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Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Xerox is The Death of The Copier: Unleashed 🐦🔥

The Third Day

📈 Breaking News: Xerox's Latest Earnings Report 📈

Before we dive into the transformative journeys of Xerox and IBM, it's worth noting the latest earnings report from Xerox. The company recently swung to a third-quarter profit, with a net income of $49 million—a significant turnaround from last year's loss. This positive financial performance adds another layer to the story of Xerox's ongoing transformation. 

Now, let's get into the article.

The 'Death of the Copier'—a phrase that conjures images of obsolescence, but let's set the record straight. 

When I say 'Death of the Copier,' I'm talking about the ultimate rebirth of beliefs, norms, status quo, and in this case, Xerox. 

Xerox has metamorphosed from a company synonymous with photocopying to a digital force offering augmented reality, AI-driven services, and so much more. This isn't just survival; it's enlightenment.

But will it last?  Is Xerox set to survive or thrive?  Are we watching an elephant dance?

The Evolutionary Tales of Xerox and IBM: A Comparative Analysis

What do Xerox and IBM have in common? At first glance, one might say not much. Xerox, the pioneer in the world of xerography, seems worlds apart from IBM, a behemoth in computing and technology services. But dig a little deeper, and we find that both companies share an ability to adapt, innovate, and redefine their business models to meet the demands of the marketplace.

"We're not just a printer company anymore. We're in the business of automating work," - Xerox

Xerox: From Photocopying to Augmented Reality

Xerox, got its start in 1906 as a manufacturer of photo paper, is best known for revolutionizing the copy machine. Fast forward to 2023, and Xerox has evolved into a multifaceted IT service provider. 

The company offers services that range from optimizing workflows and managing data to automating various business processes. Xerox CEO Steve Bandrowczak is particularly excited about a new augmented reality (AR) app designed to help customers fix their copy machines without waiting for a technician. The company is also venturing into robotics, AI, and cybersecurity services. Xerox is not just about marks on paper; it's about providing IT solutions to businesses of all sizes.

"We're not just a printer company anymore. We're in the business of automating work." -Steve Bandrowczak, The Verge Interview
Bandrowczak's vision for Xerox is to leverage its existing relationships in managed print services to offer incremental IT services. 

For instance, Xerox can now help universities and hospitals automate administrative tasks through technology, thereby driving productivity in a new hybrid work environment. The company is also focusing on workflow solutions in specific verticals, such as education and healthcare, where they can bring value-added services like translation and document grading1.

IBM: The Turnaround Saga Under Lou Gerstner

IBM's story of transformation is nothing short of legendary. When Lou Gerstner took over as CEO in 1993, IBM was on the brink of bankruptcy. Gerstner quickly realized that IBM's unique competitive advantage lay in its scale and broad-based capabilities. Instead of breaking the company into smaller units, as was the plan, he decided to keep IBM together and reposition it as a software integrator. This shift was monumental and involved a complete overhaul of IBM's basic business operations.

"The last thing IBM needs right now is a vision." - Lou Gerstner, Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?" 
Gerstner's focus was not just on products but on providing optimized solutions. He initiated IBM Global Services, focusing on higher-end customer solutions consulting rather than lower-end outsourcing. He also led IBM's transformation from a geographically organized company to a global, customer-oriented organization. One of his most significant contributions was establishing a culture that brought IBM employees closer to its customers 2.

Comparative Insights

Both Xerox and IBM have navigated treacherous waters, but the manner in which they've emerged from their respective crises is a testament to the power of visionary leadership and strategic agility.

Visionary Leadership:

Lou Gerstner at IBM famously declared, "The last thing IBM needs right now is a vision," emphasizing the immediate need for action over abstract planning. His hands-on approach and focus on execution were pivotal in IBM's turnaround. Similarly, Steve Bandrowczak at Xerox has been a beacon of transformative leadership. "We're not just a printer company anymore. We're in the business of automating work," he stated, encapsulating the company's new direction.

Strategic Agility:

Both companies have demonstrated incredible adaptability in their strategies. IBM, under Gerstner, transitioned from being a hardware-centric company to a service-led organization. He initiated IBM Global Services, which became a significant revenue generator and allowed IBM to offer end-to-end solutions to its clients. Xerox, under Bandrowczak, is also showing remarkable agility by branching out into augmented reality, AI, and workflow automation. The company is leveraging its stronghold in managed print services to venture into these new, high-growth areas.


Gerstner reoriented IBM to focus on customer solutions, breaking down silos within the organization to create a more collaborative and customer-focused culture. Bandrowczak is steering Xerox in a similar direction, focusing on customer-centric solutions that solve real-world problems. For instance, Xerox's new AR app aims to empower customers to fix issues themselves, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.
"Computers are magnificent tools for the realization of our dreams, but no machine can replace the human spark of spirit, compassion, love, and understanding." - 'Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?' by Lou Gerstner

Cultural Transformation:

Both leaders understood that a change in strategy required a change in culture. Gerstner worked to dismantle IBM's bureaucratic, inward-looking culture, replacing it with one that valued teamwork and customer service. Bandrowczak is also keen on cultural transformation at Xerox, understanding that a shift from a product-centric to a service-centric model requires a different mindset and skillset among employees.

In the end, the transformations led by Gerstner at IBM and Bandrowczak at Xerox offer invaluable lessons in leadership, strategy, and corporate resilience. Both leaders have not only revived their companies but have set them on a path of sustainable growth and innovation.



  1. Source: The Verge
  2. Source: MBA Knowledge Base

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