Skills, technology, and automation – the three main enablers to success, according to business leaders. That’s one of the key findings from new Ricoh-commissioned research1 from our European colleagues examining how organizations are taking control of their future.
The emergence of artificial intelligence and machine learning is clearly having an impact – with automation boosting productivity, aiding problem solving, and cutting down on mundane tasks. Crucially, this is helping the workforce become more productive and empowered. But it also means the technology in the hands of workers needs to be fit for purpose. Not just for today but for the unforeseen changes and challenges ahead.
One analogy I like is the humble smartphone. Prior to 2007 there was no customization available, other than the handset you bought and network you used.  And then came the iPhone. Smartphones gave us consumers much greater choice and control over the technology we carry in our pockets. It also means the underlining OS and featured apps can update and evolve over time. This same thinking should apply to modern workplace technology. For example, if you’re making an investment in a new multi-function printer (MFP), it needs to be able to keep pace with the rate of technology advancement around it.
Looking through this lens, it means workplace technology is no longer a blocker to innovation – in fact it becomes quite the opposite.

Make digital document workflows seamless

Accounts, legal files, employee records: handling and saving these documents is a fundamental part of running a business.
But as organizations look to digitally transform, shifting away from storing information in paper to digital is challenging. This is where smart workplace technology comes in – it can act as an entry point for documents moving from the physical to the digital world.
As well as making the process simple and easy, businesses can derive benefits from digitizing their workflow. They can streamline processes like approvals and applications; make it easier to send and receive documents, and even enable remote access to files for people working in other locations.
A Ricoh intelligent MFP, for example, also integrates with your existing infrastructure, meaning the information you need can be accessed securely and swiftly.

Helping people access what they need without compromising security  

Did you know nearly half of small businesses (47%)2 in North America and the EU have suffered a cyber-breach or attack during the last 12 months? Not to mention that a staggering two out of three businesses in Canada have experienced a data breach over the last year3, it’s a topic that’s constantly front of mind for all business leaders, but with the growing cyber threat globally there’s another challenge to address. But what many leaders may not be aware of is that paper documents with confidential information are not being secured without properly disposal methods or storing it in a secure location (71% of managers surveyed said they have encountered this personally!) 4
Maintaining security requires a secure approach for every action and process in the office. At Ricoh we use these three principles to guide us:
1. Confidentiality – Access to information and documents must be restricted to trusted individuals only. This reduces the risk they will fall into the wrong hands.
2. Integrity – It’s vital to maintain the integrity of documents as they pass through the management system. This means locking documents in transit or storage so they can’t be edited by unauthorized individuals.
3. Availability – Security doesn’t mean inaccessibility. You need to be able to reach the documents you need whenever, wherever and for as long as required.
With these in mind, workplace technology is no longer a hindrance to innovation.

Putting people (and technology) at the heart of digital transformation

Businesses need workplace technology capable of keeping up with the speed of digital transformation today – and the waves of change that follow. And to reference the earlier smartphone analogy, having an MFP that will empower future forms of digital transformation is vital for the modern workplace.
Business leaders are calling for technology which is Designed for Tomorrow – and at Ricoh we’re making this a reality today. 
1 http://thoughtleadership.ricoh-europe.com/eu/designed-for-tomorrow/
2 https://www.hiscox.com/documents/2018-Hiscox-Small-Business-Cyber-Risk-Report.pdf
3,4  https://www.itbusiness.ca/news/a-lack-of-physical-security-still-leads-to-data-breaches-but-is-being-ignored-says-study-from-shred-it-and-ponemon-institute/112591