Thursday, May 30, 2013

Managed Print Services: From Big Paper to Big Data

Managed Print Services: From Big Paper to Big Data

Louella Fernandes By: Louella Fernandes, Principal Analyst, Quocirca
Published: 30th May 2013
Copyright Quocirca © 2013
Logo for Quocirca
Paper-based information is not often thought about in today's Big Data picture, which tends to focus on the proliferation of unstructured data from sources such as blogs, social media and video that is growing at exponential rates compared to traditional enterprise data. Yet paper documents are an important part of corporate business operations, often containing valuable information that must be captured, stored, organised and analysed.

Despite all the talk of the paperless office, organisations still rely heavily on paper documents. Every day businesses receive and print thousands of paper documents, mail, email and faxes that need to be captured and transformed for entry into business processes. Whilst some businesses have transitioned to electronic forms and transactions, many mission-critical business processes—such as billing, claims-processing and accounts-payable—are paper based. This reliance on paper is costly and inefficient and paper documents can be a huge liability.

As organisations try to reduce costs, improve process efficiency and establish compliance with various government legislation and industry regulations (e.g. PCI DSS, SOX, HIPAA, Data Protection Act), digitising paper documents through document capture is an important first step in business process automation. Document capture solutions are designed to remove the bottleneck paper creates at the onset of many business processes today.

When captured at the point of origination, paper documents can be directly integrated into business-critical processes. The full capture process includes scanning, data extraction from scanned images, document classification and sharing of content across electronic content management (ECM) systems. Documents become more accessible and easier to find, distribute and track. This increases productivity and streamlines processes, while supporting record retention, document security, and privacy requirements. Consequently, paper documents become part of the wider big data picture, enabling organisations to extract value from information to support faster decision making, for instance through business intelligence or big data analytics.
However, the challenge of document capture and processing can be daunting for many businesses, requiring specialist skills and resources. Despite the clear benefits of integrating all types of information into business processes and eliminating paper from these processes, employee attitudes and existing departmental systems can make it difficult to know where to start. Most organisations are resource constrained today, so many turn to outsourcing providers in order to focus on their core business.

The benefits of using an outsourced service include improved customer service, reduced business costs, compliance and greater efficiency. Outsourced services allow for easy scalability and can minimise infrastructure costs and disruption. One area where such business process automation is becoming more prevalent is in the managed print services (MPS) market. MPS is a proven approach to reducing printing costs by optimisating complex printer fleets, and deploying tools and technologies to minimise wasteful printing. As businesses move to next generation MPS engagements and are looking for further cost and efficiency improvements, many are working with their MPS providers to digitise paper workflows. With many organisations having already invested in multi-function printers (MFPs), working with MPS providers enables them to leverage these devices as sophisticated document capture and processing hubs.
Although many MPS providers are now competing in the wider and highly competitive BPO market, providers such as HP, Lexmark, Ricoh and Xerox have mature industry-specific services to automate manual processes such as electronic invoicing, mortgage application processing and health records management. With the core MPS services becoming commoditised, such business process services (BPS) are becoming key to differentiation amongst leading players in the MPS market.

Whilst big data and MPS may not have immediately obvious connections, many MPS engagements are advancing beyond the realm of device consolidation to encompass business process improvement. By accelerating the transition to digital workflows, paper based information becomes better integrated with enterprise data enabling organisations to extract business value from all data—both paper and digital.
Read Quocirca's MPS 2013 Report at

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Xerox worldwide market leader in managed print services for fourth consecutive year

Quocirca report names Xerox worldwide market leader in managed print services for fourth consecutive year

Xerox earned the top position in worldwide managed print services (MPS) for the fourth consecutive year, according to a new report by analyst research group, Quocirca. The report cites Xerox’s lead due to continued expansion and investment in its MPS platform and the unrivalled geographical depth, breadth and consistency of its offering in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

“Xerox excels in its broad coverage of enterprise offerings across office, mobile, production and offsite commercial environments,” said Louella Fernandes, principal analyst, Quocirca. “Xerox continues to make differentiating investments for the marketplace with new assessment and reporting tools that provide customers with predictive analytics to simplify their print environments, and use the data to further cost savings and productivity benefits.”

The report, which provides an independent evaluation of providers, shows a mature market with three quarters of very large enterprises (more than 10 000 employees) and 41% of mid-market organisations with MPS in place for more than three years. Recognising that many organisations are now entering their second or even third MPS contracts and looking to co-innovate with a provider, the report acknowledges Xerox’s strong heritage in MPS and commends its ability to adapt and extend offerings to address the changing needs of its customers.

“Xerox continues to expand the value of MPS by bringing customers new services and solutions for accessing data and content,” said Mike Feldman, senior vice-president, Xerox Global Document Outsourcing and Managed Print Services. “We’re setting the bar higher by taking what we learn from the print environment and building it into content management and business process automation strategies – so customers also benefit from ways to work smarter and speed time to revenue.”

