Tokyo (Nov. 8, 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, 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.
As part of this endeavor, Konica Minolta has been aggressively investing in R&D, opening its labs to support co-innovation with customers. With a strong footprint of over two million customers, the team has actively placed customer research at the heart of all they do to ensure the most relevant solutions are developed.
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.
“SMBs are so focused on their businesses that technology is often an afterthought and not considered the strategic part of the business that it should be,” said Maribel Lopez, author, Future of Work expert, CEO of Lopez Research. “Further, since SMBs are focused on the business, they often don’t have the time or expertise to select the right technology for their organizations. They also lag in upgrades because they frequently don’t have a dedicated resource focused on that problem. This means SMBs need a partner that can support these efforts and that brings multiple parties to the table to minimize integration challenges. This is what Konica Minolta aims to do with its workplace vision.”
Dennis Curry, Konica Minolta’s Deputy CTO and inventor of Workplace Hub, also commented, “Our goal at Konica Minolta is to help organizations 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 connecting people, spaces and devices and enabling the connected & 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 organizations, Konica Minolta’s Workplace Hub platform delivers what the customers need. Working with a stellar line-up of partners (Acronis, Canonical, Elastic, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Microsoft, Oracle Dyn, ScienceLogic, ServiceNow and Sophos), Konica Minolta has 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, optimizes office space for those who need it, building an IoT infrastructure with servers and software in a 1 meter 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. For Konica Minolta, these solutions are the natural continuation in its long line of innovation and world-firsts, and fully supports the transformative journey the company is taking.
“Digital transformation is driving business innovation, increasing competitiveness, and creating the business leaders of tomorrow,” said Konica Minolta’s 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 recognized that for many, IT rarely works as it should. In recognizing the challenges SMBs face, we have been strategically transforming ourselves, establishing a platform business aimed at creating the first truly connected office.”
“SMBs often focus on solving an immediate IT problem without considering longer-term implications of coordination and changing business requirements,” said Raymond Boggs, VP Small and Medium Business Research at IDC. “Rather than just adding to the mosaic of technology already in place, the most successful SMBs will be aligning technology for maximum impact, improving both productivity and cost management. But even more important will be the integration of technology, the work environment, and changing staff needs in the Workplace of the Future.”