Commentary & Analysis
Why We Choose Choice
In this guest article, Xerox’s Dustin Graupman talks about why choice is good, sheds some light on the Xerox acquisition of Impika, and expands the discussion of the value of choice beyond simply choosing among technologies to a discussion about why choice is important for the business as a whole.
By Dustin Graupman
Published: May 13, 2013
Sponsored Article by Dustin Graupman, Xerox
It’s a pretty simple statement…one that not many will argue with. And examples of exactly why are pretty much everywhere you look.
In my life, I choose one kind of football—the old-world kind—while almost everyone else I know chooses the other kind. Here, it’s not the most popular choice, but as John Cleese from Monty Python said, “American football is played like a series of advertising jingles while soccer is played like jazz.” In reality, I like them both, but it's a great example of why choice is good.
But is that too simple a statement?
Our recent purchase of Impika and their aqueous inkjet technology made us pause for a minute and think about why choice is important. And while it is what you might think—that it lets you choose the best technology to match a growing and changing list of applications—it’s also more than that.
The less-obvious value that a choice of technology brings is that it lets you choose based on things other than technology.
I know that at least some of you are saying, “Wait. That doesn’t make any sense.”
But it does. Take an example almost everyone can identify with. If restaurants only offer one type of food, you’re forced to select a restaurant based on that criterion alone. But if restaurants offer any food you might want, then you can select where to enjoy a meal based on atmosphere, location, service, wine list, or even how well the waiters sing…if you’re into singing waiters. I always find it a little awkward.
With Impika, Xerox has expanded its high performance offerings to include aqueous inkjet technology to complement the waterless ink of our CiPress Production Inkjet Systems. We’re confident that it was a good decision for Xerox and for our customers.
Xerox has always been a broad technology company, offering you a range of solutions because no two businesses are alike. For example, 15 years ago, we listened to our customers and, based on what they told us and what we saw in the marketplace, we decided to offer a roll-fed, Continuous Feed solution. But a while back, we took a look at that Continuous Feed marketplace and then our portfolio and realized we weren’t living up to our broad technology principle. So we did something to make sure that we’re in a position to help customers enter this market wherever they want and to help them grow—up, down, or sideways—with solutions that are scalable and flexible to offer different mixes of speeds and image quality levels.
Certainly, each of the two inkjet technologies has its strengths. Our waterless inks provide vivid color and excellent image quality on low-cost plain papers. And our aqueous ink prints well on virtually any surface—delivering high density color on a variety of substrates even beyond paper.
But as I mentioned earlier, the choice of technology means that you can choose how you want to enter this digital market based on factors other than the printing technology itself. Things like support, business consulting services, and differentiated capabilities like Variable Data Printing that can really make you stand out in a crowded marketplace.
When we give you the inkjet technology you need—when we give you choice—you can get those and the other adjacent benefits that Xerox offers regardless of which technology you choose or what segment of the market you’re in.
That’s it to us in a nutshell. Always has been. You aren’t choosing technology based only on technology. You’re choosing based on what that technology makes possible for your business. What new avenues of profit it opens up. What areas of savings it uncovers. What capabilities it adds to your portfolio. What values it brings to make you stickier with your customers—so they can be with theirs.
With DocuTech, we gave businesses around the world, businesses of every kind, a new way to print. With iGen3, we changed the economics of digital color and commercial printers began to see the value of a digital complement to their offset business. It also started to help printers see their business in a new light. And that continues today. More and more, our customers are reaffirming that they want to be more than successful printers. They want to be even more successful communications companies. To do that, technology—and the partner that provides it—needs to enable new capabilities.
So sure, if you want to be one of these super-printers, of course you’re choosing between aqueous and waterless inkjet technology. But you’re also choosing based on so many other things. Like workflow. And business development. And reliability. This segment has unique demands for uptime, reliability, and performance. Because if one monthly bill doesn’t get out to thousands of customers, we’re talking about a serious financial impact.
Looking back at what I’ve written here, it’s interesting how only a portion is really about the choice between water-based or waterless. It’s been about bigger business decisions—like selecting the most trusted partner in the digital print space to help transform your business around an important emerging technology.
Because that’s the way we’ve always looked at the business of printing.
About Dustin Graupman
Dustin Graupman is the Vice President, General Manager of the Ink Jet Business in the Graphic Communications Business Group at Xerox. He is responsible for Marketing, Business Management and Go to Market for all Xerox Ink Jet product offerings.