24 September 2012

Ricoh creates strong IT services entry point with SMX cloud email security partnership

Ricoh will launch a value-added email security service to New Zealand customers following the signing of a partnership agreement with SMX — the leading NZ-owned cloud-based email security company.

Ricoh's IT services manager John King says the partnership and joint development agreement between Ricoh and SMX is highly strategic for Ricoh as it creates a compelling cloud services entry point for Ricoh's customers.

"We have 5,500 customers in New Zealand alone. We are making a long-term investment — as part of a worldwide strategy — to add and offer a full range of IT infrastructure managed services to our customers. This strategy is already successful with IT service revenues now running at $NZ3 billion worldwide," John King says.

"The partnership with SMX will see us offering — first in New Zealand, then later further afield — a highly differentiated cloud email security service. This is something all of our document solutions customers need and it provides a really great entry point for them to engage with our wider IT infrastructure services offering.

"Email is the lifeblood of any business. With the SMX partnership we can build state of the art cloud email security into our wider IT services offering. It's all about business continuity and IT service quality and responsiveness."

He says the partnership agreement with SMX will see Ricoh's consulting division work with SMX to develop a Ricoh-branded anti-spam and anti-virus cloud service — 'Ignite MailReady' — with a range of additional email security features designed to differentiate Ricoh's email security offering. In addition to Ricoh's New Zealand customers, the service will extend to Ricoh customers in the Pacific Islands. The SMX agreement also covers Australia, with the potential for Ricoh to extend the service to Australia once established and proven in New Zealand.

Key reasons for the selection of SMX included the ability of SMX to be easily integrated with Ricoh's New Zealand helpdesk so helpdesk operators can be immediately alerted to any customer email issue. Local ownership and a cloud model with all email filtered in New Zealand were also important factors.

"SMX is a world class, enterprise-grade email security cloud service," King says. "It's easy for us to provision new customers with the service. The SMX architecture includes APIs that make it fast and easy to integrate our services with the SMX back-end. And, also very important, all email is filtered in the same country as the customer.

"We also like the fact that we can pick up the phone and talk to the people in charge," John King says.

SMX CEO and co-founder Jesse Ball says the partnership with Ricoh represents a great opportunity for SMX to get in on the ground floor of Ricoh's evolution beyond document printing, copying and management to becoming a broad-based office technology solutions and services company.

"Ricoh is growing its IT services business from the enormously strong platform that comes from being one of the top three document solutions and services companies in New Zealand and around the world, Jesse Ball says. "Already, around eight percent of Ricoh's global revenue is coming from IT services. They are becoming a major player.

"We're delighted to have such a great opportunity to work with Ricoh. If it goes well here in New Zealand, the service will quickly expand throughout Ricoh's customer base in the pacific islands and into Australia. SMX is already well established and successful in Japan, so we have realistic hopes that the partnership will go global."