Integrated Report 2017

Giving Shape to Ideas

Special Feature 1: Toward the Establishment of a Platform Business
Workplace Hub supports workflow transformation at customers' places of business

Seeking to construct a high-profit platform business, Konica Minolta has developed Workplace Hub as a strategic product that will form the core of that business. Our goal is develop services that will create new value, and to grow those services into a high-profit business.

Leveraging the Workplace Hub to solve our customers’ undiscovered problems

With the advance of the Internet of Things (IoT), companies have come to accumulate large stores of data. Edge computing is a technology that enables the processing and analysis of such data with high speed and high precision. Konica Minolta will use the Workplace Hub (WPH), an edge IoT platform, to help companies better use their data, improve productivity, and more effectively share information and collaborate, thereby helping to enhance our customers’ workflows.

One of our great strengths that we bring to the creation of WPH is the technology for "making the invisible visible" that we have built up over many years. Konica Minolta leverages image processing technology to turn the actions of people and things in offices, along with information written in paper forms, into digital data. We further use AI to propose solutions to the underlying issues that our customers face. WPH is a product that will form the core of this business.

Another strength of Konica Minolta is our sales channels, through which we have provided about two million companies around the world with digital multi-functional peripherals. In developing WPH, we talked with 3,500 customers worldwide and worked their collected comments and requests into WPH services.

In creating the WPH business, we will also build partnerships with global IT companies. Through these, Konica Minolta will acquire diverse applications that will be offered through WPH, and will take mutual advantage of our and our partner companies’ customer bases. We will grow the WPH business by building win-win relationships with partner companies.

Gradually adding more services with an eye to realizing a high-profit business

Konica Minolta will provide medium- and small-sized customers with All-in-One managed IT services on the platform of WPH. For companies that have no designated IT department and are unable to take steps in adopting IT for reasons such as cost constraints, we will provide total support that includes management and operation of wide-ranging IT infrastructure, application installation and license management, and security measures, acting in the role of a face-to-face partner. We will also provide services that support internal and external information sharing and collaboration, and will set up a cloud-based marketplace offering a lineup of the latest applications. These services will be available for monthly fees with no initial charges.

Moreover, we will leverage AI to achieve automation of routine work such as forms processing, and eventually to analyze the actions of people and things and the operational status of equipment by collecting data from varied equipment connected to WPH in offices and factories. Doing so, we will move forward in developing new solutions.

Konica Minolta will launch WPH worldwide on a rolling basis beginning in fiscal 2017. In fiscal 2018, we plan to introduce solutions for the manufacturing industry and for hospitals as part of efforts to make ourselves into a high-profit business that provides new value to our customers.

Message from a business partner

Through partnership with Konica Minolta, we will provide support for our customers’ digital business.

Cisco has identified business development with deeper roots in the marketplace, as well as support for our customers' digital business, as key strategies. Within these strategies, the IoT is an area of particular focus for our company. Cisco alone is unable to achieve innovation in the IoT. Co-creation with ecosystem partners across industries and business categories is essential. Cisco is pleased to play a collaborative role as a Workplace Hub Global Ecosystem Partner, a matter of great significance to our company as we push to transform working styles. We further believe that the concept of an edge IoT platform aligns well with the fog computing concept that we advocate. Cisco will combine these things with the collaboration and security that are our strengths, and will play a role in accelerating support for customers' digital business through Workplace Hub.

Mr. Yoshiyuki Hamada
Director, Chief Technology Officer & Trust Strategist
Cisco Systems G.K.

Business model for All-in-One managed IT services

Examples of the use of Workplace Hub

Solutions for the manufacturing industry

Reduction of equipment maintenance expenses

Issue: A company uses equipment of many differing model years and is unable to collect data from older equipment, resulting in unnecessary maintenance expenses as well as wasteful operations and maintenance work that is dependent on workers' experience.

Value provided: WPH and data collection tools are combined to offer a solution for the visualization, analysis, and integrated management of operational information on all equipment. This supports the reduction of maintenance expenses over the life cycle of the equipment through the performance of maintenance at optimal times.

Productivity improvements through focus on core work

Issue: A company faces constraints on staff employment, and employees spend considerable time on indirect operations. The company is also unable to deploy resources in direct operations, making the improvement of productivity an issue.

