Ricoh adds Fujitsu scanners, alliance with Cybozu

Following the acquisition of 80% of Fujitsu’s scanner business, Ricoh is now planning to develop new services that provide closer integration between capture and its AI-OCR solution and DocuWare EDRMS subsidiary. Fujitsu sold an 80% stake in its scanner manufacture subsidiary, PFU, to Ricoh for about 80 billion yen, or $US625 million. It plans to focus on software development.

Ricoh said it “aims to expand its recurring revenue business by offering a combination of distinctive edge devices, business applications, and cloud platforms that enable the handling of special documents that are difficult to handle with existing MFPs (Multifunction Printers).

“This includes documents such as “unequal sized slips and forms,” “non-carbon paper application forms,” and “driver’s licenses and ID cards,” which are generated in accounting, application, and teller window operations.”

Ricoh wants to expand its business by enhancing business scanners in offices and areas where more advanced and continuous document volumes are expected, such as teller window operations at medical and public institutions and document processing operations in financial institutions and corporation back offices.

Ricoh has also announced a business alliance with Cybozu, Inc., a software company headquartered in Japan.

Ricoh’s partnership with Cybozu, Inc. will see the two companies working together on Cybozu’s cloud services teamwork platform (called ‘kintone’) to develop a Ricoh branded version of the platform to be launched globally starting with Japan.

The office equipment market continues to shrink, due in part to companies going paperless. According to the Japan Business Machine and Information System Industries Association, global shipments of copy machines and multifunction printers came to 649.1 billion yen last year, down about 30% from five years earlier.

Since around 2015, Fujitsu has been selling off pieces of its hardware businesses to concentrate on software for enterprises, including information management services for the manufacturing industry and governments. It has already sold its mobile phone and personal computer businesses.

Keypoint Intelligence analyst Lee Davis, notes, “Ricoh isn’t just acquiring a trusted scanner brand and global market share leader. Fujitsu has a powerful portfolio of document scanners that can extend business process automation capabilities no matter where scanning occurs. Without a doubt, this strengthens Ricoh’s already robust office digitization portfolio, which is anchored by DocuWare and Ricoh Smart Integrations.

“The former provides businesses with document management and a business process automation platform, while the latter serves as an automated portal that streamlines the process of onboarding hardcopy documents into digital systems. With Fujitsu’s lineup of scanners, Ricoh will be able to offer an all-in-one process digitization and automation platform or manage the ecosystem for employees—a lethal combination that not many vendors can provide by themselves. 

“But the really interesting question is how does this deal affect the document scanner industry as a whole? There are two answers. In the short term, it won’t have much of an impact. Although there is an agreement in place, there are still a few months before Ricoh officially acquires the shares. And even after that, it’s going to take some time to integrate the companies.

“In the longer term, though, we can expect this deal to make some ripples. Like Ricoh, Fujitsu does well in the enterprise space. With the addition of the premier enterprise scanning brand, Ricoh shouldn’t have trouble wowing its enterprise customers. Fujitsu also enjoys a strong presence in IT channels, especially when it comes to vertical markets. This should help complement Ricoh’s strength in the office equipment dealer channel, where it will have access to these new scanners as well as be able to promote Ricoh’s digital services strategy to Fujitsu’s channels and customer segments.”