Commentary & Analysis
Free: Xerox: Moving Forward on All Fronts
A few years back Xerox made it clear it intended to become the dominant player in digital printing,
By Noel Ward
Published: March 8, 2004
A few years back Xerox made it clear it intended to become the dominant player in digital printing, a statement many took exception to at the time. And some still do today. But its hard argue with the success the company has had in recent years, especially in color, and its strategies for moving ahead in the market. If installs are any measure of success, the company recently placed its 10,000th production color printer, a class that encompasses the DocuColor 2045, 2060, 5252 and the 6060, giving it leading market share in the 60+ ppm market.
This year at On Demand The Document Company is announcing a new Business Partner Program, workflow tools growing out of its alliance with Creo, and increasing adoption of JDF into the company's FreeFlow workflow architecture. More info will follow, and there should be some press releases up shortly at OnDemandJournal.com if you need the details right away.
At the show, Xerox is demonstrating its new tools and approaches with six, 8-10 minute, live presentations of real world applications. These include 1:1 promotional communications, customized web fulfillment, cross-media publishing, 1:1 publishing, digital books, and the recently announced DocuTech 100/120 copier-printer. A variety of Xerox FreeFlow Partners, such as XMPie and Exstream, are involved in these presentations, and the demonstrations exemplify how important partner companies are to successful implementation of FreeFlow solutions and to customers.
Business Partner Program
Xerox is making sure partners are involved with solutions early in the development stages. With a focus on developing products that are "optimized for FreeFlow," the company's new Business Partner Program is for workflow solutions providers and gives them access to more and more SDKs (software developers kits) as well as engineering, marketing and sales resources. The intent is to help and encourage partners to work with Xerox in developing new solutions. Mike Kucharski, vice president and general manager of the workflow business team, says that some 60 partner companies were present at a recent partners event in Rochester, all focused on finding ways to develop new solutions for customer applications.
FreeFlow Print Manager
Some of the stronger evidence of partnership is the new FreeFlow Print Manager, an integration of Creo Prinergy and Xerox FreeFlow. This is the first outgrowth of Xerox's NGP (Networked Graphic Production) partnership and enables printers to implement a single workflow that works for both offset and digital printing, providing more flexibility and control of how jobs are produced. It incorporates job ticketing with the usual list of options including page exceptions. When implemented in a commercial print environment, Xerox says it will lower costs, improve turnaround times, add value for customers and create new business opportunities.
Market & Customer Business Development
Print engine vendors have one big thing in common with their customers: money is made when pages are printed. And so it follows that creating demand for digital pages can drive volume to customers. To this end, Xerox is expanding its efforts to educate demand specifiers (ad agencies, designers and the like) and demand generators (businesses, government, associations, etc.) about all types of digital printing, the values and advantage it poses and then to drive volume to demand fulfillers (print providers). Tom Wetjen, vice president and general manager of Xerox graphic arts industry business, says 84% of demand specifiers buy and/or influence printing on behalf of demand generators, and that Xerox will be paying increased attention to this group. A mix of TV commercials, sponsorships, strategic alliances and partnerships and industry learning events are planned to support this initiative.
On the customer side, Xerox is rolling out Profit Accelerator, a program designed to help customers at three levels--business owners and executives, sales and marketing and operations. A variety of software and business tools, seminars and programs are being introduced to help customers make their businesses work better.
Fred DeBolt, vice president of production color business says, Xerox will be expanding the market for the iGen3 worldwide to about 60 countries. At the moment, there are around 125 machines out there, and 13 customers have multiple units. DeBolt said the average monthly volume is about 400,000 impressions but seven customers are running over 1 million prints per month on a single machine. At On Demand, iGen3 announcements include an expanded media range, added feeding and stacking capacities and a post-process inserter.
So that's the high-level view of Xerox on Day 1 of the show. More details and an interview to follow.