Xerox’s Global Channel Strategy Lead, Aqua Porter, recently visited the UK, giving Technology Reseller the opportunity to find out more about how the company plans to reach IT resellers as it seeks to increase sales to SMEs.
In April, Xerox announced the largest product launch in its 110-year history, including 29 new ConnectKey devices. In addition to increased functionality, a common user interface across the range and a customisable app platform, the new products fill long-standing gaps in Xerox’s portfolio, especially the new Versalink series.
Designed to meet the needs of small and medium-sized businesses, these new A4 and A3 devices will enable Xerox to compete better in growth areas such as A4 MFPs and managed print services for SMEs.
To do this, the company is also hoping to recruit more IT resellers, as Aqua Porter, Global Channel Strategy Lead, explained to Technology Reseller when we caught up with her at Xerox’s Uxbridge HQ.
“There’s a real opportunity for Xerox to see profitable revenue growth in the SMB market. About 75% of that market is covered by indirect channels and 25% is direct. To win in the overall market, we’re going to have to continue to shift our market towards those sellers that can deliver, and in the SMB space that’s really the indirect channels,” she said.
“The idea is to cover the market with as big a footprint as we can, so we want to be able to grow the participation of our current partners and increase the number of partners we do business with. That includes traditional print resellers and ITcentric resellers that may see print as just one part of a bigger solution. Quite frankly, we’ll probably do some acquisition as well, where we think appropriate.
Broader and deeper
Porter says Xerox’s expanded product offering is a more compelling opportunity for IT resellers, not only because the range is broader and deeper, with models to suit all customer needs, but because it gives them the opportunity to develop additional sources of revenue, such as managed services, with fulfilment provided by Xerox, and app development.
“Our Connectkey products are such a breath of fresh air and so contemporary. The interface is what people are used to seeing on a tablet or a computer and the idea that you can download apps to solve a certain problem for a customer is novel. We even allow our partners to build apps for their customers or other partners to use. That ecosystem provides another level of value to our partners and makes us a more valuable manufacturer to work with.”
As an example, Porter cites Xerox’s Translator app. “You take a document in English, scan it in and get a translated version in another language. I find the idea that you can do that with the push of a button, darn cool, especially as over the past couple of years I’ve been working on a portal where we spent a significant amount of time translating content into eight different languages.”
She added: “The fact that we have given our partners the opportunity to develop software and apps that address the problems their customers have is pretty unique. Over the next couple of years, when that engine really gets going, we’re going to see some amazing solutions come out, because now you’re not limited to just a few people but can open it up to many more developers.”
Porters adds that Xerox is trying to be much more proactive about engaging with IT resellers.
“We plan to connect personally with those interested in partnering with us to ensure they understand the value of working with Xerox – to be very proactive about recruiting partners who want to do business with us and not just assume they know who we are.”
She adds that Xerox also needs to make itself an easier company to do business with.
“The reason I’m here is because we have invested several million dollars in our partner relationship management platform. We have built one place where our partners can find all the tools and resources and information they need – to make it easier to engage with us and to do business with us. I tell people it’s like going to the mall. There aren’t 20 entrances to the mall; you go in one entrance and there’s a directory of places you might want to visit. We want a partner to come to Xerox and easily navigate to where they want to go, with one entry and one set of ideas, information and credentials they can take with them anywhere,” she said.