Mark Carrel -

SME customers changing before the channel's eyes

Digital transformation is changing the SME customer base according to Ricoh and CIOs are struggling with it finds InterSystems

The channel's key target market, the SME arena, is undergoing massive changes and will not resemble its current form in the next few years thanks to digital transformation.

The idea that customers are looking to improve their business will come as little surprise but the timetable indicates that the window of opportunity is open for resellers now to pitch technology that will support change.

Research from Ricoh Europe, has found that a quarter of SMEs expect to be selling different products and services in the next five years and are looking for help innovating their businesses now to make sure they can deliver those sorts of changes.

There might be different degrees of commitment to change but 91% of those quizzed by the printer player did accept that they would be changing products and services to some extent in the next few years.

“Today’s SMB leaders are tasked with charting a path through increasingly uncertain times. The good thing is that this can force companies to reconsider the direction they’re taking and help them find a more successful route to market," said David Mills, CEO of Ricoh Europe.

"Leaders are telling us that increasing the quality of their products is key, but so are lowering costs and accelerating time to market. When taking the time to reassess their offering it’s essential they carefully consider how their organisation can work in more effective ways to strike the right balance," he added.

But the journey to a new world is not always an easy one and research from InterSystems to get an insight into the minds of CIOs found them worried about a fair few things thanks to the pressure to digitally transform.

“Many organisations are making the shift to digital, integrating new digital technologies and processes to transform the way they operate and do business while a lot of them are already a long way down the road with this process, but a large number are still finding it difficult to fully optimise their approach,” said Jon Payne, manager of engineering and education, InterSystems.

Problems with legacy systems, complex infrastructure and siloed systems were all issues that CIOs revealed they were facing and problems that undermined their digital transformation ambitions.

“There is clearly still a lot of work to do before they start reaping the rewards that digital transformation can bring to their organisation including the generation of new revenue streams or enhancing customer engagement," he added.

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