Jun 14, 2012
Services-led. Technology-enabled. People-drive. Those were the themes at this year’s Ricoh Convergence event in Las Vegas, where over 600 participants gathered at the Wynn hotel to take part in educational seminars, networking, and panel discussions covering topics ranging from Ricoh’s new services-led dealership program to how to increase dealer growth via Ricoh’s resources to gaining better insight into Ricoh’s new technology platform. The technology expo showcased demos and tutorials on Ricoh’s new and existing hardware and solutions and services offerings.
One of the biggest announcements made during this event was Ricoh’s move to a new services-led business model. Recognizing the emerging MPS opportunities in the market, this is a turning point for dealers to capitalize on implementing a services-led environment for their customers. Terrie Campbell, VP of Strategic Marketing, gave an in-depth presentation discussing Ricoh’s ChaMPS program and its transition into a full suite of offerings from outsourcing to IT help desk. Dealers are no longer just selling hardware but rather using the hardware as information management for a services-led business strategy for organizations. Terrie Campbell also announced Ricoh’s new ChaMPS Dealer Memberships Program, which will consist of certifications, trainings, customizable on boarding package, IT and Professional Services, and more. Membership launch for IT Services is expected to be released by early summer while the Professional Services has an expected release in early fall of this year.
Other major product announcements include Ricoh’s new technology platform, which includes mobile printing capabilities like embedded support for iOS Air Print and Enterprise Hotspot, an eco-friendly indicator, Ricoh’s Integrated Cloud Environment (ICE), a built-in web-browser app, and a customizable user interface. Ricoh also demonstrated a new paperless presentation tool for the iPad called Ricoh Tamago Presenter app. This app provides synchronization among multiple iPads and simultaneous connectivity to a presentation directly from an iPad whether local or remote. The free app is currently available for download via the iTunes store but requires a WiFi or cable connection via a projector for users to access a shared document.
Despite the big emphasis on services and solutions, Ricoh remains as a copier-focused company and evidence of this was shown throughout the technology expo, where Ricoh demonstrated a myriad of devices ranging from low-end scanners and printers to MFPs to production equipment. Ricoh introduced two new A4 MFPs for the office. The MP 301SPF and MP C305 Series. The MP 301SPF is a B&W Segment 2 all-in-one A4 MFP. It has print speeds of 30ppm and is the first A4 to incorporate the new Ricoh Services-Led technology with customizable 4.3” color touch screen, standard print from and scan-to-USB and full MFP browser.
The Color MP C305 also prints at 30ppm (color and B&W) and incorporates all of the new features of the MP 301SFP. A new Eco-Friendly Indicator is standard on both A4 models and helps users monitor how much paper they’re saving. Paper quotas can also be setup for individual or groups. The MP 301SPF has a suggested retail price of $2,960 and the MP 305 series retails for $4,420. Both models are available today through Ricoh’s direct and in-direct channels.
On the production front, Ricoh demonstrated their current product portfolio and as well as the newly introduced at Drupa, L4000 a wide format printer scheduled to launch in Q4 2012. According to Ricoh, they have seen tremendous growth in their production color engines up 147% year over year in the Americas.
They also showed a commitment to dealer channel growth by branching out into other hardware endeavors such as their newly announced Unified Communications System, which covers a portable Video Conferencing system. In addition, Ricoh demonstrated a new Healthcare MFP device specifically designed for the healthcare market which includes features like locking paper trays, wristband printing, Teflon coating, and hard drive encryption. Ricoh’s Healthcare MFP is expected to fully launch in early July of this year.
Lastly, Ricoh introduced a new channel partner program for solutions, called Ricoh Solutions Partner Program that consists of three tiers: Premier, Specialty, and Development. The program contains more than 150 software product relationships and partner acceptance into the program varies depending on a dealer’s vertical market focus, solutions support capabilities, and pre-authorization.
Ricoh’s services-led business model announcement comes as no surprise in today’s managed- services heavy market. With competitors like Konica Minolta/All Covered, Xerox/ACS, and HP/Printelligent, this is a smart, if not necessary, move for Ricoh to remain relevant to their channel and customers, and effectively rival other MPS offerings. The growing trend of using solutions and services as the enabler for hardware usage will continue to influence and evolve OEM manufacturers’ channel and business strategies. Ricoh’s new IT and Professional Services tools and capabilities that are being integrated into Ricoh’s ChaMPS program make me wonder just how long before we’ll see Managed Print simply become Managed Everything, if it hasn’t already.
While Ricoh’s new technology app-based platform was anticipated, it does provide productivity benefits for the end-user and adds value and flexibility to the MFP. It’s hard to imagine a user surfing the web via the MFP’s touchscreen console, but if it’s used as a gateway into Ricoh’s Integrated Cloud Environment (which it is), then it makes much more sense. Users can toggle between the standard interface and ICE’s interface on the MFP to access, scan, print, upload and download information from cloud services. Ricoh plans to extend their ICE service to more regions within the US later this year as it is currently limited to the Los Angeles/Bay areas.
I have previously written about the business value (or lack thereof) of integrating apps onto MFPs and printers, and there are a few vendors that focus mostly on consumer-tailored apps with minor focus on business productivity apps. But if the MFP-app trend continues to take hold among vendors, which it is certainly going in that direction, then Ricoh has the right idea – focus on business productivity and cloud accessibility.
More in-depth coverage and analysis of the Ricoh Convergence 2012 event will be available to subscribing clients or for purchase in the coming week.
More blogs from Shelly Ortelt