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Life in the Channel: Lexmark’s Sammy Kinlaw

Lexmark’s VP and Global Head of Channel talks about the company’s new cloud services and how it’s planning to disrupt the home office and SMB space.

Tell us a bit about your work history and role at Lexmark…

I had the pleasure of starting my career with IBM. It was a fantastic start and I use lessons learned from IBM to this day. My time at IBM was spent in the enterprise space and in my last role, I lead the Southwest Region as a business unit executive.

I transitioned from IBM to Lenovo, where I held a variety of executive roles including leading the retail, VAR and distribution business units in the PC and server groups.
My last years are Lenovo were spent leading the entire channel for North America, Central America, and the Caribbean.

I’ve now been at Lexmark for 13 months where I’m responsible for the worldwide channel and OEM business. I joined Lexmark because it presented an opportunity to totally change print dynamics in the channel. Our products are fantastic, and we have prioritised the channel as our primary route to market. I’m looking for double digit worldwide growth in the channel for 2019.

Lexmark recently released its new Cloud Services, can you tell us a bit more about that and how it benefits retailers and resellers?

Cloud Services has been a really exciting development for Lexmark. We see it as a real opportunity to empower our partners and their customers alike. We’re providing them with scalable tools that allow them to manage print output direct and act as a real differentiator for sales teams.

What Lexmark Cloud Services does is enable our partners to offload the physical infrastructure their customers traditionally needed to run a secure print network and reduce the demands on internal IT departments. The result is better printing for users through tools like secure print release, and simpler management for IT with easy scaling and fast onboarding and management of users and devices.

We’re offering our partners the tools to remotely provision and support their customers’ print infrastructure, providing a new revenue stream and an improved service. Devices can be managed from anywhere in the world without the need to go onsite.

The nature of the service also enables small-medium size customers, who often have constrained IT resources, with a level of print infrastructure they wouldn’t traditionally be able to access as it would require complex IT provisioning. By managing this at a reseller level, costs can be reduced and impact on IT minimised. We plan to use our PartnerNet Portal to educate our partners on these opportunities. We’ve built a range of training modules that provide all the necessary support our partners need to be successful with Lexmark Cloud Services.

The company has also recently expanded its enterprise product range. How important is this sector of the market?

Today’s print market roughly equates to 34 million devices per year – most of which is A4. As Lexmark, we compete in the top half of those. We don’t produce devices for the consumer – our focus is businesses and enterprises. Some of our products were used at that level, but they weren’t necessarily designed for that and our footprint has traditionally been limited in that space between the consumer and enterprise business.

The latest devices in our range, our Two Series devices, aim to fill this gap, providing a solution for a micro or SMB workgroup, or even small team in an enterprise.

The range was built for the channel and will enable us and our partners to broaden Lexmark’s offering to a greater range of businesses and use cases. The new products allow partners and retailers to knock on the door of an end-user that they perhaps couldn’t sell to last year with a competitively priced solution and device. We also believe we’ve got a much better offering than our competition – particularly with our print speeds and feed quality in the Two Series range.

The other core benefit that I believe makes us stand out is that all of our products, whether they are for a large enterprise or small one, come with exactly the same security features as standard, and all are built to be just as durable and reliable.

What direction do you see the print market moving in and what will be its biggest disruptors over the next few years?

Partners are looking to increase their value to end users. I see a convergence of new VARs selling print and our historical business solutions devices and copier dealers expanding their focus on the Internet of Things. I also think managed print will become more important to small and medium business vertical markets as end users look for savings and efficiencies in hardware.

Lexmark will be a disruptor in the home office and SMB space. As with our Two Series devices, we now have new products that compete in new price bands.

Lexmark has major expectations for the channel that will drive both unit and revenue growth. I highly encourage partners looking for growth in the print space to consider our programs and offerings.

What does Lexmark have planned for the year ahead and beyond?

The Two Series product line was recently unveiled in Europe. Current offerings include Mono SF and MFP models. This is a channel-only offering intended for the small business community that is a key part of our growth strategy for this calendar year. Later this year we’ll also be unveiling new single and multifunction colour versions of the Two Series models as well.

Lexmark continues to evolve and grow its value space by expanding its cloud-based solutions. Cloud Fleet Manager, Cloud Print Manager, and Cloud Connect are recent additions that distinguish us as a manufacturer by providing value beyond the box.

Expansion of coverage for our smaller partner community is on the horizon as well. At the beginning of April we opened doors to a new inside sales centre that further supports partners in Spain, Germany (DACH), France, Italy, and the UK. This additional coverage shows our commitment to the SMB partner community and will yield both unit and revenue growth for Lexmark and our partners. The management of partner incentives and programs is very important to me.

My commitment to the channel is to constantly evolve programs based on mutual success between partners and Lexmark. I realise speed, execution and partner profitability are primary drivers of interest in our brand.

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