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Sharp and Kodak Alaris have struck an agreement on a strategic alliance that will allow Sharp’s 17 direct sales offices and 300+ channel partners to sell and support the Kodak Alaris line of capture hardware and software. The move solidifies Sharp’s Simply Smart Workplace strategy, adding advanced document capture and workflow automation capabilities to a portfolio that already includes A3 and A4 devices, laptops, conference and collaboration technology, as well as managed IT/security services. The deal should also put more juice behind Kodak Alaris’ portfolio and get it in front of more prospects, which should translate to increased sales.
Capture Is Vital for Digital Transformation
According to Keypoint Intelligence’s Future of Work 2022 Survey, nearly 80% of workers scan as part of their job role—and most of those workers said that scan activity is increasing. The increase in scan activity is driven by several factors, including the need to share paper-based information with others, store it in archives, or integrate it into digital workflows.
While it’s true that all scanning devices serve the same purpose—converting hard copy documents into digital images—some devices are better suited for some tasks or environments than others are. To put it simply, you can peel a potato with a fancy chef's knife or a potato peeler from the dollar store, but one way will be faster and easier, less expensive, and require less maintenance than the other.
Before the partnership, Sharp’s capture hardware was limited to A3 copiers, which made it difficult to help homebound workers or businesses that require advanced capture and workflow automation capabilities. Sticking to our potato peeling analogy, Sharp didn’t even sell potato peelers—the only cutting utensil they had to offer were chef’s knives. The partnership with Kodak Alaris fills that gap, providing Sharp with a full range of devices that can fit into many more environments and serve many more customer applications.
Keypoint Intelligence Opinion
Sharp and Kodak Alaris need each other. Sharp and its channel partners have a major presence in the office technology marketplace, but they have a weak capture portfolio. Kodak Alaris has a very strong capture portfolio (it has won our Scanner Line of The Year Award six times in seven years), but it has a weak market presence. Kodak Alaris owns 3% of the US scanner market share, according to our North American Scanner Tracker. With Kodak Alaris’ technology, Sharp and its dealers can be more competitive with other office technology providers. With Sharp’s dealers pushing Kodak Alaris’ hardware and software, Kodak Alaris can expect to win more market share.
Mutual benefits aside, one must wonder how (if at all) the relationship with Sharp can help Kodak Alaris weather—and perhaps benefit from—the remainder of the ongoing supply chain crisis. In our 2022 Channel Survey, 47% of respondents reported that their scanner inventory levels were backlogged. Remember, Foxconn-owned Sharp did not feel the heat of the supply chain shortage like its competitors did. In fact, Sharp was able to capitalize on it. Now that Kodak Alaris has access to Sharp’s Vendor Inventory Management (VIM) system and Partner Portal, will Kodak Alaris be able to swoop in and pick up deals that others are unable to fulfill?
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