Copier and printer giant Xerox Corp. is working hard to evolve with the rolling economy through technology, products and people—and in that order. Two years ago the Stamford, Conn., company placed a big bet on color copying and printing and attacked the market with a handful of super fast products. And the move is paying off. In its first quarter of 2003, ended March 31, Xerox reported a 16 percent growth in color products for the same period last year. Then in November of 2001, the company announced an overhaul of its services business, deciding that key to driving its technologies and products through businesses would be embracing the customer through customizable services. eWeek Executive Editor/News Michael Zimmerman caught up with the person behind the strategies, Xerox Chairman Anne Mulcahy at a recent product and services launch in New York to get her take on the increasing role of services to the company and the industry.
eWEEK: Todays announcements were focused on the office customer, but I think when most people think of Xeroxs customer base, they already think "office." What was unique about todays office announcements?
MULCAHY: Our heritage has been in the office, but I think today we really talked about broadening the way we serve the office. I think we kind of narrowed our scope over the years in terms of big customers and highly functional kinds of devices. And todays announcement was about really serving the office, like everybodys office, not just big customers offices. And I think that is a change. Its all about broadening the scope of what we bring to the market so that we can participate in more customer decisions…Its not a one size fits all, its very customized both from the range of technologies; the fact that a lot of it is component oriented so its upgradeable. The whole approach of being able to listen to what a customer needs and be able to respond in a very customizable way is a real advantage in serving the office as well.
eWEEK: It sounds like Xerox is interested in vertical templates. Are you getting aggressive about the vertical segments?
MULCAHY: …I think the answer is, Yes, in the sense that were trying to both customize ourselves as well as work with partners that provide total solutions to industry segments that we think are particularly document intensive. And we can benefit from those vertical approaches.
eWEEK: And what new things are in the pipeline?
MULCAHY: The capability of technology, in terms of adding intelligence is really exciting. The whole embedded services piece of this, that says, OK, today maybe it can solve problems, order supplies, automate meter reads. In the future it can be user identification, it can be automated distribution lists—all sorts of things that make it almost seamless to get complex document work done at a device. That intelligence is there to be had within the device, and I think we just keep thinking about layering new and better services into that architecture.
eWEEK: As far as services, youve talked about expanding services down the road. What kinds of services are we talking about? More security?