How Oracle and Xerox are working together with today's technology
KENDALL FISHER: Hi. I'm Kendall Fisher. Welcome to the Oracle Customer Spotlight Series. On this episode, we're shining a light on Xerox from their Palo Alto Research Center, known as PARC. This is the heart of scientific research and open innovation for some of the most important technological breakthroughs of our time.
PARC brings leading scientists, engineers, and designers together to form teams across a series of focus areas that Xerox believes will shape the future of technology, science, and innovation. Please welcome Naresh Shanker, Chief Technology Officer at Xerox and head of the Palo Alto Research Center, along with Anasuya Strasner, Vice President of Cloud Customer Experience at Oracle. ANASUYA STRASNER: So Naresh, I am so happy and excited to be able to be here at PARC and get a chance to hear from you about what Xerox has been up to.
So thanks for joining us today. NARESH SHANKER: Well, thank you. Thank you for having me. And I'm looking forward to the session.
ANASUYA STRASNER: Perfect. So you came to Xerox in May of 2019. Maybe we could just start with share a little bit about what made you excited about this opportunity and made you want to be a part of this organization. NARESH SHANKER: So Xerox has got a long heritage of innovation. It's over 100-year company, and it's evolved. During this time, it created industries that it monetized very successfully, giving birth to the print and office technology, graphics production, all of those industries which actually created billions of value for the company and shareholders.
So it's had a very successful run in the print franchise, and it's continuing to grow and scale. And what was really interesting is that there's a huge untapped side of the Xerox family and all of the PARC innovation that exists. And if you think about the last 50 years, PARC has created companies that have-- spawned companies that have created over a trillion market cap in terms of valuations. And all of these companies are very successful today in the industry and a lot of it is technology that was born at Xerox and PARC. And so it was an opportunity to actually fundamentally think about how can we take this technology at Xerox and actually monetize it. And so how do we develop and create the value, go to market successfully, and enjoy the benefits of a lot of the intellectual property we've accumulated over the last 50 years.
So that in essence is the opportunity and where this journey started, and so that's what got me really excited about how do you incubate and launch new businesses beyond the print franchise. And how do you create the next wave and journey of Xerox in terms of creating companies with both very strong valuations, and get into new industries, new sciences, that is going to be the next 25 and 50 years of our journey. And so it just seemed a way to line up the stars and have the opportunity to actually make a run and see how this is going to work.
So that's what got me here, and it's pretty exciting. ANASUYA STRASNER: So I'd be shocked if there's anybody on this planet that doesn't actually have hasn't actually heard the word Xerox. But probably there are certain things that come to mind when you think of the word Xerox that maybe is something different than what you're looking to evolve today and have people understand.
What are some of the things that maybe people don't assume when they hear the word Xerox? What are things people might not know? NARESH SHANKER: I think what people may not fundamentally understand is that Xerox has actually created markets. It's created industries. So if you look at all of the intellectual property we have developed over the last 50 years, it's in very diverse sciences.
We invented the Ethernet, personal computing. You've got the graphical user interface. You've got all these initial technologies. And what people don't understand is that we have gone well beyond all those spaces, and what we are starting to do now is move into such high impact industries in 3D additive, in Cleantech, and all of the industrial commercial grade IoT technologies.
These are huge spaces and markets that we have substantial amount of IP, and we have an amazing story and journey ahead of us to invent these spaces. And that's what we're doing right now. So people don't know that. People don't know where we are fundamentally disrupting the industry with disruptive technologies well beyond the print franchise. And that's what's exciting.
ANASUYA STRASNER: When you look at some history from Xerox it's that you have that foundation that you can leverage from, and going back and saying, OK, what did we learn from our entire rich history, and then how do we innovate for the future and how do we create the future. What are some of the things-- can you possibly give us some examples of what are some of the things that you think will transcend beyond print that maybe you could give us an example of? NARESH SHANKER: OK. So let me walk you through the journey. If you look at Xerox in its first 50 years and the birth of PARC. So PARC 1.0 was creating the Office of the Future. And then you dial that forward to 2002.
We designed something called the open innovation model, and basically we offered research as a service to the entire world, both public and private sector. And that foundationally helped us create a very, very intellectual property or patent-rich portfolio of technology. So you've got tremendous amount of intellectual property that we've developed over the last 50 years. More recently we launched a company.
