Following feedback from its channel partners, Lexmark is replacing its MPS Core channel offering with a new solution called Lexmark MPS Express. Michelle Ryder spoke to Tony Lomax, North EMEA Product Marketing Manager at Lexmark to find out more
According to Lomax, channel partners on the Lexmark MPS Core program have been asking for a managed print services solution that allows them to minimally invest in their MPS infrastructure and still have a competitive offering for their end-user customers.
Designed to meet the needs of small- to medium-sized organisations, Lexmark MPS Express provides a turnkey cloud- based solution that frees partners from day-to-day printer management. The partner owns the customer relationship, sells the hardware and bills the customer monthly on a cost-per-page model. Lexmark is responsible for supplies replenishment and sends them direct
to the end customer and provides next business day service.
The program stops short of a fully customised enterprise MPS solution but brings the rich feature-set and capabilities of Lexmark’s proven approach to managing print.
Key features include Lexmark hardware and software that is secure by design; dedicated, expert service support that helps ensure printer uptime; just- in-time toner and consumables delivery powered by artificial intelligence; tools and insight without time-consuming setup and expensive customisation; remotely managed status monitoring and firmware and security updates; as well as options including cloud workflow solutions, predictive service, assessment services and more.
Like the MPS Core program, MPS Express streamlines support, supplies and business processes, making it an attractive option for IT resellers that need help with the business capabilities required for MPS.
“The main difference is that MPS Express is a cloud-based offering,” Lomax explained. “And as it’s cloud, there is no minimum device requirement, in comparison to the MPS Core on- premise offering which had a minimum fleet size of 20 devices.”
This, he added, provides an opportunity for a reseller to open up new conversations around cloud, security and sustainability with their customers.
Lexmark first launched its Cloud Print Infrastructure (CPI) as-a-service offering in 2019 and has continued to invest heavily in its cloud offering as well as opening up its cloud platform for channel partners.
Lomax said that partners have to enrol onto Lexmark Cloud Fleet Management (CFM) to deploy MPS Express. Built on the Lexmark Cloud Services platform, the latest iteration of Lexmark’s Cloud Fleet Management was specially designed for channel partners to deliver better support managing their clients’ business activities in distributed environments, with existing resources and in an integrated cloud environment.
“With CFM, partners can enrol and manage Lexmark devices, simplify device set-up with pre-configured applications and automatically deploy pre-configured device bundles and firmware,” Lomax said.
In a nutshell, CFM increases partner profitability and allows them to maintain customers’ print infrastructures with greater simplicity and integration. The monitoring capability of the cloud-based software allows partners to replace onsite visits and redundant service calls with remote assistance leveraging insights on current supplies usage for printers and on the physical conditions of the printers, in the case of the sensor- equipped machines manufactured by Lexmark. The cloud software also automatically displays daily page counts for billing without having to contact end customers.
Remote fleet management
Lexmark CFM gives users Lexmark Cloud Bridge technology to connect print devices to the Lexmark cloud infrastructure. Lexmark printers and MFPs can connect in several flexible ways including IoT-native device firmware, enabling access to advanced managed print services without the need for additional hardware and software.
Lexmark Cloud Bridge brings powerful remote fleet management capabilities via cloud services enabling partners to reduce IT burden and the cost of printing infrastructure; increase device uptime with predictive service; keep printers secure with cloud-based configuration and firmware updates; empower fleet visibility through a consolidated portal and interactive analytics; and enable remote management of hyper- distributed fleets.
The Cloud Bridge connectivity suite delivers four different methods for managing and using devices – Native Agent that ships standard on many newer Lexmark devices, a Printer Agent that runs on solution-enabled printers that are not IoT native, a Fleet Agent that runs on a server or PC for flexibility to aggregate data on-premise with a server- based solution, and a Local Agent that supports direct PC to printer connectivity.
Lexmark has used IoT technologies for quite some time, mainly for predictive maintenance and services, and asset optimisation. Today, the company uses data, along with digital twin technology, to power sophisticated algorithms to improve processes.
“Digital twin technology provides us with the ability to maximise printer uptime for example, we can send out an engineer to proactively fix a potential problem ensuring no downtime for the end customer,” Lomax explained.
Lexmark’s Fleet Agent is a data collector which resides on customers’ premises on a hosted computer. “Partners can leverage the Fleet Agent for large installs up to 500 devices, this hybrid option collects the data on-premise and sends it to the cloud,” Lomax said. The data is managed under the Lexmark Cloud Fleet Management portal to give channel partners a single view – Lexmark CFM captures select data, including printer identification information, supplies levels, page counts, and device and supplies status and alerts, using Simple Network Management Protocol from third-party printers. “In essence
our suite of cloud tools takes the heavy lifting off the partner and the customer,” he added.
With MPS Express, Lexmark has fine- tuned its legacy channel solution to make it easier to deploy and thus enable broader adoption by more channel partners. “We’re targeting IT resellers in particular with this new offering,” Lomax explained.
MPS Express will be attractive to IT resellers who don’t have the same capabilities that dedicated print dealers have. “MPS Express provides the opportunity for IT channel vendors to have conversations around managed print services, they couldn’t do that before as they didn’t have the DCA capabilities. Lexmark’s Cloud Bridge data collection agents have changed that as they enable any device to be serviced remotely, regardless of location,” he added.
By providing partners with the ability to manage printer fleets, avoid downtime through proactive maintenance, removing the requirement to send engineers out for a minor issue, to automate consumables replenishment etc. Lexmark can help partners to differentiate and offer cloud-based managed print services without having to invest in developing the technical and service capabilities themselves.
“We’re also providing partners with one-stop access to resources through our partner portal, PartnerNet,” Lomax continued. “Partners can log in to view FAQs, enrolment guides, brochures, marketing support and materials to help them market the solution, and more.”
Lexmark MPS Express
Designed for small and medium businesses, with a full suite of technology, features and capabilities
Key benefits include
- Maximise printer uptime with dedicated, expert service support that helps ensure your fleet is always on.
- Automatically replenish supplies with just-in-time toner and consumables delivery powered by artificial intelligence.
- Free up time spent on status monitoring and firmware and security updates with remote management.
- Comprehensive portfolio of devices designed for SMBs.
- Connectivity that supports any network environment.
- Treat print like any other IT resource.
- Protect data, documents, devices and network with Lexmark hardware and software that is Secure by Design.
- Peace of mind through quick security threat response because Lexmark owns its key technology.