Best Practices: Taking the Vertical Leap

Selling tailored IT products and systems in vertical market segments is a great strategic path for solution providers aiming to generate higher margins, recurring business, and new customer opportunities.
Every vertical market – whether health care, real estate, education, finance, or another – faces unique challenges. Addressing those differences often requires highly customized IT solutions that cater to a segment’s specific needs and are adapted to the way business is conducted in a particular vertical. Partners that can deliver those tailored solutions enjoy enhanced ROI opportunities with customers and can go on to duplicate successful solutions for other customers in the same vertical.

Of course, not every customer problem requires a highly customized solution. Xerox’s MFPs and ConnectKey technology provide partners with an excellent, secure, and adaptable platform for delivering both robust, off-the-shelf solutions and customized solutions to vertically aligned customers as needed. What’s more, in addition to building on an existing off-the-shelf Xerox solution, partners can also strip down those solutions to eliminate unnecessary functionality and cut costs for the end user.

Over the next several years, certain verticals are projected to outpace the greater market in terms of IT spending. Education and health care, for example, are in the midst of an explosion in IT spending, driven by accelerated digitization efforts and regulatory requirements. Nearly 50 percent of U.S. school districts increased their IT budgets by more than 5 percent in 2016. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Defense Health Agency increased health care-related IT spending 27 percent on the average year over year. Total 2016 UK spending on education was £85.2 billion. In the fiscal year ending 2017 healthcare spending was £142.7 billion.

Digitization of paper files and migrations to modern document and workflow management processes are among the leading growth areas in IT spending among vertically aligned organizations. Xerox smart Multifunction Printers (MFPs) and ConnectKey technologies are great platforms for building solutions that address those trends.
Here are some of the best practices used by successful solution providers to create demand for and implement vertical-tailored solutions.

Identifying Verticals

Certain industries require specialized printing and document management solutions, ranging from simple implementations to complex, regulation-driven processes. Identifying which verticals offer the most promise to managed print services (MPS) partners is a key to success. Some verticals where there’s currently demand for customized managed print solutions include:
• Finance
• Loan processing documentation
• Credit-card application processing
• Education
• Student coursework submissions
• Copy job shortcuts
• Health Care
• Patient record updates
• Patient surveys
• Hospitality
• Mobile printing solutions
• Insurance
• Claim archival processes
• Real Estate
• Field form scanning
• Flyer printing and distribution

The Solutions Toolkit

Xerox MFPs provide great functionality out of the box, and there are a range of ‘off-the-shelf’ solutions from market leading Independent Software Vendors (ISV) such as Nuance and YSoft. But to really create robust, customized solutions for vertical customers, Xerox channel partners can use a combination of ready-to-go apps in the Xerox App Gallery, Xerox partner-developed solutions showcased in the Xerox Partner Solutions Playbook, Xerox App Studio (XAS) ConnectKey customization tools, Personalized Application Builder (PAB) SDKs, and custom solutions from PAB Authorized Developers such as Foxway and Southern Solutions.

The XAS platform is a wizard/template-driven app customization toolkit that doesn’t require programming skills and enables solution providers to quickly build useful MFP apps for customers. More complex solutions – sometimes necessary to address the specific needs of vertical customers – often require PAB-developed apps, which can be created by partners with programming skills and offer the greatest possible potential for true customization.

Building the Right Solutions

Vertically aligned managed print solutions typically address several key problem areas, including mobile worker productivity, accessibility to cloud services, device management and controls, regulatory compliance, workflow processes, collaboration, and document management.
Successful Xerox channel partners are delivering three major kinds of app-based solutions to customers.

• Information apps that leverage the MFP user interface as a communications platform – to support a customer’s business messaging strategy, for example
• Service apps that integrate service and supplies systems with the MFP
• Workflow apps that digitize paper-based workflows and create a foundation for automating workflows in business-critical areas

While all managed print applications have value to business customers, some generate more revenue. Workflow apps are generally the most complex and generate the most lucrative returns for Xerox managed print partners.

Leveraging Assets and Flexibility

Mastering Xerox XAS and PAB app-customization tools is important to the success of managed print practices serving vertical customers. While many vertical customers require certain unique MFP-based solutions, oftentimes a problem faced by one customer is only slightly different from the problem of another. Xerox channel partners that can quickly adjust a solution they’ve developed for one customer to fit another’s needs have lower costs and see faster returns than those that must develop solutions from scratch with each engagement.

Getting to the Next Level

Some of the most successful Xerox channel partners have parlayed their proficiency in PAB development to become PAB developers and app sellers who share their apps with other Xerox channel partners and enjoy full developer margins in their customer engagements. In addition, Xerox channel partners can also become PAB Authorized Developers, building apps to order for customers and other Xerox channel partners, while earning both full developer and full professional services margins.

Contact your Xerox account manager, or review the Xerox Global Partner Program and apply to become a Xerox channel partner today, to find out how we will help grow your business.

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