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Thought Leaders in Big Data: Naveen Sharma, Chief Innovation Officer, Retail, Xerox (Part 1)

Posted on Saturday, Jan 25th 2014

We have two interesting discussions in this interview with Naveen: one about Big Data and a second one about Corporate Incubation. As you know, in 1M/1M, we’re working on Corporate Incubation quite extensively. Naveen throws light on Xerox’s strategy.

Sramana Mitra: Naveen, let’s start with a bit of your background and also by setting the context of the old Xerox versus the new Xerox.

Naveen Sharma: First of all, thank you for this opportunity. My name is Naveen Sharma. I have a dual role in Xerox. I manage a resource lab in one of Xerox’s innovation center, which is in Webster, New York. Concurrently, I also have a role as the Chief Innovation Officer, Xerox Retail. As part of my Chief Innovation Officer role, I’m tasked to develop and deliver new innovations that can eventually become new Xerox services. Most people would associate Xerox with printing services, but over fifty percent of our revenue now comes from services. It’s an area that is growing as we take a vertical approach.We are looking to bring some innovations in retail IT, as well as IT applied to some of the specific domains, such as industrial, hospitality, or media.

As a part of my role as Director of Research at Xerox Research Center Webster, I manage a group of close to 50 researchers who are primarily scientists and software engineers. Our group conducts research, which ranges from pure research to that of looking to the future to come up with ideas and concepts that may transform into future products. We also look at IT that could differentiate existing product lines. Those are the two hats that I wear. Both of them are intermingled roles and I really enjoy taking new technologies from concept to commercialization. These two roles allow me to do that.

Sramana Mitra: Set some context about what’s happening at Xerox these days. Of course, Xerox has gone through many different iterations and is a very different company now than what it was.

Naveen Sharma: I’ve been here for 20 years. When I joined Xerox, it was, primarily, a printing and copier company. I am a Mechanical Engineer and took graduate studies in Computer Science. Back then, I was hired to focus on the modeling, as well as building solutions and software wrapped around our devices. Primarily, it was a photocopier and printing company back in mid-’90s. During my tenure, I’ve seen Xerox transform itself into a document solutions company and now a services company, as we look forward.

This change happened once Xerox acquired ACS (Affiliate Computer Systems) around 2009. Now, Xerox’s primary businesses is really IT and back office services. These services are highly verticalized across a large number of industries ranging from transportation, IT, financial services, healthcare, HR, and CMS. There are a large number of verticals that we work with.

A lot of the back office services are driven by two technologies. One is how we offer services for the future. What is the future services offering platform? That’s where the cloud enters and a lot of our new services being offered are automated over the cloud. The other common thing across all these vertical back office services is data. When we talk about back office services, a lot of the time it is operational details, operational data, and performance data that we capture as a part of our service delivery. Then, we can leverage that data to provide additional services which are value-added to the client. If I look at our last year’s reports from Xerox, it looks like 56% of our revenue comes from services.

Sramana Mitra: How big is Xerox now, revenue wise?

Naveen Sharma:  It’s about $22-23 billion, in that range.

Sramana Mitra: 56% of that comes from back-office services?

Naveen Sharma:  Yes, our back office and IT services.

Sramana Mitra: The rest of it comes from the printer and copier business?

Naveen Sharma:  Yes, it’s still our hardware business, as we call it internally, which primarily is printed pages. Our business is clearly diversified across production and office segments.

This segment is part 1 in the series : Thought Leaders in Big Data: Naveen Sharma, Chief Innovation Officer, Retail, Xerox
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