2018 One Canon Event

Three members of the Virtulytix team were privileged to attend the One Canon 2018 Press / Analyst event in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The team included Ron Iversen, VP Market Intelligence Services; Mario Diaz, VP Consulting and Channel Research, and Ed Crowley, Chief Thought Leader for Virtulytix. It was a wonderful venue and a nice respite from winter for those of us living in more northerly climates, and as all Canon events, this was a first class event where the guests were treated very well.

In order to give you difference perspectives on the event, we asked all three of the attendees to answer a few questions for us. This is what they had to say.

Q1. What was the one thing that stood out most to you from the event?

(Mario Diaz) The thing that stood out was the absence of a clear strategy to advance Canon’s position in the Enterprise space. The Global Managed Services announcement was nice but we didn’t hear or see specifics and top line strategies to capture share in the Enterprise.

(Ron Iversen) How apparently well Canon seems to be doing despite a declining industry.

(Ed Crowley)  Canon’s strength clearly continues to be in technology and manufacturing. The firm has been very successful in building an excellent quality reputation and it’s clear that the organization’s focus continues to be on products and technology.

Q2. What was the key message you took away from the two days?

(Mario Diaz) In a world of consolidation of Manufacturers, channel, etc., Canon believes their steady pace and their focus on quality and service will help to make them the “last one” standing. The effort to leverage technology and capabilities across the company (one Canon) will only enhance their position.

(Ron Iversen) That Canon is truly pursuing and dependent on revenue and profit opportunities outside the office print space (production/commercial print, industrial print, cameras etc.)

(Ed Crowley)  The message I took away was that Canon’s management team is very focused on devices, unit volume growth and market share. Additionally, Canon is focusing on leveraging core technologies (like optics) across new segments such as night vision products, satellite geospatial products, and medical imaging. The nagging question in my mind was whether these new markets offered enough growth potential to offset pressures in the core business, particularly in Cameras and office imaging.

Q3. What was the most exciting new product or technology from your perspective?

(Mario Diaz) The most exciting technology is the advancements in Canon’s camera technology – specifically the low light applications. These advancements, displayed through a National Geographic series, demonstrate new possibilities never available before, specifically researching wildlife behavior at night and space-oriented applications.

(Ron Iversen) I would agree with Mario on the low light camera technology.  However, of the printer business, I would say that it is exciting to hear that Canon has identified predictive maintenance as a strategic new area for investment.

(Ed Crowley)  For me, the Colorado UVgel based product was very interesting. It’s new, innovative and the substrate independence is going to be, I believe, a hit with this market. This market segment is also one of the few remaining growth opportunities in the imaging market. The new night vision camera and satellite launched for geospatial imaging were very ‘sexy’ to talk about, but in terms of near term revenue and growth potential – I think Colorado is the place to focus.

Q4. Was there anything that surprised you?

(Mario Diaz) Canon’s move into space. It is interesting to note that there is a program to build rockets to push Canon imaging technology into space. How will this translate into advancements for the office, only one can imagine.

(Ron Iversen) I heard about Canon’s space programs with their low light cameras last year so that was not really surprising.   What surprised me at this event and previous events is that much of the material (end user case studies etc.) seems to be more suited for financial analysts or perhaps even resellers.  For industry analysts who understand the industry very well, I would have expected Canon to be more forthcoming on the biggest challenges they are facing.  I was also surprised that Canon would be very happy closing a few new major MPS accounts each year.

(Ed Crowley)  I think the thing that surprised me most was that I did not sense a strong urgency from the management team to change. The Global Managed Services announcement was needed, but it is coming years behind HP and Xerox. Is it too little too late? And it’s still essentially a ‘sales focused’ activity. Canon still lags the market in offering unified global services contract delivery on a consistent basis world-wide. Canon has a bunch of very bright and talented people, but one gets the sense that there just isn’t that sense of urgency to do anything radical. And while I understand it’s not natural for Japanese organizations to make sudden shifts, in a market as mature as imaging, is there really time for the gradual change approach Canon is following?

Q5. What is your three-sentence summary of the event? 

(Mario Diaz) The “One Canon” strategy has been in play for a few years now. The synergies across the organization are much more noticeable. During the executive team interviews I was able to get a sense of how the various units are beginning to learn how to leverage each other’s capabilities and customer facing processes. The Large Format and Production Print product lines are evolving nicely however to time market will be critical and speed is not one of Canon’s fortes. Finally, it will be interesting to see how the Global Managed Services initiative evolves and the impact it will have over the coming year.

(Ron Iversen) Canon has clearly realized that the era of selling “speeds and feeds” are over and that they must focus on making offices more efficient using optimized workflows.  They have also realized that future growth will come from outside office printing including production/commercial/industrial print, from Medical Imaging, and from their camera business.  Lastly, it was interesting to see that Canon is realizing that Predictive Maintenance is a strategic area for investment.

(Ed Crowley) Canon excels at development, manufacturing, and bringing high quality technology-based products to market. This event reinforced Canon’s commitment to this and their continued commitment to the imaging market. But it raises the question, will this commitment be enough to overcome the maturity and compression the imaging market is experiencing? Only time will tell.

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