Printer vendor Lexmark has launched what it claims to be the first dedicated printing consulting, integration and outsourcing service. But what might surprise some people is that its aim is to help businesses align with print technology, and even reduce the number of printers they need.
This may sound strange for a printer vendor, but Lexmark Solution Services (LSS), a separate new division of Lexmark International, is about printing not printers, according to managing director, Peter O'Meara. He said that LSS was developed in direct response to customers' increasing awareness of the role of printing in the enterprise environment. "We're first into this space," he added.
O'Meara has been working with clients in North America and Europe over the last year, and reported that while the savvy organisations understand the cost drivers, very few are aware of their total cost of printing.
"This is not a pre-sales support function for Lexmark or its channel," he insisted. "We are a consultancy specialising in the print architecture of medium-to-large enterprises." Revised printing architecture has already seen LSS save some large US organisations hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
O'Meara said that a print architecture study conducted by LSS may lead it to implementation of the study's recommendations, and even the ongoing outsourced management of the organisation's printing functions. To this end, he wants LSS to work with VARs and integrators who can benefit from their specialised expertise.
"We cover the full spectrum including offset printing, faxing, copying and computer-based printing, with a focus on cost reduction and alignment of printing with business processes," O'Meara said.
The degree to which LSS becomes involved is flexible. "We can operate at the document level, the ERP implementation level, business process level or at an enterprise level. We work with clients to achieve an objective such as improving business efficiency or increasing user satisfaction," he explained.
While it may well support Lexmark product sales, the measure of the new division's success will not be in terms of printer sales. "We are a professional services provider. We charge commercial rates," he said.
O'Meara admitted that they thought about calling it something else other than Lexmark Solution Services. "But Lexmark is a technology powerhouse, and we want to be able to call on that resource. Many of the solutions we have already engineered have come from what we refer to as "Building 32" which is the heart of our technology engine."
O'Meara's goals for the year are simple. "What I want to do is establish the business here this year, with a clear value proposition and a group of clients who are not just satisfied, but are raving fans."
Lexmark Solution Services
Tel (02) 9930 3599