Last updateMon, 12 Aug 2019 2am

Innovating for the digital office of tomorrow – the new bizhub i-Series smart MFP range

80 years ago, an entirely new product was invented that would revolutionise the way businesses handled documents. The photocopier transformed the way work was done in the paper age – making processes faster and less labour-intensive. Yet eight decades on, the successor to the photocopier, the MFP, is still indispensable and has evolved into a true multifunctional device able to meet the challenges of the digital age. Konica Minolta has a bold vision of the future evolution of the smart MFP as the cornerstone of the digital office – becoming an ever-more intelligent hub for capturing, processing and distributing information. For this vision and the demonstration of strength in both its strategy as well as technological capabilities Konica Minolta was recognised as a leading smart MFP provider by IDC in its “Western Europe Smart Multifunction Peripheral 2018 Vendor Assessment (doc #EMEA44808019, February 2019)”.


In nature, fierce competition and uncertain environments mean that evolution is no guarantee of success – and the same is true of product innovation. To succeed, a new product has to best anticipate and meet the needs not only of today’s customers but also of tomorrow’s. This is why insight is so important in product development and was at the heart of the creation of the bizhub i-Series smart MFP range, a completely new range of intelligent MFPs and the biggest launch in Konica Minolta’s recent history.
To develop this new generation, the company drew on its close customer relationships and strong position in IT services in order to address the true needs of businesses and create powerful, secure and yet simple MFPs able to empower the digital office and drive value.
Understanding the customer’s digital office needs
So what do customers really require – and how do you anticipate how these needs may change? Konica Minolta’s long experience in the industry reveals the answer: for customers, the smartest MFP is not the one that provides the longest list of features, but rather the device that most seamlessly integrates into business workflows with minimal demands on IT resources.
Innovation alone is not the answer. Research has shown that the print industry recognises innovation as the key to future success, with 64% of executives in the industry seeing this as a key requirement for adapting to the business environment of 2025[1]. However, without close alignment with customer needs, innovation for innovation’s sake will not create solutions that add value to businesses.
This is why customer-centricity is deeply rooted in Konica Minolta’s overall development philosophy and why understanding evolving customer needs is step one in the product development approach. Konica Minolta undertook a comprehensive customer research phase for the new bizhub i-Series of smart MFPs. With two million customers worldwide, this research process benefited from the close and long-term relationship of trust that the company has built with the customers: it was possible to aggregate a significant depth of insight from diverse customers from around the globe. Further deep insight was gained by quite literally going the extra mile, as the Japan-based development team flew out to visit customers around the world to see their businesses in action, understand their working practices and discuss their future needs in detail.
Following product development, it was also vital to conduct extensive user testing to ensure the new generation of MFPs will not only provide the features that customers want but also operate in such a way as to exceed expectations.
Olaf Lorenz, General Manager International Marketing Division, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe GmbH
The launch of the new MFP range is a milestone in our long-term office printing strategy. Our goal in developing this range was to ensure these products built on success of their predecessors, and so looking to what made previous generations so successful was very important. Both customer feedback and analysts’ assessments of Konica Minolta’s success in MFPs have identified that, as well as being innovative, we have also succeeded by addressing customers’ real-world needs. This means everything from effective workflow and process optimisation with relevant tools and providing powerful device management capabilities for IT administrators to ensuring a brilliant application experience for end users.
Olaf Lorenz, General Manager International Marketing Division, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe GmbH

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