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Hot topics – Part 2

Following on from last issue, this month the dealer channel shares their thoughts on popular products and the key challenges facing print and IT resellers at the moment

PrintIT Reseller: What are some of the most exciting products/solutions in your offer currently?

Simon Hollister

Simon Hollister, Sales Director, Hollis Technology: “One of the most exciting solutions that Hollis Technology now provides is Infrascale disaster recovery and cloud backup. Combining intelligent software with the power of the cloud, Infrascale cracks the disaster recovery cost barrier by removing the complexity and cost of standby infrastructure to restore operations in minutes with a push of a button.

“Cloud-based, managed email and web security solutions are another key part of Hollis Technology’s expanding portfolio. We have partnered with Topsec Cloud Solutions which provides anti-spam, anti-virus, emergency email, email content filtering, image analysis, email archiving, file sharing and Domain Management. Crucially, they enable organisations to protect and manage critical business data with no upfront investment required. Both these solutions are available as fully managed white label services.”

Scott Walker, Head of Business Development, ZenOffice: “There are a huge range of products we can provide…but my personal favourite is the Xerox Translator app. This allows you to scan a document into the device and reproduce it in 30+ languages. Same format, layout etc.…just in a different language. Accuracy is amazing too and we’ve already seen our European clients make the most of this.”

Mark Smyth, Chief Operating Officer, Vision: “The most exciting solutions Vision go to market with currently are aimed at digital transformation. There are a number of software solutions as part of our portfolio that have very dynamic and powerful capabilities that are enabling Vision to assist clients with their digital transformation strategy.

“Our solutions help automate and drive efficiency as part of improved and enhanced business process and workflows, capturing data and integrating it into business applications and processes, specifically where there is continuous manual data input and manual process. This can often deliver returns on initial investment within a little as nine months!”

David Lees, CSR & Marketing Director, ABS: “Document security seems to be high on our customers’ agenda at the moment. Several manufacturer specific workflow solutions we offer optimise document workflows and are incredibly easy to set-up and use. These workflows allow documents (email, excel, word formats to name a few) to be captured from a multifunction device, email, folder or cloud location, converted into secure, searchable PDF formats and then transferred to a variety of secure cloud-based archiving systems. These documents can be managed with authorisation to increase security even further.”

Nick Rose

Nick Rose, Sales Director, Midshire: “Our product portfolio is constantly expanding with the needs of our customers. One of the main challenges is to keep our offering relevant and manageable, whilst ensuring that we truly understand all of the technologies that we provide.

“A key growth area in our business has been audio visual solutions. Businesses across all sectors are looking at the way they communicate data and information to their customers and their staff, and solutions such as interactive screens and digital displays are the best way to achieve this. As well as providing the screens we can also supply software packages that make it easy for the customer to both create the content, and schedule exactly when they would like to show it. This is a powerful tool that helps lead to both increased sales, and productivity.”

Richard Blundell, Divisional Director, Commercial IT Services: “We’re disrupting the IT sector with our ‘Managed IT with a Conscience’ activity. Rooted in Commercial’s longstanding commitment to sustainable and responsible business practice, this new proposition enables our customers to be more purpose-led in their technology choices.

“It’s a little known fact that data centres contribute over two per cent of global carbon emissions – that’s more than all the world’s airlines combined. So, technology really is ‘eating the world’ both literally and metaphorically. We enable customers to counter this through more responsible decision-making that ensures sustainability and social value are firmly embedded in the supply chain.”

Toni Gibiino, Marketing Director, ABC Managed Business Solutions: “We don’t have just one product that’s exciting, the way we bundle the packages together is the really sexy thing about the ABC offering right now. Let me explain our security Workplace, Workforce, Work?ow offering:

“A visitor or employee enters a place of work; it could be via a facial recognition solution, biometric scanner, card, phone or QR code that expires after 24 hours. The employee is tracked through the building and enrolled on the fire register, as is the visitor and the person they are visiting receives notification their guest is in reception. They happen to be watching a personalised video, greeting them to the business too.

“The guest or employee is signed in via the methods mentioned and access throughout the building key points requires a biometric scan too so they can be pinpointed around the building for example.

“They need to print off some jobs they have on their mobile phone. No problem, print release can be done at the copier through a biometric solution or even their mobile, as it’s been recognised on the network. Do they need to scan or send a document to a secure location while off site? No problem, secure workflows configured on the copier allows this.

“It’s the tip of the iceberg for us. We’re really consolidating the discussions now to make it about security and technology and how much more efficient we can make them. Those copiers, the brand and specs are almost irrelevant, they just form part of the workflow like your wireless access does.”

Clive Hamilton, Group Managing Director, Pinnacle Document Solutions Group: “Apart from the current MPS value proposition that sternly underpins Xerox and the MPS offering in the current marketplace, there is also Xerox Solutions and Workflow content software such as Docushare Flex.

Clive Hamilton

“DTPS (Document Transaction Process Services) which again is supported and backed by Xerox along with mail fulfilment, hybrid mail and paper to digital are all solutions which allow businesses to gain a competitive advantage with their document processes while becoming more cost effective and increasing productivity.

