Ricoh Americas: 'Unstructured knowledge' is the challenge of our time

    Ricoh Americas: 'Unstructured knowledge' is the challenge of our time

Leveraging goldmine of untethered, unorganized information will drive
organizations' success in 2013 and beyond, company predicts

PR Newswire

MALVERN, Pa., Dec. 19, 2012

MALVERN, Pa., Dec. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite the power of increasingly
advanced databases, the overwhelming majority of valuable business information
remains adrift in the form of unstructured knowledge – any information that is
not captured or easily searchable.

Celebrating its 50^th anniversary in America, Ricoh Americas Corporation today
predicts this untapped asset – unstructured knowledge – will be a key factor
in the next five years and beyond. Unstructured knowledge consists largely of
conversations, communications, unsearchable documents, processes, practices,
strategies and cultural norms. Organizations are generally unable to harness
these assets today, says Ricoh.

Those organizations with the ability to capture and provide structure to this
knowledge will wield a huge advantage in the future. The challenge of seizing
unstructured knowledge, already complex, will be further complicated by stark
generational differences in work style and by the majority of baby boomers
retiring by 2021 – taking valuable, undocumented information with them.

"Capturing unstructured knowledge is especially important as baby boomers
retire and Gen Y turns first to the search window to attack every new business
problem, and to create further complexity, the velocity of change in
communication technology is unprecedented," said Terrie Campbell, Vice 
President, Strategic Marketing, Ricoh Americas Corporation. "Organizations
that don't adequately capture unstructured knowledge will risk the chance
their customers will find more nimble companies with which to do business."

Ricoh believes this knowledge capture imperative will reveal itself in a
compelling range of trends, technologies and practices. Among them:

The next big thing: Voice capture. Ever notice how the details of important
business meetings and conference calls start fading from memory the moment you
step out of the room? And how it's virtually impossible to fully brief someone
who didn't attend? Over the next five years, companies will use speech-to-text
technology to capture, tag and organize the things we talk about in meetings,
conference calls and customer support interactions. These conversations, which
are unstructured knowledge, will all become searchable business information.

This use of voice capture will have legal ramifications as these recorded
conversations become part of the "workflow," virtually everything will be "on
the record." That means organizations will need legislation that permits this
capture, and will need to negotiate consent from employees and partners.
Expect litigation over what, if anything, remains off limits.

Technology-enabled Collaboration. Emerging technologies in communication will
mean smart phones won't just connect. They'll create. Cloud boards and unified
communication systems as well as virtual workspaces will add dimension to
where knowledge originates. This technology will enable that content to be
captured, searched and shared.

Security concerns mount. Gen Y has redefined "teamwork." Today, it may include
vetting ideas on social networks, and the boundaries may be even broader in
the years to come. Organizations will need reliable new ways of securing
enterprise information without constraining the open access that spawns

New ways of working drive new architectures. New personal devices, mobility
levels and social computing techniques will create the need for different
architectures, many relying on the cloud. Security and access will be
paramount – and more challenging than ever.

Bidirectional mentorship. Gen Y will comprise over 50% of the workforce by
2020.[1] Baby boomers and Gen Y work quite differently, but each has much to
teach the other. Decades of experience have given baby boomers a feel for what
strategies, processes and approaches succeed or fail in business. Capturing
their knowledge in searchable content that adds value to the organization is
imperative. At the same time, Gen Y, however, has startling insights into the
workings of social computing, which is well on its way to becoming synonymous
with business. Baby boomers will mentor Gen Y, as might be expected, but smart
organizations will enlist Gen Y to mentor boomers on the new ways of being

The ultimate goal: Monetizing captured knowledge. Capturing the new goldmine
of unstructured knowledge will be a good move for any company – and a great
one if you can figure out early on how to process it effectively, and
distribute the right output to the right worker at the right time to profit
from it.

"The vast opportunity that is unstructured knowledge is a big challenge for
the next few years," said Campbell. "Successful companies will find a way to
get their arms around it. Others will see their fundamental value erode.
Information is our core focus at Ricoh, so we think we'll play a major role in
helping companies exceed their goals. It will be exciting to see how all this
plays out because you can roadmap technology, but you can't roadmap human

Ricoh's predictions are based on in-depth analyses of the major business
challenges facing enterprises today, trends and emerging technology.
Furthermore, Ricoh bases these predictions in part on its half century of
innovation in America, during which time it delivered:

  oThe first high-speed digital facsimile machine for office use (1974).
  oThe first solar-powered SLR camera (1981).
  oThe first mass-produced CD-rewriteable drive (1996).
  oThe first biomass toner as a genuine manufacturer's supply item (2009).
  oA 100-percent solar-powered electronic billboard, in New York's Times
    Square (2010).

| About Ricoh |

Ricoh is a global technology company specializing in office imaging equipment,
production print solutions, document management systems and IT services.
Headquartered in Tokyo, Ricoh Group operates in more than 200 countries and
regions. In the financial year ending March 2012, Ricoh Group had worldwide
sales of 1,903 billion yen (approx. 23 billion USD).

The majority of the company's revenue comes from products, solutions and
services that improve the interaction between people and information. Ricoh
also produces award-winning digital cameras and specialized industrial
products. It is known for the quality of its technology, the exceptional
standard of its customer service and sustainability initiatives.

Under its corporate tagline, imagine. change. Ricoh helps companies transform
the way they work and harness the collective imagination of their employees.

For further information, please visit

© 2012 Ricoh Americas Corporation. All rights reserved. All referenced product
names are the trademarks of their respective companies.

[1] "Generational Preferences: A Glimpse into the Future Office" by Knoll,
Inc. 2010


Linda Montefusco
Ricoh Americas Corporation
(973) 882-2172

Jill Searl
Brodeur Partners
(603) 559-5824

SOURCE Ricoh Americas Corporation

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