XEROX CEO’s EYES BIG CHANNEL EXPANSION
XEROX CEO’s EYES BIG CHANNEL EXPANSION
2007-02-12 at 11:36:00 am #17362
Xerox’s Mulcahy Eyes Big Channel Expansion
Xerox Chairman and chief executive officer Anne Mulcahy said the document technology giant is gearing up for one of the largest expansions of its channel sales ever.Specifically, Xerox is targeting robust growth in the small- and midsize-business segment by increasing its number of solution provider partners and by doing more business with current partners, Mulcahy told CRN in an interview.The Stamford, Conn.-based vendor plans to discuss initiatives with solution providers later this month at a conference with channel partners, she said, adding that a key focus will be to drive document management solutions into SMB accounts.”We’re going to focus on the document management space,” Mulcahy said. “The intent is to bring a lot of rationalising and capability to fleets of devices through the kinds of assessment services and office services software that can be deployed across different types of technologies.”To that end, Xerox aims to partner with VARs on a framework that includes technology such as workflow software, hands-on services and utilities, in addition to the vendor’s core hardware, supplies and consulting offerings.”A lot of our software is embedded in either our services offerings or in the technology itself as value-added services,” Mulcahy said, pointing to Xerox technology such as DocuShare.Xerox and its rivals – Hewlett-Packard, Lexmark, Oki Data and others – have been locked in a fierce battle for channel and SMB market share, with each offering various consulting and service solutions on top of hardware and supplies. But the market is evolving, and some companies are finding it difficult to make the transition.IBM, for example, announced last month that it was getting out of the printer business by selling its Infoprint operations to Ricoh through a joint venture. Dell, which entered the printer business several years ago and has been a major OEM customer of companies like Lexmark and Fuji-Xerox, is attempting to move from the low-end part of the market to a more profitable, higher-end segment.Through that turbulence, Mulcahy sees a growth opportunity for Xerox in SMB sales through solution providers.Mulcahy began tipping Xerox’s new channel strategy last month, when she told financial analysts about plans for significant channel expansion in 2007. In addition, the company plans a major rollout of products during the year. Later this month in Orlando, Fla., she and other Xerox executives plan to meet with a group of solution providers to give more specifics of the company’s plans and road map.”For the reseller as well as Xerox, we’re looking for incremental revenues,” Mulcahy said. “The output market is one where the majority of the profit comes from the aftermarket. We’re not creating a huge dependency on profitability at the box level. It’s going to be about lifetime profitability.”Xerox has 9,000 reseller partners, about a third of which are “deeply engaged partners with regard to product distribution,” Mulcahy said.Last year, Xerox began rolling out a version of its Xerox Office Productivity Advisor (XOPA) tool to some solution providers as a way to help the channel provide workflow and document consulting services. The vendor also expanded its Solutions Advantage program into several U.S. regions to assist VARs in delivering solutions with hardware. Xerox is looking to expand on those efforts as Mulcahy and other company executives prepare to meet with channel partners.”We’re deeply embedded with Xerox,” said Tom Mettenbrink, sales manager at Computer Concepts, a Grand Island, Neb.-based solution provider. Xerox’s plans sound bullish for the channel, particularly in light of its price competitiveness in the SMB space with other vendors, he noted.”I would say we’re priced as competitively as we’ve ever been,” Mettenbrink said. He added that he doesn’t believe Xerox’s plan to add partners would result in channel conflict or competition with other VARs.