The most recent CBR Dining Club event took place towards the end of 2013 at the Duke's Hotel in London. It was entitled 'New modus operandi?', and following a short introduction by CBR's then-editor Jason Stamper, the floor was given to Ricoh UK's area sales director Ryan Herbert, who began by giving a quick overview of Ricoh's business, after joking that one delegate had asked during the pre-dinner networking if the company did much more than copiers and printers. "We're a global technology services company... 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 such as Vodafone, Manchester Airports 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 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 was Microsoft's head of technology for partners James Akrigg. "We're looking at the technology innovation that we're driving across our entire organisation," he said. "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 start-ups that don't need to reimagine 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.
"Companies are also looking at a new blend of technology and services that may run on your data centre or someone else's," he added. "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 ideas 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