December 6th, 2013
Social media helps us share our story, one follower at a time.
By Erin Isselmann, director, Global Social Marketing, Xerox
If you followed Xerox on your favorite social media account during the last few weeks, you might be our millionth follower. We had no balloons, confetti, or marching bands to commemorate this achievement, and we really don’t know who you are. But we appreciate you, and the 999,999 other followers who came before you.
Let us celebrate this moment – all one million (and more!) of us. One million followers does not seem like a big deal to everyone — we are far behind Katy Perry’s 47 million Twitter followers – but we recognize that our one million followers help us share our story. Our company has transformed, and we use our social media channels (and our followers around the world) to spread the word about the company we are today – one that is services-led and technology driven.
We fully understand that it’s people who follow us, and we like to think of ourselves as a business-to-people company. We’re connecting with decision makers at various businesses and government entities; the researchers who engage with our labs for knowledge and insight; the buyers who check our capabilities, services, and products against the competition; employees and retirees who want to keep in touch. And a few competitors who keep tabs on us. (Welcome aboard, folks!)
Thank you to all of our followers, from the very first to the most recent. We’re listening and learning from you each day.
On to two million!
November 26th, 2013
I spent one night sleeping on the streets of New York. But it did not compare to the experiences of children who do it every night.
Think about the toughest decisions you’ve ever had to make. Did you have to consider whether or not you would be more comfortable if you wore your overcoat to keep warm, or to ball it up so that you may rest your head on a makeshift pillow?
Or perhaps you had to figure out if prostitution would yield some scarce money that will get you by for another day or two.
The stories from the children who live on the street are just plain horrific. The reasons they became homeless are varied and tragic, but there’s a common thread: These children have nowhere to go, and no family to rely upon.
That’s why I – and 180 other business executives — spent the night of November 21 on the streets of New York with a piece of cardboard, a cheap sleeping bag, and the clothes on our backs. We did this to raise money for Covenant House, a non-profit network of shelters across the Americas that serve homeless youth. The night began with presentations by some of the youth who now live at Covenant House. They shared their stories of how they became homeless, and how they survived on the streets. After that, they sent us outside, and we bedded down not far from the Lincoln Tunnel. The noise from the traffic never let up, and the ground shook beneath us whenever a truck went by. The temperature started to drop at about 4 a.m., and it started to rain 30 minutes later. I managed to get some sleep, but I was grateful when they called us in at 5:30.
Our experience was for one night, and we did it with the sure knowledge that a warm home, a hot breakfast, and a loving family awaited us the next morning. So while my personal experience of the night was off the charts, it was nothing like what homeless kids go through day in and night out.
Before I took my current job with the Xerox Foundation, I spoke with former Xerox CEO Anne Mulcahy, who is now chair of Save the Children. She told me that I should not under-estimate the learning curve needed for this type of job. Seven months in, I see that making a difference is at least as important as the giving of money. We can’t respond to all needs, but we can give people the opportunity to become involved on a local level. That’s an important way that we put Xerox’s philanthropic dollars to work in the places where we, and our people, are.
Last week, my group of “homeless executives” raised about $2 million, and we helped bring more eyes to the plight of homeless children. Multiply that across everyone who has ever gotten involved in their community, and you begin to see why philanthropy works.
Last week, I learned more than I thought I knew, which is why I’ll be back on streets for next year’s Sleep Out — and I plan to bring a few more Xerox people with me.
By Mark Conlin, president, Xerox Foundation, as told to Gregory Pings, manager, Content Marketing, Xerox.
November 18th, 2013
Companies are exploring alternatives to the office chair amid studies suggesting that sitting may not be the healthiest activity
Hold the laughter: Spending all day slumped in a chair could actually be killing you. James Levine, a researcher at the Mayo Clinic who has been studying the effects of inactivity for nearly 15 years, has called sitting a “lethal activity.” The American Cancer Society has also linked sitting to a shortened life span.
With many companies taking measures to improve their employees’ well-being —and potentially boost productivity in the process — we explored some of the more interesting alternatives to the traditional office chair:
The Standup Desk
Standing workstations are now considered a status symbol in Silicon Valley, but more offices around the country are jumping on the no-chair movement.
There is an increased demand for the standup stations at Google and hundreds of Facebook employees have foregone their chairs, opting instead for high desks that allow them to spend much of the day standing. (Stools are available in case they get tired.)
The Treadmill Desks
Indianapolis-based TreadDesk has more than 100 big-name corporations, government entities and educational institutions as clients, including Microsoft, Pixar, the FBI, the National Parks Service and New York University.