As the worldwide market leader in MPS, Xerox is working with businesses of all sizes to simplify the way work gets done – so employees spend less time managing documents, and more time focused on their core business. Xerox integrates MPS into the IT infrastructure to help intelligently organise information – from both paper and electronic sources.

In addition to the Quocirca recognition, Xerox earned the top spot in all major analyst reports published on MPS in 2012, including being named worldwide market share leader [1] and positioned by Gartner in the Leaders' Quadrant in the 2011 Magic Quadrant for Managed Print Services Worldwide [2], and recognised as a leader in IDC’s Managed Print Services and Basic Print Services 2012-2015 Forecast and Analysis report [3] and 2011 MPS MarketScape report [4]. Additionally, Xerox was positioned as a leader in The Forrester Wave TM MPS 2012 report [5].

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Xerox Annual Meeting of Shareholders: Chairman Details Solid Financial Position, Services-led Growth

Xerox Annual Meeting of Shareholders: Chairman Details Solid Financial Position, Services-led Growth

NORWALK, Conn., May 21, 2013 – At its annual meeting of shareholders held here today, Ursula Burns, chairman and CEO of Xerox (NYSE:XRX), highlighted the company’s solid financial position, progress in evolving to a services-led, technology-driven company and the steps Xerox is taking to capitalize on growth opportunities.

In her address to shareholders, Burns reflected on the last year and said, “2012 was a year of alignment: aligning costs with a services-focused business model, aligning investments with key priorities, aligning our diverse portfolio with market opportunities and aligning operations to address these opportunities. We did this through a customer-centric approach that took full advantage of our brand, innovation and global scale.
“With services now representing 55 percent of our total revenue and growing to two-thirds by 2017, we believe this is a good time to keep your eye on Xerox,” added Burns. “Through services-led growth, profitable leadership in document technology, our cash-generating annuity-based business model and earnings expansion, we have the financial strength to invest in building value for Xerox and for our stakeholders.”

She noted that despite economic headwinds, Xerox delivered solid results in 2012, including
  • Adjusted earnings per share of $1.03
  • $22.4 billion of full-year revenue
  • Operating cash flow of $2.6 billion
  • Adjusted net income of $1.4 billion
  • $1.1 billion in share repurchase and $255 million in dividends
The company recently increased its quarterly dividend by 35 percent and expects to repurchase at least $400 million in shares this year.
Also at the annual meeting, shareholders elected by an majority vote 10 members of the Xerox board of directors: Glenn A. Britt, Ursula M. Burns, Richard J. Harrington, William Curt Hunter, Robert J. Keegan, Robert A. McDonald, Charles Prince, Ann N. Reese, Sara Martinez Tucker and Mary Agnes Wilderotter.
Additionally, shareholders ratified the selection of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as the company’s independent registered public accounting firm for 2013; approved, on an advisory basis, the 2012 compensation of Xerox’s named executive officers; and approved an amendment and restatement of the company’s 2004 equity compensation plan for non-employee directors.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Ten Things I Love About Print

Or Why I'm Re-Launching a Paper Magazine When Everyone's Crying That Print Is Dead
I like the Internet as much as the next blogger. I don't think online media is making us any dumber than we already are. But the Internet will never replace print media for me. I love the look of print. I love the feel of print. I love the smell of print. And I'm irritated by exaggerated reports about the death of print.
Brainless print publications that were only in business to chase advertising dollars might be dying a long-overdue death, but if I have anything to say about it, print itself lives.
I started my first print zine, Hip Mama, when I was in college. I passed it along a few years ago, but when I heard that the new publishers were on the brink of going completely digital, I dropped my other projects and decided to reclaim my magazine.
Because print's not dead to me. None of us needs more screen time. We need tactile, homemade media we can hold in our hands-the kind of media that allows for rumination and slow-sprouting inspiration, not just quick comments and e-fights.

No, print's not dead. To me, print will always mean life. Yep, I love print. Let me count the ways.

1. Print Gets Your Hands Dirty.
I've never had a traditional 9 to 5 job, but I've been working all of my life. I earned my first paychecks by folding and delivering the San Francisco Chronicle in the dark hours of morning. I landed the job when I was eight years old. And for the next six years, my hands were black with the ink of news and self-reliance.

2. Print Lets Me Unplug My Ego.
When I'm reading a great story online, I sometimes "share" it before I've even gotten to the end. My "friends" -- many of whom I've never met -- "like" it while I'm still reading. By the time I get to the last line I've already got a couple of comments complimenting me on my fine taste in stories. This makes me feel important and well-connected. Now, what was that great story about?

