Business

Xerox eyes privatisation as source for regional revenues

BY JULIAN RICHARDSON Assistant Business Co-ordinator ?richardsonj@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, December 21, 2012    

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XEROX Corporation CEO Ursula Burns says the company’s revenues could climb in Latin America and the Caribbean as governments privatise services.

Burns has led the repositioning of Xerox as more of a services business rather than just a seller of printers and copiers. More than half of revenues are now generated from services comprised of three main offerings: business process outsourcing (BPO), document outsourcing and information technology outsourcing.

From claims reimbursement to electronic toll transactions to the management of human resource benefits, parking metres and customer care centres, the American multinational provides a diverse portfolio of business solutions.

Xerox’s business in Latin America and the Caribbean is still largely technologybased, with distribution centres for its products in almost every country in the region. But government activity going forward could facilitate its foray into services, says Burns.

“We do business with the local economy but you wouldn’t know about a lot of what we do because the local businesses are not in need of the services that we provide, they are in need of the technology we sell,” said Burns.

“But as the economies here grow, especially with government... As government starts to privatise stuff, it’s really important that we are present because we would be a good provider of services to governments that actually outsource or privatise some of their offices,” she added.

Burns said: “It is important to for us to be in a (specific) geography for the benefit of the local government” so they can benefit from the company’s various suite of services.

Specifically, she said, Xerox could expand on the services it now provides various levels of governments around the world, from information technology services (cloud services, data centre, and network management) to health care (health care information exchanges) to business processes (customer care centres).

In the US, Xerox provides services to more than 1,700 federal, state, county and local governments, making the firm one of the largest providers of services to governments across the country. It manages 37 billion public transport transactions annually on buses, tramways and subways in 400 cities worldwide, and processes more than 560 million government health programme claims annually.

Speaking with jornalists during a visit with staff at Xerox's BPO facilities in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Burns said diversifying into services has helped the company more efficiently utilise its core skills.

“We have an amazing global reach, an amazing brand and an amazing innovation engine in our company. How can we use those more effectively and more efficiently? We use those by applying them to things that we know. What we know is how to make business processes,” said Burns.

“Our strategy was to expand along this process line to diversify our skills and assets away from copying only to a whole new business line,” she added.

BPO is Xerox’s fastestgrowing market. Jamaica is home to the multinational’s third largest BPO site outside of the US, behind only India and the Phillipines. It employs 5,595 workers across seven locations on the island — five in Montego Bay and one each in Portmore and Kingston. The Jamaican operation does customer care for mostly US clients, including the telecommunications, health care and technology industries.

“It’s huge. We have highly skilled, service-centred workers in Jamaica. We have billion-dollar client bases here,” she said.

Xerox is a Fortune 500 company — the top 500 US companies, according to Fortune magazine — with revenues totalling more than US$22 billion in 2011. Services now account for 52 per cent of the firm's revenues.

In September 2009, it acquired Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) for US$6.4 billion in cash and stock. The aim was to combine Xerox's copiers, printers and document management services with the BPO expertise of Dallas, Texasbased ACS, as part of its broad diversification strategy. ACS was already one of the largest ICT service providers in Jamaica and a few months earlier had acquired indigenous outsourcing firm e-Services Group, founded by Patrick Casserly, for US$85 million.

Facey Group’s document, technology and information technology arm, Productive Business Solutions (PBS), is the exclusive distributor of Xerox products in Jamaica and many Caribbean countries.

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