Carlsbad, CA—You have to give Rick Taylor credit. The man knows how to work a room.
Taylor, the president and CEO of Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., played the role of emcee and talk show host on the opening day of the company’s FutuREady Dealer Conference, which was held Oct. 3-4 in sunny Carlsbad, CA, and he didn’t disappoint. The 700 or so attendees were not treated to a Konica Minolta product overview from the start, but were shown the areas where Taylor & Co. believe the future of dealer success lies, falling into three categories—people, spaces and technology.
“We’re here to listen to you,” he told the audience gathered at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa. “What does the future hold for our business and how do I get ready for it? The future of work is changing, so we had to lead that change or be finished.”
Konica Minolta is far from finished. Taylor pointed out the technology giant has increased its revenue by $1 billion in the past seven years alone, fortified by the 2010 acquisition of IT services provider All Covered. September also represented the single-largest sales month for dealers in the history of Konica Minolta.
Taylor moderated a trio of panels that covered the people, spaces and technology aspects for dealers. During each session, he introduced surprise guests: Larry Sudbay, who sold his Cymquest dealership to Konica Minolta two and a half years ago; Barry Clark, CEO of PERRY ProTECH; and Dean Swenson, president and CEO of The Swenson Group.
During the “people” presentation, the panelists discussed some of the challenges involved with acquisition integration—including Konica Minolta’s experience with onboarding All Covered—the importance of talent to provide sustained competitive balance, and what millennials seek as they embark upon their careers. Kay Du Fernandez, Konica Minolta’s senior vice president of marketing, also gave an overview on the company’s Step Forward program, which is geared toward helping women become more successful.
In discussing “spaces,” one of the guest speakers was Kristin Reed, workplace knowledge consultant for Herman Miller, which works with clients to create work spaces that are intuitive and make interaction easier. Panelists described the need to ensure mobile employees have access to printing and scanning functions from their devices, and network security concerns in the event a device is lost.
Kevin Kern, senior vice president of Business Intelligence Services and Product Planning, discussed the role that enterprise content management (ECM) is playing as one of the fastest-growing business segments. Once a dealer is able to establish a foothold in a customer’s workflow, he said, it opens the door to other revenue-generating opportunities. He noted that for every dollar of ECM sold, Konica Minolta got 19 cents in revenue.
Clark, whose dealership utilizes All Covered as a managed network services provider, addressed the growing concern over device and physical security. PERRY ProTECH provides cameras to school districts for use on their buses, and was recently awarded a $25 million contract with a chemical company to install cameras at 11 sites across the United States and Canada.
On the “technology” front, Swenson elaborated on how his company’s relationship with All Covered proved to be a point of differentiation for its customer base and provided instant credibility. Todd Croteau, president of All Covered, provided insight into the company’s recent acquisition of TLS.NET, an MSP that specializes in cloud, security and voice telephony.
Capping the afternoon talks, Konica Minolta provided a glimpse of its Workplace of the Future cornerstone piece, the Workplace Hub. The application services platform, which includes collaboration with Microsoft, Cisco and HP Enterprise, acts as a bridge between IT and managed services, according to Kern. It can run multiple types of applications and boasts redundancy, cloud backup and disaster recovery, and is easy to manage remotely.
The Workplace Hub is a complete IT management system that combines hardware, software and a full suite of services into a multi-vendor, one-stop-shop platform that transforms the 1×1-meter space a traditional MFP occupies. The system, which was introduced earlier this year in Berlin, Germany, is expected to be ready for dealers in January.
The Workplace Hub was also one of 14 educational sessions held on the second day of the event, and attendees were able to take in topics such as cybercrime, industrial printing, marketing, scanning, intelligent IP video and the advantages of VOIP. The Technology Expo tour offered a dizzying array of products with a decidedly futuristic slant.
One corner of the Expo featured some of the technologies offered by MOBOTIX, a German-based manufacturer of video surveillance systems which specializes in megapixel IP security cameras, 360-degree technology, video management software and video analytics (Konica Minolta acquired a stake in the company in 2016). Its facial recognition technologies offer great applications for security or identifying a student trying to sneak out of (or into) school.
Konica Minolta also showcased a number of vertical solutions for markets including legal and health care. On the latter, All Covered Healthcare offers a virtual health exam visit for remote visits, as well as the EXA Enterprise Imaging platform for the management of medical imaging and patient data.
Konica Minolta treated attendees to a concert by former Eagles guitarist Don Felder on the final night of the dealer conference. Felder is best known for penning the group’s biggest song, “Hotel California.” The conference also served a fundraising function, as Konica Minolta is teaming up with the Blue Angels Foundation to benefit their Wounded Warriors program. Raffle tickets were sold, and the organizations held a Golf & Tennis Classic last weekend in the hopes of raising $500,000. Their efforts reportedly more than doubled that goal.