Continuum Becomes Partner with Sharp Division

By Christopher Mohr

Sharp Imaging and Information Company of America (SIICA) recently announced that it selected Continuum as a member in one of its partner programs. As a result of the alliance, Sharp’s authorized dealers will be able to incorporate Continuum’s managed IT services into the solutions they provide to customers.

Boston-based Continuum Managed Services LLC offers managed services like remote monitoring, backup and disaster recovery, and infrastructure as a service (IaaS). SIICA, a Mahwah, New Jersey-based division of Sharp Electronics Corporation (Sharp) offers document systems, multi-function printers (MFP), interactive display systems, and video displays.

From Sharp’s perspective, it hopes that the alliances like the one between SIICA and Continuum will help the company keep its doors open. MarketsandMarkets predicts that the global market for managed services will grow from $107 billion in 2014 to $193 billion in 2019. It is a potentially great way to deliver Sharp machines into the offices of businesses seeking managed services. Obviously Continuum gets its managed services into more offices, especially if they like Sharp machines.

The question is whether or not alliances like these are too little, too late for Sharp. Last month, Sharp had to cut 5,000 jobs to get a $1.7 billion bailout from its banks. It was the second such bailout in three years.

One of the ways to survive downward trends is to change with the times as another company heavily invested in print technology, Xerox, is in the process of doing. Xerox has turned to business process outsourcing as one response to a market that uses printers much less than it used to.

Sharp may have some success with its display devices, which are much more popular now, but that may not compensate for a $1.7 billion bailout. It would seem to be better for Sharp’s long-term financial health if it were to enter the managed services market or some other lucrative industry, rather than partner with someone else already in it. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle

Contributing Writer

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