“We also supply a new product range with our HP latest HP partner for desktop IT devices. The DaaS offering (Device-as-a-Service) is a new subscription-based way of procuring a desktop device, as well as offering a full managed service backed by HP.”

David Smith, Customer Solutions Director, Xeretec Group: “With the acquisition of Landscape, we are now able to offer HP’s Device-as-a-Service to help organisations better control and manage devices like PCs, mobiles, tablets as well as related software and apps, with the convenience of a monthly subscription fee.

“From a production device perspective, we’re very excited to be talking to customers about the new Xerox Iridesse Press, which offers an exciting new gamut of gold, silver and metallic inks, in addition to the conventional CMYK offering. In terms of solutions, Xeretec’s in-house developed business analytics platform Vision – which provides a detailed print assessment that reveals how and what your company prints – is winning new customers who see the value of combining analytics with powerful ‘what if’ scenarios. This provides customers with the print and document facts they need to confidently deploy solutions that will optimise their print environment. The information is displayed in a graphic and interactive dashboard for easy analysis and interpretation.”

PrintIT Reseller: Which of the products/services you offer are gaining most traction with your customers and prospects and why?

Simon Hollister: “We are seeing three areas of the market which are growing areas of interest for our customers across the UK. The storage backup market is beginning to see traditional leaders being challenged by users actively moving away from expensive and inflexible proprietary systems. The focus is now on newer, more agile vendors that offer greater flexibility and have a greater understanding of what users actually want to achieve.

“The DRaaS (Disaster Recovery as a Service) market is also maturing with suppliers such as Infrascale which provide organisations with the confidence to handle the unexpected to ensure less downtime, greater security and always-on availability.

“We are also seeing the start of the next generation of Wi-Fi adopters who recognise it as an enabler utility and for what it can do for their organisations.”

Scott Walker: “We’ve seen a big rise in our clients engaging us to provide hybrid mail solutions. It costs less than a 2nd class stamp with no set up charges…and this includes paper, envelope, printing and posting.”

Mark Smyth

Mark Smyth: “Our products and solutions that help clients with improving their security process and policy and digitisation are proving to be the most compelling and where we can add value and differentiate from the normal managed print service offering.

“MPS is widely known and accepted and it’s unusual to find a medium enterprise or corporate organisation that doesn’t have a MPS, whilst there are some, they are few and far between and some public sector entities have yet to embrace MPS. Therefore, clients are looking for the next wave in technology that will help drive and improve efficiency with MPS as the foundation to build on.”

David Lees: “At the beginning of 2018 we completed the acquisition of a local IT firm. This means we are now able to provide a variety of IT support services to our customers and prospects. Print and IT are both vital process in office environments and being able to provide a full business solution and support both of these key functions is a positive thing for our customers and one which will set us apart from our competitors.”

Richard Blundell: “Our work with IT Schools Africa has proved to be very

Richard Blundell

appealing. Following a systems upgrade, redundant equipment is collected free-of-charge, then wiped, reconditioned and uploaded with educational software, before being shipped to Africa for use by schoolchildren. Disadvantaged young people at our social enterprise Commercial Foundation are involved in the process, as are inmates of HM Prisons. So, equipment that would have been destined for landfill instead gets used by thousands of children, while disadvantaged young people and prisoners have the opportunity to build valuable skills.

“One of the first customers to take part in this initiative was Wellington School in Somerset. Around 240 PCs and monitors were donated following our upgrade of the school’s IT infrastructure. We visited the school in person to collect the equipment, and spent time introducing pupils to the concept of sustainable development. Since then, several other schools have asked to take part, and we’ve also had requests from regional NHS teams and a mid-size law firm.”

Toni Gibiino: “The answer is pretty similar to the scenario mentioned in Q1. We’re finding real traction in the fact we can have multiple conversations about real business challenges. When you’re about to have a ‘business’ conversation rather than just a copier contract conversation, you’re inviting engagement for a wider set of issues.

“The real thing I love about ABC today is the fact we can literally talk about any kind of service or technology. I really feel we’re hugely ahead of the curve right now and on the verge of major transformation.”

Clive Hamilton: “Definitely MPS/MDS which is continually gaining traction in the marketplace. The workflow and digitalisation conversation is opening up further conversations, allowing us to gain traction with the new offerings available. DaaS is also another fantastic conversation to be having and is gaining more momentum within our client base. We also strongly believe the new way of working with access to data, mobility and free movement that is offered in business to gain more business in the marketplace is most definitely evolving at an increasing rate.”

David Smith: “There has been a real swell of interest in the new Xerox Iridesse as it provides great opportunities for production customers. Therefore, we’re excited to be showing it at The Print Show in September. In fact, its presence on Xeretec’s stand at the show will be a UK frst, exclusive to Xeretec.

David Smith

“DaaS is also showing much promise, as it provides a new way of working – and a new way of thinking – for IT managers. It is reinventing how businesses source IT devices, enabling them to offer the latest technology and meet the demands of the Millennials and ‘Generation Z’ entering the workforce. It also reduces service costs and drives the modernisation of IT to bring it up to date, in today’s cloud-computing defined business world.

