The success of office equipment vendors and their channel partners hangs on their ability to accelerate digital transformation and digital services delivery via organic and acquisitive growth.
That’s the word from Chris de Beer, Africa regional manager at Infosource, who adds: “The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated adoption of new ways of working, which is consequently affecting the office equipment industry.
“This industry was already mature before the pandemic created seismic movements worldwide, seen in the vendor business unit segmentation, vendor market movement, and expanding portfolios of solutions and services that include channel acquisitions.”
Infosource data indicates less reliance on printed documents and more reliance on the tools and processes that orchestrate and automate digital businesses.
The company recommends that vendors closely examine pandemic portfolio performance to isolate poor, resilient, and growing elements.
“We expect a slow market recovery, which is why we suggest a conservative view, bolstered by accelerated digitisation,” de Beer says. “This approach will help vendors establish the foundation for sustainable revenues in the future.”
Traditional equipment resellers suffered during lockdown as they were largely unable to continue business uninterrupted.
Consequently, he says, office equipment channel partners should hasten their transition from reseller to office automation solutions and digital services provider.
“Developing capture and process automation solutions and the services to support them are the channel’s North Star as they adjust their business models to subscription-based offerings, including managed print services (MPS),” says de Beer.
Private and public sector organisations should, he says, establish short- and mid-term plans to analyse workflows and the changes that occurred in 2020 for office-based workforces. Data for past quarters, says de Beer, indicate reactive rather than proactive responses to pandemic-related demands.
“End-users are now challenged to shift from response to formulating process and workflow strategies over the next two to three years that will inform their future business success,” he says. “These organisations need partners who can deliver the solutions they need to transition with confidence.”
All three industry elements – the vendors, channel partners and end customers – should align to the future office ecosystem.
“Vendors must selectively invest to expand their strengths, channel partners must seek to transform their business models, and customers should pursue partners to support their office automation and process orchestration strategies,” says de Beer. “All three sectors are united by the pressure to respond quickly as they adjust to the new reality.”