Ricoh plans to challenge HP and Xerox in managed-print services by investing $300 million during the next three years in new technologies, IT infrastructure and salespeople.
NEW YORK - Ricoh is looking
to bolster its managed-print-services division with a three-year, $300 million
investment aimed at adding more employees to its U.S. operation and
bolstering the company's IT infrastructure. The announcement comes as Hewlett-Packard
and Xerox also look to offer more print services to their customers.
Ricoh announced its plans to
invest in its MDS (Managed Document Services) business at several different
gatherings, which all happened Jan. 20. In addition, the company and IDC
announced new research to show how companies with annual revenues of $250
million could save about $6 million with more effective document management.
In addition to expanding its
sales footprint in the United States, Ricoh plans to offer customers new
cloud-based software that can manage a wide range of copiers and printers, as
well as document management, said Jeffrey Hickling, the president and CEO of
"We see ourselves as a
key partner to the CIO, and we offer our guidance and support," said
Hickling. "We also look at a company's people, its processes and
technologies in order to optimize each element."
Ricoh, best known as a traditional
supplier of printers and copying machines, is not alone in trying to expand
beyond a hardware supplier. HP, which continues to dominate the printing
market, is offering customers print services and document management, while
making it easier to print
even more material from BlackBerry devices and the Apple iPad
is also moving in this direction and offering more IT services
. In a way,
the entire tech industry is moving toward a more services-first model that
stems from the success of IBM Global Services. Oracle, HP, Dell and even Intel
are also moving in this direction.
Between 2010 and 2014, the
managed-printing-services market is expected to grow about 38 percent,
according to the research IDC presented.
Ricoh has been looking to
expand its own business in the past several years through a series of
acquisitions. One of the largest involved buying IBM's Printing Systems
Division. More recently, Ricoh bought Ikon Office Solutions, which greatly
expanded the company's MDS division. The Ikon acquisition is also allowing
Ricoh to offer cloud-based management of a company's printer fleet.
At the Ricoh meeting here,
the IDC data showed that printed documents are still a significant source of
information for most employees and even as the world goes digital, people are
still printing documents.
In addition, as workers
become even more mobile-and technological advancements allow them to print from
their mobile devices-new challenges come up. Security issues arise as employees
are allowed to take documents from businesses, thanks to the ever-expanding
amount of memory that smartphones and tablets offer. It also creates an issue
when printing documents to machines that may or may not be within the office.
This is one of several
reasons Ricoh's Hickling made the pitch for a managed-services model that looks
at the company's entire printing and document infrastructure.
"We are studying
end-users' behavior and asking what they are printing and how they are filing
and how they are sharing information," said Hickling.