Outsourcing's Odd Couple: Xerox & ACS, One Year Post-Merger

It's been just over a year since Xerox officially acquired business process outsourcer ACS for $6.4 billion. But as students of successful mergers understand, the real work of integration--combining the technology, processes and cultures of the two organizations--has only just begun.

The question that looms largest is whether or not the conjoined companies can deliver on the premise--and promise--of their union. In the case of Xerox-ACS, according to its own recent marketing campaigns, that means changing "the way you see our company--and possibly your own." By in document technology with ACS's expertise in managing and automating work processes, the company says it has created a new class of business services provider.

CIO.com spoke to and the head of ACS's IT outsourcing unit Kevin Kyser about the challenges of integrating a products company with a service provider, , and ACS's newest--and least profitable--outsourcing customer, Xerox.

CIO.com: Industry watchers tend to view the Xerox-ACS partnership as the odd couple of technology mergers. It's harder to see how the two companies might complement each other than it is with a Dell-Perot or HP-EDS match-up. How do you explain the value of the partnership?

John E. McDermott, Xerox CIO: We get reports from CIOs and other customers that Xerox has fundamentally changed the impression of its brand from a brand associated with great printing and some document management services to company that can manage document intensive processes across a wide spectrum. And that's what pointed us toward ACS. ACS had found an important and profitable segment of the outsourcing marketplace that is document intensive. We see that in traditional BPO areas like HR. We see it in legal and mortgage and health records.

How do you explain the value of the partnership in terms of IT outsourcing?