It's Eloque, and Eloque gave birth to industrial commercial grade IoT for critical infrastructure. So that's an example of one of the technologies that we gave birth to here at Xerox and PARC, and we can now carry that technology throughout the world. And it's going to have a huge impact on society and safety, right? And more importantly, it helps governments actually start prioritizing capital spend and putting the energy into focused areas in terms of which areas are deteriorating rapidly and where should they be putting their focus. And we know there's substantial amount of investment going into infrastructure globally, on critical infrastructure.
So that's just one example. More recently, we've launched a technology called CareAR, which is basically augmented reality guidance technology for-- and it's contextual based-- to actually help, for example, technicians that are in the field to be remotely guided through AR in a way where they can actually very directly and quickly address customer support experiences and issues in the field by actually tapping into a very wide network of very advanced intelligence of technicians. But more importantly, also content and data and solutions that have been widely distributed and available across industries as well. You bring it all together in a very rapid fashion where you're able to actually solve these problems very rapidly for customers.
And you reduce their down time on equipment and things of that sort. And it's a real breakthrough piece of art. I call it art.
I mean it's-- ANASUYA STRASNER: It is. It's art and science. NARESH SHANKER: Yeah, it's a combination of art and science. And it's going to really enhance the whole customer service experience. So we've launched that company. It's a holding company structure, and it's got a tremendous amount of software assets.
So yeah, so I can go on and give you a tremendous number of examples where we're converting the science to incubated companies. And then we're taking these companies into product and commercialization phases to the market. And it'll all be in the form of either independent entities, joint ventures, spinouts, potential M&A and acquisition kinds of instruments. And the goal is to basically fundamentally launch all these new companies beyond the print franchise. ANASUYA STRASNER: So you're almost your own startup ecosystem as well. NARESH SHANKER: Exactly.
And that's fundamentally what our mission is right now. We are in the business of actually deploying or creating and developing these breakthrough businesses that are fundamentally powered by breakthrough technology. And the goal is to solve real world problems, right, at massive scale.
And so all of our portfolio is designed around massive business problems or societal problems or climate problems. So that's in essence. ANASUYA STRASNER: So now what about PARC? Maybe share a little bit about what's happening with PARC right now? NARESH SHANKER: Lots going on at PARC.
I mean, there's tremendous amount of technology and capabilities here. And so what we've done broadly right now is we have said that we're going to start focusing. Because we've got a very broad range of interdisciplinary sciences that go across many domains. For now, what we've done is developed a market thesis around three critical areas that we think will give us actually the greatest value proposition over the next 5 and 25 years. And the first one is around disruptive supply chains and manufacturing, that whole world. And so we've introduced our first product and business around 3D additive manufacturing.
And it's all products and science built at Xerox and PARC. So that's one of the businesses around 3D additive. The second business is around industrial and commercial grade IoT solutions. And the third one we recently launched was Cleantech, and this is to improve energy efficiency by upwards of 80% in cooling technologies.
It's one of the largest contributors to the consumption of greenhouse gases. And it has a substantial impact of somewhere around 2% to 3%, which is the equivalent of-- these greenhouse gas implications are the equivalent of the entire aircraft industry which is around 2% or 3%. ANASUYA STRASNER: And it's so neat because, if you think about it, what is happening with climate change and Cleantech, it's incredible to see the application of the technology that you're inventing right here. NARESH SHANKER: So we we're excited about that technology, and that business got launched, and we're hoping to complete, I'd say, a better version of the product by the end of next year and then take it from there. So we've got some very interesting technologies at PARC that we're pursuing right now to get to market.
ANASUYA STRASNER: So then maybe you could help us understand Xerox Financial Services. Where does that fit in to the picture and how does that support the other businesses as well. NARESH SHANKER: Yeah, another great business. So Xerox Financial Services is really all about providing a platform of a bed of financial solutions to help both customers, partners, actually not just sell hardware solutions but the complete portfolio. And create the avenue to actually cross-sell, right, in a very effective way, not just enterprise, but more importantly, the SMB market.
And so it's a business we've actually started to stand it up. It's called XFS. It's an independent entity, and the goal is for that business to go to market effectively and be a provider for a multitude of industries. KENDALL FISHER: In this next segment, Naresh and Anasuya dive into the principles of designing for time to value and measurable experiences.
ANASUYA STRASNER: Can you share a little bit about what your perspective is around Oracle and where Oracle fits into that picture as a partner of yours? NARESH SHANKER: So when we started this journey, I mean we looked at what would an outside-in experience look like for a customer, a partner. An inside-out experience, what would that look like for an employee, right? I mean because when we look at technology we bring to market, we design everything from either a partner customer or employee point of view. I mean, because experience is everything. So it starts with that in mind. What is that experience we want to design when we ultimately get to market? We then bring together teams around interdisciplinary sciences, which are people that design business models, process models, go-to-market models. And then last but not least is the online architectures, right.
