Look who is turning channel friendly

Increasing channel sales from a measly three per cent to 14 per cent doesn’t seem like much, but for a global vendor such as Xerox it is a major shift in direction.
I recently had lunch with Xerox Canada channel chief Ajay Dhingra and was encouraged to learn that the document creation and management vendor is intensifying its focus on channel sales. And, according to Dhingra, his plan is working. Xerox Canada witnessed a 17 per cent increase in (A4) sales in a market that declined by four per cent.
The company also has signed up 70 new channel partners in Canada. This effort comes a year after Xerox acquired perennial CDN Top 100 Solution Provider Laser Networks back in January of 2012.

Dhingra told CDN that the authorized channel partners will not be competing with Laser Networks because of a strategy called XPPS or Xerox Partner Print Services.
Dhingra, whose title is vice-president of Indirect Channels Operations for Xerox Canada, added there are many printer-related issues a customer has to deal with than just managing the machine such as workflow and business process automation. Solution providers have experience in dealing with workflow and business process automation and the XPPS offering provides the training and tools to sharpen their focus especially for the mid-market.
Another strategy Dhingra is deploying is using Xerox Canada’s direct sales force to create demand in the market place and have the channel fulfill.
Since there is new demand in the market Xerox has increased its product portfolio from nine to 30 mostly by bringing its enterprise-class products down market.

There are also two new trends that are working in Xerox’ favour. They are the popularity of multi-function devices and the move to colour documents.

The managed print services (MPS) market is expected to grow by 13 per cent through 2015, according to market research firm InfoTrends. Since 2009, Xerox Canada has seen double-digit growth in its MPS business.

I like Xerox’s approach here with the channel. They are offering channel partners new income streams, while enabling them to offer another piece to an end-to-end solution for customers.

In the past, solution providers stayed away from selling printers mainly because it was not part of its core competency and they did not see any meaningful margins in it. Xerox has changed that thought through XPPS which takes away a lot of the investment costs a solution provider would have to incurring to sell and support printers.

But Xerox needs the channel too if it wants to grow. Executives such as Dhingra have realized that the printer is just another device that is controlled by a network. Networks are predominantly built and supported by channel partners. A direct sales approach might have worked in the past when Xerox and other printer manufacturers only dealt with an office manager. But in today’s marketplace those budgets and decisions have been taken away from these employees and are now the domain of a C-level executive as part of an overall computing strategy.

One quick hit before I go. Darren Hamilton is the new channel chief of Huawei Technologies Canada. Hamilton was formerly at HP Canada as the Partner Business Manager for HP Networking.




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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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