Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Ricoh and IBM's Alliance Spearheaded by Ricoh's New Document Security and Management Services (DSMS).

Ricoh to the Channel - "...I can't guarantee it has no impact [on channel partners], but IBM is obviously in a lot of places already,"

According to a press release today, January 5th, IBM and Ricoh will first launch a new Ricoh offering, Document Security and Management Services (DSMS) in the US.

This solution builds upon Ricoh's expertise in helping customers improve their document workflow, security and compliance, while reducing the total cost of ownership of office equipment investment and advancing environmental sustainability practices.

The DSMS offering includes Assessment & Deployment, End User Services, Managed Services, Security, Green Office and Enterprise Content Management services, which will be delivered by Ricoh Document Solutions and Services Division and IBM's Global Technology Services.

In addition, Ricoh has an agreement to resell IBM's Managed Server offering and collaborate on the sale and delivery of IBM software, hardware and services, such as End User Services, Internet Security Systems (ISS) Services, Business Continuity & Resiliency Services, and Storage & Data Services.

In an interview with ChannelWeb, Mark Minshull, recently promoted, Ricoh Vice President and Chief Technologist said, "Ricoh and IBM have been working together for a long time, so I see this as kind of a deepening of that relationship," adding, "We're teaming up at a sales level to go after major global accounts and do what we each do best. Ricoh and IBM pair up very nicely. The promise ... is to lower the cost of implementation -- incorporate an
service oriented architecture (SOA) into MFPs so they can more easily integrate into IBM's selling process. Over time, printers are becoming very smart and sophisticated, and it makes sense to use enterprise network monitoring tools like Tivoli."

Minshull said he did not anticipate conflict with Ricoh's channel as a result of the alliance, the focus of which, he said, is primarily on the largest, enterprise-level accounts.

"...I can't guarantee it has no impact [on channel partners], but IBM is obviously in a lot of places already," he said. "In both the U.S. and Europe, the focus tends to be larger companies with enterprise-wide initiatives."

"IBM and Ricoh are both trying to solve the same problems," Minshull added. "Take the IBM Tivoli story and meld it with the Ricoh one. There's a lot of strategic symmetry in where they're going and where we're going. Looking at [Hewlett-Packard] and what they're doing with EDS, this is a natural fit for us to offer a high-end services capability."

"Ricoh and IBM's partnership will help clients to incorporate MFP capabilities into their business in the same way a new building block could be added to an existing structure." , said Sandy Carter, vice president IBM SOA and WebSphere.
A SOA-enabled Ricoh MFP facilitates the integration of other new technologies including autonomic computing that proactively alerts customers when a problem arises so they can resolve it before failure of the device occurs. Also, by integrating supply chain management systems with diagnostic data generated within the MFP, the ability to automatically order MFP supplies can be performed.

Ricoh and IBM Alliance:The Shape of Things to Come



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2 comments:

  1. And the pay-off of this heady confluence of technologies is
    A SOA-enabled Ricoh MFP facilitates the integration of other new technologies including autonomic computing that proactively alerts customers when a problem arises so they can resolve it before failure of the device occurs. Also, by integrating supply chain management systems with diagnostic data generated within the MFP, the ability to automatically order MFP supplies can be performed.

    Is that the bulk of the expected benefit? Can you give a ballpark estimate of a)the cost savings that would result, and b)how these savings would be split between customers, IBM/Ricoh and the supplies vendors?

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  2. Peter,

    Great question and good observation - "is that all there is?"

    And the answer is "it depends".

    It appears Ricoh will have an exclusive "plug in" to IBM's software, providing their clients the ability to monitor copiers and printers...exactly how much value one can derive from this function varies with each client.

    This rather Orwellian passage, taken directly out of the press release, simply means:

    - toner and supplies can be automatically ordered based on predetermined re-order levels. When a toner reaches a certain level, the machine reports this to the legacy software and initiates an order

    - internal MIBs, on each Ricoh, relay usage information for drums and other service parts. Based on this information, a proactive service call can be initiated, replacing a part before it fails

    This is all very simple and easily obtainable with many of today's technology.

    Indeed, with PrintSolv and E*Automate, customers machines can order toner directly from the supporting vendor, automatically.

    In theory, this should reduce labor costs from client all the way up the supply chain, and thereby reduce the overall financial expenses for everyone.

    One interesting note, Ricoh utilizes a system to automatically read meters from a supported copier fleet through @Remote; so the technology is already in place.

    Perhaps, IT directors/staff will now be able to monitor copiers and printers on the same screen as servers, switches and network volumes.

    Thanks for your comment, keep coming back.

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