“Meanwhile, with respect to Vision, we are seeing increasing engagement opportunities from prospective customers looking to get more value from their managed print service.”

Simon Hollister: “As the market continues to rapidly evolve, it gets harder for organisations to identify the most appropriate technologies that will help them run smarter and more effectively. It can also be a challenge to find a ‘trusted advisor’ to provide the expertise and guidance to navigate through the ever changing technology maze.

“Hollis Technology is winning significant levels of business by demonstrating its ability to listen, understand and advise organisations on the technologies and services that will make a real difference to the bottom line. Products are commoditised whereas trust and the provision of independent advice are not.”

Scott Walker
Scott Walker

Scott Walker: “Of course Brexit is going to be in the top three. It’s still somewhat a mystery without clear enough guidance from government officials. This will impact heavily in the recruitment sector due to making the UK extremely unattractive for foreign workers.

“Payment Technologies. I’ve read quite a bit recently around payment technologies and their need to constantly adapt to meet consumer needs. Online customers and those on the high street are demanding faster service. Online, it’s about decreasing the amount of time checking out instead of having to input card details time and time again. With new technologies such as Idebit and Amazon Pay etc. it makes life a lot easier. It’s heading towards there being no need to carry plastic anymore!

“Finally, the interest rate rise. Whilst the last increase was small, there are further increases in the not too distant future. Businesses will need to consider this when taking out any further finance/borrowing.

“From our point of view, we can certainly help clients in reducing spend on areas such as managed print, IT hardware/software solutions, and even things like workwear, branded goods, furniture etc. We’ll always aim to reduce spend without sacrificing on service. Beyond that, if we speak to a customer who identifies ‘pain points’, we’ll work together to find a solution that resolves the issue. Until I talk to them, I won’t know what problems they’re suffering with.”

Mark Smyth: “Businesses today need to be highly efficient to survive especially as we go through Brexit and continue to see major changes in the way businesses trade, for example retail and specific sectors that are continuously transitioning to an online trading model. That means businesses must have the lowest operational cost base that helps deliver the very best operating margins.

“That’s where we can help with automation and digitisation and our comprehensive portfolio of solutions from some of the world’s leading ISVs and their solutions is the key, from capture, workflow and process improvement that helps automate and or remove some of the costly processes and drive efficiency.”

David Lees: “Climate change, pollution and environmental damage are current

David Lees

major talking points in offices today. A managed print solution helps offices to develop better printing practices and will dramatically reduce their carbon footprint, minimise wastage, save paper and energy usage. To top this off we can also help reduce toner waste with an effective recycling program available for all customers.”

Nick Rose: “In a fast moving world, businesses can find themselves facing new challenges by the week. GDPR has been a big challenge for all businesses, but also an opportunity to streamline many processes.

“Electronic Document Management software enables a customer to securely scan, archive and retrieve their data efficiently, whilst also ensuring that they are protected from leaks and misuse. All documents are stored centrally either on premise, or cloud-hosted, with users still able to access their data quickly and efficiently. Midshire will consult with any business to find out exactly what their business challenges are, and which of our vast array of products and services will help them.”

Richard Blundell: “Many businesses are looking for ways to operate more responsibly – boosting sustainability and social value – without compromising commercial performance. We have a lot of experience in this area, believing that profit and purpose can and should be symbiotic. Taking the more sustainable route doesn’t have to harm the bottom line. It’s about being aware of the unintended negative consequences of successful business and finding better ways of working to counteract them.”

Toni Gibiino

Toni Gibiino: “Security and this vast array of new products and services are often confusing business decision makers. In SMEs many of the people asking the questions (or not asking the questions more often than not) are trying to do three to four different jobs in their organisation, so it’s no huge surprise they’re unable to get on top of the challenges. In many respects, this is where ABC comes in as we do have that knowledge and the experience to help those decision-makers.”

Clive Hamilton: “The way and speed that everyone’s industry sectors and businesses are transforming with document security, document management, print management, printer fleet management and the whole rationalisation of paper from a sustainable point. This is where I can see Pinnacle Document Solutions Group being able to help as we understand, discuss, communicate, access and audit workflows wrapped around all of the above points.

“There is also the cost justification of transforming from a physical business to a digital business. The cost justification of changing the way their business works should not be a ‘cost’, as money has already been invested in their business. This is just a different way of transferring the cost and utilising this cost to deliver a new way of working. All we ask is for a business to open their minds from a legacy way of working to a new way of working, where the physical meets the digital from both a process and financial element.”

David Smith: “GDPR is still fresh and current in the minds of many, tying in as it does with the broader issue of security, which is an ongoing concern all year round. Hence why security (network, devices, end-points) is continuing to be front of mind with our customers and within the DaaS conversations that we are having.

“Our consultants have the knowledge and experience needed to help companies ensure their print policies, document workflows and print devices are compliant with security regulations. Additionally, companies are having to face the upcoming forced move to Windows 10 given that Windows 7 will go end of life in January 2020, and we have the expertise to help them make the transition.”

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