IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Konica Minolta Wants It All

The onetime printer/copier vendor is eight years into a journey toward delivering comprehensive technology services, with its legacy print dealers along for the ride. Will IT-oriented channel pros be invited to participate as well? By Rich Freeman

The strategic journey longtime office equipment vendor Konica Minolta Business Solutions is currently embarked on proceeds from an all but indisputable proposition: Businesses today are generating less paper but more data.

Indeed, global data stores will leap from 33 trillion gigabytes last year to 175 trillion in 2025, according to IDC. Yet a steadily declining share of that information will eventually make its way to printers and copiers.

“The rate at which information is being created is astonishing,” says Rick Taylor, Konica Minolta’s president and CEO. “We are trying to make that information that was on that page available to you in any form in which you want to consume it.”

That’s a more ambitious mission than selling office equipment, and involves not just hardware but a wide range of software and services as well, notes Taylor, who spoke with ChannelPro roughly a month after Konica Minolta’s 2019 Dealer Conference. The nature and importance of that mission, for Konica Minolta itself and its partners, was a key theme at the show.

“Every customer that I talk to, every prospect that I talk to, has a desire to be more efficient, more effective, wherever they are because of the pace of business today,” Taylor says. “That opportunity is what we’re trying to capitalize on.”

Though that opportunity is still in its infancy, he continues, Konica Minolta has been pursuing it aggressively since 2011. “We saw the changes in how print is going to be utilized and be valued in businesses quite a while ago,” Taylor says.

It’s been expanding its capabilities ever since in a bid to remake itself as a provider of comprehensive technology services to businesses of all sizes. Today, Konica Minolta offers solutions for everything from content and document management to business process automation, voice over IP, HIPAA compliance, and more.

Acquisitions have played a central role in that strategic pivot. “In the last eight years we’ve purchased more than 20 companies, and they have a broad base of services and software that we can provide to really round out our business,” Taylor says. Though its core print business continues to grow, it accounts for a smaller percentage of income every year in relation to those other offerings.

As most channel pros know, those offerings have included managed IT services ever since Konica Minolta’s blockbuster 2011 purchase of All Covered Inc., an early leader in managed services with a national footprint. With help from that firm’s dozens of locations, Konica Minolta can now provide not just business hardware and software but remote and in-person support as well.

“You combine 24/7 cloud support and the capability to get somebody onsite, if necessary, to make some change or adjustment or to install services in less than four hours, [and] that’s a compelling value proposition,” Taylor says.

It’s a value proposition no other legacy printer/coper manufacturer, office equipment dealer, or smaller IT provider can match, he continues. “Taking responsibility for all of IT and business systems inside of an organization is what separates us from others,” Taylor says.

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