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Over the past few months Ricoh Europe has been producing regular pieces of research as it looks to get a clearer picture of what is happening in a customer base undergoing digital transformation.
There conclusions from the various thought leadership studies so far have covered the ambition of SMEs to change their businesses using technology to make sure that they remain competitive and last October the vendor warned that there was a growing issue with skills, with many staff unable to fully use the software currently in use. The warnings were that the introduction of AI and other technologies would add to the strain.
The latest report from Ricoh has focused on issues that are holding back customer growth, and some of the necessary investments in IT with regulation, budget and internal politics all being blamed by users.
The research also exposed some deeper cultural problems with two thirds of those European companies quizzed revealing they were not taking steps to foster an agile working environment.
Ricoh found that 60% of European customers use data analytics to spot market trends and opportunities. That was the good news but the problems were that were unable to react to what they found. When pressed about what was slowing them down the main problems were 39% blaming regulation, 37% pointing the finger at a lack of tech investment and 35% concerned that rigid internal hierarchies slowed them down and meant they missed opportunities for growth.
“Business agility is both a mind-set and an ability to respond quickly. To achieve true agility, companies need to conduct a business-wide 360 degree review. This will reassess how processes, culture and technology actively benefit an organisation," said Javier Diez-Aguirre, vp corporate marketing, Ricoh Europe.
“In today’s business environment, using technology to capitalise on new opportunities is key. But this alone isn’t enough. Leaders need to encourage an open-minded culture where employees are empowered to take measured risks. Quick decision-making skills and the ability to rapidly execute are also essential. The good news is that Europe’s business leaders clearly recognise how investment in a digitally empowered workplace forms the foundation for profitable business agility," he added.
For the channel the areas that might yield the best results include offering help with data analytics, management processes and being able to use data tools to spot new opportunities in the business.