Salt Lake City-based LifeSpan Fitness saw sales more than triple last year. The company’s most popular model, retailing for about $1,499, is Bluetooth-enabled to wirelessly sync data tracking your walking history to your laptop. The height of the desk can also be manually adjusted to accommodate several employees throughout the day. LifeSpan also makes similar desks for its exercise bikes.
The Exercise Ball
Health experts say claims about the vast benefits of the exercise ball have been slightly exaggerated. While one study found that sitting on a therapy ball increased energy throughout the workday, the same results proved true for testers who opted to stand instead of sit. Many health researchers agree that standing improves posture, burns more calories and expends more energy than sitting on an exercise ball.
The Workout Chair
Miracle exercise gadgets or overpriced gizmos? The GymyGym, selling for $799, is marketed as the “world’s first ergonomic exercise chair.” The Menlo Park, Calif.-based maker claims the chair relieves pressure on hips, the lower back and shoulders, while improving circulation and promoting the proper alignment of the spine. The chair includes retractable bands to work your arms, legs and back. It also reclines for abdominal crunches. You could just bring some freestanding weights with you to work instead, but the company stresses the chair is very comfortable and ergonomically correct. Plus, if all the gadgets are directly built-in, you may be more likely to use them.
Share your favorite office chair alternative by tweeting it to us — @RealBusiness.
By Giovanna Fabiano
(This article was first published in Real Business, a website from Xerox that provides ideas and information for decision makers in business and government.)
November 15th, 2013
In business, it is always good to let go of your misconceptions early. One of my first field visits in an emerging market was in Istanbul, and it was an eye-opener. I expected business in Turkey to be less organized, less structured – far behind the developed markets I was used to in Western Europe, with a workforce that needed to be educated on the nuances of business. To my surprise, I found an economy that was already incredibly vital. Turkey was home to hundreds of diverse, fast-growing companies, and smart, energetic workers who all seemed to be fluent in English.
After my experience in Turkey, I learned to approach every emerging market with a fresh eye.
To be successful, you need a foundation of tru
st, relationships and personal attributes—all the things that make for deep customer connections. This idea of deep customer connections has a tangible meaning in emerging markets. There are two reasons for this. One is that most emerging-market economies haven’t gone fully electronic — a lot of basic business communication (such as generating quotes and negotiating prices) is still done in person. Also, the majority of emerging-market companies fall into the small- and medium-sized enterprise category — they can’t afford to bet on a vendor who won’t be there for them in a pinch. If something comes up, they want to believe that nothing is more important to you than their problem.
How a local management team creates this trust varies with the country — and to some extent, with the customer. But it starts with being out in the market to hear their concerns — that’s the number one thing. And if you can help customers in ways they don’t expect, you’ll have an edge in the market that may make a big difference.
If I had to boil down my philosophy of operating in emerging markets to just a few points, it would be these:
- Think local. At its most basic, this means hiring people from within the country to head the operation and do the work. Expatriates typically don’t speak the language fluently, and even when they do, they miss nuances of communication, culture and custom. To be sure, identifying, training and developing capable people is a big HR challenge. But it’s a challenge that must be met if your company is to succeed in an emerging market.
- Engage with the market. Many developed-market companies now entering countries like India, South Africa and Chile pride themselves on their systems, organizations and processes. I wouldn’t say these things don’t matter in emerging markets, but they’re less important than having visible, charismatic managers who like interacting with customers and prospects.
- Minimize the bureaucracy. Big companies are bureaucratic by nature, but they should look for ways to simplify processes so their country teams have more time to focus on the business.
- Capitalize on your brand. This isn’t the first thing to try to do in an emerging market and there is no guarantee that a brand that resonates in one part of the world will resonate in another. Still, the brand can help you if people in a new country associate it with positive qualities — reliability, trust, concern for the environment. When you combine a reputation like that with a truly local operation, it can open a lot of doors.
By Hervé Tessler, President, Developing Markets Operations, Xerox
(This is an excerpt from an article that was first published in XeroxVoice.)
November 13th, 2013
Your bosses finally faced the fact that the organization needs a learning portal, and now you have the green light. Success is not optional, so be sure your new learning portal includes:
- One-stop shop for all programs and related information needs
- Variety of resources and formats
- Single, yet universal point of access
- Network of courses, performance support content and learning contacts
- Enhanced experience for users
“That’s exactly what we had in mind when we planned our integrated learning site for all Xerox people – employees and partners,” says Ron Cowan, manager, Global Learning@Xerox. “We knew we needed a learning portal.”
A portal elevates an organization’s training to a new level: learning.
A culture of learning produces high performance that is geared to business results. In this environment, a learning portal must be high performance too. It’s a massive undertaking, but you will be well-served with these five essential building blocks.
