaging (warranty- or click-based) and some kind of management software that enables a reseller to sell a packaged, tailored solution with Canon support will be available in 2018.

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