Events of the past week have highlighted just how difficult it can be for even a highly sophisticated, large, and well-resourced technology company to navigate the rapidly changing technology landscape.
Two print technology veterans, Ricoh and Fuji Xerox Australia, have been undergoing some major changes to their operations as they work to find and settle on a way of doing business that best taps into the emerging technology needs of the enterprise market.
On 26 January, Ricoh revealed it had approved a change of leadership for the company, with its current representative director and CEO, Zenji Miura, set to step down in April to make way for deputy president, Yoshinori Yamashita, to take on the top job.
In an official statement, Ricoh praised the outgoing CEO for his services to the company, saying that, “under his leadership, has been fully engaged in creating customer value through expanding its services and production printing businesses as well as fully launching its industrial business”.
At the same time, however, the company said that it is in the midst of “tackling changes in the business environment, such as the decline in growth of office printing”.
“In the spirit of these initiatives and to further bolster the business and reinforce the earnings structure, the company is announcing a number of changes to its top management,” it said.
Less than a week after the announcement that Ricoh’s CEO would step down, Ricoh Australia announced the departure of its managing director, John Hall, who had headed up the company’s local operations for the better part of the past three years.
While there is no suggestion the two leadership changes are in any way related, they do come at a time of change for the company – as suggested in its own statement.
Yet Ricoh is not the only company with a history in print technology that is adapting to make its way in the changing IT landscape.
Fuji Xerox is another technology player that has been making the long transition from a print-heavy offering to a much broader palette of technology services.
The latest chapter in Fuji Xerox’s adventures in enterprise IT services has seen the company’s Australian arm roll its IT Services and Software division back into its broader Fuji Xerox Australia business after attempting to build it out into a standalone operation.
A spokesperson for the company told ARN that it is, “continuing to respond to the changing requirements of our customers whilst embarking on the next stage of our transformation journey”.
“The change will include a realignment of our internal operations and how we support our customers to meet their business needs. We will be sharing more details around this initiative and strategy in the near future.
“As a result, the IT Services and Enterprise Software division has been integrated into the broader Fuji Xerox Australian business. We can confirm it has not been closed down and we are still servicing all existing IT contracts,” the representative said.
While Fuji Xerox Australia has remained tight-lipped about whether the changes will result in any job losses for its IT services staff, the company has gone through several rounds of employee culls over the past few years.
In May 2016, Fuji Xerox Australia saw the shock departure of then managing director, Neil Whittaker, after 32 years of service with the company.
General manager of Production Print, Dean Murray, also departed the company, along with “a number” of other Fuji Xerox staff, according to reports at the time. The top-tier cuts reportedly came shortly after an audit of the company’s performance.
At the same time, Fuji Xerox New Zealand saw as many as 40 local jobs under threat, as it moved to cut up to five per cent of its workforce across the country.
The job cuts came as the company underwent a local restructure, adding more IT-focused roles to its workforce, including developers and solutions and enterprise consultants.
Not long after Whittaker’s departure, Fuji Xerox revealed a renewed management structure, as part of a broader push to “accelerate the transformation of its business structure to that centered on solutions and services, as well as to achieve world-class cost and corporate competitiveness”.