Photo of people talking in an office

The digitization of traditional office print

There is no doubt that today's workplace is rapidly evolving and, as a result, traditional print vendors and print service providers must also evolve to meet their customer's changing needs. Yet, just what is causing this change? A key answer lies in the shift in demographics as baby boomers — one of the largest generations in history — leave the workplace for retirement and millennials move up the ranks and take on more leadership roles as they have different values and expectations.

It's estimated that millennials are already the largest generation at work and that by 2025 they are expected to account for approximately 75% of the workforce.[1]

Ernst & Young Company

The future of digital printing

So, how will the role of traditional office printing change as the workplace continues to embrace digital transition? For starters, millennials (those born between 1980 and the mid-1990s) were raised at a much different time than baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964), prompting them to have different values and ideals. They were the first generation to grow up immersed by smartphones and social media, in an always on and always connected world.

They never knew a life without digital technology and, as a result, they are very critical of technology that does not meet their standards. In addition, they are much more sustainability-conscious than their elder counterparts. According to a Sustainable Brands trends and insights study, roughly 80% of millennials are likely to pay more for responsibly made products and, in addition, expect to work for companies that care about their environmental impacts.[2] Lastly, this generation expects flexible work environments and the ability to stay connected and always on while traveling or working remotely.

The evolution of mobile print, cloud print and print usage analytics

As print retains a vital role in our workplace, traditional print will be replaced with a more "modernized" version of what we have today. Much of this change and growth will be fueled by mobile printing and cloud printing. With the drive toward our current digital and mobile workplace, it comes as no surprise that millennials see cloud printing and mobile printing as becoming increasingly important. People want to be able to print from wherever they are — and more often than not — they are on a mobile device.

A transformation of key business priorities

With the emergence of this new generation as key-decision makers, key business priorities are also evolving. In general, elder generations place higher importance on reducing costs in the workplace — a current priority, definitely, but no longer the most important. Additionally, baby boomers tend to be a bit more resistant to change such as automating workflows and delving into analytics to shape their decision making. Research shows that millennials top three business priorities are to improve business efficiency, improve revenue and improve employee productivity.[3] So it is only natural that print priorities follow suit. Millennials seek agility on behalf of their print service providers, expecting their relationship to change and fluctuate as their business needs change. In general, they also enjoy a closer relationship with their print providers than past generations.

Five signs that enterprises might be ready for Analytics for Print

Digital printing and analytics for print

As a result of these identified business priorities, key investment areas for print service providers are also changing. Key investment areas between now and 2025, include IT security, outsourcing print services and cloud computing. Value added print services are geared to help companies grow and reduce the focus on non-core services. Additionally, with security breaches on the rise, businesses feel the pressure to keep their customers — and their employees — information safe. A move to the cloud helps keep information secured by staying on top of advanced software upgrades and security protocols. Additionally, managed print services enable print service providers to provide customized print solutions based on their customer's unique needs. This also allows print service providers to maintain a close relationship with their customers and adapt as their printing needs fluctuate.

Since millennials rely so heavily on facts and analysis to inform key decisions, the role of analytics in print is becoming an essential component. The only real way to know that their printing goals are in alignment with their key priorities — improve business efficiency, improve revenue and improve employee productivity — is to rely on analytics to prove it. Analytics help them measure such things as reducing unnecessary paper usage, improving business processes and workflow automation, reducing their environmental impact and also, reducing the burden on their IT staff. With cloud printing, your IT staff will no longer need to design, deploy or manage your print environment.

RICOH Analytics for Print

With RICOH Analytics for Print, you will get a single pane, dashboard view of your important print data. Our print environment experts partner with you to analyze and interpret your data and turn that knowledge into actionable insights configured to your needs and your key business priorities. For more information on Analytics for Print, and to determine if your organization is ready for print analytics, read our eBook, "Five signs that enterprises might be ready for Analytics for Print."

  1. 1. Karyn Twaronite, "Global generations: A global study on work-life challenges across generations." EY: Building a better working world, 2015.
  2. 2. Aarthi Rayapura, "Millennials most sustainability-conscious generation yet, but don't call them 'environmentalists.'" Sustainable Brands, 2015.
  3. 3. Louella Fernandez, "Millennials matter: Print and digital convergence in the future workplace." A Quocirca print 2025 spotlight report, 2018.

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