Everyone Wants to Know What Lexmark is Up To

Have you wondered lately, “what’s up with Lexmark?” I can help with that! Recently, Lexmark hosted 50 of its most successful channel partners in Lexington to share its vision and strategic direction and showcase new technology. Vision and strategy were on display at the event as IoT devices, the cloud, and managed services took center stage.

The vision

During the opening session, Lexmark’s CEO Allen Waugerman acknowledged that print is in decline, but reminded us that it will remain an important technology that companies rely on for years to come. Lexmark seems confident that the ability to deliver managed print services will be an important component for succeeding in this new era of print. 

Allen Waugerman
CEO Allen Waugerman highlights Lexmark’s “Strategy by Design”

The folks at Lexmark also spent a lot of time talking about how emerging technologies like IoT, AI, machine learning, and cloud services represent an outstanding growth opportunity. Lexmark has a history of innovation, and they will continue to gravitate toward new ideas to propel the company into the future.  

The strategy

Lexmark’s strategy focuses on remaining committed to imaging and its partners, increasing its presence in the SMB market with MPS, and introducing new technology to its product portfolio to remain competitive.

Throughout the day-long event, Lexmark’s representatives kept reaffirming its commitment to document imaging technology and the channel. The messaging boiled down to: a) Lexmark is committed to winning in document imaging and b) Lexmark is going to provide dealers with the support and technology they need to win in their markets, because the better the channel does, the better Lexmark does. 

How is Lexmark going to help the channel win in print? VP of Global Marketing Matt Dollus’s answer was that Lexmark will supply partners with imaging hardware that can help them gain new business, and provide partners with Lexmark’s enterprise managed print services tools and cloud services to enhance their partners’ ability to deliver services. 

Lexmark is focused on bringing devices to market that are reliable, easy to use, and easy to service, and backstopping those devices with remote print management and predictive analytics tools. With these improvements, Lexmark is helping dealers simplify and accelerate service and maintenance tasks, reduce their tech to MIF ratio, and solve problems remotely (or proactively) to limit site visits—all so dealers can better serve customers and be more profitable. 

MPS in the SMB

CMO Melanie Hudson makes the point

In a Q&A session, Lexmark’s Chief Commercial Officer Melanie Hudson said that it’s Lexmark’s goal to double its install base in the next five years, and that winning the SMB segment is going to play a big role in meeting that goal. The company believes that the people who rely on print don’t want to deal with the complexity of deploying, securing, and maintaining their own print environment. They just want to push a button, get their prints, and get on with their day. “The complexity is what allows you to earn your business,” said Matt Dollus. By supporting dealers who want to launch or strengthen their MPS business, Lexmark hopes to grow its presence in the ever-expanding SMB space. 

Expansion of product portfolio   

Chris White, Director of Global Product Portfolio hints that something big is coming

Lexmark was … careful … with the details when it came to what these new products are. Everyone that attended the event was placed under an NDA to protect the information shared at the meeting. But I believe I can say that Lexmark is going to take the expertise and intellectual property they’ve developed over the last 30 years and apply it to additional products and applications. That’s not much help, of course, but there are some exciting developments on the way that are slated to be unveiled in the next year.

Our take

A couple of thoughts bubbled up as I was leaving Lexington. 

The first was that there is no reason to think that ramping up investments in new product areas indicates that the company will abandon print. Even if the industry shrinks by half, it’s still worth tens of billions of dollars. It is a sturdy industry, atop which Lexmark can build additional revenue streams and adjacent applications.

The second is that Lexmark’s focus on MPS is smart. Since the start of the pandemic there has been a renaissance in interest for The Imaging Channel’s MPS expert content that has surprised the editorial team. Declining volume is much more of an issue if you are selling print transactionally. But if you’re selling print services, volume becomes less important, because the value that you provide is in the problems that you are taking off of your customers’ hands. And now that we have cloud technology, remote monitoring and management systems, advanced analytics tools, and devices built with service in mind, we can deliver print services while eliminating a good portion of the complications and expenses that go into providing those services. Print services help you protect the value of your print business with existing customers and set the table for your business to expand by cross-selling additional services. A unique blend of service offerings will also make it easier to attract new clients. 

Finally, I am excited to learn more about how Lexmark is going to leverage its expertise and intellectual property in other IoT applications. For every appliance you can think of, there is an internet-connected version of it available for purchase. The IoT opportunity is endless, and Lexmark’s three decades of expertise as an IoT manufacturer and services provider gives them some very unique advantages. Good stuff. I’ll leave you with a little more via photos of the product fair and evening excursion to the famous Buffalo Trace distillery outside of Lexington.

Patricia Ames is president and senior analyst for BPO Media, which publishes The Imaging Channel and Workflow magazines. As a market analyst and industry consultant, Ames has worked for prominent consulting firms including KPMG and has more than 15 years experience in the imaging industry covering technology and business sectors. Ames has lived and worked in the United States, Southeast Asia and Europe and enjoys being a part of a global industry and community.