3. Print Is Intimate.
All media is communication. But reading black marks on a page is the most intimate form of communication that exists. Social media never really mitigates my existential loneliness. But somehow even alone in a candle-lit cave in Tibet, if I'm reading the words of a dead feminist poet, there can be no isolation.

4. Print Remembers Where It Came From.
I have a lot of my mother's books. I have some of my grandmother's books. I even have a few of my great-grandmother's books. I love it when I stumble on a particular passage that one of them has underlined. Sometime I recognize their shaky handwritten notes in the margins. My mother tended to underline in black. My grandmother preferred red. My great-grandmother used a pencil, but I'll never erase her words.

5. Print Gets Warped and Dog-Eared.
A few years back, I edited and published an anthology called Portland Queer. I had it printed and bound old-school at the local anarchist Eberhardt Press in Portland. It wouldn't have cost me anything more to produce a digital edition, but I didn't bother. The first printing of Portland Queer sold out within a few weeks. The collection won a LAMBDA Literary Award. But nothing filled my heart with quite the same pride as seeing a bathtub-warped and dog-eared copy of the book in someone's bathroom in faraway Santa Fe. Yes, you can read print while you soak in the tub. (Trust me, it's a very poor idea to take your iPhone into the bathtub).

6. Print Is Sexy.
When my girlfriend's in bed with her reading glasses on and a book in her hands -- that's sexy. When she's sitting there squinting at her iPhone, well -- not so much -- then I just think she's having an emotional affair on Facebook.
7. Print Survives the Apocalypse.
I was raised among hippies who perpetually insisted that the shit was about to hit the fan, man, the grid was going down, and civilization would soon collapse into unplugged utopian chaos. My apocalypse survival pack includes a Haruki Murakami book, a copy of the latest Lucky Peach magazine, and a mini letterpress set for emergency zine-making. When the world as we know it ends and we're all refugees trudging toward an unknown future, I won't be carrying my laptop.

8. Print Keeps Our Secrets.
If I read something online, my reading is tracked and tallied by the Big Brother internet brain that targets my tastes and sends ads chasing me from Google to YouTube and back again. But unless I order it from Amazon, hardly anyone can guess what I'm reading in print. And stealthy education, it turns out, is what books were invented for. Up until the third or fourth century A.D., Europeans had to unroll their books to read them. Scrolls evolved into folded pages. Folded pages became gathered pages -- what we now call books. Why books instead of scrolls? Early rebel Christians found they could be made smaller and therefore more convenient when it came to keeping spiritual texts hidden from Roman authorities. Plans for the revolution will not go viral.

9. Print Lives. And Keeps on Living.
This isn't the first time print media has been declared dead. Back in the '60s, people without imagination were sure television spelled the end of print. My old journalism professor, Clay Felker, responded by reinventing the American magazine -- not with short, ultra-visual media that imitated TV, but with long-narrative and novelistic-style writing that added layers of emotional depth to traditional reporting. He had no problem with the Internet. He appreciated online media's ability to focus on psychographic communities over demographic communities. But new media didn't mean the death of the old -- to each its own narrative style.

10. Print Doesn't Get Jealous.
Before anyone accuses me of being a purist or a Luddite, let me say again that I don't hate the internet. Lucky for me, print doesn't care if I watch TV or waste a night reading the BuzzFeed. In fact, I'm relying on new-fangled online crowdfunding at Kickstarter to make sure print lives. Click to it here See? Print didn't mind that at all.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sharp Corp. to Replace President and Chairman

