Xerox Hooks Printers Up to the Cloud

    While an increasing number of documents are created electronically, there are still billions of paper-based forms. Xerox this week announced a bevy of printers that, among other things, make it simpler to scan documents directly into cloud services such as Microsoft Office 365, Dropbox and Google Drive.

    As part of a launch of 29 printers and multi-function devices aimed at small to medium-sized businesses, Xerox CEO Jeff Jacobson says the company is now squarely focused on helping organizations innovate across a spectrum of business processes involving various types of documents.

    “We’re getting back to our innovation roots,” says Jacobson.

    Jacobson notes that despite the rise of electronic documents, the printer market still generates $85 billion in revenue, with about $38 billion of that revenue being generated in what Jacobson described as growth markets. Jacobson says he expects about half of Xerox revenue will be generated via those emerging market applications by 2020.

    The new Xerox offerings also make use of tablet devices to provide customers with a simpler user interface that can be customized. The end goal, says Jacobson, is to make it simpler to automate any number of business processes involving, for example, the simultaneous processing of invoices.


    Most organizations would prefer to eliminate as much paper as possible from those processes. In the meantime, many of them will have to settle for reducing the amount of time and overhead associated with managing paper-based processes. Of course, there might even come a day soon when there’s no need for user interfaces to interact with printers and other types of office equipment at all. Instead, digital assistants running on your device will respond to voice commands to execute those tasks.

    In the meantime, however, Xerox clearly sees an opportunity to become more relevant by focusing on workflow automation rather than just the devices used to input and output paper-based forms and documents.

    Mike Vizard
    Mike Vizard
    Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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