Konica Minolta research reveals the impact of Covid-19 on small and medium-sized businesses

| 20 July 2021

Konica Minolta and Keypoint Intelligence IT and business operations pain points study reveals depth of security and home working challenges during pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated the pain points of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) around security and data protection. 48 percent described security and data protection as being their number one IT challenges. 37 percent of businesses said that their employees had experienced virus, malware or security threats due to conditions imposed during the pandemic. As a result of those security issues, 47 percent of companies have acquired or upgraded IT security software or services. The findings were revealed by new research by Keypoint Intelligence ‘Top SMB IT Pain Points & Solutions’, created on behalf of Konica Minolta. It surveyed 550 SMB IT decision-makers in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic to identify their main challenges and pain points relating to technology.

SMBs encountered significant challenges in their effort to enable remote work in the wake of the pandemic: For example, 38 percent of IT decision-makers viewed managing remote work as being difficult or very difficult. For nearly half of SMBs (49 percent), the lack of necessary employee hardware or software was a difficulty associated with home-based working. Similarly, 44 percent of IT decision-makers identified servicing/supporting home workers’ IT hardware or software as a challenge. "As a likely consequence of this, 33 percent invested in managed IT services as a result of Covid-19," sums up Olaf Lorenz, Senior General Manager Digital Transformation Division, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe.
In terms of day-to-day operations, home working also presented particular challenges relating to team communication and in accessing and collaborating on files: 51 percent of respondents identified communication with managers or other employees as a business operation challenge resulting from work-from-home arrangements. Meanwhile, 37 percent indicated that locating files was an IT challenge associated with working from home, while 30 percent cited digital document collaboration as business operations challenge resulting from employees working remotely. "From these findings, it is clear why 35 percent of SMBs have invested in document sharing and collaboration applications as a result of the pandemic," concludes Olaf Lorenz.

The challenge of remote working spurring digitilisation efforts

Other technologies also saw increased adoption: 45 percent acquired or upgraded cloud data storage as a result of Covid-19, for example. “The challenge of remote working has certainly spurred digitalisation efforts overall. In 65 percent of organisations, decision-makers said that the pressures of the pandemic had accelerated their journey towards greater digitalisation,” adds Olaf Lorenz. A common way to achieve this is to digitise documents.  This is probably why 56 percent of organisations cited scanning initiatives prompted by Covid-19 as drivers for increased digitalisation. Against this background, it is nevertheless remarkable that many SMBs are still heavily reliant on paper-based processes with 42 percent of business content remaining on paper. 49 percent of organisations cited privacy and safety concerns as the main reason for still using paper.

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The swift changes forced on everyone by the pandemic have irreversible consequences for the future workplace IT, especially for small and medium-sized businesses: Employees and businesses alike have experienced first-hand how much flexibility is possible – with regard to remote work and collaboration in particular, but also with optimised digital processes in general. Seizing these opportunities is highly valuable, but at the same time ensuring security is vital. We are aware of these needs and provide our SMB customers with consulting and relevant solutions to support their digital journeys.

Olaf Lorenz

Senior General Manager Digital Transformation Division, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe

Whitepaper with detailed results available

The whitepaper with in-depth results and further findings is available from Konica Minolta and Keypoint Intelligence.

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The impact of COVID-19 on SMBs

You can read the infographic of the survey´s results here.

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‘The SMB IT and business operations pain points study’ was conducted from February to March 2021 and in collaboration with Keypoint Intelligence. It included 550 SMBs in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic. Respondents were in the professional services, healthcare, manufacturing, hospitality & leisure and real estate industries. Each of the organisations has 50-250 employees. Respondents included those holding IT and non-IT roles within their organisations.


About Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe

Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe GmbH, based in Langenhagen, Germany, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Konica Minolta Inc., Tokyo, Japan. With its unique expertise in imaging, data processing and data-based decision making, Konica Minolta creates relevant solutions for its customers - small and medium-sized businesses, large enterprises and public sector - and solves issues faced by society.

As a digital workplace solution provider, Konica Minolta helps its clients to identify and unlock the potential digitalisation holds and reach the next level in the digital maturity of their organisation by rethinking the workplace. In support of an ‘Intelligent connected workplace’, Konica Minolta offers cloud, IT, managed print and video solution services for remote working, collaboration, workflow management and automation and security. The company’s success in driving transformation is also confirmed by IDC, since the ‘IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Print Transformation 2023 Vendor Assessment’ has named Konica Minolta a “Leader” in print transformation. Konica Minolta has been a Microsoft Global Managed Partner since 2021.

Konica Minolta's Igniting Print Possibilities offering helps printers, converters and brand owners maximise workflow automation to increase efficiency. The company delivers consultancy in all communication matters as well as top-of-the-line production, packaging as well as label printers. Its finishing devices create print products that stand out and create added value. Konica Minolta has established itself as the production printing market leader for more than a decade in Europe (InfoSource).

For an increasing number of organisations, success today is more than the narrow definition of financial prosperity – it also includes protecting the environment and having a positive impact on their workforce as well as the societies they are embedded in. With its commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Konica Minolta has pledged to consistently pursue its sustainability and social responsibility goals.

The company has been repeatedly recognised for its rich history of social contribution as well as for working towards achieving the SDGs throughout its business and supply chain. Konica Minolta received a GOLD Level Recognition Medal in the EcoVadis sustainability ratings for 2023.

For its remote services, Konica Minolta was awarded the prestigious ‘Buyers Lab (BLI) 2023-2024 Pacesetter Award in Remote Service for the Western European market’ from Keypoint Intelligence.

Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe is represented by subsidiaries and distributors in more than 80 countries in Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa. With more than 8,700 employees (as of April 2023), Konica Minolta Europe earned net sales of over EUR 2.26 billion in financial year 2022/2023.

Worldwide, the company has over 39,000 employees and is operating in over 150 countries.

For more information, please visit https://www.konicaminolta.eu/eu-en/news and follow Konica Minolta on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

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Melanie Olbrich

Expert Corporate Communications


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