Xerox aims at enterprise CIOs with print services pitch

NEW YORK CITY — Xerox Corp., longtime champion of the paperless office and document management, sees a much more immediate and lucrative opportunity in what executives describe as the “print services” market.

“Print management is increasingly more important on the CIO’s agenda. It’s still not number one, but it’s rising on the list,” said Jim Firestone, president, Xerox North America, to an analysts briefing here on Thursday.

In an interview, Firestone commented that Xerox, which has traditionally sold printers, copiers and other equipment to office administrators through agent representatives, is moving more towards selling to CIOs and IT departments, and print services is the entry point for breaking into this market.

And whether or not CIOs choose to outsource the management of its printing, or buy the cheapest printers on the markets, “both of these decisions are shifting to the CIO,” Firestone said.

Case in point is Harold Esche, CIO, for the University of Calgary. The university, which is on the cusp of huge growth because of the oil boom in the province, took a hard look at the cost of producing the equivalent of a 32,000 ft.-high pile of paper and is now recentralizing many of its print operations.

In May, it announced a seven-year deal with Xerox to outsource its print operations, which is expected to lead to millions of dollars of savings.

The early returns are good, noted Esche, not only in terms of cost savings, but IT is taking the burden of printing away from the different faculties.

“We’ve also been able to easily replace some of our printers, which are older than some of our incoming students,” Esche said.

Bradley Hughes, a research analyst with Toronto-based IDC Canada, noted a shift in printing buying decisions from just price to life cycle and reliability.

IDC Canada estimates the Canadian market for managed print services at $500 million.

The number will increase as printing moves from the copier room and moves over to the IT department, and whether or not, the CIO decides to “outsource that headache,” Hughes said.

In addition, the multi-function peripheral is taking over completely from the network printer as IT departments integrate scanning, fax and imaging functions. This is also creating new opportunities for resellers, as Xerox Canada also seeks to build on its distribution channel to complement its existing direct sales force, Firestone said.

Xerox this week launched what it described as its fastest-ever desktop multifunction printer, the black-and-white WorkCentre 4150, with speeds of 45 pages per minute for $2,599. It also released the WorkCentre 7132, a colour multi-function system. Both models will be available through the reseller channel.

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