Smarter tools for a smarter workplace

by Ricoh Australia 16 January 2017

The way we do business is rapidly evolving

Australia is now one of the global leaders of cloud adoption according to a 2014 report by Infosys and Forrester, and mobility is becoming increasingly important among local enterprises. In the workplace of today, almost everybody is connected – today’s workers own an average of 3.1 devices per person. Businesses need to support this connectivity or risk being left behind.

Business in the cloud

The technologically advanced workplaces of today use cloud applications, high-speed Wi-Fi and sophisticated web conferencing software. More and more businesses are gaining productivity through collaboration, so the demand for connectable devices is rising accordingly.
One major benefit of this connected world is that it allows professionals to access work anytime, anywhere through a variety of cloud applications, such as Evernote, Dropbox, Salesforce and many others – whether that’s via their laptop or other mobile devices.

The cloud allows businesses to be:

  • More agile and scale software to address business problems they face without overspending.
  • Less reliant on their own infrastructure, saving time and money on server management and IT support.
  • More productive because of simple-to-use, intuitive interfaces and easy-to-access availability.

Cloud platforms also offer greater integration with other aspects of the business, from back-office operations to marketing and accounting, allowing business owners to spend less time on IT issues and more on the critical aspects, like growing and developing the company or finding new ways to nurture leads. Therefore, companies need to keep connectivity in mind with all their technology purchases, from laptops and computers through to printers and multifunction devices.

Choosing the right technology for your business

So how should you go about purchasing technology for your company? Seek out devices that are likely to support other technology within the business over the next five or 10 years. Products such as Ricoh’s Flex Series of multifunction devices (MFD) – which connect with smart devices, cloud applications and help streamline workflows – are a great example of this.

The key is to look at the current and near future business needs, then factor in where automation can play a greater role to reduce costs and increase efficiency. Here are five key things to keep in mind while you’re searching.

  1. Compatibility with your apps
  2. Synergy between mobile devices, cloud applications and in-office infrastructure can help you boost workplace productivity. Few things slow down work processes like failed compatibility between devices. How much valuable time have you lost doubling up on tasks like scanning to your PC and then uploading your scanned document to an app such as Dropbox rather than just scanning directly to the app itself? Choose to simplify this by going with a multifunction device or printer that integrates with commonly used cloud applications like Dropbox, Google Drive and Evernote.

  3. A user-friendly interface
  4. Spending time training your workforce on how to use a new piece of equipment can slow productivity. Furthermore, how many times have you struggled in vain to work out how to print a complex job with so many buttons on the control panel? Challenges such as these make it important to choose an MFD with a simple-to-use interface that any layperson can immediately work with. Ricoh’s Flex Series feature the award winning Smart Operation Panel which offers tablet-like intuitive operability.

  5. Digitising paper documents
  6. We all have countless files and documents that we send, receive and copy every day. Keeping proper records of all these files can be difficult. However optical character recognition (OCR) technology can make file conversions - and your life - much easier. Say you need to amend a hard copy of a contract digitally. Simply scan it directly to your email and voila! When using the Ricoh Flex Cloud Integration software your notes will be converted into an editable format such as Word or Excel and can be stored digitally in an easily searchable and retrievable format.

  7. Integration with multiple devices
  8. With growing fragmentation of available devices and mobile operating systems, today’s employees are coming to work with an increasingly diverse array of smart phones. Any good MFD should be able to handle different operating systems at once. It shouldn’t matter if someone is printing from Apple or an Android device – the printer should always be able to accommodate the user’s chosen OS.

  9. Uncomplicated IT requirement
  10. Not every employee has a degree in information and technology. Accordingly, staff need a device they can easily navigate to get their jobs done faster without the need to call IT every time they run into an issue. Also, given that data security is a big concern in any organisation today, choosing an MFD that provides secure encryption of data during any data transfer process minimises the risk of losing important business data., These factors therefore translate to time and cost savings for the business in the long run.

If you’re looking to increase collaboration and efficiency and have a smarter workplace, consider Ricoh’s new Flex Series of smart A3 colour MFDs.