tashatuvango - Fotolia
Kyocera’s CEO has urged its channel to look beyond managed print services (MPS) if they want to secure a stronger relationship with the customer.
Many printer specialists have viewed getting an MPS offering as the main destination on their journey beyond traditional hardware sales.
But Rod Tonna-Barthet, CEO of Kyocera Document Solutions UK, said that managed print was an important element but not the entire solution and partners needed to provide other services to ensure they keep the relationship with the customer.
He added that document solutions were one part of the package that it was encouraging resellers to provide, and other elements included IT infrastructure, connectivity, unified comms and digitisation.
“Managed print still has a major role to play and is only one part oif the ecosystem,” he added that Kyocera had been pushing a number of services and was looking for the channel to follow that lead, “providing all of these services is the central heart of the strategy”.
Kyocera has been deepening its ability to provide services like a NOC and 24/7 helpdesk with the acquisition of Annodata three years ago being a big part of that strategy.
“Kyocera is not just a print provider and is not just dependent on the print model,” he added for example in Japan the firm had a strong reputation in the telecoms services space.
At its recent partner conference, the firm made reference to the launch of its latest high-value inkjet printer but then spent very little time talking specifically about print.
Tonna-Barthet said that the number of printer hardware units being sold by all manufacturers continued to fall according to analysts, with the writing was on the wall for those that continued to base their business solely around selling devices to customers.
“Customers will lean on you more if you can help with a broader number of services,” he added that it was working closely with key partners to make sure that they had the tools they needed to develop close relationships with users.
The rewards for those traditional print and document management channel players that do widen their expertise is the chances of them being knocked out of a deal by a rival diminish. They also give themselves the opportunity to compete for more of the budget with document management only accounting for around 10-12% of IT spending.
“Most SMEs don’t want to be managing different vendors and are rationalising and would rather have three or four relationships with a few trusted partners,” said Joe Doyle, group marketing director at Kyocera Document Solutions UK.
The vendor’s own response to partners is to make sure that it works with the right mix, rather than simply expanding for the sake of it, encouraging the existing base to develop more services. The business operates with a 52% indirect and 48% direct split and Tonna-Barthet said that felt like the right levels.