“Between the Lines” – Xerox Shares a View on the Future of Documents

“Between the Lines” by John Kelly of Xerox

One of our top Xerox executives — and my boss’s former boss — recently published an ebook about documents in business and why documents will remain important. (Note, a document does NOT mean a printed page in this context — what a novel concept for Xerox, huh?)  I’d like to invite you to download and enjoy this ebook over the Thanksgiving holiday.  I would also like to plagiarize heavily from a great blog post that Karen McDermott, one of my colleagues, wrote last week. I think her perspective is clever and interesting — so I have basically replicated the post here:

A Businessweek article from 1975 entitled, “Office of the Future” predicted the paperless office. In this article, George E. Pake, the head of the (then) newly formed Palo Alto Research Center, predicted“… that in 1995 his office will be completely different; there will be a TV-display terminal with keyboard sitting on his desk. “I’ll be able to call up documents from my files on the screen, or by pressing a button,” he says. “I can get my mail or any messages. I don’t know how much hard copy [printed paper] I’ll want in this world.””

Fast forward 35+ years and that “TV-display terminal” (better know as a computer screen) that George envisioned sits on our desks – but we still have a lot of paper sitting there, too. What happened? Maybe the future of the lowly document is more resilient than we first thought.

John Kelly, Executive Vice President, Major Account Development at Xerox, published a book called “Between the Lines”, that looks at the future documents as we know them today. You can read the ebook on your Kindle or iPad, or print it as a PDF if you’re still a “paper person”. (We are “digital vs. physical” neutral on this one.) But do have a look, especially at the first chapter. While Xerox moves, together with our clients, into more and more digital media, we still recognize the role that the document — as the primary person-to-person and human-to-computer interface — plays in our lives and the value it delivers to business regardless of its physical form.

John’s book is full of real world examples about how companies use documents to reduce costs, improve investment returns, and achieve other business advantages you might not expect. It also talks about futuristic technology like erasable (reusable) paper. Here’s your chance to get a glimpse at other innovative technology that — like the computer screen — might become commonplace over the next decade and beyond.

I hope you will download it. It reads quickly and may get you to look at documents in a whole new light.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *