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Another string to its bow

Your local KYOCERA dealer could soon be offering unified communications and ICT services as well as printers, MFPs and managed print services, following KYOCERA’s acquisition of Annodata

Nigel Allen, Marketing Director, Kyocera Document Solutions UK
Nigel Allen, Marketing Director, Kyocera Document Solutions UK

Last year was one of consolidation in the printer industry, culminating with KYOCERA Group’s acquisition of managed print and ICT services provider Annodata.

KYOCERA Document Solutions UK has welcomed the acquisition for two reasons; it secures an important route to market for its printers and MFPs; and, more interestingly for end user customers, it will enable KYOCERA to expand its product offering to include unified communications and IT services.

Annodata is to remain a completely separate entity to KYOCERA Document Solutions UK, owned by the Japanese group and with its own independent strategy and management team. However, the UK operation will have some in?uence over the company, with regard to pricing, for example, and to ensure there is no channel conflict.

KYOCERA Document Solutions UK hopes to learn from Annodata’s experience in selling ICT services, which it has done successfully since taking over Keltec in 2014. Sales of ICT and cloud hosting services now account for 15-20% of Annodata revenue.

Diversification

Over the last seven years, KYOCERA Document Solutions UK has increased its turnover from £36 million in 2009 to about £80 million in 2016, by offering a comprehensive range of printers and MFPs, managed print services and document-related solutions.

However, like other vendors, it recognises that its core office print market is shrinking and that if it and its channel partners are to continue to grow they must diversify into other areas.

Nigel Allen, marketing director of KYOCERA Document Solutions UK, says that unified communications and ICT services, including cloud hosting, are an obvious area for vendors and channel partners to move into.

“A lot of our channel partners are in a very trusted position,” he said. “They have dealt with their customers for a number of years and offer a very good level of service. With managed print services, they have become even more trusted. IT services is the next stage. People want to deal with people they trust.”

He added: “We always need to offer something new to the market and looking to develop an IT suite of products and services is a key way to go. Our dealers are in a great place to offer more services and we need to work out how to help them do that.”

Learning by example

The challenge for KYOCERA is how to package up and integrate ICT services in a way that is easy for channel partners to take to market. Allen says that the acquisition of Annodata will enable KYOCERA to learn from its example.

“Through the acquisition of Keltec, Annodata has enhanced its offering with unified communications and IT services. We want to work out how they have done that, how they have integrated those services and what support structures they have – and then offer those products and services to our channel partners, with the right infrastructure, so they can offer enhanced services to their customer base. The idea is to learn from Annodata’s experience,” he said.

He admits that KYOCERA could have bought a dedicated ICT provider, but points out that Annodata has other attractions.

“Annodata has integrated Keltec over 2 or 3 years. They have integrated it well and they have got their offering right for their customer base, so they are a good example to learn from. And, by doing this, we also secure a route to market for our printers. We could have bought an IT services company, but then lost the print revenue from Annodata,” he said.

Business as usual

For Annodata’s existing customer base, the watchword is ‘business as usual’. Allen says that while it would be good to replace Annodata’s MIF (machines in field), which includes printers/MFPs from HP, Canon and Ricoh, with KYOCERA devices, the priority now is to satisfy market demand.

“A lot of customers choose Annodata because they offer a wide choice of suppliers. Of course, we are very keen to make sure that if Annodata has the opportunity to sell more KYOCERA products they will, but we don’t do production print so Annodata will continue to source that from other vendors, including Ricoh and Canon. We would like the MIF to change to ours but if the customer insists on Canon product…”

He added: “We want Annodata to grow their business and that means offering customers what they need. The idea is to switch the MIF to KYOCERA where possible but also to maintain growth, so in some cases Annodata will need to sell HP, Ricoh and Canon, as they have been doing.”

KYOCERA is Annodata’s largest printer/MFP supplier, accounting for about 60% of the company’s hardware sales.

kyoceradocumentsolutions.co.uk

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2018