Konica Minolta has identified five key trends for 2023 that will influence and define the digital workplace. Both workplaces and working practices have been transformed as a result of the pandemic, however, now with a cost-of-living-crisis, high inflation, a climate emergency, and the ongoing ramifications from the war in Ukraine, UK businesses cannot afford to stay still.
The pressure to ‘do more with less’ in all areas of business is likely to be a major challenge throughout the forthcoming year. To achieve this, organisations will need to rely more than ever on innovative new technologies that create Intelligent Connected Workplaces that engage with and empower employees to achieve commercial objectives.
Trend 1: Growing importance of communication and collaboration tools in times of hybrid working
The increasing move to hybrid working has highlighted to many businesses that older communications platforms (such as email) are no longer suitable for enhanced online collaboration needs. Mission critical for remote working and collaboration during the pandemic, Microsoft Teams has proven that it is far more than just a video call rival for Zoom. Teams serves as a hub for teamwork, facilitating project management, chats/calls and meetings, content sharing and authoring – all in one place. Since February 2020, the average Teams user has increased their weekly meeting time by 252% and sent 32% more chats each week in February 2022 than in March 2020.
As a Microsoft Global Managed Partner, Konica Minolta’s accredited expert team can assist any size and type of organisation to realise the full communication and collaboration benefits from the Microsoft range of tools, including Microsoft 365 with Teams, which helps businesses to better organise and interact with employees. Using Microsoft Teams and the wider Microsoft 365 suite, organisations can modernise and digitalise business processes so that they fit seamlessly into their hybrid working environment and can be accessed anywhere, on any device, ensuring their business operations are completely agile.
Trend 2: Doing more with less – AI and a more immersive digital world
With the Internet of Things (IoT) continuing to expand seemingly without limits, more and more systems are being encompassed by business networks. This explosion in workplace data availability ensures that Artificial Intelligence (AI), which learns processes and patterns, can offer great opportunities in automating workflows and thereby finding greater economies through cost savings and better use of skilled employees’ time.
Linked to this is Robotic Process Automation (RPA), whereby AI takes over certain processes (often repetitive labour-intensive functions). Video analytics are another important aspect of this automation. Konica Minolta’s Video Solution Services for example not only cover the security applications but are also perfect for monitoring production lines for quality control, occupational health applications to keep people safe (such as vulnerable people wandering into dangerous areas) and detecting fires. Using powerful AI and camera technology, the potential applications are almost limitless.
Trend 3: Meeting evolving employee demands whilst closing the skills-gap
Mindful of ‘The Great Resignation’ following the pandemic, businesses need to deliver the best possible experience to keep existing employees engaged and satisfied, whilst attracting fresh talent.
This particularly affects Generation Z workers. 58% (vs. 43% overall) of them are likely to consider changing employers this year. One-third (31%) of employees already changed their jobs in the past two years. The top reasons for not accepting a job offer include a lack of flexible hours (37%) and location flexibility (28%), as 53% are more likely to prioritise health and well-being than before the pandemic. Companies that take this into account and provide a better work-life balance through flexible models satisfy their employees, attract new talent, improve productivity, and remain competitive.
The well-publicised UK skills shortage will continue in 2023, but an alternative solution that is gaining increasing interest is talent outsourcing. With communication and collaboration tools powering hybrid working, there is no reason not to look further afield for the professional talent required to flexibly meet the rapidly scaling needs of the business. Delivering this proven approach as an expert professional skills outsourcing provider, Konica Minolta not only helps other businesses utilise the benefits, but has also used it to grow and enrich its own team.
Supporting these new and exciting workforce options obviously requires the right digital tools. With its Intelligent Connected Workplace portfolio Konica Minolta offers comprehensive support and solutions, enabling businesses to fully utilise a range of tools for flexible working. Remote Working and Home Office solutions include Cloud Services (Including Cloud Print), Collaboration and Communications, Mobile Print, Security Services, and Information Management Services – all designed to offer full agility and flexibility to a business and its teams.
Trend 4: IT-as-a-Service for greater flexibility in challenging times
IT-as-a-Service delivers considerable benefits for any business and will be particularly useful for UK businesses looking to meet the challenges of 2023 and beyond.
