Businesses that are Unable to Keep up With the Impacts of Technological Change may Disappear by 2020

By Ricoh Europe, PRNE
Tuesday, November 15, 2011

LONDON, November 16, 2011 -

Ricoh Europe - Business leaders are expecting wrenching change to their industry sectors in the future, due to the impacts of technology, according to the latest executive summary by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by Ricoh.  The research, set for full release in March 2012, reveals more than one third (37 per cent) of leaders surveyed believe their organisation will be unable to keep up with technology and they will lose their competitive edge.One third of IT industry leaders believe their businesses will disappear altogether, while six out of ten survey respondents believe the markets where they operate will be significantly altered between now and 2020, bearing little similarity to today.

Business structures are also likely to change - 63 per cent predict a shift to decentralised structures with a far-reaching devolution of business decision-making authority move to the periphery of organisations.  Adding to this, they believe that customers will generate almost as many new ideas for the improvement of business processes as employees. And by 2020 customers will generate the most new product or service ideas.

David Mills, Executive Vice President, Operations Ricoh Europe commented: “Over the last two decades we’ve experienced more technology driven change in business than any other. It is also clear that more change will happen and it is employees and customers that will play a key role in driving the changes by the way they are using it. That is why we believe that the successful businesses of 2020 will be those that place greater emphasis upon process innovation.

The key to building a more agile business that is ready to embrace the changes is to have the right infrastructure in place to manage it successfully.  Business leaders need to ask the question - Are the information infrastructures inside our organisations future proof?  By understanding how business critical information connects across the entire business, an organisation can reengineer its processes to ensure that it is maximising employee knowledge sharing and is able to respond effectively to customer demands.”

In addition 59 per cent of those surveyed agree that the concept of non-digital information will be utterly foreign to most employees by 2020.  ”While the acceleration of digital information is certain to increase inside organisations, the challenge is to ensure critical business processes, both digital and non-digital are integrated and easily accessed by employees across the organisation”, adds Mills. “This becomes even more crucial with the steady increase of mobile working and the need to access information across multiple locations.”  

Denis McCauley, Economist Intelligence Unit said, “Despite the uncertainty for some when anticipating the future, the majority of business executives (70 per cent) agreed there were significant opportunities for technology to improve the way they conduct business and there are plenty of gains to be made in improving operating efficiency. What is certain is that technology will continue to be a source of continued change to markets and industries between now and 2020.”

The research, undertaken by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by Ricoh, is the most comprehensive analysis to date on the impact of technology on the future workplace, and was developed through dedicated interviews with 567 senior business leaders across the globe within 20 sectors. 46 percent of respondents hold C-suite positions, with 43 per cent earning annual revenues of US$500 million or more.

The executive summary can be downloaded from

About Ricoh

Ricoh Company, Ltd. (Ricoh Company) is a Fortune Global 500 company specialising in technology and services that transform high volume, document intensive business processes into more efficient ones.  This is achieved through Ricoh’s expertise in Managed Document Services, Production Printing, Office Solutions and IT Services.  By working with Ricoh, businesses can streamline the way they work, become more efficient and profitable, and share knowledge more effectively within their organisations. With a global workforce of 109,014, Ricoh operates in Europe, the Americas, Asia Pacific, China and Japan.

Ricoh Europe Holdings Plc is a public limited company and the EMEA headquarters of Ricoh Company with operations located in London, United Kingdom and Amstelveen, the Netherlands.  In the fiscal year ended 31 March 2011, revenues from Ricoh’s EMEA operations totalled JPY413.9 billion (approx €3.5 billion based on the US Federal Reserve exchange rate 31 March 2011). Ricoh group’s worldwide sales totalled JPY1,942 billion (approx €16.4 billion based on the US Federal Reserve exchange rate 31 March 2011).

For further information, please contact:

Ricoh Europe PLC
Janice Gibson / Louise Yarrall
Tel.: +44-(0)20-7465-1153

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