April 1st, 2013
It stands for Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool, a product registration that helps consumers identify “greener” electronics.
Initially intended for PCs and displays, the EPEAT rating system was created more than six years ago and today is used by eight national governments, including the U.S. While some describe EPEAT as a rating tool, it is most similar to an ecolabel. A trademark green check denotes a product that has achieved EPEAT Product Registration.
Last month, it was expanded to include printers, copiers and other imaging equipment.
In addition to providing consumers with a tool, it was also intended to provide marketplace rewards for innovation by clearly recognizing products that reduce environmental and health impacts.
To achieve EPEAT Registration, a device must meet at least 33 environmental performance criteria. A product can achieve a higher rating by meeting up to 26 additional criteria. Rating points include the use of recycled and recyclable materials, design for recycling, energy efficiency, packaging and corporate performance.
When EPEAT was expanded to include printers, copiers and multifunction devices last month, Xerox showcased 19 products that achieved EPEAT Registration. The company is committed to seeking EPEAT for its other products.
Another value of EPEAT is that it creates a culture of judging the environmental superiority of a product on the impacts across its entire life cycle and not just one phase, such as the product use, which has traditionally been the focus.
Will you look for the EPEAT check when you’re shopping for a printer?
March 20th, 2013
An interesting story courtesy of Infoworld.com, “Researcher hijacks insecure embedded devices en masse for Internet census,” provides yet one more piece of powerful evidence in support of network printer and MFP security.
From the piece: “Even though this particular botnet doesn’t appear to have been used for malicious purposes, it highlights the potential for abuse of poorly configured embedded devices by cyber criminals…”
I believe it’s still widely unrecognized by the business world that any printer or MFP connected to the Internet is a potential point-of-entry for hackers with malicious intentions. And, as the Infoworld article shows, the threats are real, as are the vulnerabilities.
With the recent launch of our ConnectKey devices, we’ve introduced the right technology at the right time to help businesses safeguard their critical data from web-based intruders.
Check out this quick video that discusses a few of the powerful technologies built into ConnectKey devices.
March 15th, 2013
It’s a safe bet that most of this blog’s readers are familiar with the book Moneyball and/or the movie of the same name, or at
least know the premise behind the story.
It’s a story of how big-data analytics was employed in Major League Baseball (specifically, the Oakland A’s) to predict the positive contributions made by players based on career statistics, and then how those predictions were compared to players’ salaries to help a team decide who would make the best roster additions from a true-value standpoint.
That data used for such analysis went way beyond the headline-friendly statistics popular among casual fans such as a player’s batting average, stolen bases and runs batted in.
At the time, the Oakland A’s general manager, Billy Bean, was loudly decried for such tactics, with fans and media calling for his head as the team struggled early in the 2002 season. But when the team turned its season around and won an American League-record 20 games in a row with one of the lowest payrolls in the major leagues, and then made the playoffs, his methods became validated and widely adopted throughout baseball.
While analytics is relatively new to professional sports, it’s been a critical part business strategy for quite some time. And the ability to capture, distill and analyze Big Data, as it’s known today, is an ever-increasing component of running a successful business.
Although this article from ZDNet.com focuses on the ways in which Big Data plays a major role in today’s sports world, it’s easy to draw a correlation between the importance of analyzing sports data and the critical need for businesses to approach statistical analysis in similar fashion.
February 20th, 2013
Today on the MIT Technology Review website is an interesting interview with Xerox CEO Ursula Burns. Ms. Burns
discusses several key components of the Xerox business model in terms of our past areas of emphasis, as well as how she views the corporation’s role in an evolving global marketplace.
To me, one thing is crystal clear: Xerox is a company whose mission has always been about developing leading-edge technologies and services that help businesses simplify the ways in which they get work done.
And at no time in our company’s history has that theme been more prevalent than now, as demonstrated by last week’s launch of our groundbreaking Xerox ConnectKey platform.
February 14th, 2013
Since yesterday’s (2/13) announcement of the new Xerox ConnectKey offerings, we’ve seen substantial press coverage. Here are links to some of the most prominent write-ups:
- “Xerox Targets Cloud Document Security Worries” – InformationWeek, 2/13/13
- “Xerox: Multifunction printers are center of cloud, digital document ecosystem” – ZDNet, 2/13/13
- “Xerox ConnectKey is More Than Managed Print” – Channelnomics, 2/13/13
- “Xerox touts new software for MFPs” – ITWorldCanada, 2/13/13
- “The Hidden IT Security Threat: Multifunction Printers” – Forbes, 2/7/13
Also, be sure to check out the ConnectKey section of Xerox.com, and our Xerox YouTube channel for extensive information about the ways in which ConnectKey will redefine simplicity for businesses of all sizes in every industry.
