Print and imaging solutions vendor Lexmark has revealed that its channel partners have delivered a record uptake of connected printers throughout 2020.
Its Australian and New Zealand channel partners saw a 72.5 percent year-on-year increase in cloud-connected printers at the end of 2020, tracking along with the global growth rate of 73 percent.
The printers are connected to Lexmark’s Cloud Fleet Management platform, which allows channel partners to remotely monitor, manage and secure a customer’s print infrastructure.
“One of the biggest catalysts for the sharp increase in the percentage of cloud-connected devices through channel partners was the COVID-19 pandemic,” Lexmark ANZ managing director Stephen Bell said.
“But even before the pandemic, many SMB customers had started to eliminate a lot of their on-premise IT infrastructure, including their print infrastructure, in order to gain efficiencies from an operational and cost perspective, and to increase the security of their printer fleet.”
Bell said the trend towards the cloud starting in 2021 will continue growing as SMB customers move away from centralised A3 print towards distributed A4 printing in the post-pandemic world. He added it would benefit resellers, who would now be delivering monitoring and fleet management services remotely.
“One of the most efficient features of Lexmark’s Cloud Print Services, which our channel partners have been using, is the real-time analytics they receive from their customer base, which allows them to dispatch consumables before clients become aware that they need them, and makes for a much better experience for the end customer,” Bell said.
“In addition, given all Lexmark devices have over 120 IoT sensors, channel partners are also able to flag potential technical issues with the hardware before they even occur.”
Bell cited research from IDC that estimates that one third of companies with fewer than 500 employees will have adopted structured print and document management policies supported by cloud-based software by 2021.
“This year, channel partners have become all too familiar with the challenges of on-site fleet management. In addition to being costly and time-consuming to deploy, and a hassle to service and reconfigure, partners have faced access issues and employee safety concerns due to the pandemic,” Bell said.
“It’s evident in the annual results that more and more of our partners have shown increased interest in Lexmark Cloud Fleet Management to overcome these obstacles and start taking advantage of the cloud.”