As Alaris, a Kodak Alaris business introduces an expanded channel programme, Sales Director EMEA Gerry Kelliher, explains how the company and its partners can work together to exploit opportunities in the scanner market
No one would deny that the scanner market is a mature one, but for Kelliher, it is still full of opportunity, not least because of the gap that still exists between digitisation and automation. “There are plenty of process workflows out there that are digitised but not yet fully automated, and we are looking for partners who can help us identify the decisionmakers who own them,” he said.
The sorts of process Kelliher is talking about are where someone captures a digital image of a document by scanning to-the-desktop and then manually entering details into an electronic system or forwarding the image to a shared service centre, perhaps with the message ‘Here is an invoice. Please can you approve it or pass it on’.
“We still see lots of steps, lots of hands on a process from start to finish, and every one of those interactions costs money, opens up compliance risks and introduces errors,” he said.
A key aspect of Alaris’ proposition that Kelleher said has real significance in the context of end-to-end automated solutions is image quality. “With the advent of Robotic Process Automation (RPA), we are seeing image quality and some of the core attributes that Alaris has always delivered coming to the fore in terms of their impact on read rate and the accuracy of images for postprocessing. We are now seeing partners that insist on using our solutions because of the high image quality we guarantee and the fact that our Perfect Page technology delivers the crisp images they need 100 per cent of the time,” he said.
While existing channel partners have been successful at identifying the owners of processes ripe for automation, especially in production capture environments, Alaris will be looking to develop relationships with new partners as it expands into new markets.
“Traditionally, we have been very strong in production capture, but as we move more into distributed capture, we are looking for new partners who have access to those enterprise accounts. Our end-to-end proposition is very attractive to partners that are focusing on delivering value to a smaller set of more specialised end-user accounts. They want vendors who can provide an end-to-end bundle they can fit into their solutions,” Kelliher explained.
To help existing and new partners exploit such opportunities, Alaris is expanding its channel programme with a new platform designed to make it easier for Alaris and its partners to do business together. “In addition to market development funds, rebate programmes and rewards programmes, we are adding more capabilities to enable partners in our software solutions. We are investing in creating bundles – pricing bundles and hardware and software bundles – where we pick out components that are perfect for a partner’s needs and provide marketing collateral that can go around that and sales enablement for their sales teams,” Kelliher said.
He added: “People appreciate the investment we are making to drive value for the channel. We are not just producing new scanners and saying ‘Here you are. Isn’t it great? You have to take it.’ We are saying ‘This is where we see it fitting; this is where we see the opportunities; this is where we are having successes in other countries’ and really showcasing that to people.”
The full gamut of partner tools offered by Alaris now includes a business plan playbook; training and certification; value proposition development; sales and marketing collateral; market development funds; deal registration and special pricing; rebates and rewards; and social selling training and tools.
Software and services
By looking beyond scanner hardware and embracing Alaris software and services, partners can develop new revenue streams and future-proof their business as customers continue to bridge the gap between digitisation and automation.
Kelliher said: “We are really challenging our partners, particularly hardware-centric VARs, to get into solutions. It’s not easy – you need skills, you need people – but, as a vendor, we can help with training, with use cases, with bundles. A partner doesn’t need to build that capability themselves. They can take what we offer and use what they are good at, which is relationships and understanding their customers.
“Where a customer has our hardware, which they really value, we want a partner to find out why aren’t they considering us for their capture software? If they are using somebody else’s solution, which one have they got, how much does it cost, what is it linking into, what’s the end-to-end environment?,” he continued.
Service, especially with A4 devices and entry-level A3 scanners, where customers tend to defer decision-making until later is often overlooked. “On the service side, make sure that customers are taking service contracts, because it’s good margin for partners and very easy for them; we take the customer calls, we put our engineers on site; we manage any issues; and the partner gets to renew that service contract every year,” Kelliher concluded.