One Sharp Vision: Enabling the Future Workplace
Reviewing the hybrid Sharp Europe event
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On May 19, Sharp Europe invited partners and the press to a hybrid event showcasing the future workplace. The event was on-site for select participants across several major European cities (virtual for others) and provided insight on Sharp’s achievements and strategy.
|Rob Tung, President of Sharp Europe|
The event opened with Rob Tung, President of Sharp Europe, sharing Sharp’s vision in enabling the future workplace. Sharp has published some key customer survey findings and most respondents say their productivity has increased outside of the office, with 63% saying that technology is vital for remote and/or hybrid working. The challenge then becomes finding the right people and keeping up with technology and services. As part of its long-term strategy, Sharp is moving from a product-centric offering to interactive products and IT services with secure productive hubs. As well as its organic growth, acquisitions including Dynabook have moved Sharp’s offering forward with solutions such as DynaEdge AR assisted remote support, along with the NEC joint venture leading to a 500% increase in display business. Other areas of improvement have been in e-commerce, including a refreshed learning portal and new website.
As Alex Hermann, President of Sharp Information Systems Europe, reflected, Sharp’s MFP range started with the first MFP launch 50 years ago. Fast forward to a growth of 3.7% in CY 2021, in contrast to a declining market from the setback of the pandemic, Sharp is in a strong position. It believes that the future workplace will require MFPs and will launch its new range of products throughout 2022—seven years later from its last major product launch at the Sharp Inspire Expo. These new devices have greater connectivity and security to enable hybrid working styles with a product design focused on the smart office. Microsoft Teams support and smart diagnostics have been added and improved sustainability is achieved with up to 20% energy saving versus predecessor products.
Bernd Eberhardt, NEC Display’s President, discussed the strong proposition, enhanced portfolio, and professional services on offer by joining Sharp on April 1. Now holding a market-leading position, Sharp NEC Display Solutions offers one of the broadest visual solutions portfolios in the industry, offering LCD displays, lamp and laser projectors, dvLED, 8K and 5G technology, collaboration solutions, IoT and AI driven analytics.. Industry leading partners including Cisco, Barco, and Windows collaboration displays demonstrated at ISE have enabled growth beyond their technology offering. The vision is to improve productivity in hybrid meetings, simplifying work for all by empowering all participants to join equally regardless of being tech savvy or not. With the challenge of multiple platforms, security and interoperability is key. The Synappx collaboration hub simplifies meetings with an easy-to-use interface to meet and share documents. Products use metal instead of plastic to dissipate heat and feature 100% recyclability for greater quality, reliability, and sustainability. Repair and refurbishment are available to further meet customer sustainability goals and to offer support beyond the product warranty period.
Dynabook’s President Damian Jaume talked about the 15% market growth for laptops as a result of hybrid working through the pandemic, while Colin Blumenthal, Vice President of IT Services, talked about the need for greater IT support across cloud, MS365, and on-premise platforms in hybrid working environments that Sharp serves through its multi-lingual IT services support center in Poland. Security was noted as top of the list of concerns for customers and how they evolve and change for the future workplace. Business critical IT services, support, and integrated product offering is vital. Dynabook has its own BIOS for a high level of customization for security needs of customers and were the only vendor able to meet the UK Ministry of Defense’s security requirements.
Keypoint Intelligence Opinion
While the pandemic made it necessary to understand and fulfil the collaboration technology needs of Sharp’s customers, as well as adjusting to the change internally, there seems to be an accelerated impetus to stay ahead of the evolution of technologies and services. Sharp has invested time and resources in surveying its customers and recognizing that businesses are now looking for a secure solution to collaborate with, regardless of location or platform, and must provide for all technology services that an office requires with a technology-as-a-service operating expense (OPEX) instead of capital expenditure (CAPEX) model—all with the ability for the customer to pay for everything under a monthly lease.
The focus on the shift to IT services and technology-as-a-service came across strongly. Half of staff and revenues are already currently on that side of the business. They used the analogy of servicing a car at the same time as driving it, in that they want to continue to expand service and product offerings without disruption to current offerings.
Sharp’s strong supply chain position, with the backing of Foxconn, helped see growth in a declining market during the pandemic. This is a strength that will surely continue to help them to adapt to any future supply pressures. The integration of acquired or joint venture companies will be crucial for Sharp partners in the near term so that they can really bear the fruits of these moves.
Overall, following the last Inspire Expo event from Sharp Europe in 2018, this event’s remote press briefing and in person dealer briefings felt like the perfect way to highlight the key theme of enabling hybrid working and collaboration.
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