Instead of buying IT hardware, software, and services outright, the business receives everything required at a set cost for each member of the team. This avoids high initial capital expenditure costs and an in-house IT provision to service it, whilst ensuring inclusive costs for maintenance and upgrades remain predictable and affordable. The business can easily scale its IT functions up or down to meet commercial and team needs. Desktop-as-a-Service takes this approach a step further by delivering a virtual desktop to an individual or specific group of people based on their job requirements. When an employee leaves and no longer needs access to company data, permissions can be quickly and easily revoked, making it highly secure as well as cost-effective.
As part of its Managed IT Services, Konica Minolta offers both Software-as-a-Service (Cloud Print) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service. Here, Konica Minolta takes over the management and maintenance of applications as well as servers, storage, and networks for the customer in the cloud, so that customers do not have to worry about how the technology works. Konica Minolta uses its own European data centres to ensure this data is fully protected and secure as well as highly available. Desktop-as-a-Service is also part of Workplace One, a compact digital workplace package consisting of a managed Microsoft 365 environment, Managed Backup Services, Remote Monitoring and Management and a SharePoint-based company portal.
Trend 5: Stricter expectations on climate protection
COP 27 in Egypt in November 2022 showed how tough the negotiations are in terms of agreeing to strict climate change targets. The European countries in particular had stricter expectations in advance, with the European Green Deal already setting EU member states the goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050 to fulfil the commitments agreed at COP 21 in Paris in 2015. The UK Government has also launched a major international climate package which includes £65.5m for green tech innovation and triple funding for climate adaptation as part of that budget, from £500m in 2019 to £1.5bn in 2025.
Climate protection obligations will need to factor into all UK business operations despite the pressures of rising energy costs and the need to facilitate hybrid working. Additionally, UK businesses that trade with customers and partners in the EU will need to consider the
recently agreed forthcoming Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), which requires companies to report annually on the governance, social and environmental impacts and risks related to their activities.
With increased pressure to demonstrate sustainability coming from specific legislation as well as Corporate Social Responsibility expectations, the way all organisations do business will be subject to closer scrutiny. Konica Minolta’s Environmental Policy for example, promotes sustainable development and profitable growth by integrating environmental, economic, and social perspectives into its business strategies to ensure activities are implemented in harmony with human lives and with the environment in all aspects. This includes compliance with laws and guidelines, environmental consideration of the product lifecycle and recycling, prevention of pollution, and support for the wider sustainable society.
Mark Ash, Chief Revenue Officer at Konica Minolta Business Solutions (UK) Ltd commented, “As UK businesses and organisations of every type look to ‘do more with less’, the Digital Workplace will become even more important in 2023 and beyond. Pressures to increase sustainability, whilst reducing costs and supporting hybrid working and engendering workplace flexibility, will mean greater pressures on the IT provision and increased use of automation. Konica Minolta’s Intelligent Connected Workplace portfolio is designed to address all these needs from a single expert supplier, enabling organisations to concentrate on their core activities with full peace of mind they can address the wider challenges ahead.”
About Konica Minolta Business Solutions (UK) Ltd
Konica Minolta is a market-leading Hardware Manufacturer, Smart Data and Digital IT Services company that builds and transforms digital business operations, workplaces, and IT infrastructures to meet the changing needs of customers of all sizes, across departments and industry sectors – both private and public sectors.
A broad portfolio of hardware and solutions and services include IT Infrastructures, Managed IT Services & Support, Process Digitisation and Automation, Digital Print, and Intelligent Video Solutions, as well Outsourced helpdesks and service desks for both front & back-office tasks.
Konica Minolta combines world-class technology partnerships with end-to-end expert operations and processes – from design to support, to transition 10,000 UK customers and partners to the future of work and our vision of an “Intelligent Connected Workplace”.
The company has won awards for its social contribution and is committed to workplace wellbeing, achieving its Sustainable Development Goals throughout the business and wider supply chain. Konica Minolta is listed among the ‘2022 Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World’ and has received the highest level in EcoVadis Sustainability Ratings.
Part of the global Konica Minolta Group, Konica Minolta Business Solutions (UK) Ltd is headquartered in Basildon, Essex with 10 regional offices across the UK, employing over 750 people.