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Xerox Analyst Conference: Key Takeaways about the Services Business

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Xerox Services has not operated its business at high efficiency over the past few years. It has been very late to offshoring, growing revenues internationally, and rationalizing its services businesses around a few key areas. The current five plank strategy is devised to address those challenges. Xerox understands the challenge of successfully offshoring (and near shoring) its workforce to lower costs, without also eliminating key domain expertise it has taken decades to acquire. It will be able to reduce cost of delivery to bring it in line with industry practice.

Business rationalization and expansion will be a tougher nut to crack. Organic growth cannot deliver the overall growth required to grow revenues and margin at acceptable rates. Xerox will need to acquire, but any large acquisition program will incur failed acquisitions. Xerox intends to keep the damage down by acquiring businesses at low prices, which is likely to cause it to miss big wins, but avoid big losses.

Finally, culling businesses (such as the student loan processing business, which is shrinking fast and reducing margins because overhead has not shrunk as fast as revenue) will be necessary for Xerox services to focus on its winning businesses. It is not clear anyone would want to buy the student loan processing business, making a cull impossible, and downsizing the only option. Xerox will need to focus on segments of its financial services BPO business that can be grown rapidly to offset the shrink in the student loan part of the financial services business. Other sunset businesses will have to be handled the same way if there are no bidders.

Xerox will succeed at bring its services operational performance up to its operational expectations, but it will take 3 years to accomplish.

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