Competition is all around you and growing by leaps and bounds. Smaller dealers who find they can no longer make investments that can help sustain a level of competitiveness to foster growth are finding refuge in the company of much larger competitors, be they M&A-minded rollups, geographically expanding dealers or OEM directs who are doubling down to expand their share of the pie. And for every Ricoh that is divesting itself of SMB direct clients, there is a Toshiba looking to obtain dealerships that are strategic to their market approach.
The second part of our look at trends and predictions includes a look at how increased competitive pressure is creating a need for dealers to be able to do more without necessarily increasing personnel resources. Jennie Fisher, SVP and GM for the Office Equipment Group at GreatAmerica Financial Services, notes how these competitive pressures, in tandem with the advancement of technology and the explosion of data, is moving forward the need to ramp up technology integration adoption.
“Dealers are able to increase the accuracy of data transmitted between systems and scale without adding headcount by taking advantage of the technology integrations GreatAmerica has built with companies like e-automate, Forza and Compass,” Fisher noted. “For example, one dealer we work with saved 26 hours a month and another was able to redeploy three administrative employees through the use of our integrations with their ERP.”
Fisher feels dealers should examine the processes within their business and work with their partners to understand how they can become more efficient by putting technology to work. Companies such as GreatAmerica are focused on how they can continue to leverage data and technology to further help customers scale effectively.
One of the many ingredients being added to the solutions selling approach is cloud services. Brian Sampietro, CIO for TGI Office Automation, points out that as businesses strive to improve security and shift their processes to rely on technology, the more cloud services gain relevance. He feels the financial benefits of not having to deal with the expenses of infrastructure and maintenance are being realized.
“Internet connection speeds and reliability are improving and prices for higher bandwidth are dropping,” Sampietro said. “There is a steady shift to a more mobile work environment where everyone needs to be able to access information from anywhere. TGI has been leveraging this trend by expanding and promoting its cloud-based solutions. Our cloud services offerings, such as fax services, scanning applications, file storage, document management, IT support and server infrastructures, etc., have been growing at a rapid rate.”
Office of the Future
There are a number of platforms being promoted by our industry’s leading manufacturers, from Canon’s Office of the Future to Xerox’s Future of Work and Konica Minolta’s Workplace of the Future. The common denominator is promoting integrated technologies that can help simplify and augment an end user’s workflow not only today but also anticipate tomorrow’s needs. Hiro Imamura, senior vice president and general manager of Canon’s Business Imaging Solutions Group (BISG), feels dealers need to recognize the opportunities that BISG’s Office of the Future can offer to their customers today.
“In order for enterprises to gain and maintain their edge in a competitive landscape that is becoming increasingly crowded, the document imaging and dealer communities must join forces to ensure that both parties are well understanding their end users’ pain points and working together to provide tailored solutions that will best fit the unique needs and concerns of each client,” he said. “In a time when organizations are pivoting to adopt digital transformation strategies, it is imperative that the document imaging community works with dealers to stay diligent and to enhance the customer experience. The goal of the document imaging community should always be to better service its customers through exceptional collaboration with its channel partners.”