Konica Minolta: On a path to reinvention
Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe held its European Leadership Campus (ELC 2019), on the 18 October in Copenhagen, Denmark. This major summit brought together 800 channel partners to showcase the company’s newest products, solutions and services, from office and professional printing to IT service solutions. Through its “Rethink Your Scope” theme, Konica Minolta demonstrated its commitment to transforming its business to a value-led business, capturing opportunities presented by digital transformation.
Konica Minolta is perhaps one of the key Japanese traditional print industry players that has articulated a strong vision and strategy to reinvent its core-business. Its Workplace Hub platform, announced a few years ago, is finally being launched to the indirect channel in Europe, targeted at SMEs to help simplify their IT infrastructure. Through several acquisitions in the IT services space, Konica Minolta is firmly placing its bets on repositioning the business as an IT services provider, while remaining committed to innovation in its core print technology business. Konica Minolta’s commitment to innovation was clearly demonstrated across areas such as IoT, intelligent video security (through its acquisition of Mobitix) and artificial intelligence/machine learning.
The fruits of Konica Minolta’s dedication to pursuing a digital transformation led strategy were showcased across a number of areas:
Workplace Hub Platform
The ELC event was the launchpad to start the onboarding of partners for the Workplace Hub platform. In the US, Konica Minolta is already working with channel partners.
With the Workplace Hub technology, Konica Minolta integrates IT services into one system. Its aim is to reduce the complexity of managing a disparate mix of tools, services and devices through a single platform. Workplace Hub provides a unified platform, bringing together software, licence management, automatic updates and cloud-based services in one place. Customers can use Workplace Hub on a monthly basis, and the managed IT service model helps to ensure that customers no longer need to dedicate resources to IT infrastructure management and administration.
The Workplace Hub is certainly an innovative and unique approach in a market which remains focused on the traditional functions of an MFP. By integrating hardware, software and services into one platform, Konica Minolta is making a bold move. Given its focus on the SME market, success will be highly reliant on effective engagement with its channel partners and their willingness to transform their own businesses beyond print to an IT services model.
A central theme to Konica Minolta’s ELC exhibition was the Connected Workplace concept. Konica Minolta’s Digital Office solutions aim to support the connected office through 7 key areas:
- Universal design
- File sharing and collaboration
- Document capture and management
- Panel customisation as well as Cloud and mobile printing.
Konica Minolta’s Business Services portfolio also includes consultancy services, infrastructure implementation and managed services.
bizhub Evolution is an on-demand platform for smarter business processes that helps organisations accelerate everyday tasks. All services can be activated and used on-demand – on a pay for use model. The platform provides a growing selection of high-performing services and tools. As an example, bizhub Evolution has recently been upgraded to include a new translation service to enable users to seamlessly translate documents while also keeping the document format. The solution is equipped with an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered engine and utilises a self-learning algorithm to deliver its translations.
Managed IT services
Konica Minolta has capitalised on the growing trend for SMEs to outsource their IT infrastructure management needs to managed IT service providers. The shift from owning to using IT offers SMEs the scalability and flexibility of accessing a range of services. Konica Minolta offers business-optimised services such as contract management solutions, digital invoicing and document management, as well as the standard IT infrastructure management services. Konica Minolta is already working as a successful strategic IT partner for a range of businesses, supported by extensive network specialist and technical resources. Cloud services are also a key element of Konica Minolta’s IT services strategy.
Konica Minolta’s strong focus on the SME market means that much of its success will rely on delivery of a strong proposition for its loyal channel partner network. Konica Minolta is already ahead of many of its competitors when it comes to having diversified to the IT services space. It remains to be seen whether its Workplace Hub platform can help reinforce its credentials in this area but for now it certainly has the vision and resources to strengthen its position as a strategic IT partner.