Ground-Breaking Partnership Between KMBS and MWAi Signals New Era for Imaging Channel

by Robert Palmer | 2/19/15

On February 17, MWA Intelligence Inc. announced that it has formed a strategic alliance with Konica Minolta Business Solutions (KMBS). As part of the alliance, the two firms will offer MWAi’s FORZA platform to dealers and other providers in the imaging channel. Built on SAP Business One, MWAi’s FORZA platform offers dealers an alternative to current business systems and third party software programs. 

FORZA enables real time decisions by capturing all critical information across sales, customers, operations, finances, service, and mobility, making the information instantly available company-wide. Marketed as the first true ERP solution built specifically for the imaging channel, FORZA can help dealers replace disparate legacy business systems to provide improvements in data access and integration, as well as meeting the needs for system automation and big data analytics as the industry continues to evolve.

According to a press release issued by both parties, MWAi and KMBS have partnered to deliver FORZA to the channel to enable growth in expanding sectors, including managed services, while finding new and effective means of creating profitable growth in conventional business areas. "MWA Intelligence and Konica Minolta are proven innovation leaders in delivering world-class solutions and together we serve dealers around the world of all sizes,” said Michael T. Stramaglio, President and CEO of MWA Intelligence, Inc. “We are thrilled to enter into this unprecedented alliance with Konica Minolta Business Solutions. The strength and depth of Konica Minolta Business Solutions and All Covered will allow dealers to move to MWAi FORZA in a scheduled, timely manner with the resources and backing of KMBS, SAP and MWAi.”

For more information on the strategic alliance, see press release.

Our Take

The strategic partnership inked between Konica Minolta and MWAi is important for the imaging channel. The office technology landscape is in the midst of fundamental transformation fueled by changes to workforce dynamics and the ongoing move to mobile and cloud technologies. Dealers and service providers are actively looking for ways to expand their capabilities and service offerings by focusing on new and adjacent business opportunities, such as managed IT services, security solutions, digital signage, 3D printing, and business process outsourcing, to name just a few.

The ability to pursue new lines of business has proven difficult for many dealers due to the reliance on legacy business management systems, which were designed specifically to accommodate the break/fix service model of the traditional copier/MFP industry. Over the years, many dealers have been forced to develop workarounds to existing business software in support of additional functionality. Often, these workarounds and system bolt-ons have resulted in a convoluted system of unrelated business programs that are not well integrated and do not allow for access to data or visibility across various parts of the organizations.

MWA Intelligence recognized the problem and has invested millions in the development of the FORZA platform. With the additional investment and backing from SAP, MWAi has created an open architecture ERP system that will allow dealers to grow and expand their businesses, while accommodating and expanding on the essential business components needed for the office equipment industry.

With this latest partnership, MWAi and Konica Minolta have broken new territory in the office imaging market. The partnership with Konica Minolta not only validates the FORZA platform, it also provides MWAi with additional distribution and resources to help dealers make the transition. Since its acquisition of All Covered, Konica Minolta has become a recognized leader in the IT services space and it is actively engaged in helping dealers make the leap into managed services. With its existing IT infrastructure and expertise, Konica Minolta hopes to accelerate the SAP integration and system readiness for its dealers. 

Robert Palmer is chief analyst and a managing partner for BPO Media, which publishes The Imaging Channel and Workflow magazines. He is an independent market analyst and industry consultant with more than 25 years experience in the printing industry covering technology and business sectors for prominent market research firms such as Lyra Research and InfoTrends. In December 2012 he formed Palmer Consulting as an independent consultancy focused on transformation, mobility, MPS, and the entire imaging market. Palmer is a popular speaker and presents regularly at industry conferences and trade events in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. He is also active in a variety of imaging industry forums and currently serves on the board of directors for the Managed Print Services Association (MPSA). Contact him at robert@bpomedia.com.