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EDS and Xerox take integrated offering to market

EDS and Xerox have entered a formal alliance that makes EDS a systems integrator for Xerox products.

The alliance, which targets businesses that rely on outsourced desktop and document management services, means current and future EDS customers will be offered Xerox services, copiers and other office equipment when EDS negotiates desktop services deals.

This includes Xerox's Phaser colour and black-and-white network printers, digital copiers and multifunction systems, as well as a suite of document and desktop software products and related services, said Karin Stroh, a spokeswoman for Xerox. The alliance currently does not include Xerox DocuColor, DocuTech and DocuPrint production products and services, but Stroh said the companies plan eventually to open it up to them.

The alliance expands on a relationship formed by the two companies one year ago under which Xerox became a preferred printer provider for EDS.

The new more extensive alliance makes sense because EDS as a systems integrator naturally has relationships with IT professionals who gradually have gained more decision-making power. Xerox has faced a challenge in gaining access to those professionals.

"It used to be the purchasing manager and the business manager would make all the decisions. Now the IT professional is getting more involved," Stroh said. "Since EDS has relationships with IT professionals, we think the alliance provides a great way to get our foot in the door at companies where we might not have been able to talk to the IT professional."

The first integrated offer resulting from the alliance is called Managed Output Services. Customers who buy this package will develop and implement a managed output strategy in most cases after undergoing an assessment of a number of things, including how the enterprise works, how they spend their money and time on document-related processes, what they try to accomplish in a day and how many people are doing the job. One of the objectives is to help customers cut down on duplication of effort.

"There was a time when everyone had their own printer on their desktop," Stroh said. "Now that's not feasible because companies are trying to cut back, and they can achieve that by having just one multifunction product that scans, faxes, prints and copies."

After the assessment Xerox and EDS provide recommendations to help customers manage documents and related processes more efficiently. The process already has been tested at a handful of customers, including the energy company Avista.

The Managed Output Services offering is immediately available in the US. It will be expanded into Europe over the next year followed by other regions through EDS and Xerox field organisations.

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