Executive Q&A: Eric Armour, President of Graphic Communication Business Group at Xerox Corp.

 

Q: Tell us about Xerox Corp., the segment of the market it serves, and your core users.

A: Xerox Corp. was founded in 1906 and is a $22 billion global enterprise for business process and document management. We employ more than 136,000 people worldwide in more than 160 countries and serve all types and sizes of organizations. We’re top of mind with Printing News readers because of our focus on developing document technology, services, and software for our graphic communications clients.

Q: What is your background?

A: After earning my bachelor of science degree from the U.S. Naval Academy, I was a fighter pilot from 1981 to 1988. I also earned my MBA from Harvard, but the leadership positions I held during my time in the Navy taught me even more important lessons that still shape how I approach my work.

I joined Xerox in May 2007 and have been in my current position since May 2010. Prior to Xerox, I held positions with several different companies, which prepared me to take on the worldwide management of Xerox’s $4 billion graphic communications business, where I assist in strategic planning, product marketing, and launches for high-end production customers.

Q: What do you consider to be your greatest achievement in this market?

A: By leading through innovation and inspiration we are bringing increasingly more valuable solutions to our customers that are helping them take their business to the next level. This ability to fundamentally help our customers evolve their businesses to meet new market challenges and opportunities they face, and enable them to grow their business, is core to our DNA at Xerox and the thing I am most proud of as the leader of this team.

Good examples are recent introductions into the high-end production color market. The Xerox Color 800/1000 Presses, for instance, offer the sharp images and quick turnaround times needed to help print providers expand their digital businesses. Also, print providers can expand their use of their Xerox iGen4 EXP with matte dry ink—a new ink that provides offset-quality photo prints, as well as consistent and uniform appearance across highlights, mid-tones, and shadows—critical for ink-heavy applications.

Q: If you could change one thing, about your career, your company, or the market as a whole, what would it be?

 

A: I’d like to see print providers continue to expand their businesses from ink on paper and work on building their capabilities to become true marketing service providers. By helping their clients develop effective communications strategies in today’s evolving landscape, graphic communications companies can provide amazing value in the sales and marketing cycle. Print is dynamic—and it’s up to us as an industry to continue to drive that point home.

Q: What do you consider to be the greatest challenge and asset for the industry right now?

 

A: The biggest challenge stems from the road blocks our customers are facing, whether it’s quick turnaround times, shrinking budgets, or even the broad challenge of protecting print’s role in the marketing mix. They look to us to provide them with the equipment and insight to turn these challenges to opportunities.

The industry’s greatest asset is that for every challenge a print provider runs up against, there are partners to help guide them through. We consider the advancements in digital print and expertise to be a major asset. Digital printing remains an industry bright spot, especially as its quality is now indistinguishable from offset, and the burgeoning inkjet market is poised to drive digital adoption even further.

Q: What are the biggest changes to the way we communicate with one another in recent years?

 

A: I see the rise of social media as the major shift in the way we communicate. This new form of communication can be difficult to digest at times while figuring out what information actually impacts you. That’s where a new opportunity has risen for print providers. By getting the appropriate information to the right people in a way they prefer, such as pairing print with email and personalized URLs, print providers can create more targeted information that drives ROI.

Q: Looking ahead, what major innovations or technologies will shape the future of the industry?

 

A: The industry is focused on high-speed inkjet as the next big thing—a way to offer extremely large runs of true 1:1 print. While Xerox is very close to bringing its innovative dry ink high-speed inkjet device to market (stay tuned at GRAPH EXPO), in terms of technology innovation, we’re careful to not just concentrate on one technology.

 

Our focus is on developing devices that meet our customers’ needs for run size, speed, image quality, etc., so I really see inkjet, digital and offset printing coexisting well into the future, each chosen based on its strength for specific applications.

It’s not just about technology innovations, though. Combining technology with workflow tools and business development support helps pull the whole package together for our customers, giving them new ways to increase productivity, reduce costs, and provide additional value to their clients.

Q: What advice would you like to give the industry?

 

A: Embrace change. The industry and the world are changing in fundamental ways. While this can be uncomfortable and even disconcerting at times, it is also creating tremendous new opportunities. Print providers do not need to take this change on by themselves. There are many capable and motivated partners such as Xerox who are here to help them navigate these fascinating times and grow their capabilities and business for years to come. PN

For the full version of this interview, visit Printing News online at www.MyPrintResource.com/magazine/pn/current-issue

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