About XRCE

This project is a direct collaboration with RXUK. It involves transferring knowledge gained from a previous field study of innovative electronic document technology in a central government organization undertaken by XRCE, Cambridge, so as to inform the profiling by RXUK of their central government customers. In so doing, the project will explore a number of strategies to find the most effective way of transferring the results of basic research to be of use in Xerox's business. Principally, this will consist of providing RXUK with a specially tailored report and a series of briefing seminars.

Business and Fieldwork

Past field work in a central government organization has revealed a number of features of importance to the success or failure of electronic document technologies in central government organizations. Many of these features concern the relationship between technologies and the bureaucratic form of traditional central government organizations. Accordingly, this work has been able to make a contribution to our scientific understanding of the relationship between organizations and technology. The current project builds upon this through collaboration with RXUK to determine more precisely how existing results provide information about customer requirements and how customers evaluate technologies. In this way, the project will help develop new techniques and methods for requirements analysis and evaluation and, specifically, techniques which are geared to aims of RXUK's business.

The current project seeks to determine the needs and interests of RXUK personnel in field work of the sort conducted at XRCE Cambridge, so as to more effectively focus our research strategies in current and future work (for example, the study of large scale document production at HMSO which will run in parallel with this project). The project will provide a detailed report of the field study to RXUK and a series of customer profiling seminars for RXUK personnel based on the results of the field study. The field study was based on social scientific methodologies and an important objective of the current project is to ensure that the results of such work can be delivered to people who do not necessarily share a social scientific background but need to know the details of the working practices and the organizations their customers work within.

Success can be measured in terms of whether RXUK personnel do in fact find the report and seminars we provide as enhancing their knowledge of their central government customers and their sales to and service for them, and whether our own field work techniques are affected by feedback from RXUK.

Transferring Knowledge

British central government provides the largest set of customers of RXUK. The project is concerned to transfer the knowledge gained of the details of how civil servants work with electronic document technology, what forms of such technology are and are not appropriate to their work and how they resist inappropriate technology. In this way, the project will directly inform RXUK of the key productivity enablers and inhibitors we have observed in studying central government workers using new document technology. The project intends to pass on to RXUK our knowledge of the organizational factors that need to be taken into account when positioning new products intended for central government customers or anticipating their future needs. Accordingly, it is anticipated that the project will assist RXUK's position in central government markets, add to the existing knowledge that RXUK have of their customers and help enhance the quality of RXUK's service to central government by deepening their knowledge of how technologies are procured, adopted and used.

Researcher

  • John Bowers

Collaborators

Key Report

  • J. M. Bowers (1994). Supporting electronic collaborative document production in U.K. Central Government: Experiences of implementing a local area network. XRCE/RXUK Joint Customer Profiling Project.