Xerox eConcierge: An On-Ramp To Managed Print

When Xerox eConcierge™ premiered early in 2011, managed print services providers had an inkling that the new program would have an impact on their managed print operations.

Fast forward several months: Some print service providers have made Xerox eConcierge a standard component of their managed print offerings, and they are expecting the platform to play a role in their business in 2012.

Xerox promotes Xerox eConcierge as the “quickest, easiest way to order printer supplies.” The technology eliminates the need for end users to manually check the supply levels of each of their networked printers, search for model and part numbers or look for vendors that have supplies in stock.

Instead, users can review the status of all their printers at any time through a Supplies Assistant application. When printers are running low on supplies, the program signals users with a pop-up alert or e-mail. When customers are ready to place an order, the application provides an encrypted, secure online connection with one-stop shopping. Xerox eConcierge supports networked office printers and multifunction devices from a variety of manufacturers, including Xerox, Hewlett-Packard, Lexmark and Samsung.

Another important selling point for Xerox eConcierge is customers can quality for free service simply by ordering supplies through the program. That’s a competitive advantage that solution providers are using to distinguish themselves in the competitive managed-print market.

A New Strategy

Streamlining supplies sales can be a benefit for companies that offer managed print services by providing yet another component for capturing supplies sales.

The strategy SPI Innovations, Freeland, Mich., uses with Xerox eConcierge since its initial rollout has been to continue leading with Xerox PagePack. If that approach doesn’t gain any traction with a new customer, SPI proposes Xerox eConcierge as a way for the customer to become familiar with the concept of print services.

“For the client who is not ready to make the leap of faith into PagePack, Xerox eConcierge provides a springboard platform that could lead into PagePack at some time in the future,” says Bill Loiacano, CEO of SPI Innovations.

“Some companies just aren’t ready yet for PagePack,” Loiacano adds. “And if they like the idea of [Xerox eConcierge] we can maybe move them to a PagePack agreement later on, and they will have a better understanding of a managed print program. It’s a way to get them accustomed to how a managed print program would look.”

The concept of Xerox eConcierge is likely to appeal to smaller companies that are not prepared to make the commitment to a long-term managed print services contract, Loiacano says. If SPI Innovations can open the door by getting customers interested in Xerox eConcierge, there’s the hope for higher margins down the road when the client moves to a full managed print service.

Loiacano says Xerox eConcierge is superior to alternative offerings and adds that it is up to SPI Innovations and other Xerox partners that offer Xerox eConcierge to educate customers about the program and its benefits.

“We have to get them to understand the value of eConcierge,” Loiacano says. “We have to explain why this makes sense and what added value the program brings to the table.”

2012 Outlook

Loiacano says he plans to offer the program to a larger number of customers this year and is confident that the platform will make further inroads.

In addition to the promise of Xerox eConcierge, Loiacano is excited about the outlook for 2012 because SPI Innovations will have the opportunity to provide services such as product repair for a broader array of printer devices under the Xerox Authorized Service Provider (ASP) program, including larger, higher-end multifunction systems.

Up to now, Loiacano says, SPI Innovations has been able to provide repair services for a limited number of printer products. The broader service program will provide a good source of revenue for the company in 2012.

“The impact for SPI is going to be huge,” Loiacano says. “What this does is allow us to provide a soup-to-nuts solution [for larger devices], and we’re now able to sign our own service level agreement [with customers]. We can orchestrate a service call from start to finish, and it puts us in a very good position to be able to offer a complete turnkey solution from one provider.”