The cost of managing documents could be costing companies as much as 7% of their turnover – a massive figure that can be substantially reduced if organisations start to manage this area of their business correctly.
Ursula Burns, president of Xerox, visited South Africa last week to promote the company's new business of printing strategy to Xerox dealers and concessionaires.
"In the current economy dollars are being carefully watched and managed, for both businesses and individuals," says Burns. "The printing industry today is not about having the fastest or the best technology, which we have, but customers have told us that it is important to integrate with their existing shops that consist of offset, competitor, and digital devices, and their changing business models."
Burns says the new business of printing, a Xerox phrase, consists of the right technology, the right workflow and the right business model.
It represents a fundamental shift in the production printing industry, away from traditional processes.
"Printers are necessary and important products, but only selling them marginalises the business," says Burns. "We will continue to sell printers, but customers are increasingly asking us to engage them with as to how they run their business, how they manage their content and the complexities of managing both. So our strategy now is to engage them at a process level over and above supplying them with the technology they need to enable that."
Rob Abraham, MD of Bytes Document Solutions, adds: "In the past printers would accept a job from a client, run that job and then ship it to the client.
"The new business of printing has changed to one with Xerox working closely with printers to develop business models that drive growth and profitability around information services."
The new business of printing is essentially a greater focus on information and reduced focus on technology or harnessing technology to drive business opportunities.
Burns says the economic downturn has accelerated client interest in the new approach.
"In large enterprises strategic spending has accelerated. In the past much spend focused on a big T, or technology, and a little I, or information, but that situation has reversed so that companies now focus more on information and less so on technology," she says.
"That situation began last year with a noticeable spike in the last quarter, with a focus on information and maximising the value of the technology that organisations already have. People are asking: 'I've spent millions on IT; now how do I extract more value from it?' Since the crisis struck, more people are trying to extract more value from their existing spend."