Printing vendor Oki Data Americas aims to expand its solution provider ranks with a services program the company says can generate profit margins for partners of as much as 25 percent.

The program, which the Mount Laurel, N.J., vendor is calling a managed services initiative, revolves around an assessment tool that serves as a door opener for solution providers to forge long-term services and maintenance relationships with customers.

The door opener is Managed Services Lite, an analytics application that lets solution providers collect data about a customer’s printing network for assessments.

Based on the assessment of a customer’s printing environment, a solution provider makes recommendations that potentially can reduce printing costs by upward of 30 percent, said Ron Bassett, the company’s director of customer satisfaction and services.

The assessment employs 47 analysis criteria, and its results are used for a three- to five-year document management strategy for the customer that may include replacing equipment, workspace redesign and setting maintenance schedules. Bassett said in some cases the vendor may recommend another brand’s equipment if the customer turns out to need something Oki Data doesn’t sell.

It is the maintenance schedule piece that translates into a recurring revenue stream for the solution provider, said Jackie Paralis, senior marketing manager of channel development at Oki Data.

As part of the contract with a customer, the vendor periodically performs follow-up assessments to determine if projected cost savings is being realized and to diagnose the health of the printing network, Paralis said.

“We have actual tools to measure this on an ongoing basis,” she said.

When work is needed, the vendor notifies the solution provider that has the relationship with the customer to perform the work.

Oki Data is using a twist on the managed services model, whereby providers typically monitor and manage the computing environments of their customers remotely over the Web.

By doing so, providers can keep tabs on various devices and anticipate issues that can cause downtime, such as overloaded server capacity.

Under the Oki Data approach, the vendor keeps tab on customer environments, and the solution provider acts as the vendor’s agent. And even though the vendor has the capability for remote monitoring, Bassett said most customers opt out of it because they are uncomfortable with that level of control over their IT environments by an outside entity.

Nevertheless, Oki Data’s channel management says its managed services program offers a comprehensive approach with considerable profit potential for channel partners. Solution providers stand to earn margins of 8 to 25 percent by participating, according to the company.

The program also requires no upfront resource or financial investment, and is easily integrated with a solution provider’s model to augment the providers’ capabilities, according to the vendor.