Channel Post speaks to Pui Chi Li, the Head of Marketing for Middle East and Africa at Xerox, regarding the company’s plans for 2018
What were the major technology and market trends in 2017?
Last year we have launched 29 new devices that we call “Workplace Assistants” and powered them with an intelligent and much more modernized ConnectKey platform. This was our response to the trend of 2017, which we believe was about upgrading our workplace to the next level.
We believe that while consumer technology is changing very fast, younger employees (mainly Millennials) would expect similar level of digital transformation to happen at the workplace. Our new Workplace Assistants are designed for big enterprises – Versa Link line and small and medium enterprises – Alta Link range and are equipped with tablet-like display panels, intuitive user interface and high level of customization achieved through applications.
This is exactly what customers were looking for in 2017 and we believe this trend will not be changing but will be further evolving in 2018.
Do you believe any technology buzzwords from 2017 will really kick-off in 2018?
Internet of Things (IoT) will definitely become more relevant this year. Connected homes, vehicles, wearables and other devices will be even more accessible this year. If you look at it from the multi-function printer perspective, IoT trend will become even more relevant in 2018 as office technology is becoming more and more connected, opening a fifth function to our devices.
Previously mentioned ConnectKey platform enables Xerox printers to connect to the cloud and use multiple applications that allow their access to external storage, emails and databases. Cloud connectivity won’t be perceived as a luxury anymore, it will be something customers would expect from their connected devices this year.
How has 2017 been for your company and business?
2017 was a great year! We have launched our Workplace Assistants and this significant step forward marks 2017 for us. Our channel network has been growing steadily adding coverage to make our offering ever more accessible to the market place. We are also very satisfied with our performance in the Middle East region where we have seen growth in key segments through our focused efforts.
What were your major achievements in the year 2017?
Throughout 2017 we focused on connecting with our customers through a series of customer engagement events. This includes Connectkey Launch events, and we also unveiled the flagship production device, Brenva. We also participated in GITEX 2017 show casing our ConnectKey offering to the audience.
How do you foresee opportunities for 2018?
The wave of the digital transformation that travels across Middle East region will continue encouraging businesses of all sizes to shift their business practices. We believe that such industries as Education, Healthcare, Banking and Finance will continue their shift towards smarter and more digital infrastructures and we see a huge business potential in it for us in the region.
We also feel that business apps will gain much more momentum in 2018 and we are already set to support this trend by offering a wide and growing variety of apps through the ConnectKey platform. Applications are not there only for convenience and improved workflow but for customization that customers today are looking for.
What sort of strategies do you have in place for 2018?
We are planning to continue expanding out channel partner network as our partners are always our top priority when it comes to Xerox’s operations in the Middle East. In fact, just yesterday we have announced a new software solution that is now available to our authorized channel partners in the Middle East.
The company’s new Remote Connect software improves device service and administration, and streamlines meter reads and supplies replenishment. Remote diagnostics and support, based on Internet of Things device connectivity, increases device uptime for customers.
Partners will also improve profitability as they manage device needs remotely and spend less time in the field. We constantly work towards helping our partners to increase their profitability while offering their customers best solutions and little to no downtime and we will continue doing this in 2018.
Will you be investing more in terms of expansion of your market reach, channel programs and general marketing?
The Middle East region is one of the major markets for Xerox, representing significant growth opportunity. We are continually investing into the region through active recruitment of partners who share the same ethos as Xerox which is helping our customers achieve greater efficiency.
Training is always something we see as our priority when it comes to investment allocations for our channel partner network growth. We provide our partners with regular and comprehensive training programs. They are generally a mixture of short online snippets through to full 4 day face to face training courses that are designed to up-skill our partner organizations.
We will continue our efforts to work with our partners to engage with customers through a series of events across the region, presenting on key topics around digital transformation and how Xerox can help customers on this journey. We will continue employing digital marketing tools and techniques to support our partners in reaching their audiences. These are just some of the examples of places we are investing to support our growth in the region.