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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Ricoh and IBM Alliance:The Shape of Things to Come

Reuters reports that Ricoh and IBM will begin to share sales networks:

IBM and Ricoh will start handling each other's products in their U.S. sales channels in spring 2009, with the cooperation set to expand to other regions including Europe and Asia eventually, the paper said.

Ricoh expects the alliance to yield 1.1 billion in sales over the next three years.

Last year, HP completed it's acquisition of long time IBM competitor EDS.

2009 begins as speculation on HP's reaction to Ricoh's acquisition of IKON last year increases.

As HP looks on, Ricoh continues to nudge it's way into it's traditionally strong niche: I.T.
This from an editorial written by David T. Mendelson, Argecy Computer Corporation back in July of 2007, when IBM announced the arrangement with Ricoh that spawned InfoPrint:

"...Ricoh has a very long and hard-earned history of success in the world market. The relationship between IBM and Ricoh goes back quite a long way. Ricoh has had a strong market penetration in the copier and fax markets for many years, but had little “in” with the IT community. IBM employed Ricoh’s engines and technology in their mid-range laser printers, and probably negotiated to keep Ricoh from competing in the lower end market. (Why is Canon Corporation not selling hard into the laser printer market? Because that’s who makes HP’s lasers). But now Ricoh is in control..." - David T. Mendelson, Argecy Computer Corporation

As mentioned in my November article, Ricoh and IBM into InfoPrint and Now, rIKON, in addition to the standard office equipment/Purchasing model, Ricoh appeared to be moving towards an I.T. based selling model - today, there can be no doubt.

Summary -

Ricoh increased it's dealer channel nearly 10 fold.
The acquisition of IKON's Professional Services give Ricoh some of the best assets in the industry, versed in many, leading EDM software.
Ricoh's ownership of InfoPrint, high-end, I.T. based solutions will be complete in 2010.
Ricoh and IBM will be sharing sales leads to cross market each productline;copiers and servers.
Where is Canon ?

Canon's feeble attempts to shore up a non-existent channel in order to defend the existing Canon/IKON base, may have taken yet another hit with today's news.

How can CBS possibly compete with the likes of IBM and IKON's Professional Services?

Canon will need an "I.T." shot in the arm - instantaneous access to corporate/enterprise I.T. departments supported by knowledgeable professionals.

Could the alliance between IBM and Ricoh be a template for a similar arrangement between HP and Canon?

Or is a bigger shoe ready to drop?

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