 The following appears on

TOKYO—After posting the worst annual loss in its 100-year history, Sharp Corp.6753.TO +4.94% said it plans to replace both its president and chairman after just one year in an unusually public rebuke of management that underscores the depth of the struggling electronics maker’s problems.
Sharp said Tuesday that Executive Vice President Kozo Takahashi, 58, will replace current President Takashi Okuda, who led the company during a tumultuous year in which it scrambled to secure capital and warned about its future as a going concern.
Mr. Okuda will become a chairman without representative rights, replacing Mikio Katayama, a former president who oversaw Sharp’s aggressive—but ultimately failed—expansion of its liquid-crystal-display TV-panel business.
The changes will occur after Sharp’s shareholders meeting June 25.
Sharp’s woes are a microcosm of the problems that have gripped Japan’s once-dominant electronics industry.
After years of record profit that catapulted it to the top of Japan’s electronics sector, Sharp spent billions of dollars to build a state-of-the-art LCD plant in Japan. When demand for flat-screen televisions slowed in the wake of the financial crisis and the yen rose sharply—hurting the competitiveness of its exports—Sharp’s losses ballooned.
Like its Japanese peers, Sharp also failed to match the operational speed or marketing might of Samsung Electronics Co. 005930.SE +1.56% Sharp’s televisions dominated in the domestic market, but it struggled to build the same type of brand appeal overseas. When the Japanese government eliminated subsidies encouraging domestic consumers to switch to new LCD models, it worsened Sharp’s problems.
Sharp logged a bigger net loss of ¥545.35 billion ($5.4 billion) in the year ended in March, from a ¥376.08 billion loss in the previous year. Sharp’s operating loss came to ¥146.27 billion from a loss of ¥37.55 billion a year ago on ¥2.48 trillion in revenue, virtually unchanged from last year.
“We need to say goodbye to the Sharp that we knew in recent years,” Mr. Takahashi told reporters at a news conference. “We need to be ready to change everything at the company, other than the founding principles.”
Sharp, a supplier of components to Samsung and Apple Inc., AAPL -2.62% is counting on a recovery in demand for its displays to help its LCD operations turn profitable this year. It said it is seeking supply agreements with more companies and will try to stay ahead of competitors in display technologies.
For the fiscal year ending in March 2014, Sharp said it plans to return to the black with a net profit of ¥5 billion and an operating profit of ¥80 billion on revenue of ¥2.7 trillion.
Sharp’s capacity to spearhead innovation will be limited by its weakened financial situation. As of the end of March, it had nearly ¥2 trillion in liabilities, 10 times the amount of cash and cash equivalents on hand. The company’s equity ratio, a measure of financial stability, is 6%. A ratio below 10% is considered dire.
Crippled by two straight years of record losses, Sharp has been forced to turn to rivals Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. 2317.TW -0.50% Ltd. and Samsung as well as chip maker Qualcomm Inc. QCOM +0.27% for equity investments.
It is talks with its bankers to extend loan payment deadlines and has exercised an additional credit facility of up to ¥150 billion from its main lenders, Mizuho Financial Group Inc. 8411.TO -1.32% and Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ. This additional borrowing is on top of a ¥360 billion credit line extended by the banks and others.
Two people from the banks will join Sharp’s management, to help further restructuring. Sharp is facing a ¥200 billion convertible bond redemption in September and an additional ¥130 billion in bond redemptions in 2014

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Xerox scanner grades handwritten tests, scolds you for dangling modifier

Xerox scanner grades handwritten tests, scolds you for dangling modifier

We’re now one step closer to a completely automated classroom. Xerox recently pulled the wraps off a new program called Ignite that will turn photocopies into test grading machines.

And we’re not just talking about those bubble-checking Scantron machines that we've known about for far too long. The new custom software can actually decipher hand-written responses for everything from English essays to your math homework. In addition to checking if your answers are right, the software can also provide detailed reports on how a student is doing and mark any areas that need improvement.
“Xerox has handed our grade-school teachers the gift of data analytics,” Adele Bovard, superintendent of the Webster School District—one of the several districts piloting Ignite in New York—said in a release. “Instead of spending time scoring tests and making sense of the data, teachers can quickly access pertinent views of the data and focus on meeting the needs of individual students.”

Xerox says it developed the software so teachers can spend less time on manually grading papers and instead focus on planning lessons.

This sort of application isn’t impossible considering that you can already use optical character recognition (OCR) software to convert handwritten notes into a PDF document. I imagine this sort of automated scanning algorithm might work splendidly for math tests, but it could be dangerous for essays. After all, how many times have word processors completely dropped the ball when it comes to checking grammar?
Xerox plans to have complete commercial version of Ignite ready for schools for the coming 2013-14 school year. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Using Print Management as a Productivity Tool

Using Print Management as a Productivity Tool

The success of your company can very well depend on the amount of work that your office is getting done or has the ability to get done in a given day or week. The amount of tasks that can be completed in a given day are directly tied to productivity levels. That is why it is very important that productivity levels are as high as they can be in your place of work. The formula for this is simple, the higher the productivity levels, the more your office is able to handle.
But making sure your office is being productive at all times is challenging. There are many factors that weigh into making sure that an office is productive and the work is being done efficiently. While we know there are certain things as business managers that we don’t have control over e.g. worker productivity, our clients’ productivity, etc., there are certain aspects of the office that we do have control over. Examples of what we can control include how we use our print management system.
Print management functions to streamline all paper usage in the office and makes the most efficient use of your office equipment. This means there are added benefits to those companies that employ a sound print management system and those that aren’t are suffering the consequences.

Some benefits of print management include:

  • Consolidation of Devices- This means that you are working to diminish the redundancies of having too many pieces of office equipment in your office. Consolidate your devices into one easy-to-use multifunction system or enjoy the benefits of having fewer printers in the office.
  • Streamlining your Printing- Don’t worry about sending something to print and ending up on the other side of the building. Managed print sets up your office equipment in a way that promotes efficiency.
  • Printing Less- Print management can show you ways to cut down on paper usage and print more efficiently in your office. The amount of paper that is saved will more than make up for the cost of the service in the long run.
The benefits of a print management system in your office far outweigh the negatives. Invest in productivity today and see the difference for yourself. Contact me  to learn more!