Consider this your best practices To Do list:
Aggregate: Connect the pieces of your organization’s learning resources into a master global network. Set up the home page as the gateway to all learning assets across your company. Populate the users’ point of entry with appealing and helpful section heads to keep them coming back for more. Refresh frequently.
Simplify: Easy does it. Ensure users can get to their learning options with a minimum of effort. Put learning at their fingertips – quick clicks. Promote convenience for users to visit at the times they wish. A learning portal never closes: visit 24/7, 365 days a year. Provide access through many devices. Right-size and compress the content.
Personalize: Deliver meaningful information directly to the users’ homepages. Using HR data, make it easy for them to drive their own “My Learning” according to their needs, such as required and recommended courses, their learning history and next moves. Arrange for functional and regional business groups to populate their learners’ portal views with targeted content, including articles, videos, blogs, and other offerings keyed to their employees’ jobs and interests.
Globalize, Yet Localize: Offer learning in multiple languages. Grow the menu of languages according to geography and preferences. Ensure the gateway pages reflect the variations in languages, and the nuances of culture and traditions.
Socialize: Allow employees to connect, collaborate and learn from one another. Design an interactive forum and community. Enable peers, both locally and globally, to share recommendations and comments. Facilitate user-generated knowledge, success stories, and best practices via text and video, as well as polls and other postings.
“A learning portal is always a work-in-progress,” notes Ron. With that said: These five pillars lay the groundwork for this venue to be in step with your changing and expanding needs.
By Sherry M. Adler, Xerox contributor
October 22nd, 2013
By Renee Heiser, vice president, Corporate and Employee Communications, Xerox
Seventy-five years ago on this day in Astoria, Queens, N.Y., patent attorney and inventor Chester Carlson created an easier way to duplicate information on paper. Carlson’s invention, later named xerography, propelled a tiny photo paper company into what became Xerox Corporation.
I was given the opportunity to lead a small team to develop and roll-out a program to celebrate the anniversary of xerography for all Xerox people around the world. I spent a tremendous amount of time reading about Carlson; looking through the Xerox Archives at photos, news clips, company publications and old videos; and I was fortunate to have lunch with Catherine Carlson, Chester Carlson’s daughter – as part of my quest to learn as much as I could about the man and the history of the company.
Two things really struck me:
One, Chester Carlson was a truly remarkable man. He grew up with ailing parents in abject poverty. He had few childhood friends and he worked from a young age to help support the family. Despite, or maybe because of this, Carlson had incredible determination and a different way of looking at problems. Eventually he became a very wealthy man – but he continued to live modestly. One of his last goals was to die a poor man, and he gave away most of his money to charity. He wanted to make a difference in the world and he certainly did.
Two, what Chester did and how he did it are very relevant to today’s Xerox. Carlson had one simple objective in mind: “to make office work a little more productive and a little less tedious.” That’s what Xerox does today – simplifying how work gets done – and we’re doing it in ways most people don’t expect.
There are lessons we can draw from Carlson’s life and accomplishments. As part of our anniversary celebration, we’re using his approach as inspiration for Xerox’s next 75 years.
- There’s always a simpler way. Carlson was frustrated by an ineffective way of doing something – so he came up with a simpler way.
- You don’t have to be an inventor to invent. Carlson was working as a patent attorney yet he invented a technology that revolutionized office work – and created an amazing company.
- Never give up. It took Carlson a decade to turn his invention into a business. His persistence paid off and is something we should celebrate now and always.
- Collaboration makes us stronger. The true potential of Chester’s invention did not happen until he began working with others - first he worked with a physicist named Otto Kornei and later, John Dessauer, chief of research at the Haloid Company.
- Above all, strive for excellence. As elementary as it sounds, the true magic of Carlson’s invention was that it worked. Again and again.
So today we celebrate the invention of xerography, but let’s also celebrate Chester Carlson and what we can learn from him as we start the next 75 years. As part of that celebration – take a look at 75 years of Xerox in 75 seconds.
Happy Anniversary, Team Xerox!
August 7th, 2013
Posted on Aug. 22, 10:00amET
Editor’s Note: The first wave of software patches is now available. Please read our latest blog post for more details.
Posted on Aug. 19, 2:50pm ET
Patch for Scanning Issues Available Shortly
By Rick Dastin, corporate vice president and president, Office and Solutions Business Group
Our technology team has been working very hard to make the software patch available that addresses character substitution that can occur when “stress documents” are scanned on some Xerox office devices.
To confirm the patch effectiveness, we reached out to computer scientist David Kriesel, who first brought the issue to our attention. David has provided invaluable insight, and his willingness to collaborate and conduct additional tests has been extremely helpful. We were pleased to hear back from David that the test patch we provided solves the problem and he no longer sees the substitution of characters on the document.
