Canon sees no threat in digitalisation

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KUALA LUMPUR — In this data-driven age, most businesses have gone digital, limiting paper use, which has led to the advent of more services-based businesses such as pay-per-use printing services, digital archiving or scanning services.

Compared to using technology for data storing purposes, using paper can be slow when it comes to transmitting and recovering information, thus turning digital storage into the preferred method of storing information.

However, Canon Marketing Malaysia (M) Sdn Bhd business imaging solutions marketing manager Rodney Fong believes paper will never be rendered obsolete.

Paper would still be needed for official documents such as claims and contracts, as well as for keeping records. It will also acts as a backup in case of technological backlash or data wipeout.

Due to these factors, Fong is confident Canon would still be able to flourish in the copier industry.

“For the copier industry, digitalisation has been good for us, because when everything went digital, there has been more demand for devices since our devices mostly work in a digital environment.

“Our unit is still growing in Malaysia, but we foresee customers demanding more, so that is why we are going into managed print services (MPS) and outsourcing services because we want to be there before it matures.

“Once it matures it will be hard to enter, so at least if we have a foot inside, we get a headstart,” Fong said.

The outsourcing services and MPS are expected to be a major profit generator for the printing giant and may one day take over printing as its core revenue source.

But Fong said the company would not move away from printing to focus on services, as the two are needed to complement each other.

“Printing will remain a core business, but services will be the catalyst for fast growth.”

Printing is still more cost-effective compared to electronic methods of documentation, which would also require investments into software, thus smaller companies still opt for traditional (paper) methods due to budget constraints.

Despite this, Fong sees great potential in the Malaysian market.

He foresees that as the economy and industries grows, companies will start to invest further in digitising data to cut labour cost.

In the long run companies can save a significant amount with digitalisation as this can help them grow their business by up to five times, Fong said.

“You can ignore it if you want to, but you will suffer the consequences — if you do not want to join the race, that is fine, but if you want to join the race you have to run,” said Fong.

He said due to the Asian culture of resistance to drastic changes, the transition into the digital era is taking too long for the younger generation.

Fong acknowledges that the slow speed at which the government is embracing change is due to not wanting to overwhelm those who feel digitalisation to be a threat.