How do you enable this whole experience? And so we kind of create this three-legged stool around experience to design from an outside-in perspective. And so what we ended up having to do is actually design all of these businesses to be simple, nimble, and agile. Because when you think about a customer, what do they want? They want to make it-- they want you to make it very easy for you to engage with them. When they engage with your companies, they want it to be simple. They want it to be a really enriching, simple experience. They also want it to be easy for them to consume your technology.
You want it to be that way as well. So you want this whole experience to be very simple for a customer or partner. So what we had to fundamentally do is look at all of the technology and what we made the decision was that we were going to go cloud native, mobile native, and digital native, because that would help us actually create and stitch this simple, nimble, agile experience that all constituents want, whether it's a customer, partner, or employee. So we started with that premise. And so starting with that premise, we said, OK, let's work with a strategy that's going to support fundamentally a multicloud, multimodal sort of set of experiences and capabilities. So that's our fundamental strategy.
So we pursue a multi-cloud strategy to create this multidimensional digital experience across partners, customers, employees. And that's where the journey started. And so after looking at several different partners we actually-- one of the partners we selected was the Oracle team.
And what they helped us actually do was to actually put together a complete strategy around how do you stand up these businesses very rapidly so we can achieve fundamentally our goals, which is the time-to-market in time-to-value goals. And more importantly, at the end of the day, kind of deliver a measurable experience for all these constituents, right? For people on the outside coming in or people on the inside out running the operations to be able to deliver an experience. So we kind of had to tether all this together.
And so that's where Oracle fit in and put together a strategy and enabling architecture and the roadmaps and et cetera, to help us accelerate and execute fairly rapidly. ANASUYA STRASNER: How are you leveraging Oracle to look at all these businesses and their performance and leverage that back end system in Xerox so that you can have that unified view? NARESH SHANKER: Yeah, so I think what's nice about the architecture we put in place is that one, it's tightly integrated and we pretty much implemented all of the solutions out of the box. And more importantly, we've created the standards-based APIs or interfaces that can kind of easily transport data to other entities. But at a very basic fundamental level we wanted to make sure that these entities had all of the transparency to be able to operate and run independently.
So that we started with that foundation. And what we're able to do is aggregate the data with all of the different solution stacks that we have to be able to provide full transparency on not just the revenue and all of the different metrics that we typically track around the business, but more importantly also the user experience. You know, how simple is it to support the environment? So you design for supportability.
You design for a customer experience or you design for an employee experience. The whole idea is to make sure that these experiences can coexist and, at the same time, they can actually be holistic and complete in terms of how the solution is architected out of the box. So the solutions we picked actually gave us the opportunity to actually put that in place.
And that's really kind of the whole value proposition around speed to market and speed to value, to be able to achieve that. And then also to create an environment which is supportable, an environment that can be updated and evolved to the latest and greatest where the market's going without putting too much, what I call labor, into the ecosystem. So what we've done is fundamentally move to an automation-based ecosystem. So there's a lot of robotics and process automation in place, a lot of very powerful analytics in place.
And then you have the fundamental technology that operates and runs the entire business, whether it's all of the procure pay, code to cash, recorded report, or planned or ship processes. All of these. You name the process. ANASUYA STRASNER: Yeah, all of it. NARESH SHANKER: You know, we've got it all pretty much on steroids.
And what it helped us do is operate in a very simple, nimble, agile way. And we were able to spin up all these businesses in literally 90 days, I mean, which was very, very important. ANASUYA STRASNER: Are there any benefits, specifically, that you can think of already that you've realized? You shared some just in terms of time to value, the ability to spin up these businesses and get them going and monetize as quickly as possible, looking at the performance holistically. Any other benefits or things like that you can share that just having that sort of experience-oriented approach in mind you've realized already? NARESH SHANKER: I think some of the metrics we were looking at is how rapidly can these businesses transact and start interacting with customers. How quickly could we turn around quotes? How quickly can we create orders? How quickly can we actually configure products to the system and recognize revenue? Things of that sort. And that was going to be important, to be able to design it so lean that-- so we've got a lot of good metrics around lean.
