CBR gathered a group of senior IT directors and CIOs for one of its series of Dining Clubs at the tail-end of last year, and here's a short review for those that were unable to make the event in person.
After a short introduction by CBR's then-editor Jason Stamper, the floor was given to Ricoh UK's area sales director, Ryan Herbert. Herbert began by giving a quick overview of Ricoh's business, after joking that one delegate had asked during the pre-dinner networking if Ricoh did much more than copiers and printers. "We're a global technology services company, with worldwide revenue of over $23bn worldwide, and in the UK just shy of $500m. We're a big, credible, financially stable organisation and we've got a significant growth strategy around IT services," he said. "We're also somewhat unique from a traditional print perspective in the marketplace, in that we don't operate in silos like competitors. In the UK, you engage with one organisation that covers print and IT services - it's an integrated managed service model and it's very popular with clients.
"If you look at IT services, we're becoming well-known for great clients like Vodafone, Manchester Airport Group, Asda, Carphone Warehouse, Specsavers, River Island and William Hill. Our primary alliance partners are critical to how we go to market. Companies like Microsoft, Cisco, Dell, HP, NetApp are providing the type of services that you would expect. We've got in the region of 26,000 UK clients and in excess of half a million client-based devices that we touch attached to a network."
Drilling further into the Microsoft alliance, Herbert noted that Microsoft's tagline is 'Business, Reimagined', while Ricoh's is 'Imagine Change', and that both companies are transitioning to focus on devices and services. "What does all this mean for customers?" he asked. "It means giving you the best tools and technology to enable people to have more freedom to operate and do things more collectively. It's something we have done at Ricoh - we've embarked on a massive UK programme of reducing office space, making people more productive, giving them access to tools securing their personal and business data. So on that journey we've got plenty of experience." In wrapping up his short talk, he noted that someone once said you cannot expect different results if you do the same things time and time again. "Change is inevitable," he concluded.
Next up it was the turn of Microsoft's James Akrigg. "I have this somewhat grandiose title of head of technology for partners," Akrigg said, "which basically means I'm a geek. I'm not embarrassed by this fact because I get to speak to many people that are facing technology challenges. We're also looking at the technology innovation that we're driving across our entire organisation.
"This concept of Business Reimagined is about thinking about your business in a different way in the next five to ten years: how are you going to change your business? When we look at organisations we have seen research that found 71% of employees are disengaged in the workplace. In contrast with that you have this new breed of startups that don't need to re-imagine their business, they just imagine their business with the full range of the latest technologies that can deliver great experiences for their staff and their customers.
Akrigg then spoke about some of the clients that Microsoft talks to and the challenges that they face. "One of the big challenges is so much of the budget being spent on maintaining infrastructure, preventing them from embracing newer technologies," he said. "This is nothing new, but there are also now four key trends that are impacting the industry: mobility, social, cloud and Big Data. Only by embracing those can I shift how I deliver value back to my organisation."
Akrigg went on to talk about Microsoft staff that have user experience in their job titles, helping to change the way that people work and embrace technology. "Companies are also looking at a new blend of technology and services that may run on your data centre or someone else's. These are the sort of changes that help organisations to usher in new ways of working," he said.
After a fabulous dinner and a robust Q&A session, held as usual under the cloak of the Chatham House Rule to give attendees free rein to ask potentially sensitive questions without fear of them being reported, the overwhelming feedback was that it had been another successful Dining Club. Delegates left with plenty of food for thought about how they might better embrace the latest technologies and services from Ricoh, Microsoft and other partners in order to introduce new ways of working.
For more information about forthcoming CBR Dining Club events visit www.cbronline.com/events.