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Ricoh urges organizations to redirect investments to manage business risk

Recent research points to better ways to prioritize investments, lower risk and achieve results

TOKYO, July 24, 2012 — Ricoh Company, Ltd. is advising companies to better target their spending on their most deficient document-driven processes — which typically relate directly to organizational risk. The advice stems from an IDC white paper, "It's Worse Than You Think: Poor Document Processes Lead to Significant Business Risk", sponsored by Ricoh that showed companies are spending less money on improving document-driven business processes designed to mitigate risk, such as business continuity/risk assessment, business monitoring and controls, and compliance/audit processes, areas that Ricoh recommends companies spend more time understanding and improving. The survey also found driving paper out of processes doesn't necessarily improve efficiency and companies are too dependent on internal staff to re-engineer critical processes.

"In general, the more deficient the processes are, the less organizations are investing to improve them," reads the IDC white paper, sponsored by Ricoh. "So even though risk mitigation and other ineffective processes are receiving some investment, they are getting less than other processes … and arguably should be receiving a large degree of attention [to minimize impact to the security of the organization]."

The good news is that well over half of the respondents said improving document processes governing organizational compliance and risk mitigation/management would deliver benefits across business oversight/control, compliance risk, information security risk and business continuity risk. Ricoh's approach to improving document-driven processes like these includes: definition of the desired state and the creation of a plan that includes critical metrics and key performance indicators; creating a new information infrastructure designed and checked for alignment with business objectives and customer expectations; and a campaign to educate and create awareness with end-users of the new process.

"It's vitally important that organizations take a holistic approach to fully understand their information infrastructure, where they may need to make improvements, and work with an experienced partner who can help them transform their processes to be more efficient," said Sergio Kato, Deputy General Manager, Global Marketing Group/Services Business Center. "But in the case of processes that are theoretically designed to minimize risk, such as compliance and audit processes or business continuity processes, it is even more vital for companies to continuously monitor, evaluate and invest in improvements. Our research shows this is not occurring in many cases, and we are urging companies to address this growing concern now before they incur even greater risk to their organization."

By providing services to enterprises worldwide, Ricoh knows that organizations find out the hard way that broken business processes, those that are inefficient and ineffective, expose them to significant financial risk. The research1 examined 23 document-driven business processes that take place in typical organizations. Three of the four processes cited as most inefficient in the study included: business continuity/risk assessment, business monitoring and controls, and compliance/audit processes — all processes designed to manage risk.

The research was conducted as part of the Ricoh's Process Imperative launched earlier this year by Ricoh Company, Ltd. to help companies more quickly and efficiently improve information management across all industries.

Additional Findings
The research also spotlighted the counterintuitive fact that automation doesn't always equal efficiency. A high percentage of business processes (30 to 40 percent) remain paper-driven, the research found, and many processes "jump back and forth" between paper and electronic workflows. Nonetheless, "the least effective processes [in the study] are also the least paper-based. This exposes the myth that simply driving paper out of processes necessarily makes them more efficient. Rather, the health of the process also depends on deeper-level assessment of workflows and attributes of the process itself."

Another finding: organizations rely too heavily on internal staff to reengineer processes, and they over-rely on technology: "Reengineering processes requires deep expertise and outside perspective, while simply adding hardware to a broken process can serve to simply 'lock in' inefficiencies," the white paper says.

Ricoh firmly believes that choosing the right partner with deep experience in reengineering business processes can help provide a broader, practical perspective, and offload the significant effort and resources required to reduce risk. They can work with the customer to help ensure the investment s they are making truly improve the secure delivery of business critical information to the right person, in the right format, at the right time.

"It's clear from the research that it takes more than intuition to improve vital document processes," said Mr. Kato. "The risks are hidden in less-than-obvious places, and the solutions require deeper analysis than some might assume. Fortunately, there are best practices for document processes consistent with this new research, and our Managed Document Services (MDS) program has employed these practices to help deliver significant results to Ricoh customers around the world."

Ricoh's MDS approach is an extension and evolution of Managed Print Services (MPS) and addresses the three fundamental functions relating to the entire document management ecosystem — input, processing and output. Ricoh's MDS aims to streamline core business processes by focusing on process, people, and technology and innovation to create a state of continuous improvement. Through a flexible, partnership-led approach, Ricoh also helps organizations better manage and leverage information for improved business outcomes. Ricoh is recognized today by both IDC2 and Gartner as a leader in the industry.

  • 2*IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Managed Print Services 2011 Vendor Analysis, doc #232135, December 2011

For more information on Ricoh's full line of products, services and solutions, please visit

About the Process Imperative
Ricoh's Process Imperative is an on-going initiative to promote understanding of new document and information processing paradigms that help enterprises leverage the collective wisdom embodied in their organizations. This initiative will fund research and provide resources, like those found on this site, which combine Ricoh's document and information process expertise with that of industry visionaries, our partners and our customers.

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