Think photocopiers and Xerox is the name ready to reckon with. However, in our interview with Ms. Pui-Chi Li, Head of Marketing in the Middle East for Xerox, we discover that Xerox is much more than just photocopiers. We discuss with her on a range of topics including how Xerox as a company is transforming, the characteristics of a modern workplace suited for Millenials, how to boost workplace efficiency and how you can create the workplace of the future.
Here are the excerpts form the interview.
AG: Many reckon Xerox as the Photocopier behemoth. Can you tell us how Xerox is transforming digitally?
Pui-Chi Li: In the digital age, data flows from and to companies. To utilize this data effectively we require expertise, focus and resources. Xerox is helping change the way the world works. By applying our expertise in imaging, business process, analytics, automation and user-centric insights, we engineer the flow of work to provide greater productivity, efficiency and personalization. We conduct business in 180 countries, and our more than 140,000 employees create meaningful innovations and provide business process services, printing equipment, software and solutions that make a real difference for our clients – and their customers. Innovation is part of our history, our DNA and this continues to be a big part of our identity. This means that as the world changes, we innovate to transform with it, always adding value to our customers.
AG: What should companies do to be ready for Millennial employees?
Pui-Chi Li: Companies need to understand that Millennials are steadily dominating the modern workforce and changing ways of doing business across the world. By 2025, 75 percent of all the employees globally will be represented by Millennials with Generation Z entering the workplace in a couple of years. The workplace should be ready on many aspects for the demands of Millennials. For example, it is time to stop thinking about devices like printers as stand-alone, task-specific workhorses, and start demanding more up-to-date, useful and useable solutions. That’s why we need so much more than a machine – we need a workplace assistant, an intelligent device that gives us more than a piece of paper with letters on it.
Additionally, millennials are more productive when enabled with modern gadgets and softwares. They live through apps by ordering food, riding a taxi, socializing, shopping and staying entertained. The only logical step for businesses is to ensure their office is powered by app friendly workplace equipment. Whether they need to scan to a cloud-based repository or translate and print documents with the touch of a button, there should be an app for it. Organizations should be able to customize apps, so they address specific needs and challenges they have.
AG: What are some of the characteristics of a modern workplace? and how to create one?
Pui-Chi Li: I believe that any agile, flexible and efficient work environment that is powered by latest technology, can be called a modern workplace. Anything that helps us to do our work better faster and more efficiently is going to reduce operational costs. In some instances, modern workplace will help us to stay more competitive therefore see stronger revenue streams and higher ROI. To achieve all of these qualities, companies need to honestly reflect on their business processes and workflows to identify opportunities for improvement using digitization and automation. These can then be exploited using the latest technology – for it to be sustainable and pervasive; it must critically be done this way. In addition, businesses need to empower their employees by having the right set of technologies and work place assistance to bring about improved delivery.
AG: Can you tell us some of the techniques to boost workplace efficiency?
Pui-Chi Li: Xerox identifies several aspects of business operations that can be improved while delivering higher ROI and boosting workplace efficiency:
a) Workflow Automation can help organizations reduce the amount of time spent on repetitive and administrative tasks by up to 75%. Workflow automation results in more job capacity for shorter delivery times and optimizes business operations. Every business has administrative tasks or repetitive actions that consume a lot of time that can be spent on actual business. What is amazing about workflow automation is that is can be customized for different business requirements. We work with a vast amount of different industries and can design applications and solutions that will work for businesses of any size with diverse workflow requirements.
b) Managed Print Services (MPS) is another way to dramatically reduce costs spent on printing. A lot of organizations big or small don’t realize how much money is being wasted on purposeless printouts, maintenance of inactive printers and downtime caused by poor servicing practices. MPS can help reduce organizations’ cost by up to 35%. One of the great examples would be financial sector that is very robust in the Middle East region which creates a highly competitive environment. We have been working with one global financial services organization and after a careful assessment of their printing infrastructures across multiple branches, we identified at least 35,000 inactive printers! Can you imagine if an organization didn’t know about the existence of 35,000 machines across their multiple offices how many of these devices had default security features? While saving at least 35% in print associated costs this organization eliminated cybersecurity vulnerability by eliminating unprotected network access points. If hackers would manage to penetrate their network and access financial data that their business is built on it would cause an enormous damage to their overall business.
