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Lexmark makes cloud print management available to partners

Lexmark recently announced its Cloud Print Management (CPM) offering is now available to channel partners. Martin Fairman, UK and Ireland Managing Director, explains how CPM is a real differentiator for Lexmark dealers

Lexmark has enjoyed success with CPM among enterprise customers and launched it to US channel partners at the end of February. Fairman said that cloud and digital transformation are hot topics for customers right now and partners have been asking for a solution that will enable them to leverage cloud technology to eliminate costly onpremise infrastructure and provide cloud-based, effortless secure print release to their customers, for some time.

“Customers of all sizes are moving business processes to the cloud to simplify management, lower costs and enhance collaboration. There’s a lot of transformation in the marketplace, and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is the highest segment in the cloud market. Gartner predicts a growth of 24 per cent year over year, to reach $50bn in 2020, so it’s a great time for us to open our CPM platform to channel partners,” he said.

Many organisations are focused on eliminating server infrastructure, implementing new technologies and improving security. With CPM, Lexmark partners can now provide that same level of optimisation when it comes to print, eliminating the burden of printing infrastructure and manual, onsite management.

Security first
Security has long been a key tenet across Lexmark’s technology portfolio, and it has taken time to ensure CPM’s security was robust before opening it up to the channel. “Security is the most important thing and that’s why it’s probably taken us longer to launch to the channel, as we wanted to ensure it is absolutely secure when it goes into the cloud,” Fairman explained.

Launching on-line training courses
Launching on-line training courses

Lexmark’s cloud-based design is simple to deploy and easy to use, providing customers with new levels of visibility and document security. Lexmark partners can help their customers adopt a stronger approach to document and device security, close document security gaps with secure print release, and access around-the-clock cloud server monitoring.

“CPM is a real differentiator, it provides an opportunity for our partners to have a different conversation with customers,” he said. “This true cloud offering equips them to provide higher levels of service more profitably through the cloud. It also aligns customer conversations with beyond the box initiatives.“

Time and cost savings
End customers will benefit from a reduction in the time needed to maintain IT infrastructure and the ability to better manage their printing estates.

With print managed in the cloud, there’s no requirement to fund and manage physical print servers onsite.

“There will be a significant cost reduction for end-users, both in terms of infrastructure but also in the IT resource required to monitor, manage and maintain the print estate,” Fairman explained, adding: “Plus, there is also security to worry about if servers are onsite as well, CPM addresses that, providing additional peace of mind.”

With CPM, instead of sending documents through a print server to a designated print device where the pages sit out in public view until they are retrieved, they are transferred to the Lexmark Cloud where they are held in a personal queue until the user authenticates at the device.

“Another key advantage of our cloud is that it can connect to multiple systems that customers are already used to using such as Dropbox, Box, Google Drive and OneDrive. Documents can be pulled from a computer, tablet or smartphone securely to any connected Lexmark printer around the world. This means faster, more secure cloud-based printing, with less burden on IT resources,” Fairman said.

Real-time analytics provide insights that help customers understand and improve end-user behaviour. In addition, easy-to-adopt technology can leverage the cloud providers and mobile processes customers have already implemented in other business areas.

With CPM, partners can easily monitor print usage and view data for better decision-making. “Resellers are able to remotely monitor customers’ print estates, and complete tasks such as ensuring firmware is always updated etc. So, from their point of view it reduces the cost to serve, there’s no requirement to be onsite to install, maintain and manage devices,” he added.

Recurring revenue
Fairman pointed out the opportunity for partners to combine Lexmark CPM with other managed services such as MPS to improve service levels. “It’s very easy to dovetail an MPS solution into this, rather than simply offering a basic managed print service based on clicks, partners can now overlay CPM on top,” he said.

“Pricing is flexible and simple. It’s a pay per service – per device or per month. This provides customers with financing flexibility, simplifies selling for the partner and enables them to build new recurring revenue streams.”

With the UK on lockdown, the launch and partner training will be conducted online. Fairman said a lot of training has already been done. Lexmark has launched a number of online training courses and provided information through its PartnerNet scheme. “Our partner portal offers access to a broad range of tools and resources to keep partners informed. Once registered, dealers can go in and gather information about all of Lexmark’s offering – products, brochures and things like that. They can also complete training courses on print management as well as the other offerings we have,” he explained.

With the company’s sales teams now working from home, many are conducting one-to-one training sessions with partners remotely. “We’re working on educating our partners in a number of ways,” Fairman said. “We are also doing marketing and creating brand awareness – education is key to success and we’re investing heavily in that area.”

Training through PartnerNet scheme
Training through PartnerNet scheme

As reported in Issue 70, continued business growth is a key objective for Lexmark in 2020 and beyond, and the company has its sights firmly set on the channel to drive this growth, with this in mind, Lexmark CPM will be available to the company’s entire partner base.

“We have our traditional BSD partners who are already well advanced in delivering a click charge-based managed print service, but we’re now building in CPM which means they can deploy, monitor and manage printing estates in a different way, lessening the financial burden associated with sending engineers out to set up devices, apply firmware upgrades etc. All of this can now be done remotely. We’ve had strong interest from many of our key partners already,” Fairman explained.

When Lexmark announced the launch of its new global partner programme – Lexmark Connect, EMEA Channel VP Thomas Valjak, said that it was designed to empower Lexmark partners to reach new levels of success. The introduction of MPS Core in particular was designed to provide an opportunity for a new breed of reseller to partner with Lexmark. For example, IT resellers who don’t have the same capabilities that dedicated print dealers have can offer MPS without having to invest in developing the technical and service capabilities themselves.

CPM works on the same premise and can easily be adopted by non-core print specialist dealers. “The fact it is a cloudbased solution makes it easy for partners of any size to get on board and offer an enhanced service to their customers. We also have a dedicated product line for that market too,” Fairman said.

In conclusion, Fairman said: “What we are doing with this new offering is giving our partners different tools that will enable them to have different conversations with their customers, increase stickiness, deliver a real value add and secure an ongoing revenue stream paid per device per month. Cloud print management is a great starting point, then hopefully they can explore that conversation further and open that up into other revenue streams for the future.”

Lexmark enables partners to offer a complete suite of cloud services including Cloud Connector, Cloud Fleet Management and Cloud Print Management. Combined, Lexmark Cloud Services give partners a highly efficient, cost-effective platform, available through an easy-to-use portal.

Lexmark Cloud Print Management and Lexmark Cloud Fleet Management solutions were honoured with 2019 Keypoint Intelligence – Buyers Lab (BLI) Pick awards in the Document Imaging Software category.

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