Moving from physical print to digital

26th March, 2017
Alan Brown, managing director, Xerox Ireland

Of the many companies operating in Ireland, Xerox has been a major player in the managed print market. Having been in the Irish market since 1972 – it was originally IBS before it was acquired by Xerox in 2010 and rebranded this year – it has firmly rooted itself as one of the top services out there.

Alan Brown, the managing director of Xerox Ireland, said it’s a market leader in the area for two main reasons.

“Typically, the reason why Xerox will be held out as one of the best is two things: innovation and the ability to execute,” he said.

“So innovation in terms of the quality of the offering and how you do it and what you offer to the customer. Certainly in Ireland, we say to our customers they’re the reason why we have the market share that we have.”

Those innovations are what helps it keep on top of the business. On top of the traditional automated elements such as devices sending out automatic alerts when something like toner is needed, its print awareness feature is something it’s pushing.

The feature keeps individuals up to date on their usage and recommends how best to improve in areas such as conservation of energy, costs and paper. Yet the industry is moving away from the physical to the cloud. More documents are now shared online and are read or dealt with through devices now.

“The interesting thing for us is we’re synonymous with print, yet a lot of our conversations with customers is about reducing print and making it much more sustainable and the digital copies of documents and how you manage that,” said Brown.

“That’s where it moves beyond just managing your print and costs, which is definitely the first wave for people when they move to managed print. It’s absolutely legitimate and most companies have made that step already, but the next stage is looking much more at what are they doing with documents in general in their business.”

On top of that, ensuring the clients and their employees are up to date on the latest developments is crucial too. It’s easy to assume that with the saturation of smartphones and devices in business and personal lives, everyone is up to date, but a mix of different demographics and workplace cultures means it can take a bit of effort to bring them up to speed.

Working with those clients to show the capabilities of hardware such as ConnectKey – which offers mobile, cloud and scanning solutions for users and presents it in a simplified manner – is important as employees might not realise the benefits on their own. It can be simple to use, but if there is fear or reluctance, then employees can slip back into bad habits.

“The customer needs to build the workflow and educate all the people within the organisation to make that happen and show how easy it is,” he said.

“Because it’s the followthrough, I do feel at times and probably the same as a lot of providers, the danger of providing great technology sits on a customer site and it gets used to a fairly small percentage of what it is capable of doing. That’s the real challenge to get the customer to understand what they’ve invested in.

“That’s where the customer will get the return on the investment they made, and the option they get with some of these things will really help. You get a challenge with any workforce where people have habits . . . but now you have a workforce where there are different generations of people with different knowledge and comfort with technology. The challenge is to bring people with them on these tech journeys.

“I’m a huge believer in the many ways that consumer technology can lead to the adoption of technology in businesses. That’s why you see things like a tablet interface [on services like ConnectKey].”

As for the future, Xerox has some things to look forward to, according to Brown. With new products launching this year (Brown says it’s “probably the biggest single year regarding new products in the market”), a lot of it will be based on ConnectKey technology which will ensure workflow and efficiency are key, regardless of the size or costs of the company.

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