We’re finalizing our testing on the patch and availability will start this week, at which time we will announce and post a link on this blog site.
Posted on Aug. 15, 7:30 pm ET
Update from Rick Dastin, corporate vice president and president, Office and Solutions Business Group: We’re working hard to deliver a timely patch and we’re pleased with the testing results. Stay tuned for an announcement shortly on availability.
Posted on Aug. 13, 1:45 pm ET
Editor’s Note: An updated Important Questions and Answers document is now available.
Posted on Aug. 11, 6:00 pm ET
Update On Scanning Issue: Work Continues on Software Patch To Solve Character Substitution
By Rick Dastin, corporate vice president and president, Office and Solutions Business Group, Xerox
After further testing of the scanning function we’ve now determined the unit’s “Quality/file size” factory default and highest modes don’t completely alleviate the problem of substituting characters on stress documents. This comes as a result of ongoing communication with David Kriesel who alerted us to still seeing character substitution in the factory default mode. This is consistent with what David has been reporting, and we thank him for his findings. The default and highest modes do substantially reduce the likelihood of character substitution but due to a software bug character substitution is not completely eliminated. We apologize for any confusion that came from our prior communications.
We continue to work tirelessly and diligently to develop a software patch to address the problem. We’ll pass along information about the timing of the patch as soon as we have it.
We want to reiterate, we believe the issue deals with “stress documents,” which include documents with small fonts, those scanned multiple times and hard to read. Regardless of the document condition we are committed to address any problem even if it is something our customers may never encounter.
We’ll continue to actively listen to our customers and the industry as a whole. We take your comments, questions and concerns seriously and appreciate your feedback.
Please continue to engage with us – you can do so with our principal engineer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Impacted Office Product Families
ColorQube: 87XX, 89XX, 92XX, 93XX
WorkCentre: 5030, 5050, 51XX, 56XX, 57XX, 58XX, 6400, 7220, 7225, 75XX, 76XX, 77XX, 78XX
BookMark: 40, 55
Note: If your office device does not appear on this list, it is not impacted by this scanning issue.
Posted on Aug 9, 7:20 pm ET
Update on Scanning Issue: Working with David Kriesel on Solution
By Rick Dastin, corporate vice president and president, Office and Solutions Business Group, Xerox
We continue to test various scanning scenarios on our office devices, to ensure we fully understand the breadth of this issue. We’re encouraged by the progress our patch development team is making and will keep you updated on our progress here at the Real Business at Xerox blog.
We’ve been working closely with David Kriesel, the researcher who originally uncovered the scenario, and thank him for his input which we are continuing to investigate. As we’ve discussed with David, the issue is amplified by “stress documents,” which have small fonts, low resolution, low quality and are hard to read. While these are not typical for most scan jobs ultimately, our actions will always be driven by what’s right for our customers.
We will continue to actively listen to our customers and the industry as a whole. We take your comments, questions, and concerns seriously and appreciate your feedback. As you’ve seen, we’ve replied to many of you through blog comments and tweets, and while we can’t respond to everyone individually, please be assured we are listening and taking feedback under immediate advisement. Please continue to engage with us – you can do so with our principal engineer at email@example.com.
Editor’s Update: Here are links to reference material on this issue:
Below posted on Aug. 7:
By Rick Dastin, corporate vice president and president, Office and Solutions Business Group, Xerox
There have been reports regarding errors with the scanning function of some of our office devices in which characters can potentially be substituted for others. This does not impact standard printing, copying and traditional fax functions. In fact, the vast majority of our customers will not experience any issues.
Here are the two solutions:
- Reset Scanning Defaults: Xerox is providing a guide demonstrating how to check the current device scan settings and how to return them to factory default.
- Apply a Software Patch: Xerox is developing a software patch that can be remotely downloaded to each device. The software patch will disable the highest compression mode thus completely eliminating the possibility for character substitution. Xerox will begin rolling out the patch within a few weeks.
With this in mind, let me step back and clarify the issue itself. It is important to know that Xerox devices shipped from the factory are set with the right compression level and resolution settings to produce scanned files appropriate for viewing or printing—while maintaining a reasonable file size. You will not see a character substitution issue when scanning with the factory default settings.
To hear and see this frustration and confusion goes against all that’s core to Xerox’s heritage and future. We apologize for any confusion and inconvenience this has caused our customers. We are working tirelessly to address these issues—working closely with our partners and customer service teams across the globe to both proactively inform customers as well as help them solve the issue.
Editor’s Note: If you are a member of the press or industry analyst community please contact Bob Wagner at firstname.lastname@example.org.