Year-End Thoughts and a Look Toward the Future

The end of one year and start of a new one can give companies time to reflect on what has transpired and plan for the future. But when it comes to digitally transforming a business, there is no clear-cut end. Finding ways to improve as a partner, employer, industry leader and societal contributor is an ever-evolving process. While technological advancements are important, it’s imperative to remember to focus on the people. It’s the employees who remain at the center of the process.

Prioritizing people requires taking a thoughtful approach that values their education, culture and experience, which in turn can help guide customers on their own journeys. Creativity and adaptability will be needed to meet customers’ changing needs and shifting industry demands.

As customers’ needs evolve, we can’t underestimate the value of the cloud and its impact in streamlining workflow. Providing ways to collaborate will remain important as we navigate unique work environments that were necessitated in 2020 and continue now.

Cloud service adoption became more widespread during the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to evolve. This multifaceted technology has already made a sizable impact and carries the potential to revolutionize the workforce even more as we look to the new year. One trend that is worth watching regarding this technology is a potential move to a hybrid or multi-cloud environment. This would allow users to utilize more than one provider, with the potential to foster greater collaboration. Organizations that use different platforms could easily share data and work efficiently together by employing this multi-cloud model.

Artificial intelligence can enhance cloud computing capabilities. Machine learning is already a component of many cloud platforms, evidenced by its ability to assist users through means such as image recognition and language processing. Look for continued improvements in both speed and overall efficiency of AI in the cloud going forward.

Cloud capabilities will continue to need strong security features as well. With cloud computing, employees can access their information from various devices — provided those devices are authorized to do so — while using security features, such as those offering detailed activity reports that track the content being accessed by specific users.

The cloud is a key piece of the hybrid work model. The concluding year was a testament to the fact that remote work will continue to be a significant part of the office structure for many employers going forward in 2022 and beyond. Maximizing a company’s talent is always the goal. Employers need the right technology and integrated solutions to help maintain productivity and efficiency for their workers, regardless of in-office or remote working setups. Implementing reliable and efficient technology remains important to this end.

Even as employees start spending more time in physical office locations, there is still much work being done remotely. This reality has underscored the need to offer centralized tools that can allow remote workers to remain productive. Solutions with security features built-in that allow customers to manage output and provide advanced printing and scanning capabilities to their employees almost anywhere an internet connection is available will be essential.

Remote work can be good for employees and also help facilitate cost savings for employers, saving money on overhead. With many companies facing tighter budgets than in the past, offering bundled services can continue to be attractive offers for partners who need new products and services to help them adapt to the changing circumstances.

Navigating through 2020 and 2021 required the ability to adapt to new and unusual circumstances. By remaining flexible and adaptable to the new realities, companies can be in a strong position to continue to have success in the new year. As we continue to learn and move forward to adapt to these new ways of working and living, we must leverage our partnerships and shared goals to succeed in 2022.

Katsuhiro “Jerry” Matsufuji is vice president and general manager for the Business Information Communications Group of Canon U.S.A., Inc. In his role, Matsufuji helps enterprises leverage the solutions and technology needed to thrive in today’s competitive business climate. During his 34-year career at Canon, Matsufuji has worked at offices both inside and outside of the U.S., showcasing the strength of his leadership.