Opinion

Xerox covers all the bases with SME strategy

Xerox has an interesting approach to the SME market which, at first sight, seems to be ever so slightly contradictory. Last week Douraid Zaghouani, president of indirect channels group at Xerox, revealed that it wanted to recruit partners that were selling products for other vendors to help build its presence in the SME market. Nothing wrong with that, you could almost say it was standard practice.

But today, Zaghouani is quoted in MicroScope as saying that Xerox also plans to continue with its strategy of acquiring resellers, as it did earlier in the year with Scotland-based Canon dealer Concept Group and Middlesex-based NewField IT, to strengthen its presence in the SME market.

That appears a little bit bizarre because what it seems to be doing is buying businesses that compete with the very same resellers it is trying to recruit. If buying those dealers was a means of taking them out of the market, that would be viewed as a pretty positive move but if it's effectively buying them to run as independent businesses selling its products into the SME market, there could be some conflict there.

Mind you, there is a neat symmetry in the fact that the resellers Xerox has bought to date have, for the most part, been selling products from rival vendors rather than its own product range. So, in one sense, it's pretty much pursuing the same strategy of invading other vendors' channels but through the two different methods of straightforward acquisition or poaching their partners.

This was first published in July 2011

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