How a Printing Company Is Driving Innovation In Retail Analytics.

Client: Lexmark
Industry: Laser Printing & Enterprise Software
Size: 129,000 Employees


Lexmark is an international manufacturer and provider of laser printers and enterprise software. Due to advancements in technology and shifts in consumer behavior, the printing industry is rapidly shrinking, but this didn’t scare Lexmark. Instead, they decided to embrace disruption! They reached out to Differential to explore a disruptive new business model and unlock growth opportunities for the company. After engaging in a Discovery, Design, and Planning Sprint, together we developed a data analytics product that provides value to an existing customer base, while expanding and creating new opportunities in the retail industry.


Lexmark is a multi-billion dollar international manufacturer and provider of laser printers and enterprise software, located in Lexington, Kentucky.

The Opportunity

Over the last decade, the printing industry has continued to shrink due to changes in technology and shifts in consumer behavior. Refusing to be the next Kodak that failed to adapt to changing times, Lexmark continues to seek out opportunities to innovate their current business by leveraging their existing resources and a strong relationship network.  

With a foot in the door in the retail industry (due to being a primary provider of printed shelf tags), two people working in Lexmark’s Solutions team championed a new vision for their company: a technology-enabled platform that could allow large national retailers to better understand key aspects of their business on a store, regional, and national level. In order to build and test the viability of their new product concept faster, Lexmark wanted to go outside the lines of their internal team and bring in Differential.

The Work

Lexmark had a massive idea, and as a printing manufacturer, this technology focused venture into the retail space was a step outside their core business. Risky? Yes. But the people inside their team believe big dreams require bold moves, and hey, so do we.

Before ever touching code, our first step was to help the team get a sufficient budget approved to bring this idea to life. So, we began with a Design Sprint, where, at a rapid pace, we turned this half-baked concept into a clickable prototype. With that, we were able to get internal buy-in and budget approval from Lexmark executives, which launched us into our planning and development phases.

Together, we took what started out as a two-person team with a clickable prototype, and built enough internal support to fund what grew to be a roughly twenty-person team, including hardware and software professionals, as well as the construction of an internal lab built to simulate the retail environments in which the product would be used.

Immediately, Lexmark and Differential became a one-product team: unified and driven by the same goals, despite working for different companies. Together we developed and refined the strategy behind the product; the Lexmark team pushed to unlock funding from stakeholders and potential clients, while Differential tackled the software development and design. This included hooking into data feeds from hardware and translating that data into useful information for customer executives, managers, and even line-level workers; crafting an intuitive interface and user experience for an admin dashboard, and ensuring different levels of administrative access and high security throughout the product.

/uploads/2017/02/23/1bfc46c.jpg “The team at Differential possess the technology, talent, and business processes required to build world-class software solutions. They are great to work with, and will make you look like a superstar.”

— Brant D. Nystrom, Lexmark Laureate & Solutions Architect, Lexmark International Inc.

The Results

This innovative product platform has generated lots of excitement among multiple national retailers as it has been demonstrated both in the Lexmark lab setting and live in customer environments. We are excited to see what the future holds for this product and how we might help the team take it to the next level.  

How Can We Help?

If you’re a middle-market or enterprise level organization with a problem that might be solved through technology, we’d love to set up a 15-minute Discovery Call to see how we might help.

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