Page 3 of 3
You mentioned in your keynote that you hate when one of your competitors does something better than you. Where are some holes or gaps that others do better than you?
Everybody has something that they do better than us. One of the reasons for saying that in this [conference] is that we are closing one of the places where we’ve been weak before. One thing that competitors did better than we did in the past is they took advantage of channel partners in the broadest sense that they could. We have been slower to open up our great set of offerings, software, services and technology to our channel partners. We’ve been kind of schizophrenic about it, nervous about it. We’ve been, ‘We’ll only give you this, not that.’ We’ve been afraid of conflict.
What some of our competitors did before we did, primarily because they didn’t have an option, [was work with partners]. That started out as a disadvantage for them and they used it to an advantage over time. What we’re doing now and one of the reasons why Fusion is so important is we are trying to figure out a [way to know] what you do have and can you prove you are capable? There are hurdles you have to go through and if you can prove you are capable we’ll partner with you and make Xerox available to you. That’s something that our competitors did a little bit better than us, but we learned really fast.
To that point, one of the things we’ve seen is some of your competitors putting intense pressure to sell a single vendor solution across the board. What are your thoughts about that?
The positive side of where in the past our competitors were better is that now we are catching up. You have to compete on your merits. We’re in a democracy. Choice is a good thing. Choice keeps you on top of your game. Earning the right to be chosen, we are not afraid of at all. Using your clout in the way that it creates disadvantages is not a good thing. Over time, that comes back to catch you. If that’s the path you’re on, you’re headed in the wrong direction. It may work in the short term, but I don’t think it will work in the long term.
HP has had a tumultuous year. Has Xerox benefited from that and how?
The way we approach the market is to assume that every single one of our competitors is phenomenal. And that if they have a tumultuous time, it’’s only a temporary setback. I look at HP and say they are a very good company, very large, global. We assume that if they lose sight for even a second, they will get back in the next. Our assumption is that HP is great. Our premise is that we’re better. We try to work every single day to assure customers that they see we are better and potential customers hear that we are better, and how we are better with a broader set of technologies.
For our clients, we have knitted together a global offering that for large clients particularly makes a huge difference. If you are any big client that we do business with, you don’t want us just to do business in San Antonio. But it’s, can you get us to Alaska or Bahrain or Egypt? Can you get around the world and do it with a consistent look and feel, with a consistent set of technologies and services? HP can’t do that because they don’t own the service offering. They contract around the world. It’s not consistent. That’s allowed us to differentiate ourselves around the world.
[We also] have extended into a space HP is not interested in, the BPO space. But it is a place where customers are crying for help. This expansion of Xerox and ACS into not just document management or document outsourcing is the place that we definitely lead.
You’ve stated you are looking for the best set of partners that you can. Does that mean even if you’re not looking for Xerox-exclusive partners that you’re looking for quality vs. quantity and if I’m a Xerox VAR I’m going to have to make some investments and make sure I’m keeping up?
If people want Xerox-exclusive, that’s not a problem for us at all. But the biggest thing is not exclusivity, but whether or not you are matching your desire to do business in this marketplace with us with an investment. Not only of money, but of time to learn to become good to continue to move up the ladder to match your desire and expertise building.
In some cases when vendors want VARs to make investments, some VARs get left behind, which creates feelings of animosity. I want to make sure that if your message is that they need to step up ...
They have to step up. I don’t think that’s a negative thing. We don’t walk into a partnership and say I think you’re going to fail. We believe with reasonable effort and reasonable competency you can make a go of it. We do screening to make sure we’re not signing up with Joe Schmo. With that there’s an assumption that together we will do better than either of us could do alone.
In addition to being the first female African-American CEO of a company the size of Xerox, what do you want your legacy to be?
The first is that I continued the tradition of solidifying and growing a great company. Using all the assets we have to the highest level possible. We have a history of innovation that we should be able to apply in more spaces than document technology. We have a brand name that means something, that means something good. It means we’re innovators, global, ethical. It means that people respect it and like it. The legacy I would want for me is that she extended to more people in need around the world, more customers who need the value we have around the world. She extended.
The second is my family. The one thing I know on most nights when I go to bed is that my kids and husband are well. They’re older now and are figuring out their way. Now it’s whether they’re contributing people in the world. It’s the whole push around making sure my kids, nieces, the whole circle that makes up my family, have a proper perspective and be contributors to the world and not about taking away from the world. And it’s not about money or position or the number of people working for you. It’s about adding value, solving problems, making it a better place. This is not altruistic. It’s just basic living, which I think we’ve kind of forgotten about. Yes, you can share. Yes, you can hold the door open.
The third is to give access to more people some of the opportunities that I’ve had that have made my life fundamentally different. People ask what was the secret. The secret was we went to school. My mother actually said we have to work hard and finish school. These were not choices.
<< Previous | 1 | 2 | 3