From Printer Box selling to Workflow and Solution Consulting
It is interesting to see how printer manufacturers are continuing to transform from “box selling” to workflow/solution selling.
I have attended a number of printer manufacturer events over the past few months and it is very clear that the focus is no longer on hardware. Why is that? Well, the top printer manufacturers all offer excellent products and most are offering similar new features i.e. large tablet type displays, common GUIs, document security features, and open architectures and great tools to make it easier for software developers to develop applications. Printer hardware is like the ante in a poker game; it is expected that hardware will be very competitive or else you just aren’t in the game.
After attending a Xerox event in NYC announcing 29 new hardware products, I thought that the entire event would be focused on hardware, well, I was wrong. Xerox’s focus was on what they were doing to improve workflows particularly for industries and applications where workflows are inefficient and providing their direct sales and channel with the right tools where they can go into an account more as a Consultant rather than a box seller. Xerox demonstrated what they are doing to optimize workflows in vertical markets and applications where workflows are not very efficient such as the following:
|● Patient Records||● Finance Agreements|
|● Legal Documents||● Loan Processing|
|● Document Archiving||● Credit Card Applications|
|● Invoice Handling/Processing||● Contract Processing|
Xerox has developed some simple and intuitive, drag and drop tools to allow a direct sales person or channel partner to review and propose a more efficient workflow using a combination of Xerox and software partner solutions showing time and money saved.
Xerox is also focused on their Personalized Application Builder (PAB) and growing their PAB applications through a growing number of 3rd party developers.
|# Development Partners|
|# Installed Applications|
Currently, Xerox does not share revenue with these 3rd party developers but they do manage them to some extent. For example, Xerox does test and qualify the applications and often offer suggestions for improvement and Xerox decides either to accept or not accept the application to add to its list of “qualified” Xerox 3rd party applications. So, for, Xerox is using these unique 3rd party applications to drive Xerox hardware, software, and supplies business.
What does all of this mean to the industry? Well, for one thing, this movement to more of a consulting role as opposed to a box selling role, does have challenges in terms of required direct and indirect sales/support skill sets and training.
Does this move to a more “workflow/solution selling” good for the industry? Absolutely, like MPS, the focus is on more efficient processes and workflows with the goal of taking costs out of an organization. Photizo’s view is that printer manufacturers will move to a revenue sharing model with their 3rd party application developers.