Xerox: 1 + 1 = 3?


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Xerox’s acquisition of ACS valued at $6.4 billion is now complete. The two companies say they’ve joined forces to:

“create a new class of solutions provider with leading technology and services in business process and document management….”

“Together, we provide global clients with truly end-to-end solutions.”

And as CEO, Ursula M. Burns was quoted in this past Sunday’s New York Times:

“it is all about growth” she says “its all about getting bigger.”

Two impressive companies come together as one. Bigger indeed. But if you’re like most people, once you get past the image of the beloved photocopier down the hall, you’re a little lost on the offerings of these two companies. Without this, it’s all the more difficult to envision what these end-to-end solutions might be. And what the heck is Affiliated Computer Services anyhow? So perhaps a bit of grounding is in order and a quick review of the product/service offerings

Xerox, a household name, in recent times has had three core offerings:

  • Office products, as in printers, copiers, multifunction printers
  • Production Equipment, as in digital presses, production printers, continuous printers
  • Business Services, as in enterprise print & document handling solutions

And while not a household name, ACS has grown from a skilled bank data processor to an industry leading provider of:

  • A full range of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) solutions, as in document and data management, customer care and call centers, HR services and IT outsourcing

The basic strategy is to combine Xerox’s strengths in document technology with ACS’s expertise in managing and automating work processes, as a single solutions provider.

But will 1 + 1 = 3?

These honeymooners are now hard at work to make the marriage into a happy family. Indeed Ms. Burns speaks to the challenge of forging a new culture at Xerox. She is imploring her troops to move beyond mere “niceness” and become “fearless” and more “frank”. She wants the 130,000 staffers to take more initiative and focus on ratcheting up performance. To that, Ms. Burns, I respectfully offer let’s give them something to be fearless and frank about. In my mind, there are two interdependent strategies that will bring these two companies together in a very powerful way.

Strategy #1: Vision, Positioning, Branding.

The time is right for a new vision. What is your higher purpose? What does the new Xerox stand for. What is it that you do better than anyone else? What is Xerox’s genius?

Your customers are out there in the fast moving market with disruptions around every turn. They know they need to change. You can help them transform. Combining the capabilities of Xerox and ACS coupled with 2.0 driven work-life changes, the stars are aligning for a new set of solutions others could never offer. Add to this the Xerox brand and there is a rare opportunity to energize all stakeholders (the public, customers, employees, shareholders). This vision, positioning and branding solution would at once provide direction and allow for dynamic change.

I’d offer that this new vision would revolve around three interdependent dimensions:

New Solutions

This is what your customers want. It’s easy to get lost in the staggering combination of Xerox & ACS capabilities. Don’t start there. End there. Everyday, new problems emerge for your customers. Your customers are striving to serve their own customers. Simply, Xerox must make the B2B2C connection. Understand the root consumer problem your customer is trying to solve and align your solutions accordingly. The B2B2C connection needs to be tighter than ever before.

A Proclivity for Action

Before we googled something, we xeroxed something. Few brands have achieved verb status. Xerox has. Reframe and rework those powerful associations of Xeroxing. Research shows that we respond to brands with energy and direction. Xerox can offer this. Xerox is about how we get things done in contemporary work-life and work spaces.

A Collaborative Approach

Collaboration technologies are emerging, but no big player has really harnessed the potential of all this through processes and approaches and people. Collaboration provides the foundation for the new Xerox culture. That’s something to get fearless and frank about.

Strategy #2: Constant Innovations Inline with Vision

Reflected in your vision and seated in an inspiring purpose, deliver innovations that help solve problems companies have when trying to get their daily jobs done.

  • Study, research, mine the data and collaborate with your customer to determine what unsolved problems exist. Leverage all the ACS knowledge.
  • Follow the logic user experience research. What are your customers’ process steps? What are they trying to get done at each step of the way?
  • Look at the consumer to customer problem chain. Where are the gaps? How can those be closed?
  • Consider the human side of work-life and work spaces. What are the social and emotional drivers that are underneath all this busy work activity?
  • Innovate, innovate, and innovate. Start with small experiments at a single customer level. If something works, roll it out as a broader customer solution.

With all this innovation, it makes sense to leverage the vast combined capabilities of Xerox and ACS, but don’t stop there. Be pure. Look for solutions to those uncovered problems and bring them to your customers. Don’t be bound by “selling” your current offer. Be bound only to your vision. That’s where the passion resides. That’s where a better solution may reside. Revenues will surely follow.

And as the future rolls our way, it will be interesting to see if Xerox can redefine what it means to Xerox something. Looking forward to the possibility of their success.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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