Xerox Does a Lot More Than Just Make Photocopiers

Xerox has been a brand synonymous to photocopying, but the fact is today Xerox does a lot more than just make office equipment. “The business has moved rapidly ahead not only in printing technology but also in services and we are working hard to bring about that transformation not only in the business but also in brand perception,” says Rajat Jain, managing director, Xerox India.

He is responsible for overseeing Xerox India’s business operations and his role focuses on intensifying the value of services, including document outsourcing to more companies across key sectors of the Indian market. In a wide-ranging interview with Sudhir Chowdhary, the Xerox India MD shares his plans to intensify operations in India. Excerpts:

All your predecessors have been expatriates. Do you think hiring you was part of Xerox’s strategy to reinforce its position locally?

It was a conscious decision on part of Xerox to bring in a local leader for a variety of reasons like talent, which is in abundance in the Indian market. Hiring a locally experienced individual provided better understanding of the marketplace. An individual grown within Xerox might know the ‘Xerox world’ but then his understanding of the Indian market dynamics would be limited. On the contrary, when the hire is someone who has worked with blue chip multinationals similar to Xerox, worked with global, regional teams and worked in Indian market for a couple of decades then one has the best of both. A locally experienced leader is equipped with a variety of skills like understanding the uniqueness of the Indian market, ability to anticipate what will work and what will not, how to change strategy, how to localise, how to adopt and how to work through the broader system.

How has the past one year been?

India today is one of the top few priority counties for Xerox to drive growth. Over the past year and half, it has been a steep learning experience for me. There is still a lot to learn about the brand Xerox and business of Xerox which is undergoing transformation from photocopier and printing to a services-led technology-driven company. This year has been interesting for me; firstly there was the responsibility to come back to growth and understand Xerox businesses and secondly to establish myself in the larger global system as the person representing Xerox India.

Xerox has been a brand synonymous to photocopying? Does it have a positive/negative effect on the brand? What are your efforts to re-create a brand beyond the photocopying image?

It has been synonymous for a long time but the fact is today Xerox does a lot more than just make photocopiers. Standalone photocopier as a technology is not really there and what we really do is digital imaging and printing. Earlier photocopy used to be a patent of Xerography which was analog photocopy that used to be more of a granular print. What we do today is a scanning mechanism that is similar to taking a picture and then printing it which is as good as getting a replica of the original.

Contrary to people’s perception, the business has moved rapidly ahead not only in printing technology but also in services and we are working hard to bring about that transformation not only in the business but also in brand perception.

Also, since we are not a consumer brand so we don’t advertise nationally to change our perception. We converse directly through participation in C-suite executive forums, conclaves where we talk about the transformation of the brand. Our channel ecosystem, where we sell printers and multifunction devices through are making a consolidated effort to communicate our value proposition. The transformation is undergoing a journey and in about five years the change will be visible.

What are Xerox’s business focus areas in India?

We have three verticals that we predominantly operate in. The legacy Xerox business which is focused on innovation and technology—the areas of digital printing, office printers and multifunction devices; the company has huge investments in R&D and multiple patents. Second part of business is our services portfolio— document related services, managed printing services, document outsourcing services, back office, mail room, couriers, retrieval, storage, indexing. A lot of that is becoming big now, this is called document management services

Where Xerox ventured about a decade back?

Third business is ACS—‘Xerox Services’ which is pure play BPO, ITO, transportation outsourcing. In this domain, all our key customer are in the West. In India, we have 10, 000 people in that business working out of Bangalore, Kochi and Gurgaon. India is a growth market for all these three businesses. Though, the traditional printing business is flat globally but in India it is growing steadily. The document outsourcing business is growing rapidly by 25%-30% and the BPO business is also showing healthy double digit growth.

How has Xerox grown its market share in India in comparison to global markets?

India has shown healthy double digit growth in revenue; however the present challenge comes from the fluctuating exchange rates. We are in a business that depends on imports and the changes in the dollar value impacts costs. Look at any imported commodity, 93% of electronic consumption is imported. Businesses right now are absorbing the cost impact and hoping that dollar-rupee rate to come down however it does affect profitability.

What are the areas that will drive business growth?

Document management services will drive business growth for Xerox. Under this, we offer a model where customer need not buy printers and multifunction devices upfront as they have capex constraints. Further with challenges of technology upgradation, they source their requirement to Xerox. We offer pay-per-print service that becomes an opex model. Today large corporates have customised requirements that are user based where CFOs like to see who is printing what; a service offered in MPS and a huge area of growth for us. The market in India for MPS is about $100-150 million and is growing at 30 to 35%. We have a significant customer base in this space and we are a global leader as per Quocirca, Forrester, IDC.

The traditional printing market is about a billion dollar and is growing at 6-9% and we have a role play in that segment too. The third area is ITO; a growth area in terms of increasing headcount to meet the need of global clients in the offshoring space. Competing brands like HP, Canon