Konica Minolta responds to pandemic with hybrid workplace

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In spite of its 500 staff suddenly working from home as the Covid-19 pandemic set in, imaging specialist Konica Minolta says it was able to maintain and even improve productivity.

To keep up with such a sudden change, the company is overhauling its SAP S/4HANA implementation, to position it for a more flexible, cloud-based workplace.

It has also announced an expansion to its 20-year-plus agreement with Macquarie Telecom to streamline its telecommunications and data networks.

Under the deal, Macquarie will provide SD-WAN, NBN, cloud, and data centre services.

“The future we’re aiming to deliver for Australian businesses is all about responsibility, connectivity and security, easily the most important qualities we need in light of COVID-19,” said Konica Minolta CIO Nick Jones.

“Macquarie shares that vision, and has worked with us to develop a new, much higher-value agreement that leverages its new technologies, helping us to deliver our digital strategy.”

All Konica sites have been migrated to NBN connections supporting SD-WAN technology, meaning work-from-home staff need nothing more than an internet connection. The company claims this has improved both speed and efficiency while cutting 15 percent from networking costs.

Macquarie’s cloud and data centre services will provide data hosting and colocation.

“The groundwork we laid with Macquarie for these upgraded services set us up to be fully remotely connected when the pandemic and work-from-home restrictions set in,” added Jones.

“500 people very suddenly had to go home, and productivity remained and even improved in a number of areas.”

Jones said the next step will be for Konica to expand its Microsoft Teams footprint, to support both sales activity and internal communications.

“We’re seeing major sales happening via Teams, and we want to embrace that rather than seeing it as temporary,” said Jones. 

“We also want to encourage more video communication between staff – it’s easy to lose context over email and we’ve seen that cause avoidable issues between staff. We want to encourage more video communication over Teams, and potentially even video communications sent over email, to change this. 

“Macquarie’s partnership with Microsoft, particularly its Azure Expert MSP status, is a huge asset to us to drive and make these changes stick,” he said.

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