Friday, January 23, 2009

The competition: HP has its best-ever year in graphic arts industry

read more at Printing Industry News from WhatTheyThink:
"PALO ALTO, Calif., HP today announced it has completed its most successful year in the graphic arts industry to date, . . . During the year, HP has extended its market stance as the leading provider of digital color printing solutions to the graphic arts. For the HP Indigo business, worldwide page growth exceeded 30 percent year over year.

"HP exceeded its internal targets for the graphic arts industry in 2008 and is . . .blablabla
Between HP and Oce and Screen, the commercial Print space is getting crowded. The good news is that we still own MPS, and printed pages . . . for now.
Xerox accounts for 56 percent of the MPS market.
And the supply business is holding up nicely even in this environment.

Maybe it's time to put a little less investment in commercial Print and a little more investment in MPS and creatives. One way to lower the investment in commercial Print would be to radically lower the price of Production Boxes. Take some money from marketing and shows and put it against the price of equipment, while watching the price points for supplies very carefully.

Lifetime customer value is all about post sales. From the ground it feels like biz development and customer support is about upgrading or buying boxes. I'm pretty sure that is not the intent. Just what it feels like from here.

So, let's assume the number of Production boxes is going to be pretty flat, for a while. The office equipment is all about MFP's. Lots of competition with MFPs. But our MFPs can be linked to the Cloud and then to the Xerox Print Output Network. X-PON.

How about getting serious about nurturing distribute and print? It would be really cool to set up a Web2Print functionality for Xerox PON. Global creatives would, IMHO, love the ability to send hard copy prototypes for approvals and discussion anywhere in the world, within a couple of hours. That should be worth a buzz. Creatives are full time Energizer Bunny Buzz Machines.

The user experience:
Google "Xerox PON (Print Output Network)" or C-GO (see below)
Find it.
Choose region or country of output.
Enter specs and get price (see
Choose delivery service. First Class, Business Class, Value Class. (overnight, 3 day, 5 day,)
Enter delivery information. (See Fedex)
Upload file.
Pay with credit card in local currency.
Get email confirmation when off press and then when delivered.

The problem is that it's very hard for a Non Xeroid to set this up. It's a business problem. Negotiating the prices is going to take forever. Negotiating the standards of delivery is going to take forever. Translating from India to Dubai to New York to Rochester? what a nightmare.

The bigger problem is that our customers do not have a business model that allows them to do 5 or 10 copies without drama. Nor are there predictable standards for output in place. Nor are there predicitable standards for substrates in place.

The good news is that creatives will accept some uncertainty because it only has to be a lot better than the screen or locally printed PDF's with no finishing. Our network should be able to deliver that value, today.

To get from here to there:
Do a Google. Roll out as a beta. Co create the application with users and stop doing focus groups and having meetings. Keep using it as a beta, until it grows into a business. That's how Google Aps is going after Microsoft Office. Google Aps is reported to have over 1,000,000 small business users. And they just sold Washington DC on replacing Office with Google Aps as the platform for 35,000 government users. at $50 a head/ a year, not a bad business model to add to advertising. Especially once you consider their marginal cost of service delivery.

Meanwhile, Xerox corporate has all the relationships that Printer on the ground don't. We should. We've invested gezillions hours in developing those relationships.And our people are doing a great job. For the long run, our defensible advantage is the social capital created over the years. HP, Kodak, et al can't write a check for that. It needs time.

So . . .maybe it's called Xerox Creatives Global Output?

The Youtube video for C-GO might work like this:

The client: "I need to see this in hardcopy to show my team, (or more likely my supervisor).
The creative: "No problem. I'll use C - GO and you'll have it on your desk (Anywhere) or on all their desks (Everywhere) by tomorrow morning."
The client: What's C-GO?
The creative: It's a beta product by Xerox that we're helping test for them.
The client: Can I get on the network.
The creative: Let me send an email to my beta mentor and see if I can get you on.

Whatever it's called, I'm thinking that the signal might break through the noise generated when the whole media establishment is suffering from "deer in the headlights" syndrome.
Xerox is not "to copy." Xerox is "to Print.
Google it. Find it. Xerox it. Anywhere.

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