February 5th, 2013
As a follow-up to Larry Kovnat’s previous Business of Work blog post, “New Year, New IT Security Threats,” I’d like to share some interesting information about another workplace trend that’s proving to be a challenge for enterprise IT departments.
Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD as it’s known, is a logical evolutionary step in the ‘consumerization of IT’ process, which we’ve seen gain substantial momentum since the PC revolution of the mid-to-late 1990s allowed companies to begin providing desktop workstations for their employees.
According to a recent ZDNet article, “Consumerization of IT, BYOD and mobile device management,” the percentage of enterprises that support BYOD increased from 72 to 76 percent between 2011 and 2012.
But what are those companies doing to ensure data security?
As stated in the ZDNet piece, “Consumerization of IT is not going away, so enterprise IT managers cannot simply bury their heads in the sand. The challenge is to accommodate the ‘work anywhere, anytime’ productivity and user satisfaction benefits that consumerization and BYOD can bring, while retaining enough control to keep company data secure and compliance requirements satisfied.”
I encourage you to read the entire article, and keep checking the Business of Work blog for future posts on the ways in which Xerox helps enterprise customers evolve in tandem with the latest workplace technology trends and developments while ensuring complete data integrity.
December 20th, 2012
“I’ll just do it myself.” Or so you thought. After an hour of fruitless effort, you’re no closer to completing the task than when you started. As time passes into the second hour, your mind races with all the other things you should be doing. What a waste. It’s too bad you didn’t delegate this, right?
For many business owners and managers, this is a common frustration. Knowing when to delegate a task can certainly be challenging. This is especially true for smaller companies with limited budgets and human resources. The good news is that the booming virtual workforce allows businesses (both small and large) to efficiently delegate tasks. In this article, we’ll consider some criteria for matching business needs to delegation feasibility in the virtual age.
Snapshot of the Virtual Workforce
In case you haven’t noticed, the United States has transitioned into an economy heavily reliant on services. In fact, according to the Office of the United States Trade Representative, service industries account for 68% of U.S. GDP and four out of five U.S. jobs. The virtual workforce (i.e. the sum of all “online” workers, including virtual freelancers, work-from-home consultants, offshore sourcing centers, etc.) continues to be an expanding part of the global services industry. Millions of business owners have already benefited by building “blended teams” of in-house and online workers. However, the question still remains: when do I delegate?
Do vs. Delegate
Much like the “make or buy” decision we all studied in Economics 101, today’s business owner is faced with a similar decision point: do versus delegate. As we’ve established, it can be quite beneficial to delegate work to your virtual team. However, when is it best to do so? Below are a few questions I tend to ask myself when making this very decision.
- Do I have the budget? All things start and end with the bottom line. If there is no budget, it might be better to consider in-house resources.
- Could this be a repeat delegation? Repetition lends itself nicely to delegation. Delegate it once and then reap the benefits going forward.
- Could I do this myself in less than 15 minutes? Delegation, although efficient, does require some administrative follow up (training, project management, payment processing, evaluation). In my experience, such follow up will take at least 15 minutes of your time per project.
- Is this time-sensitive? If a fire’s burning, you can’t let the building burn down. Unless you have contractors perpetually on-call to assist you, the task may require your immediate attention.
- Will this take me away from a more value-added activity? Try to frame the decision through the lens of activity-based costing principles. If you do it yourself, technically it’s not “free.”
- Is this strategic (or not)? Sometimes strategic tasks should remain in-house. Intellectual property, corporate strategy, and risk are all factors that should be considered.
- Do I already know a contractor who can do this? Having a “go to” online worker is an important step. The recruiting process can be tricky in the virtual world. I find it beneficial to be continuously recruiting prospective team members.
- If I decide to delegate, who will be the in-house accountability liaison? Are you going to personally follow up with the online worker to ensure quality and timeliness? If not, who within your blended team will?
- Should this be an hourly or fixed-price delegation? Some projects lend themselves better to a “fixed price”, one-time payment structure. Others are more suited to an ongoing hourly arrangement.
Eventually You Just Know
It would be nice to have a simple decision tree that always tells you the correct answer. However, in my experience, delegation has many variables that need to be examined on a case-by-case basis. Considerations such as budget, staffing, and timelines all factor into the equation. If you haven’t already tapped into the virtual workforce, I’d recommend you delegate a few projects to get your feet wet. After a while, you begin to get a feel for the delegation rhythm.
The content shared in this blog post is the author’s opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of Xerox. Matt Keener is President of Keener Marketing Solutions, LLC and is also the author of the book Executive in Sweatpants. Visit his blog for helpful tips and tools for launching and growing a successful online consulting business.