Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

For as long as anyone in the channel can remember, there has been a dichotomy between solution providers that sold and leased office equipment, such as copiers, and resellers of printers. Over the years, however, the distinctions between the two have blurred, thanks mainly to the rise of managed services and cloud computing.

In recognition of that reality, Xerox formed its new U.S. Channel Group, which combines its North American Agent Operations and U.S. Solutions Partners group within one U.S. channel organization.

Kurt Schmelz, newly appointed president of Xerox’s U.S. Channel Group, said the primary goal behind the consolidation of the company’s channel operations in the United States is to make it easier to do business with Xerox. Rather than having to navigate channel programs created by separate groups within Xerox, the U.S. Channel Group will make it easier for solution providers to determine when they might want to act as an agent on behalf of Xerox or actually resell a product.

Demand for managed print services is on the rise, but how those services are being delivered is evolving, Schmelz said. Instead of delivering only managed print and copier services, solution providers are bundling managed print services in with higher-margin document management and workflow services.

It’s up to the partner to decide whether they want to build their own managed services or resell the ones provided by Xerox, but in either case, Schmelz said, Xerox partners are making the shift to managed services in pursuit of more profitable recurring revenue opportunities.

“Most of our partners are trying to focus on recurring revenue streams,” Schmelz said. “But it’s up to each individual partner to determine how they want to go about doing that.”

Xerox is not only investing in making its existing partners more profitable, but is looking to recruit additional partners, he said.

In the meantime, Xerox will probably have to spend some additional time and energy making sure that all its existing partners are happy being part of a new blended channel family.

Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.