New cloud and MPS offerings are channel highlight in Xerox workflow automation announcements

While new workforce automation solutions were the highlight of this week’s Xerox announcements, their limited channel relevance makes some less showy cloud and MPS solutions and tools the big takeaway for partners.

Andy Jones 300This week, Xerox’s Large Enterprise Operations segment introduced several significant new workflow automation solutions targeted at specific verticals. However, while Xerox is looking at ways to get channel partners involved with them, for now they will be sold purely direct. Xerox did, however, also announce some additional cloud and managed print services based offerings which will have channel applicability.

“We are announcing four new solutions and delivery models built on partnerships we announced last November with Datawatch and Hyland,” said Andy Jones, Xerox’s Vice President, Workflow Automation, Large Enterprise Operations. “Customers are also increasingly asking for our packaged cloud offerings, so in response we have a couple new packaged offerings.”

Jones said that the new offerings signal a change in Xerox’s large enterprise document management strategy.

“We are shifting from what had been a very geographic focus to an industry focus for our go-to-market strategy,” he said. The four new solutions deal with retail supply chain optimization, loan application processing, health records information management, and human resources onboarding.

“These four are ones we have seen many customers asking for, so we packaged them into specific industry solutions,” Jones said. “All are built on our workflow and content management platform, and include professional services and consulting.”

The retail solution is Xerox’s Workflow Automation Solution for Supply Chain Optimization. It uses the Datawatch Managed Analytics Platform to digitize, centralize, automate and govern manual steps of a product lifecycle.

“This in-store product lifecycle is something that all retailers have to deal with, and the solution removes costly steps,” Jones said. “It can produce up to a 50 per cent labour reduction so staff has more time to spend with customers.” Jones said that it was first implemented in a large retail chain in Canada, where it produced millions of dollars in savings by chopping labour and print costs, simplifying inventory and invoice reconciliation, and improving fill rates by syncing data and applying automated analytics at the store level.

The other three workflow automation solutions are built on Xerox’s partnership with Hyland, creator of OnBase.

“The health market is huge for Xerox from both a payer and a provider perspective,” Jones said. “Our Health Records Information Management solution lets hospitals unify patient record information and provide consistent single access to the data and documents stored in an electronic health record. It provides a unified patient window.”

The Loan Application Processing solution is designed for financial services. It captures loan application inputs from sources such as multifunction printers, mobile devices and web applications, and automatically routes them to loan officers through a tailored workflow.

“This solution for loan application processing automates and accelerates the loan application review process,” Jones said.

“For large companies, HR onboarding remains very paper and electronically driven,” Jones said. “It is a cross-industry issue that customers say they have trouble with.”

The Human Resources Onboarding solution improves this process by removing paper, automating steps and providing management oversight. New hires receive access to an employee portal to complete e-form “paperwork” and other required documentation online, while supporting organizations, such as facilities, IT and payroll, are engaged for provisioning.

Xerox’s channel plans for these solutions are unclear at this time, but they say it is under consideration.

“Today we are targeting our large enterprise customers with these,” Jones said. “It is our intention to see how we can take these to our channel, but there is a demand to have the right type of technical skills to deliver these, and we need to identify new partners beyond traditional MPS partners to do that. We are selling these direct at this moment in time.”

“It is our intent to make some of these offerings channel-ready and plans are in place to determine when and how,” said Theresa Unger Davidson, Director of Global Analyst Relations.

Jones said that cloud-based platforms are where Xerox is going to the channel with in this space at this moment in time, and the announcement did signal an upcoming opportunity on that front.

Xerox Digital Alternatives, a workflow solution for mobile knowledge workers which lets users sign, annotate, share, save and read documents from one interface, was originally released last November as an on-prem solution.

“Since November, we have had fantastic feedback from customers, with 14,215 transactions completed through Digital Alternatives,” Jones said. Now, Digital Alternatives will be offered in a Xerox private cloud as well. In addition, Xerox’s DocuShare content management service, which allows for easy deployment of an enterprise content management and collaboration platform to capture, manage and share content from a mobile device or PC, will also be available as a private cloud solution. Both of these offerings will be open to channel partners, and both will be available in Q2.

Xerox also announced a new component of their analytics strategy in managed print, the Xerox Secure Print Manager Suite with User Analytics powered by CompleteView from NewField IT.

“Several years ago, we announced our CompleteView Pro tool for print services, and last year we announced our Document Analytics tool,” said Kirk Pothos, VP MPS Offering Development, Xerox LEO. “Now we are announcing this new user analytics tool. It gives a user-based view of the customer environment – what documents users are printing, when they are printing them, how much they are printing and where.

“Customers want continuous optimization of their environment, and these tools give that level of visibility into the customer environment around behaviour, and link it back to the equipment,” Pothos continued. “They want to see it on a timely basis, and that was the business challenge.”

Pothos said the new user analytics tool behaves and works similar to other tools in the family, with a software agent that looks at the print management tool collecting all the information.

“We think this is a market-leading solution, which will be integrated into both our traditional MPS business as well as our workflow business,” Pothos said. “It saves the customer money and optimizes their environment.”

Finally, Xerox announced several new business apps designed for the mobile workforce. The Xerox Print Service Plug-in for Android users, the Mobile Access App and Mobile Link App make secure printing easier for large enterprises.

“These apps keep up with the capabilities of today’s smart phones and tablets,” said Bertrand Cerisier, Xerox’s VP, Office Solutions Business Group Marketing, Global Technology Delivery Group

Android users can download the Xerox Print Service Plug-in for a range of print options including paper and color selection, features like stapling and collating, and a PIN code for a secure release. Free on Google Play, the app identifies and configures the device to Xerox MFPs, and ConnectKey-enabled MFPs and office printers.

Another free app is a Mopria Alliance universal plug-in. It is for Android users in a mixed vendor print environment, and facilitates two-sided printing, paper size and page range. Xerox was a founding member of the Alliance, which supports developing standards for simple wireless printing.

The Sagemcom XMediusCLOUD Fax App is an app and cloud solution sold through Xerox channel partners which offers more efficient transmissions of faxes and streamlined workflow from the MFP or an organization’s email system. As a cloud technology offering, customers only pay for what is needed or used.

Finally, Xerox Mobile Print Cloud 3.0 lets users send print jobs to a single location independent email address via a ConnectKey app. A pin code is provided allowing for the secure release of the document at the device, while an updated version of the Mobile Print Portal supports printing to any printer regardless of manufacturer.

“This third version of our Xerox Mobile Print Cloud solution is most relevant to larger customers,” Cerisier said. “The print from email capability is new, and lets any authorized network user mobile print from any device to any enabled device.”

All of the new services and tools will be available in the U.S., Canada and Europe in Q2 2015.