Xerox unphased by Microsoft’s approach

Xerox has been dabbling in document management for over 100 years, so it does not tremble at the thought of SharePoint.

“DocuShare is our content management play,” says Andy Jones, European director of Xerox’s Business Process Services division. “It positions well against MS SharePoint in that it is mid-tier and highly scalable. But when you line the technologies up in a beauty parade there’s [not much difference]. We bundle DocuShare in or we integrate with the customer’s platform.”

So rather than jostling for position in a crowded marketplace at the top end of document management software, Xerox is prioritising growth opportunities in document services, particularly at the point where information enters the enterprise.

“The issue is not so much the paperless office, but how to bring information to the knowledge worker,” says Stephen Cronin, president of Xerox global services. “Knowledge workers are spending 50% of their time searching for information, but only finding it 10% of the time.”

“Services are the direction our growth is going in,” agrees Jones. “Xerox Global Services now makes up between 20% and 25% of Xerox’s business, but we aim to grow this to 50% in a few years.”

Percentages hide the size of that pot, which is by no means small: Xerox’s services division already generates $3.4 billion (£1.7 billion) in annuity revenue, hinting at the size of the potential market

Driving this demand is “a real trend for companies to get a grip of content-related processes,” says Cronin. “A lot of companies have done cost-cutting and offshoring, and now they’re having to innovate by removing people-based processes.”

One such innovation is Xerox’s text-mining software. In a French telecoms company, this scours incoming mail for the word ’cancellation’ – “clearly a situation in which the company wants to get on the phone quickly,” Cronin says.

Meanwhile, the competition it faces in the ECM services sector is formidable: the combination of HP and EDS and mighty IBM. But Xerox thinks it can win over customers with huge cost savings.

“It’s not unusual for us to guarantee a 25% savings minimum on a large mega-deal over a five-year contract,” says Jones.

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