In-plants on Wall StreetMay 2014 By Bob Neubauer
Xerox practically took over Wall Street in March with a two-day conference that drew more than 800 customers and thought leaders to New York City. In-plants were a prime focus of the event, which included an entire in-plant track.
The event, dubbed simple@work, featured Hillary Clinton as its opening keynote speaker. She fielded questions from Xerox Chairman and CEO Ursula Burns, who also updated the crowd on recent Xerox accomplishments.
The event was designed to examine how executives can better tackle the choices they face daily to be more productive while growing their businesses. To help attendees think outside of their comfort zones, futurist Anders Sorman-Nilsson, founder/creative director of Thinque, led off the in-plant track with some thought-provoking observations on how business models are being digitally interrupted.
“Everything that can be digitized will be digitized,” he remarked, encouraging managers to think about which areas in their in-plants are not yet digitized but can be. He urged managers to focus on content, not just print, and said in-plants have an opportunity to become in-house communication centers, knowledge repositories and content managers.
The next speaker, Pete Basilier, research vice president at Gartner Inc., took up this theme where Anders left off.
“When you focus on the content, you realize that the in-plant has tremendous potential,” he proclaimed. “You already manage content; it’s just in a printed form.”
In-plants should become the central portal for content, in charge of disseminating it in the proper format, he said. He urged managers to confer with marketing and IT about the best way to expand their role.
In-plants participating in the Xerox event included Bucknell University, Andrews University, Boys Town, Villanova University, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, Fairfield University and Yale University, to name a few. One of the most interesting sessions for them was a discussion featuring Bucknell University’s Lisa Hoover, director of Publications, Print and Mail, and Loni Kline, director of the Annual Fund at Bucknell. In her role, Hoover oversees not only the printing of all university publications but also email blasts, and she works closely with writers and the Web team to ensure that a consistent message is being sent out to the public.
She and Kline explained how they work together to produce and track fundraising campaigns, which include both email and print campaigns. By analyzing the success rates of campaigns and modifying future pieces, they are successfully increasing donations. This is possible only because they collaborate and share the data. That way, Hoover is focused not so much on printing “beautiful pieces” as on printing effective pieces.
“No vendor will ever have the investment in Bucknell that we will,” Hoover pointed out. “We’re invested in it. It’s our lives.”
Seemingly disputing that, Palmira Arellano, vice president of marketing and public relations at Methodist Healthcare, followed that discussion with a declaration that Xerox has been handling her organization’s printing for 15 years. She contended that Xerox employees understand the values of Methodist Healthcare and “live our mission.”
The two-day conference wrapped up with a keynote by Sir Ken Robinson, an internationally acclaimed expert on creativity and innovation, who noted that talent and ideas are often buried beneath the surface, and people feel they need permission to unveil them. He challenged the audience to discover what in their organizations’ cultures is getting in the way of people sharing their ideas.