Ricoh’s customer experience centre

Workers want innovative technology and digital solutions to help them increase their productivity, according to a study commissioned by Ricoh. Sixty-five per cent of the 3600 workers surveyed say automation technology will enable them to be more productive, while 52 per cent agree that artificial intelligence will have a positive impact on their role. More than 41 per cent of employees see e-mail and 37 per cent meetings as their biggest daily time wasters. That’s even more than the 29 per cent who think the same of commuting.

However, an overwhelming 98 per cent are positive about the potential of new technology to empower them to work in smarter ways. This includes 44 per cent who perceive more immediate access to data, 42 per cent the ability to work from home more frequently, and 41per cent a reduction in repetitive tasks.

‘Governments and enterprises echo this call from workers,’ said Lauren Timmer-Somer, head of Marketing and Technology Services at Ricoh SA. ‘They agree that a lot of the work day is wasted with tasks that can be automated and, by giving that time back to employees, technology can empower workers to work smarter and bring real value back to the business.’

Workers worry that insubstantial technology investments will create problems down the road, 36 per cent of them believe it could cause businesses to fail within five years and 46 per cent think their competitors already have an edge.

Digitisation has challenged businesses of all sizes for a number of years already. It demands operations be reinvented for maximum benefit. But the challenge arises from the fact that it is not a straightforward swap of analogue to digital because no two transformation projects are alike.

This is not the first time businesses are challenged to change. Technology, economics, politics, and the environment have all made their influence felt in the past. Organisations that survive – even thrive – are the ones that adapt best. They adopt the working styles, technologies, management techniques, and organisational characteristics that are valuable and that work – and reject those that do not.

Forward-looking businesses that seek to develop their digital appetites in tune with the desire to adapt to the changing world need a coordinated, focused approach that underscores their future acceleration effort into the digital age. Fundamental to digital effectiveness are customer engagement, digital workflows and processes, governance and compliance, flexible and mobile working, and information security, elements that form the basis of evolutionary digitalisation programmes.

Ricoh SA’s customer experience centre showcases a bedrock solution to progressive digitalisation. The state-of-the-art facility is home to Ricoh’s next-generation digitalised office automation, workflow and process services, communication services, and commercial and industrial print solutions that create the launch point for enterprise digitalisation programmes.

‘These solutions go beyond the simple, straightforward devices of the past,’ said Jacques van Wyk, COO of Ricoh SA. ‘Customers are transforming from traditional, paper-based, and manual businesses to automated and productive digitally-efficient operations that are geared to quickly take charge during the dynamic uncertainties that characterise our current operating environments in South Africa and globally.’

Future-proof digital offices incorporate the power of big data into decision-making analyses, the Internet of Things (IoT) for efficient operations, and intelligent data gathering at the business coalface, founded on stringent security for a hyper-connected world, and tightly integrated for a seamless experience that helps businesses meet their most demanding challenges.

‘We see time and again the keen level of interaction opens customers’ imaginations to the broad possibilities of the innovative digitalised solutions in their own organisations,’ said van Wyk. ‘They may initially be interested in a simple, high lumen projector but see the strategic benefits of interactive, short throw projectors and smart boards for dispersed or mobile project teams and their own customers. Or the glimpse into paperless offices and digitalised, efficient workflows that feed accurate, reliable data to decision-making business processes that lead strategic activities really highlights their way forward.’