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Connecting partners to Workplace Hub

Konica Minolta has introduced a European partner programme focused on enabling partners to offer Workplace Hub to customers. The announcement was made at the company’s European Leadership Campus (ELC) 2019 where Morgan Leucat, Director Europe WPH Go-to-Market, spoke about the value of this all-in-one IT platform for the indirect channel

Konica Minolta first introduced Workplace Hub – a new disruptive IT category in 2017, and up until now it was sold exclusively through its direct business. Now, after enjoying some success within its direct operation, it is opening up the platform to partners.

Workplace Hub was designed to address growing IT complexity by providing more efficient and effective management of the disparate array of tools, services and devices used by organisations today. At ELC 2019, Leucat said that the platform is at the heart of the connected workplace and an essential driver for digital transformation. In a seminar entitled How Workplace Hub will evolve your business he announced the platform was now available to partners, provided a snapshot on the value for the indirect channel and outlined details of its new European partner programme – ‘connecting you to the workplace hub’.

Opportunity for the channel
Acting as a central hub that simplifies IT, by combining infrastructure, services and software into a single fully managed IT service, Konica Minolta says that Workplace Hub drives efficiencies by reducing the overall costs of IT management and service provision, and provides real-time data-driven insights that help to improve business processes.

Business’ pain points include managing multiple vendors, ageing IT infrastructures that aren’t scalable and new security challenges, which according to Leucat, presents an opportunity for the channel. “Organisations are looking for increased productivity and cost savings. They’re also looking to streamline the number of vendors that they have to partner with. Security of both their infrastructure and their data is of paramount importance particularly in light of GDPR. They also need the ability to scale and be flexible, which outsourcing the management of their IT infrastructure provides them with.

“Businesses are looking to partner with a local provider, but they also need assurance they will receive high quality service – that’s what Konica Minolta and its partners can offer.

Workplace Hub
Workplace Hub

Workplace Hub will transform your customers’ businesses, making life easier with an all-in-one managed IT platform,” he said. Workplace Hub is an IT infrastructure solution, one that is bespoke and configured to deliver exactly what the business needs. “We need to work together to ensure the solution is delivered in the right way so that customers can benefit the most from it. The overall goal is to make things simpler for the end customer, by leveraging the experience we have gained from delivering it within our direct operation, through our new partner programme, Workplace Hub can be a profitable new revenue stream for partners,” Leucat explained.

European partner programme
The programme is structured in such a way that Konica Minolta will initially lead new opportunities, working in partnership with its partners.

Workplace hub is a complete ecosystem, combining IT infrastructure, managed IT services, as well as modern tools for customers. There are two existing models – the Edge which is a rack mounted server, and the Hub, which is the server integrated with amultifunctional product. Both versions rely on best of breed technology providers, such as HP, Sophos, Acronis and Microsoft. “With Workplace Hub, dealers can offer their customers a one-stop solution that will simplify IT administration, increase productivity and optimise costs and because it’s scalable, it also provides room for growth,” Leucat explained.

Encourage partner adoption
Encourage partner adoption

Konica Minolta’s approach has been to encourage partner adoption in stages. Leucat stressed the importance of training. “It’s a very different proposition than selling printers, when selling Workplace Hub, a partner is assuming responsibility for the customers’ IT infrastructure, it can’t fail and ensuring continuity of service is key. This requires sales, service and legal training and a commitment from partners to transform their sales and service function,” he said.

To this end, initially partners will resell Workplace Hub as an agent or subcontractor. Konica Minolta will assume overall responsibility for the platform deployment, management and support while the partner will manage their customer and their customer’s applications. Leucat was quick to point out the customer/ partner relationship would be fully protected as an agent and that partners could earn a commission on both the hardware as well as monthly recurring revenue for services such as Acronis, Sophos, service desk, etc. “Importantly the dealers can manage their own margin the way they want to, revenue and profitability doesn’t come just from the platform, but also from applications and services that are sold on top,” he said.

Leucat continued: “The aim is to lead partners through the different maturity stages with Workplace Hub. We have that experience, and we are geared up to deliver that support to our partners. The support processes have been designed to keep the strong relationship between the partner and the customer. The dealer conducts all onsite tasks and is the face of the relationship, handling MFP and application support when needed. After we have closed a couple of deals together, partners will be able to progress and achieve Workplace Hub dealer status, where Konica Minolta will act as the subcontractor.”

Partner playbook Konica Minolta has created a partner playbook, which provides dealers with information on the platform, an overview of the partner programme, along with details of the pre-sales, ordering and billing processes, support workflow and pricing. AT ELC19 the company announced that the first 60 partners to sign up as agents will receive showroom material, including hardware and a preferential price on service.

Workplace Hub: In Brief

Single centralised platform
Workplace Hub is the first solution to unify the IT-related needs of small businesses into a single centralised platform by seamlessly integrating hardware, software and services into a one-stop solution. From an infrastructure perspective, it includes everything a small organisation or location needs – a multifunctional printer, powerful HPE Gen10 server for running applications or storing information, cloud space for applications or back-up services, Wi-Fi access and the latest next-generation security from Sophos.

Powerful virtualisation capabilities enable users to host all key server applications on a single managed onpremise platform – from mail servers to file servers through to solutions to manage documents and information.

The Workplace Hub is more than a physical device – it is an ecosystem. It includes all the necesssary managed IT services to lessen the load on in-house IT resources – from proactive management services such as patching; monitoring the total infrastructure; system security and data protection such as threat detection and anti-virus managment; as well as storage and back-up management services; onsite installation and associated professional services; all the way to an ITIL accredited helpdesk.

Simple IT management Instead of disparate IT infrastructure elements that are managed separately, Konica Minolta has worked with technology leaders HP Enterprise, Sophos and Microsoft, to integrate various IT components into a unified IT ecosystem with a common user and management experience.

The Admin Dashboard provides a complete overview of a company’s IT, including users, assets, applications, server, storage, Wi-Fi, and multifunctional printer. With Workplace Hub, it’s easy to conduct everyday tasks from reviewing resource usage, managing user rights or infrastructure status, changing site support or adding and removing applications.

Workplace GO
It also includes a new collaboration suite to empower individuals, teams and the business to work together

Workplace GO – is a ready-made digital workplace that works on top of Microsoft Office 365 and brings together information such as emails, meetings and tasks, alongside team projects and company-wide projects and information.

Best-in-class security
With cyber security a top priority for small and medium-sized businesses, this all-in-one scalable system provides a level of IT security and sophistication traditionally associated with large enterprises. Leveraging Sophos, a world leading security provider, customers benefit from the latest software, ensuring systems are constantly monitored, protected and managed against malicious attacks and other security threats.