The accelerating convergence of copying, faxing and printing technologies represents sales and service opportunities for resellers, consultants and integrators, a visiting senior printer industry executive said this week.
In town to launch MarkTrack, a new enterprise network printer management solution, Glenn Hudson, Lexmark's US-based vice president, business printer division, said the printer industry is in pole position to capitalise on digital printing convergence. Therefore, IT resellers should also be positioning themselves to benefit, Hudson opined.
"We think we (printer manufacturers) have the right platform," he said. "All devices will have to be connected to the network which is controlled by IT departments. They are used to dealing with IT resellers and I think the copier industry is going to have to struggle to compete."
Hudson thought there were significant network compatibility, print quality, reliability and servicing advantages which should see the merging of what are diverse industries being led by printer manufacturers.
"It is a great opportunity for resellers to capture more of the dollars that have traditionally flowed to office equipment manufacturers," Hudson said.
"The fifth element is manageability. Printers are also way ahead in being manageable assets," Hudson added before talking of Lexmark's new MarkTrack management application.
Being sold through Lexmark's traditional channel, MarkTrack is a network-based printer management tool which allows administrators to obtain reports on the usage of Lexmark printers and other SNMP-compliant devices. Its launch was the main reason Hudson made the trek down under.
Amongst many other reporting capabilities, usage of individual machines can be monitored and allocated to the departments on a job-by-job basis so costs incurred can be better tracked.
It combines database, Web server and reporting software to monitor device activity and can be used to develop reports of on how printer assets are being realised and who is using them for what, Hudson said. Resellers wanting to market the solution will be required to go through a free accreditation process.
"As more and more companies look into themselves for cost efficiencies and for a better overall TCO story, this is the sort of tool which will help them," Hudson said.
"We think this is a great tool for in-house staff to manage their printer assets better and for VARs, consultants and other third parties that are providing network services and architectural studies. Solutions like this offer all sorts of service opportunities in integration and accountability."
MarkTrack bears the retail price of $8500 for networks with up to 250 printer devices with a sliding scale that gets less expensive where more devices are involved. There is also a $1400 annual maintenance fee that delivers updates of new compatible devices and technical support.
Lexmark Tel (02) 9930 3500