Extending digital into the nerves of enterprise

As printed communication gets more customer-focussed, the digital printing market is set to scale up even as allied services like managed print and document solutions, diagnostics and IT infrastructure are holding promise for digital printing and imaging solutions firms driving their digitisation skills in these areas.

Ricoh has been eyeing a niche in the growing digital printing market while at the same time looking at harnessing its imaging and digitisation expertise in IT hardware distribution and network infrastructure management. Ricoh India Senior Vice-President and CFO Manoj Kumar tells Ravi Menon that printing, communication and IT services have become a potent revenue mix for the company:

What is the next big thing for the digital printing market in India? Web-to-print and customized printing solutions appear to be key growth trends. Where is Ricoh fitting in?

We foresee a clear shift from mono to colour print through colour-enabled machines. Also, customer preference is shifting from printing to complete document management solutions and image communications. In that sense, it may be relevant to state that Managed Print Solutions, Managed Document Solutions and Managed ‘Document + IT Solutions’ co-exist in the rapidly changing printing business scenario. Ricoh has been supporting mobility solutions, cloud solutions, security solutions and vertical application solutions.

What percentage of your current revenues comes in from IT services? Which are the key verticals you are pushing with Indian enterprises?

IT services contributed about 24 per cent of our topline revenues in the last financial year. In the current year, its contribution has grown to cross 40 per cent. We have been helping our customers create a digital society for over a decade. We have qualified and skilled resources for executing large IT projects across all customer segments and verticals. We have however, identified certain key industry verticals as high growth drivers of the Indian economy. These are healthcare, education, manufacturing and BFSI. These verticals have their unique business requirements, which we are fully capable of fulfilling. In fact, we already have a large customer base in these segments where we have delivered an entire range of seamlessly technology integrated products and solutions across the wide spectrum of printing, communication and IT services.

What is your current market for infrastructure services and specialized offerings like network management services and enterprise storage? What is your gameplan in these areas?

IT infrastructure services for us include imaging and communication, endpoint compute, datacenter infrastructure, networking, security, storage, licensing, virtualization and cloud infrastructure, among others. India is today investing in building the infrastructure for the future.

Almost all IT projects today include about 70 per cent hardware and infrastructure services. As a systems integrator, we estimate a huge increase in IP traffic in India and customers are seeking enhanced network infrastructure solutions to meet their IT requirements for personalisation, mobility and video. Our network services have included hardware and services around routers, switches, firewalls, security and other datacenter and LAN/WAN requirements.

What is the kind of share you are looking at via state government engagements?

We have been an active player in the government segment. We have been providing a range of our products, solutions and services to fulfill the needs of this segment. We have also executed large turnkey engagements for citizen programs, mission mode projects, healthcare and education to help the government achieve its e-governance efforts. We are now working with various state governments to meet their IT needs. We are working with them in the areas of government-to-citizen services like the Aadhaar-based projects, tax management and ULB. We are also working aggressively in the education domain and one big example of that is the largest rate contract for tablets in India in the state of Chattisgarh.

Could you shed more light on your recent IT hardware distribution project? What were the challenges involved here?

We are engaged with both central and state government for IT hardware distribution and systems integration projects. We have supplied more than 50,000 laptops to various state governments under various schemes. We are engaged with major banks, defence, large companies for multi-site distribution and integration because of their presence in almost all parts of the country. We have direct presence in 22 locations and about 2,000 dealers and resellers who support us in this activity.

Our SCM umbrella comprises a very robust logistics and transport processes to take care of largescale projects. Challenges around customer readiness are dealt with good project management support. The best technology solutions like remote infrastructure management and mobility solutions can take care of other challenges.

Managed document services like managed print services and enterprise content management is a growingly crowded field with players like Xerox, HP and Canon in the fray. How are you differentiating yourself?

With the changing dynamics in the information technology and office automation markets, Ricoh has transformed itself from being a leader in the OA (Office Automation) industry to a very strong force to reckon with across the entire domain of IT, communication and printing to bring about a paradigm shift in the OA industry and give our customers a holistic experience. Our 360 degree framework has been offering infrastructure services, enterprise applications and business and IT consulting. This has enabled us to emerge as a one-stop business solutions provider for increasing the workplace efficiency of corporate enterprises through IT automation and process integration.

How are you working on strengthening your channel network in West and Eastern India which still have large swathes of untapped and unorganized markets for image services?

As a national player, we have a huge presence across the length and breadth of the country. The East and West markets hold significant importance for us in view of the high business potential in these areas.

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