Xerox woos SMB offices

With much fanfare, last week Xerox’s chairman and CEO Anne M. Mulcahy unveiled a new strategy to increase the company’s share of the small to midsized office market. Xerox announced 21 new and enhanced office products, positioning the company to better compete with Hewlett-Packard.

"We have offerings from very small to very large, from very simple to very complex. This allows us to participate in segments we haven’t before, which will fuel revenue growth, market share, and ultimately our profitability," says Nancy Morris, vice president and general manager of marketing and product management in the Xerox Office Group.

Xerox products are organized into three groups: CopyCentre, WorkCentre and WorkCentre Pro. CopyCentre digital copiers come in speeds ranging from 16 ppm to 90 ppm and can be upgraded to a multifunction system. The new CopyCentre C32 and C40 color copiers help users save money by ensuring they pay only for the pages produced in color. The rest are charged at standard black-and-white costs.

WorkCentre products provide basic multifunction services, including copying and network printing with options for scanning, faxing and e-mailing. Speeds range from 16 ppm to 55 ppm. WorkCentre Pro multifunction printers copy and print from 16 ppm to 90 ppm in color and black and white. Their open architecture allows them to integrate with fax and imaging applications from third-party providers.

One such application is scanning to repository. If a business in the past used courier services to bring documents originating in various locations to a central location for processing and digital archiving, now they can use a WorkCentre Pro product at each location to scan the documents electronically into a central repository accessible from anywhere, Morris says.

Xerox is also expanding its range of office services, including Office Document Assessments. Available to any sized company or workgroup department, a Xerox rep will come to your site, count up your printers, fax machines, and multifunction devices, interview employees about how they use the products, and come back a few days later with recommendations on ways to cut costs.

"One of the trends we’ve seen in the market is printer proliferation," Morris says. "In many of our accounts, large or small, everyone has a little personal desktop printer. It’s convenient, but it doesn’t have the best image quality, it’s extremely slow, and in all cases it’s very expensive to maintain."

Morris says Xerox competitors also do peripheral assessments, but not at the same depth. "We analyze workers’ walking patterns, and the times of day when printing peaks. We know how far people are willing to walk to pick up a print job, and make recommendations that meet the customer’s requirements without impacting employees’ level of service. On average, our assessments save customers 40 percent."

An additional sign Xerox wants to attract smaller businesses: While it will continue to concentrate on direct sales and its reseller market, Xerox will also begin posting product pricing on its Web site.

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