Following its recent Partner Summit 2022, Michelle Ryder caught up with Steve Holmes, EMEA Regional Director at PaperCut, to discuss how the company is investing in the channel
Michelle Ryder (MR): 2022 marks the year of your first Partner Summit. Why now, and what did your partners learn?
Steve Holmes (SH): PaperCut is over 20 years old now, and we have been building our exceptional partner network diligently over that time. We felt that with the recent launch of new products, combined with our partner-led strategy for future growth, 2022 was the year for us to bring our partners together in one place.
The Partner Summit 2022 was a platform for us to share our vision with them and to outline how working with us can help their business to grow. We were able to demonstrate the scope and strength of the support we can provide to assure our partners’ future growth. To that end, we outlined our initiatives and our solutions designed to accelerate our partners’ path to success. We shared our strategic vision and our channel-friendly solutions that help to make print easy and secure, as well as providing in-depth updates and roadmaps on PaperCut’s Solution portfolio, which includes PaperCut MF and PaperCut Hive.
Of course, we would have preferred to have hosted the Partner Summit face-to- face with our partners and sooner, but the pandemic had other plans for everyone!
MR: Speaking of that, what sort of PaperCut has emerged post-pandemic?
SH: Well, if it’s true that necessity is the mother of invention, then the pandemic made it necessary to look at innovative ways in which to make our business more agile in order to cope with the challenges COVID-19 presented. PaperCut had a head start on that front, as we were early adopters of the sort of working practices and internal processes that became the norm during lockdowns.
I think our culture flourished during the pandemic. We grew better at really listening – to our ‘Papercutters’, our partners, and our customers – but also better at understanding and responding in a way that really benefited our key stakeholders. From a pure numbers perspective, and to demonstrate the resilience of our business, at the start of the pandemic we made it our mission to not lose any headcount. I’m thrilled to be able to say that, not only did we achieve that, but we actually grew our team. We emerged from the pandemic leaner, smarter and more agile than before.
MR: Beyond the side effects of the pandemic, what are the issues print resellers are grappling with today?
SH: One of their main concerns is that, given recent events, print has slipped from being a top IT priority, even though unmanaged print can be costly, inefficient and a security risk. Those issues are compounded by hybrid working models, where there’s even less control over where documents are printed, what documents are printed, where they’re left and how responsibly they’re disposed of. On a more practical level, supply chain complications combined with the current chip shortage, has impacted the production of new MFDs, lumbering resellers’ customers with devices that are potentially falling behind on security, productivity, connectivity and energy saving features.
MR: What qualities does PaperCut look for in new partners?
SH: Experience in print and document management – combined with connections to the whole print ecosystem – is a bonus, but we’re looking for tenacious resellers who want to embrace the solutions that reflect how the world prints in 2022; so those that have experience of migrating customers to the cloud or supporting them through their digital transformation journeys are of interest to us.
Another characteristic we look for is resellers who have embraced a solutions- sell mindset, as that lies at the heart of meeting their customers’ needs now and in the future. At PaperCut, we’re in for the long-term, and our partners must show that they have this mindset, too.
MR: Why should partners be interested in working with PaperCut?
SH: We are proud of our values and our solutions. By way of example, right now, everyone is talking about sustainability. This isn’t an on-trend fad for us. Unlike many companies that are only now considering their corporate footprint because of the growing pressure to be seen to be sustainable, reducing waste and being a responsible corporate citizen has been the core component of PaperCut’s DNA since day one; its founder’s shock at the amount of paper wasted through print drove him and the team to establish PaperCut to help ensure more thoughtful and sustainable printing.
To that end, PaperCut has been making industry leading print management software that reduces paper and saves trees for over 23 years. In terms of solutions today, we have popular products like PaperCut Hive. It has been developed to bring the power, control, security and print management savings traditionally enjoyed by on-prem environments to organisations of any size around the world, with the added benefit of infrastructure removal. Its innovation lies in bringing the best of breed Internet of Things mindset and technology into the world of print to keep printing simple and secure. We are thrilled that our solutions have been independently recognised for their excellence too, and we’re really proud to have been named the Security Solution of the Year at the 2021 PrintIT Awards.
Our solutions have also been recognised by IDC. It named PaperCut a Leader in its latest MarketScape report entitled Worldwide Print Management Solutions Independent Software 2021 Vendor Assessment. This type of independent validation further assures our partners and our customers that the solutions we offer are suitable for SMEs, but also have the depth and ability to scale to meet enterprise-grade print demands.
Today, we’re working with customers and our channel partners globally to resolve the print challenges faced by end-users, and so we are providing our channel partners with established in-roads to the opportunities that exist across verticals including education, healthcare, legal, SME, corporate and the public sector markets.
MR: How does PaperCut add value to its partners?
SH: We have been careful to ensure that there is channel-value inherent in our products. For instance, PaperCut Multiverse – our remote print management and support platform solution – adds visibility and control for partners across PaperCut products. By providing a ‘single pane of glass’, it benefits the channel by enabling it to seamlessly transition from the more traditional reactive to proactive support models and to remotely monitor and manage customer PaperCut instances from anywhere at any time.
Designed with the channel in mind, it helps make implementing, monitoring, supporting and adding value to PaperCut customers easy. On a day-to-day basis, PaperCut’s partners benefit from a raft of tools designed to help them. They range from a global network of local PaperCut post- and pre-sales experts to a dedicated learning and development platform, a whole host of marketing assets and an industry-leading help centre, so we’ve made sure that we’re fully geared-up to support all our partners across the globe.
MR: Consolidation is an ongoing dynamic in the market. What does it mean for the print channel?
SH: Arguably, consolidation brings best- of-breed organisations together. This should mean a better offering for the customer, but potentially at the expense of choice or variety. On the upside, it does mean survival of the fittest, which means that everyone in the ecosystem has to be ahead of the game constantly. That’s one of the reasons why print is such a dynamic and technologically advanced part of the whole IT industry, and one we’re excited to be part of.
MR: On a final note, print in 2022 – trends and predictions?
SH: Companies entered 2022 leaner and nimbler than before thanks to the drive
to move core services and applications to the cloud. Additionally, I think that sustainability and well-being will take centre stage, with a focus on inclusion and diversity making the workplace – wherever that may be – a richer and more rewarding place. There will be challenges with hybrid working, like maintaining a company’s DNA across a widely distributed workforce and creating a sense of being part of a team while working remotely. But I believe companies will get better at this through good practice and excellent communication to overcome those hurdles.
As mentioned before, we will see the channel consolidating in multiple ways. I think resellers will put their focus on what they deem to be ‘true’ partnerships. The days are gone on having a pure supplier/vendor relationship that may add minimal value. They will want to see extended value and long-term, deeper, more meaningful partnerships. Like them, PaperCut is not just looking for partners; we are looking for partnerships. That’s why we have spent a lot of time reflecting and delivering on how we work together, how we increase value and how, through collaboration, we simplify their business. With that in mind and looking ahead, we are sure to have another packed and exciting agenda for the channel at our 2023 Partner Summit.