Canon Europe’s Philosophy on the Smart Workplace

Deborah Hawkins
Jun 25, 2018

The traditional work environment is fundamentally transforming, and visions of the future “smart” workplace are emerging. Through the combination of the Internet, mobility, cloud, sensors, and the Internet of things, work can be performed virtually – enabling anytime, anywhere communication, collaboration, and fulfilment of transactions.

To better segment and organize the smart workplace, Keypoint Intelligence has created a taxonomy of services related to our industry. This taxonomy helps define and categorize disparate technologies and services, providing a more concrete and comprehensive view of smart workplace solutions and services.

                                                    Smart Workplace Segments

As part of our coverage of the smart workplace, we interviewed key vendors on their visions. The following is an excerpt from interviews with key visionaries at Canon Europe, namely Arthur Batalona (Senior Consultant Strategy & Business Development), Ian Tomlin (Senior Consultant Information Security) and Brennan Peyton (Sales Director, Business Imaging Solutions).

According to Batalona, Canon’s corporate philosophy of “Kyosei” guides its approach to the smart office of the future. Kyosei, or living and working together for the common good, is focused on people and how they can do what they’re best at. “As a result of that, we see our aim to make the workplace a place where people want to come, it should be a desirable destination,” Batalona said. Increasingly, that workplace is centered on data and automation as opposed to documents. Canon is committed to partnering with other vendors to offer digital solutions as well as working with customers to understand their vision and requirements.

                                                     Canon Europe’s Arthur Batalona 

According to Tomlin, “One of the differences you’re seeing…is very often we’re working with the customer in co-creation mode to build out the solutions with them.” He added that a big piece of helping customers going forward is identifying the most attractive and appealing next step. Companies can’t do everything at once; as such, specific processes should be prioritized. “A big part of what we are doing…is helping the customer to understand where they are and where those close opportunities are,” Tomlin said.

Peyton emphasized that Canon has a wide range of technology and service capability to offer customers. This includes everything from its print hardware (from SOHO up to powerful production technology), to solutions around the hardware (both Canon-branded and partner solutions), to business process outsourcing services.  For example, a customer may feel comfortable using an MFP for customer onboarding but need help with the processes around the device. They might say: “But I want you to do the credit checking, I want you to do the establishing on my ERP solution with that new account, and just tell me when it’s done,” Peyton said. “And I think Canon’s a little bit unique in having the capability to operate in all of those different ways…” He continued: “In defining the office of the future, it’s really for our customers to define how they want to work with us and us to offer the right way for them to have the business output, the business result that they want to have.”

                                                    Canon Europe’s Brennan Peyton

Tomlin provided several real-life example of customers leveraging Canon’s wide range of capabilities to achieve specific goals. For instance, not only does the British Library use Canon’s high-accuracy scan devices and software to archive its important collections, but it also uses Canon’s network surveillance cameras to protect these assets. “We’re beginning to see a convergence of these technologies, with cloud, with big data, with edge technologies,” Tomlin said. “Where essentially as Canon we almost have no idea what’s going to happen next with these blends, but what we do know is provided that we deliver our partners and their ecosystems with a reliable trusted set of tools and software componentry, and we have the knowledge to help guide them through their outcomes, then we’re best placed to help them to come up with those sort of solutions.” Canon’s capture technology has evolved to the point where images can be automatically understood and routed to the correct channels for further processing. This is robotics and artificial intelligence already at work; over time its use will expand. According to Tomlin: “We have to consider what is the role of work in the office, what are the sorts of jobs that humans are better at, and how will that rebalance things like the tedious tasks that we see happening around the office, the use of spreadsheets, how data is used and accessed.”

                                                     Canon Europe’s Ian Tomlin

Beyond providing the right solutions, Canon visionaries believe Canon will need to provide these solutions in the right ways. This includes providing pay-as-you-go options for customers as well as offering customer assistance through web chat. In addition, Canon will need to simplify communication of new solutions—particularly when it comes to small and medium-sized businesses. “They need explaining in a way that they…understand what it is, what it does for me, what it costs, and how quickly I can get it,” Peyton said. “And it needs to be boxed in a non-complex way.”

InfoTrends’ opinion

Canon Europe has been on an internal transformation path for a number of years. One of the first to adopt a consultative selling process, the company has become a leader in listening to the customer and helping them move forward. The imageRUNNER ADVANCE and MEAP platforms, coupled with other solutions capabilities it has acquired—such as uniFLOW and IRIS on the software side, and Axis and Milestone security cameras, have enabled Canon to focus on document imaging and physical security for the office of the future. Additionally, the purchase of Océ gave Canon unprecedented document outsourcing capabilities as well as experience, which today are integrated into the services offering.

Basing the smart office of the future on the extension of internal philosophies and capabilities is an excellent way forward for Canon. In addition to building on its strengths, Canon plans to expand its solutions ecosystem with more cloud-based platforms. Continual training for all channels is another strength that Canon offers; the company is also creating experience centres across regions to demonstrate good-practice workplace environments.

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For further Keypoint Intelligence coverage of the smart workplace of the future, look out for the Market & Vendor Insight, the multi-client study The Smart Workplaceand the Pacesetter award.

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