Value provided: Data on inspections performed using equipment from Radiant is collected in WPH. Automated creation of inspection records and daily reports reduces the man-hours spent on this work. In addition, flow path data for people and things, collected using equipment from MOBOTIX, is analyzed to propose workflows that lead to improved productivity.

Solutions for healthcare

Reduction of workload on IT managers

Issue: Management of an overall system is difficult due to the procurement of treatment, pharmacy, surgery and other systems from different vendors. Moreover, as the system was constructed on-premise, management costs have expanded while storage capacity for backups and other purposes has become inadequate.

Value provided: A solution that enables integrated management of IT infrastructure and applications within the hospital through WPH. WPH's cloud storage service and backup service eliminate storage management work and file backup work, reducing the workload for IT managers.

Enhancement of medical services

Issue: Achieving regional healthcare coordination and telemedicine requires the construction of a secure network environment. It also requires compatibility for various types of medical treatment and diagnostic data, including electronic medical records.

Value provided: Provision of an environment that enables secure accumulation and mutual use of medical treatment and diagnostic data using WPH. Data inside hospitals, along with vital data on home-care patients and other data, are integrated into WPH through mobile devices. This contributes to the enhancement of healthcare services throughout the region, as well as to the improvement of management efficiency and the reduction of workloads in the medical institutions.

Key Person Interview

The Workplace Hub:
empowering our customers in the new IOT era

Dr. Dennis Curry
Deputy CTO at Konica Minolta, Inc.

The background and the impetus that led you to develop Workplace Hub

With digitalisation developing at lightning speed, we asked ourselves what this means for our own future. What technologies are driving behavioural change in the workplace and how can we make our mark in this new world? We want to not only transform ourselves, but also the market, and above all empower our customers in this new era of IOT.

We knew that to reap the benefits of digitalisation, there needed to be a bridge between our existing markets and the growth markets of the future. That bridge should maximise on the existing value and capabilities that we have in Konica Minolta, and represent greater value to the customers and society in general.

The catalyst came when there was the realisation that as a company, we already have a 1x1m2 space occupied by our MFPs in millions of offices and workplaces around the world. And so came the idea of adding value to that square metre, to not only give our customers what they need in today’s workplace, but to also solidify our position in the IT services market for tomorrow.

From Business Innovation Centres to a market-transforming big bet

Our global distributed Business Innovation Centres were the perfect platform to build the concept that would fill the untapped needs of customers – and define exactly what that need is. The Business Innovation Centres are located near the customer base and pursue a customer-centric approach to creating concrete value-added solutions, which was the perspective needed for Workplace Hub.

Using our skilled BIC team’s incubation knowledge as a foundation, across countries and with numerous ideas to help shape its growth into a business case, the Workplace Hub Group was born to bring the vision to reality.

The potential for Workplace Hub to be adopted by customers and to expand as a business

The fact that our devices occupy a square metre of our customers’ workplaces allows us to quickly develop and test new value propositions based on the existing footprint. We can also leverage our extensive field support network and customers’ trust in the quality of our service delivery. Therefore the potential for adoption ranges from those we have existing relationships with, to those who are new but also want IT to work on their terms.

Once initial acceptance is made, the opportunities to expand are endless. The centre of the office will become much, much more; it’s a physical centre at the moment but it will become a cognitive centre. We are developing new IOT, AI and decision support capabilities and services and offerings, which will make our position in the market stronger than ever.

How you wish to see Workplace Hub develop as a business from here on out

At this stage, we envisage the first generation of services and applications will start offsetting any revenue gap caused by the transformation from paper to digital, and that we will gain important recognition as a provider of a broader range of smart workplace solutions.

Workplace Hub is the cornerstone towards the growth of our new platform orientated IT and future workplace offerings that can be quickly tested in the marketplace, thus allowing us to predict what clients want more precisely, and adapt our strategy and portfolio in any relevant direction with great agility. In other words, Workplace Hub will serve as the basis for creating new platforms in the future, thereby making our company more resilient towards the uncertainties of digitalisation.

What you currently hope to undertake now or in the near future to achieve the above

Using the core platform as a basis, we can expand into different verticals and markets to deliver targeted solutions. Workplace Hub provides a core system that will allow us to branch out aggressively into different industries and channels to deliver targeted solutions in a variety of areas such as IOT and AI orientated office services, manufacturing, and healthcare.