Cutting carbon emissions through cloud - the Ricoh story

Case Studies Miya Knights Aug 3, 2012

Cloud has become a crucial part of Ricoh's environmental plans - it's the way to cut emissions

Ricoh is a global technology company, founded in Japan in 1936 with headquarters in Tokyo. Traditionally known as a manufacturer of electronic products, it also now offers enterprise document and IT management services. The company’s adoption of cloud computing technology grew out of efficiency initiatives spawned from a sustainability drive to reduce the company’s carbon emissions by 87.5 percent by 2050 compared with 2000 levels.

Ian Winham, Ricoh chief information and finance officer, says cloud computing has not only supported its environmental goals, but it has also been essential in enabling the company’s transition from being just a hardware provider of printers, copiers and multifunctional devices. "We are transforming our business model into a services business, really focusing on managed document and IT services, as well as production printing and office solutions," he explains.

Winham said: "I see the work we’re doing with the Ricoh private cloud as not just an internal project, but also a customer-facing one that enables us to help our customers make not only some of their business processes more efficient, but also to meet their day-to-day IT requirements as well. This will enable us to offer a one-stop solution for everything they may need from us."

Recent research sponsored by Ricoh from the Economist Intelligence Unit found business leaders believed there will be a shift towards more decentralised employee decision-making, increased collaboration between business divisions and an increase in customer-led innovation by 2020.

It was with this more decentralised and sustainable vision of working in mind that Ricoh Europe began its cloud journey in 2011. Or, as Winham puts it: "To not only own but use the IT services we provide." Its vision was to create a single pan-European environment to manage all its information securely, while also enabling its employees to access enterprise applications securely from anywhere across the region. Ricoh’s aim was to centralise and streamline its energy-intensive IT infrastructure and to reduce duplication of data through the provision of a more efficient IT and business process environment.

Winham worked with Infosys to implement a private cloud infrastructure across its European business. At the same time, he is the sponsor of a company-wide project to move its entire front and back-office IT infrastructure onto one platform. "We’re moving from multiple ERP [enterprise resource planning] platforms and process models to one," he says.

"With that project moving forward, it became clear in about 2008/9 that we would need to look at our infrastructure requirements, which were going to expand to handle all of the business data we were generating,” Winham continued. So that was another requirement that meant we were going to have to look at capacity, which led us to engage with Infosys in 2011."