As a sponsor of The CFO Alliance, Ricoh co-hosts an interactive round table series in Toronto for a group of Canadian finance leaders to come together to discuss enterprise growth and strategic planning. At our most recent event, conversation was lively and insights aplenty with our own Richard Perri, CFO and Glen Renton, VP IT kicking things off in a Featured Case Study that inspired much discussion in the breakout groups.

In their opening remarks, The CFO Alliance referenced statistics from their most recent CFO Sentiment Study where the top 3 ranked key drivers for growth are: “entering new markets” (23.4%); “investing and innovating” (14.3%); and “attracting and retaining talent” (13.7%). These rang true for attendees and in Ricoh’s featured case study alike and proved to be the backbone of the morning’s discussion.


Entering new markets

During the round table discussions, attendees cited developing new markets as a top priority and this, in fact, was the cornerstone of Ricoh’s featured case study. Like any business, diversifying revenue streams is critical for growth. For Ricoh, our market opportunity for our legacy business in office hardware continues to shrink due to market saturation so it’s becoming unsustainable from a growth perspective. We recognized a need to evolve and Richard Perri, CFO, and Glen Renton, VP IT, were instrumental in developing an entrepreneurial approach to building a new revenue stream for Ricoh through our Services business.


“Chasing growth is costly and unsustainable. Intentional growth builds value and a path forward.” – Rich Perri, CFO, Ricoh Canada


At Ricoh, we’ve been delivering innovative solutions to customers for over 80 years and today we’re listed among the world’s Top 50 most innovative companies alongside IBM, Intel, Microsoft and Apple. So as a global tech company with almost 51,000 patents, we focused on where we’ve created value for our customers in the past through our legacy hardware and imaging business. We knew we held dominant market share in office hardware. We knew we had a rock-solid proven track record of always keeping the customer first. 

We expanded our specialization in imaging equipment & production print into a complementary offering – Business Services. Growing organically and through acquisition, we now comprehensively empower the digital workplace through office hardware, production print, business services, digital process optimization & outsourcing, and IT services.


Investing & innovating

Many CFOs are using emerging technologies to overcome the challenges of back-end inefficiencies like outdated systems & manual paper-based processes and according to The CFO Sentiment Study, 38% of CFOs are investing in finance automation to unlock their organisation’s competitive advantage. Round table attendees agreed that fixing these inefficiencies have a positive ripple effect on employee engagement, customer satisfaction and ultimately our growth. 

We know that digital transformation is never a one and done initiative. It’s a commitment to continued growth, a journey. At Ricoh, a key thrust in 2019 will be to complete the next chapter of our own internal digitization where the expected outcomes will be reduced error rate, swifter cycle time and improved customer experience. One area we’re wrapping up now is our Technical Services. Picture, if you will, 550 field service technicians coast to coast serving our customers through a traditional territory-based management model… Not cost effective or overly customer friendly. We’ve recently implemented a cloud-based field service management platform utilizing AI to direct our technicians based on routing algorithms like Call Severity, Time and Travel distance to improve technician productivity. For our customers this means improved SLA reporting and for our balance sheet it means reduced travel time and vehicle expenses.


Attracting and retaining talent

According to the 2018 CFO Sentiment Study, CFOs are taking a more active role in talent acquisition. In particular, they want to address the analytical skills gap, so they can turn data into a competitive advantage. CFOs want employees who “know what to look for, what questions to ask, and how to make inferences and draw conclusions based on data in order to drive the enterprise forward.” Meanwhile, 70% of CFOs want to upgrade their sales team. More than 50% of the study’s respondents felt that the performance of their sales team is crucial to meeting or exceeding their enterprise revenue growth objectives.

This resonated with many of the attendees as they, too, struggled to attract and retain the right talent to help their growth initiatives take flight. From recruitment and onboarding to support and training to engagement and comp, the discussion in this segment was diverse and inspiring as many attendees shared their challenges and triumphs.

At Ricoh, upping our game internally from a people perspective is as important to our growth strategy as external drivers like acquisition, brand awareness & market penetration. As our business has evolved from an IT & Procurement product-centric model to a more strategic business-centric model that focuses on empowering the digital workplace in all its forms, our salespeople have needed to up their game as well. We’ve done a tonne of gap analysis in skills, personnel and expertise and addressed challenges through strategic learning initiatives, KPIs, compensation. Perhaps most significant has been the changes to our hiring profiles and processes and this is where things like automating our onboarding processes has become of critical importance. 


The CFO/CIO Partnership 2.0

The final key area of interest for attendees was the importance of the CFO/CIO relationship. In this age of digital disruption, CFOs that are partnering with other business leaders are driving progress, growth and material savings more swiftly and effectively across the entire organisation. 

We delved into this concept in “Top 3 ways CFOs can collaborate with CIOs to drive value across the organisation”. Here at Ricoh, Richard and Glen exemplified these synergies working side by side to create a key component of our growth strategy that included building an entirely new revenue stream whilst implementing in-house process automation. 

Supplemental to Richard’s efforts in acquiring 2 specialized services companies, Glen was critical in identifying opportunities for material savings and potential growth opportunities internally through automating 4 of our most painful processes that both influence employee engagement and subsequently our ability to drive revenue and growth.


imagine. change.

This is more than just a tagline in our logo, it’s what drives our relationships in the present & what we use as our guide for the future. Each word challenges us to unlock the creative potential inside all of us to dig deeper and dream bigger. For the past 80 years we, at Ricoh, have focused on innovation that transforms the way people work. The way people work is evolving and at Ricoh we’re helping to change HOW employees do their jobs — both in the office and away.

In this age of digital disruption, change is the only constant and CFOs that are partnering with other business leaders are driving progress, growth and material savings more swiftly and effectively across the entire organization. Learn how other CFOs are collaborating with CIOs in strategic alignment, budgeting and process improvement to drive growth and create value at RicohChangeMakers.