Lexmark drives partners into managed services

Lexmark drives partners into managed services

GOLD COAST: Lexmark will introduce a raft of training and accreditation programs for resellers next year in a bid to accelerate their transition into managed print services.

Local channel manager, Neil Campbell, said the new initiatives would focus on ways resellers locked in printer revenue through a contract approach.

"In the past we had the Lexmark University. We want to revamp this with different modules and service agent training to get resellers away from being product driven," he said. "Resellers today are looking at printing as hardware. They don't see the annuity and services streams. But they can triple revenues and increase gross margin by locking supplies, hardware, finance and services into one contract."

Campbell estimated the printing market was worth more than $300 million. He said about 60 per cent of the market was locked into contract revenue, with copier manufacturers holding the advantage.

Despite this trend, just a dozen of Lexmark's channel partners had skilled up in managed print services.

Campbell aimed to get this figure into the hundreds. The vendor was also looking for more partners servicing the SMB market.

"Most resellers have the capacity to achieve this, but they need help with building up their capabilities," he said. According to Campbell, the key issue resellers needed to address was customer output strategies. This included page costs per department, refresh cycles, asset management, health checks and supplies.

"This is a different strategy to the copier vendors, who are basing their contracts on cost per page," he said. "We are talking about getting from A to B. That's where a partner can offer value to a customer."

Although there were no plans to restrict product access, Campbell said Lexmark was planning to offer tiered margin and rebates to resellers depending on their skill set. The new programs are expected to be introduced early next year.

Resellers have the choice of either wholesaling the vendor's TotalCare services, or compiling their own branded service. Lexmark's increased focus on skilling up partners is part of an overall plan to gain ground in SMB. At its recent customer and partner event on the Gold Coast, the vendor announced it was scaling down its TotalCare managed services package to cater to organisations with up to 50 users.

It is also planning to unveil new prepackaged solutions for small business users including marketing studios, document creation and electronic forms, next year.

- Nadia Cameron travelled to the Gold Coast as a guest of Lexmark.

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