c) Bring Your Own Devise (BYOD) trend evolves and allows businesses to stay much more flexible, agile and collaborate more efficiently beating long distance related challenges. Cloud-enabled devices, remote access to various applications and many other mobile workplace features allow us to do things faster. We no longer need to fly to one location to hold strategic meetings when we can set up WebEx meeting and have people from multiple countries join in while being able to share documents and review presentations. Would you have it any other way today?
AG: What are the best practices in creating a truly future-ready workplace?
Pui-Chi Li: Key trends in 2018 will revolve around improved business practices, much more application of artificial intelligence (AI) and digitization. A future-ready workplace should be capable of implementing such innovative technologies to transform their work environments. Having an open mind and acceptance to upgrade office gear and embrace digital transformation are key to staying relevant in the market. A future-ready office should be able to optimize workflow automation as much as possible even by connecting printing devices to mobile applications.
AG: How should organizations deal with cyber security threats in the time of growing IoT trend?
Pui-Chi Li: Some industry predictions say that the number of connected devices will exceed 50 billion by 2020. In order to stay cyber threats free and avoid security breaches we believe 3 key elements should be considered by any organization when it comes to managing employees’ behavior:
1. Change management should be approached very seriously and no matter how small and insignificant the shift of the office IT environment is, it is important to not only educate all the employees about introduced innovation but to monitor their acceptance and response to it. Change management is a process that needs to be followed very meticulously to avoid security disasters in situations where certain employees did not feel comfortable with the innovation and didn’t realize potential dangers represented by disregard towards new processes or rules.
2. External device guidelines should be strict and straightforward. BYOD trend is beautiful and game changing but allowing people to connect to multiple networks using their devices carries potential risks, therefore personalized access to office equipment is very important as well as network infrastructure set up. We believe that while office equipment connectivity drives better collaboration and promotes work efficiency, it also carries higher security risks, therefore end point security solutions should be a top priority for any organization.
3. Constant education and updates on how to stay resilient when it comes to security. External drives, simple access passwords and dangerous websites are few of the security breach sources employees should be aware of. We will definitely see even wider adoption of cloud computing and people need to have a better understanding of how clouds operate and what dangers they present in addition to their amazing properties and increased mobility.
AG: Xerox launched 29 new devices to improve office productivity. Can you tell us how these products and solutions are changing how we work?
Pui-Chi Li: We believe that while consumer technology is changing very fast, younger employees (mainly Millennials) would expect similar level of digital transformation to happen at the workplace. Our new Workplace Assistants are designed for big enterprises – Versa Link line and small and medium enterprises – Alta Link range and are equipped with tablet-like display panels, intuitive user interface and high level of customization achieved through applications. This is exactly what customers were looking for in 2018 and we believe this trend will not be changing but will be further evolving over the years.
Xerox multifunction printers like the Xerox® ConnectKey® technology-enabled multifunction laser printers reduce the amount of energy used by combining the functions of multiple products into one machine. Approximately 50% less energy is used by one multifunction printer than the combined annual consumption of the individual products it replaces. Moreover, Xerox® ConnectKey® Technology is transforming the experience of how people work. It gives them the freedom to solve problems, be more sustainable, productive, and take on new challenges. ConnectKey is one of the powerful technologies that helps collaborators communicate, connect and work from anywhere. Xerox’s ConnectKey portfolio transforms traditional printing devices into smart, connected workplace assistants that reflect the evolving needs of today’s businesses. Personalized workflows, one-touch access to the cloud and multi-layered security features are the new print, copy and fax. The family of products includes a variety of sizes, speeds and capabilities to match the needs of small- and medium-sized businesses as well as large enterprises, with a consistent user experience across the portfolio.