By Darren Spence, managing director, Bytes Document Solutions, a Xerox partner

A few years ago, the CEO of Europe’s largest outsourcer, Atos, issued a challenge to its suppliers: find new ways to save us money and keep us competitive. Not an unusual or surprising challenge from customer to vendor, but one that required the team at Bytes Document Solutions to change our game plan.

More and more, being a trusted partner – not a just a supplier – is critical to the success of managed print services (MPS) relationships. The companies seeking our help want to know how what we’re going to do with their print environment will impact, and improve day-to-day interactions with customers, employees and business prospects. We had enjoyed a trading partnership with Atos for several years, but we needed to add new value to keep the relationship strong.

How do you transform from supplier to trusted partner? Here’s what we did at Atos:
Listen: We assessed the print environment – not just evaluating equipment but really listening and understanding what Atos needed and wanted. For example, we learned that Mike Shanahan and his facilities team were spending too much time on printer-related problems and employees were frustrated.

Find the win-win: The Xerox-centric, MPS approach we recommended from Bytes is built around a “business continuity” mind-set, whereby the only truly acceptable state is one which allows office workers to print without any concern over the operating condition of any specific printer. The MPS solution relieved worker frustration and eliminated the resource-heavy and costly maintenance and repair burden on the Atos facilities team.

Define and agree on objectives: Upfront, we agreed to deliver hard cost savings as well as other “intangible” benefits to support the way Atos does business. Using Bytes’ Core Managed Print Service, which forms part of its “Inspire 360” workplace proposition, Atos saved over 15 percent of costs, and we transitioned 30 sites in just three weeks. Other benefits like improved employee productivity and business continuity helped us meet the challenge to keep Atos functioning more competitively day-to-day.

Inspire 360 consists of carefully selected Xerox hardware, together with some clever authentication and workflow components. Every component of the solution co-exists and offers the office worker faster ways to print, copy, scan, fax, and route, archive and recover documents. The Atos project was so successful that three years on, Bytes enhanced the whole environment yet again, delivering further tangible and intangible savings.

As Xerox Partner of the Year, Darren Spence and Bytes Document Solutions have accumulated experience on the art of partnering. In his free time, Spence enjoys writing and is an avid Formula 1 fan. He tweets business and sales tips as @4eyedSalesGuy.