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Konica Minolta sheds light on SMBs

November 9, 2018

A new survey by Konica Minolta, Inc. into small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) has revealed that the vast number of IT challenges experienced daily are actively hampering business’ success.

Linked to the latest release of its technology platform Workplace Hub (in the U.S. and Europe), Konica Minolta commissioned the research to further reinforce its understanding of SMBs as it transforms into an innovative solutions provider creating a truly connected office. Further plans are underway to globally expand the innovative product offering to the market. Specifically, the company plans to launch the Workplace Hub platform in the spring of 2019 in Japan with locally optimised functions, applications and services.

As part of this endeavour, Konica Minolta says it has been aggressively investing in R&D, opening its labs to support co-innovation with customers. With a footprint of over 2 million customers, the OEM says the team have actively placed customer research at the heart of all they do to ensure the most relevant solutions are developed, particularly at local level to support Konica Minolta’s Japanese market launch plans.

The multinational survey, conducted in August 2018, exclusively revealed that SMBs are currently settling for IT that under delivers. At least a third of respondents reported that technical issues can lead to increased costs, lower productivity and diminished quality of work. Despite this, 95 percent say they are satisfied with their current IT solutions. Konica Minolta, who have a clear Workplace of the Future vision, disagree that problem-filled IT should be the norm in a business setting. To help SMBs overcome these challenges, Konica Minolta created Workplace Hub, a category-defining range of connected office products and services built around how people work. Further research is underway in Japan, to continue to strengthen the best Japanese market value proposition from Workplace Hub.

“As organisations make progressive moves toward digital transformation, they encounter the significant challenge of managing multiple systems and connecting disparate data points whilst remaining compliant and competitive,” said Mick Heys, VP European Imaging, Printing & Document Solutions at IDC. “This creates an increasing need for management platforms that offer centralised control removing much of the IT burden. We are seeing several initiatives from IT vendors in this space, who are looking to help their customers on this journey by creating or integrating centralised platforms.”

Dennis Curry, Konica Minolta’s Deputy CTO and inventor of Workplace Hub also commented, “Our goal at Konica Minolta is to help organisations create the workplace of the future powered by IoT and AI. The first step on this journey is to simplify their IT with an all-in-one IT system that seamlessly integrates hardware, software and services into a multi-vendor, one-stop solution. We believe that Workplace Hub is this solution, seamlessly connects people, spaces and devices enabling the connected and intelligent office environment. In doing so, SMBs can focus on growing their business, creating new products and business models, and gaining a competitive advantage.”

With the research finding that 91 percent of SMBs say an all-in-one IT system that seamlessly integrates hardware, software and services into a multi-vendor, one-stop solution would be relevant to their organisations, Konica Minolta says its Workplace Hub platform delivers what the customers need. Working with what the OEM dubs a “stellar line-up” of partners (Acronis, Canonical, Elastic, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Microsoft, Oracle Dyn, ScienceLogic, ServiceNow and Sophos), Konica Minolta have released Hub and Edge as the first two products to support SMBs in this category.

The first product from this portfolio, known as the Hub, optimises office space for those who need it, building an IoT infrastructure with servers and software in a 1 metre squared space. Edge, a solution for those looking to boost performance from their server room, is a managed IT service that can complement existing systems to manage specific operational tasks or replace and manage all IT.

“Digital transformation is driving business innovation, increasing competitiveness, and creating the business leaders of tomorrow” said Konica Minolta President and CEO Shoei Yamana. “It has also led to an increasing demand to let people work anywhere they want using a variety of devices. We have long recognised that for many IT rarely works as it should. In recognising the challenges SMBs face, we have been strategically transforming ourselves, establishing a platform business aimed at creating the first truly connected office.”



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