ANASUYA STRASNER: Do you have any advice or feedback that you'd give to other leaders that are potentially seeing an opportunity that seems almost daunting at first? NARESH SHANKER: Yeah, so I think what I learned very quickly on the journey, and one of the things I always do personally is I have my own personal board of directors. And these are professionals in the field, both either professional or personal, and when they give me a lot of good insight. And living in the valley, huge benefits because you have so much of insight and opportunity to collaborate with so many folks. So I think the most important thing coming in I realized was that I had to really be clear about what I know and what I don't know. And the second part of it was also understanding with regards to what I do about both these dimensions and make sure that I appropriately build and/or bridge gaps, right? So starting there, that's something that I put a lot of energy in the beginning actually building and rebuilding the operating models and the teams because I don't care what problem they throw at me, but if I can get the right team and the right leadership and the right culture, I always find myself on the winning side, you know, of problem solving.
And so that's the first thing I discovered was it can't be a one-size-fits-all because there's too much diversity in the system. And so you start small with one ecosystem and really shape it and set it afloat, and then you get to the next and the next. And so very quickly, you know and the other thing was also anchoring around sponsors, executive sponsors, and folks that were champions of a specific mission or cause that could really help you think it through and build it and really accelerate, also important. So I get a lot of help to help me think about these things. KENDALL FISHER: For widespread adoption, technology must be universally accessible.
Xerox CTO Naresh Shanker shares his thoughts on how society can accelerate technology into markets in the future. ANASUYA STRASNER: What's on your mind in terms of the next innovation or the next possibility for what you want to take advantage of, whether it's around cloud or AI. What's next for you when you think about that? NARESH SHANKER: One of the biggest challenges that we, at least I see, us facing is designing a whole digital monetised economy, you know. And that's going to be interesting because you want to be able to transact in currency which is going to be pervasive and universal. And so how do you remove the barriers to be able to transact universally? And from global to region to country and how do we simplify those interactions, whether it's the impact business or even society or even climate? I mean it has massive implications globally.
But we don't have 10, 20, and 50 years to wait. We've got to solve these problems now, which means we have to give, be able to execute universally and allow access universally. That's I think going to be some of the single biggest hurdles in terms of how we get this technology to be ubiquitous. And then, how do you fund it financially and globally, right? I mean it's public sector funding, private sector funding, all these different-- there's a lot of money in the system.
But how do you gain access to capital to actually help accelerate these businesses to solve these problems very, very rapidly? It's going to be a huge challenge. And so most of what we do has very significant implications in the public sector when you look at these things universally. So it's a combination of bringing the private sector and the public sector together, getting access to capital to be able to accelerate these technologies, and patients and speed is something we've got to solve for, and we've got to figure out here and now. And then how do you get the monetization to track to us, you know. I mean whether it's investing or even the returns, how do you actually be able to do this? Because it's all new. Getting into climate is new.
3D additive manufacturing, it's a very nascent industry to disrupt supply chains and manufacturing. You pick the industries we are going into, right? It's very nascent, so we're going to have to develop the infrastructure to be able to consume. ANASUYA STRASNER: So you've shared so much with us, Naresh, in regards to just not only some insight to you as a leader, you as a person, the way that you approach.
It's almost I think of the evolution of artificial intelligence and robots. It's like the show your work. What's happening in terms of the approach or the way you construct these businesses? You know, we don't always see that, right? We see the result of the businesses.
We see the result of the technology. And that's what's so fascinating to spend time with you today is how do you think about these businesses, how are you approaching them, how are you thinking about the experience in mind that you want to create for customers and employees, and then the customers of the customers that Xerox serves. So thanks for sharing a little bit about what's in your head and spending some time with us today, and we really look forward to seeing what's next for Xerox and for you.
NARESH SHANKER: Thanks so much for the opportunity. And it's been quite a journey. And I want to actually take the opportunity to thank the Oracle team.
It's been a great collaboration, and it's been probably two years in the making since, or even three years in the making, since we got here, and the Oracle team has been an instrumental part of our journey. So I appreciate all the support you guys give us, and thank you very much. ANASUYA STRASNER: We feel it's an honor to be a partner with you in the journey. KENDALL FISHER: From industrial grade IoT that senses the health of society's physical infrastructure, to reducing greenhouse gases with Cleantech, we at Oracle are excited to support Xerox on their journey to the future. Thank you for joining at this spotlight. It's been an amazing conversation and we want to keep it going.
To follow up and learn more, visit our Customer Spotlight page and we can help you get connected to the right team. And as always, be on the lookout for our next episode of the Oracle Customer Spotlight Series. You never know which company we'll shine a light on next.