Xerox refreshes product line, expands services

Xerox refreshes product line, expands services

Xerox announced a new SMB printer this week, but the real story for the company lies in services.

Xerox wooed Wall Street and users last week in New York with a three-day rollout of new printers, software and strategic initiatives that underscored how services will be the engine of growth for the company.

The company's long-term message is that Xerox has the broad array of products and services to meet users' requirements for "smarter" documents that, for example, can be tagged with information and automatically routed through a company's workflow.

"Documents are containers that have information for human processing," CEO and chairman, Anne Mulcahy, said in a keynote address. "The vast majority of documents are dumb as the day is long. They don't know where they're going and ... don't know how much damage they can do if they get into the wrong hands."

The company announced new Xerox Imaging Services Centres in The Netherlands, Spain, and Japan, to complement its centres in the US, UK, Brazil and Singapore, and an existing center in Japan. The centres offer scanning and imaging services that convert hard-copy documents to electronic documents. The company is also eyeing possible locations in India, China and eastern Europe, Global Services president, Tom Dolan, said in an interview.

In an interview after her keynote address, Mulcahy said that to achieve the company's long-term growth goals, she would like to see services account for about 50 per cent of company revenue. "Whether that's over the next three, four, or five years, I can't say," she said.

Currently services, including high-end business process services as well as traditional maintenance-type services, account for about 20 percent of the company's revenue -- or $US3.3 billion out of annual revenue of $US15.8 billion.

Xerox also announced the DocuShare Developer's Environment, a set of tools designed to let developers customise the company's DocuShare 5.0 and DocuShare CPX content management software and create workflow applications. For example, the tools let developers tap XML to create documents whose content can be automatically reused in business forms. Templates can also be used to personalise blogs and wiki pages while adhering to a common business look and feel.

"The drive toward personalisation is a great opportunity," Mulcahy said, noting that all sorts of businesses are personalising marketing messages to the point where they address individuals. "Wheaties can put your picture on the cereal box," she said.

A number of printer manufacturers, such as Canon and Ricoh, had kept up the competitive pressure on Xerox, especially in the small and medium-sized business (SMB) market, a research manager with IDC, Riley McNulty, said.

"But it's really Hewlett-Packard that has the real breadth and scope that Xerox has," he said.

A new printer, the WorkCentre 4150 black-and-white multifunction printer aimed at the SMB market, addressed competition in that area, he said.

The 4150, starting at $US2199, offers speeds up to 45 pages a minute, simultaneous copy, print, scan and fax functions, and queue-management functions.

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