In 2013, the landscape for MFPs will continue to evolve, with the industry focusing more on providing complete end-to-end solutions for business and less on traditional speeds and feeds. BLI’s survey of major MFP and printer manufacturers revealed a continuing trend away from page volume and toward software, services and connectivity that enables information to be manipulated more easily, whether from the MFP itself or from other input sources (such as iPhones, Androids and tablets). Indeed, mobile printing apps were in place from virtually all manufacturers by the end of 2012, and in the next year the trend toward solutions-based marketing will result in increased offerings for numerous vertical markets as well as in managed print services.
By Tracie Hines, Senior Editor, Competitive Analysis Reports, February 25, 2013
In the spotlight this week: Lexmark.
With no hardware introductions planned in 2013 after a complete product line refresh late in 2012, Lexmark will focus on growing its vertical markets and enterprise workflow solutions
Brian Hendersen, Lexmark’s director of worldwide product marketing, told BLI about Lexmark’s plans for the upcoming year, saying, “The short term direction of the day is of course mobile printing and the cloud. Most vendors are providing solutions, or moving in the direction of being able to provide support for those technologies. But, while today it’s a hot button because it’s new, mobile printing is just going to be a business-as-usual feature in printers and MFPs, so Lexmark is focusing attention on longer-term opportunities.”
“In the next year, Lexmark’s focus will be on software and solutions enabling the MFP to be not a mere commodity, but an enabler of people’s business, so they can more easily operate and accomplish their objectives.” He said Lexmark’s continued emphasis will be on “driving integrated workflow between information on paper to information in your back office systems—bridging that gap, and bringing all that information together to anybody when it’s needed to make critical business decisions.”
Hendersen explained, “We’ve been very focused on industry applications and industry dynamics because that’s where we feel our customers see better value, so that they’re not just buying a commodity or a one-size-fits-all type of solution. Lexmark really tailors our offerings to individual verticals. You’re going to see that continue. One of the advantages Lexmark has in the market and the reason we have such a leadership role in vertical expertise is that we have dedicated personnel for specific industries.” The company has established strong leadership positions in industries as diverse as medicine, education and banking with highly tailored distributed scanning solutions for specific industry problems (such as the Lexmark Education Station, which provides testing, grading, scanning and forms on demand for educational institutions) and is looking to continue its emphasis on providing complete hardware and software solutions geared toward specific enterprise and vertical markets.
He added, “Because we own all the technology we bring to market, whether it’s hardware or software or even services, we are able to be much more flexible than a company that doesn’t have full ownership of its technologies. Even within an industry, every customer is unique. Lexmark’s strength is in being able to provide an offering that fits the needs of 80 to 85 percent of an industry, then having the flexibility to accomplish the extra 15 to 20 percent by providing what those businesses need to be most productive.”
“In the next year, Lexmark will continue investing in our vertical applications, our vertical solutions,” said Hendersen. “Lexmark made six software acquisitions in the last three years to take existing technology and blend it with what we gained from acquisitions to deliver a true end-to-end smart MFP solution.” The most recent Lexmark acquisitions include BrainWare, Inc., which specializes in high-end capture and recognition software; Perceptive Software, which provides enterprise content management solutions that compete in the same space as Highland OnBase, Laserfiche and DocuWare; and Pallas-Athena, a business process automation (BPA) company; in conjunction, these have given the company a greater ability to develop complete soup-to-nuts content management with advanced workflow.