A bold vision for the future

Rajagopalan Balaji the executive director – Technology & Channels, Xerox India speaks to the PrintWeek India team about the Versant 2100 and the future of digital print in iIndia. He says, " Over the years, the diverse roles at Xerox India have helped me understand the various functions that are necessary for success in an organisation with a turnover of approx. $22 billion with 1,42,000 employees. Now I have decided to embark on new journey and handle the sales part of the Indian business

07 Nov 2014 | By Ramu Ramanathan

Versant 2100

Versant 2100 is a mid-level production engine, the sheetfed SRA3-format digital toner press with duplex capabilities on weights of 52-350gsm, has a higher speed, accepts a wider range of media and benefits from greater automation.

There is a new low-gloss version of the EA ‘dry ink’ toner that was first seen in the Colour 1000. This is intended to give offset-like quality, rather than the giveaway sheen of some digital print. Smoother tones are possible with 10-bit imaging depth.

At 100ppm on stocks up to 300gsm, the Versant 2100 is faster than the 80ppm of the DC8080. It can also handle mixed colour models (such as 4/1) at almost full speed. The duty cycle is quoted as an occasional maximum of 660,000 pages per month, with averages expected to be between 75,000 and 250,000 sheets.

Versant: Star attraction

The star attraction in the 2100 is the Ultra HD resolution which goes up to 1200, with up to 10-bit image depth for smoother tones. It uses heated belt fusing rather than rollers, giving a uniform heat and pressure across the sheet, which helps image consistency. It also heats up more quickly, saving energy. The toner melts at a relatively low temperature and the press has a cooler before the delivery, to prevent toner sticking the sheets together. A full width inline RGB scanner detects and corrects image alignment as well as duplex alignment. It also assesses quality for closed-loop colour and density correction.

Having said so, the Versant does doff its hat to the legacy features from Xerox built Colour 1000. These include the heated belt and the EA toner, though the Versant uses new versions. There is also a new jam clearance feature and a significantly wider range of finishing options. The Versant also has an official maximum resolution of 2400dpi, but its various RIP options can generate 10-bit depths, at 1200dpi that will guarantee smoother gradations.

Technological development

HCL Technologies and Xerox have tied-up in the R&D front. At their Chennai facility, HCL undertakes research in hardware and software for our technologies. The Chennai research centre is working on various developments in terms of designs, modifications and testing in developed products. We do take our customers and partners to HCL-owned facility in Chennai on need basis to showcase our technological acumen. We also undertake training sessions at the facility too.

Xerox Research Centre

Apart from our unique R&D centre, we also have a state-of-the-art Xerox Research Centre in Bengaluru, which is thefirst located centre outside North America and Western Europe. The Centre in Bengaluru has a focus on innovation and creating solutions according to the requirements of the developing markets. This is the innovation centre’s main focus is on developing technology for the servicers’ space. We have deployed a few innovations developed at the Centre, one in healthcare sector developed along with Manipal Technologies, which is already being piloted. We have also developed a very interesting Express Banking Solution for the banking sector to help them expand in the semi-rural / rural areas at a low cost. We have a very competent team of researchers working at our innovation centre that has registered a lot of patents with the view of developing solutions for the challenges in the developing markets. These facilities are proof that Xerox is here to invest and help developing markets with innovative solutions for their unique problems.

Future growth

We are going to launch various new products in the near future starting with Versant 2100. We are confident that these new launches will have a positive impact in the market. We plan to back these new launches with our tried and tested support systems and network, which in turn will boost our market share both in the production and office space. I wouldn’t like to put a number on it, but I think 2015 is poised to be an exciting year for us. I took up this new challenge because of the challenges and opportunities that exists in the market today. I hope the knowledge and experience garnered over three decades at Xerox will enable me to drive the Technology & Channels Business towards new heights by bringing in a more focused and streamlined approach.  

A veteran at Xerox

I took over the technology and channels business at Xerox in September 2014. I joined Xerox 32 years ago as an engineer and over time have fulfilled various roles and worked in different segments at company including technical support, manufacturing and field interface and product launches. I was involved in launching the first fax machine, first laser printer and the first production colours in India. Apart from these launches I have been in-charge of regional services in Southern India. I have also headed the technical competence centre and led the Lean Six Sigma. In 2008, I took over the customer service and supply chain responsibilities.

New role at Xerox

As one can see I come from a background which is highly varied, my objective as Head of Technology & Channels is two-fold. The most important thing on my agenda is to strengthen our indirect business model and solidify our partnerships and enhance our reach and network to tier-II and tier-III cities and felicitate growth both in terms of revenue and profits supported by the technology that we are launching, that will the enabler for improved growth. Our focus will be on mid-segment where we see great scope for growth.

Market share of 30%

Today we have a market share of close to 30% in production business. Our indirect business model has enabled us with different partners in different sectors. As manufacturers we have solutions which cater to a vast array of print needs and we have different partner networks for different segments. This business model provides us versatility and helps us optimise our profits by associating with the right partners in the right sectors. We have over 100 sales and services partners who are trained effectively to provide value and functionality to the customers, that they expect from Xerox. Our post-sales services are one of the best in the marketspace and when 60% of the business filters in through repeat customers it becomes imperative to keep your existing customers happy. We are also looking at tapping new customers in order to increase our market share.

Market approach at Xerox

Xerox India has a two-pronged go-to-market approach, one through Technology & Channels team and the other beingthe Services Team. The services space is handled through direct sales. According to all leading analysts including Gartner, IDC, Quocirca etc Xerox is number one in the managed print services space. For the large and global accounts serviced by our  Services Team,  sales and key operations is handled by our direct team including product deployment and providing core-competency in areas where the client doesn’t want to spend their time. For other key accounts, we offer MPS through our Xerox Partner Print Services Offering where our partners deliver cost-effective solutions that bring ease of operations and saves time for customers.

(This interview was transcribed and copy edited by Mihir Joshi)