The sun emerges to reveal a changed market
As we welcome 2014, there are clear signs that the economy is on the mend and with it the office print industry (see page 4). HP has always linked trends in printer sales with broader economic performance.
This might be true globally, but it is debatable whether it’s still the case in mature Western economies. As Riso UK managing director Mr Tatsuo Murakami points out in our Year in Review starting on page 32, the UK is now a ‘changed market, with a different way of thinking’.
Senior managers still want to economise and reduce the cost of print, and increasingly that means addressing the processes that drive their businesses, rather than just the age, type and number of hardware devices deployed. Almost all the experts who contributed to our review underline the importance that print solutions and services will have in 2014. Yes, businesses will upgrade their equipment, something that many have put on hold for the last few years, but there are greater prizes to be won in deepening MPS engagements and supplying the tools and expertise that will enable customers to digitise business processes – good examples being Olivetti’s new digital signature kit featured on the cover and the expanded services being offered by companies highlighted in the inaugural PrintIT Reseller Buyer’s Guide (page 13).
For all the talk of the paper-less office, most businesses have only tackled one half of the challenge: document creation. The second, more difficult bit – the processing of a business task from initiation to completion – is still heavily dependent on the printing and movement of paper. In a revealing list of the UK’s most indispensable stationery items published in PrintIT Reseller sister publication Pen to Paper, the top five all related to the processing of paper documents (paperclip, stapler, Post-in note, hole punch, highlighter). Those linked to document creation were in the bottom half (notepad, pen, ruler, rubber, sticky tape).
How organisations make the transition from paper-based to digital workflows will be one of the major challenges and defining themes of 2014 – for resellers and their customers. If our experts’ predictions are right, how long can it be before screen wipes and digital pens top the Top 10 stationery lists?
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