January 2018

By Vincent Low

In the information age, having proper business security measures, particularly data security, is essential to running an organisation. Businesses need to ensure that confidential information does not end up in the wrong hands.

As someone who is in the industry that provides document security to our clients, we take this issue very seriously and make it a point to constantly review our security processes and systems. Canon has also developed technology across hardware and software that we have implemented internally in our office.

These are three Canon business solutions we use internally.

1. Canon Network Visual Solutions

To start off, our technology is utilised the moment you enter into our office! Canon’s powerful series of network solutions is planted throughout our office. A combination of decades long of world class optics as well as the latest networking technology. We are honoured to say that Canon has a powerful series of existing resources to create solutions that is able to transmit and record high-quality video image.

Combining Face Detection and Tracking Technology, Canon’s Profile Analyzer allows us to monitor and track activity of incoming visitors. The tool provides administrators with the requisite data of our visitors which gives us an added level of insight and security.

2. uniFLOW

Print jobs sent remotely may be collected at that printer by someone else, even if it is by accident. The amount of print activity in an MNC work environment like ours means there is a risk of having a confidential printout ending up in the wrong hands.

As such, we utilise our uniFLOW software solutions for all our in-house printing requirements. uniFLOW is an output management solution that provides control over printing, copying, scanning, and faxing across an entire print fleet. With uniFLOW, when someone sends a print job to the printer, the job is held centrally on the print server & released only upon user authentication at the device.

uniFLOW also has a secure audit module allows administrators to trace all previous activities done on Multi-Functional Devices, so you know who is printing what, and how many copies.

3. Therefore™

Again the sheer volume of documents present in a large MNC means that printed, confidential material may be misplaced and misused. To help us with our document management processes, we use Therefore™.

Therefore™ information management software enables companies to store, manage and process all kinds of business information electronically. This eliminates the risk of physically losing confidential documents. Administrators can also oversee and configure access rules and restrictions for individual users. This allows company information to be stored efficiently, economically and securely.

Having experienced and used these products on a daily basis gives me the confidence to share them with our business partners and clients. If you want to find out more about out Network Solutions, uniFLOW and Therefore™, contact us here.

For more business solutions and insights, follow Canon Singapore on LinkedIn.

The Business Intelligence (BI) landscape is constantly evolving and it is always good to stay on top of the trends to keep ahead of the game. Backed up by statistics, these trends are what experts feel would be the biggest shifts in BI solutions in the upcoming year.

1. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been around for quite a while, but it is only starting to get more recognised in the BI field. The process of machine learning allows for automation of the simple yet labour-intensive work of humans, generating larger and quicker data. This is especially crucial in an age of data explosion and the increasing demand for real-time data. This phenomenon allows analysts to acquire huge chunks of information faster, so they can spend more time on analysis instead.

That said, there are hopes that these machines will not only help to accomplish the basic tasks, but uncover more beyond our limits. A recent study has also shown that nearly 60% of businesses are currently exploring AI, while the rest are either adopting AI in their work operations or have already made progress with AI. Given continued advancements in research and technology, as well as such interest in AI, 2018 will be the year to keep a lookout for this trend.

2. Data Visualisation

More than just fancy graphs and charts, data visualisation is about presenting complex information effectively such that things can be understood at a glance. This enables business users to act upon the data immediately, which is critical in today’s growing need for instant insights.

In addition, data visualisation includes conveying what the data reflects accurately. When executed well, these visuals will help business leaders unravel deeper business insights and make more well-informed business decisions.

3. Data Governance

Self-service analytics have been gaining popularity, providing users with information to access and interpret the data they require without much technical assistance. This goes back to the issue of data governance, where people no longer need to share their data unnecessarily and worry about having it fall into the wrong hands. Moving into 2018, business owners can look toward a modern governance model, which is an improved system with certain rules set to effectively manage corporate data.

4. Multi-Cloud Strategy

Data security has always been the biggest inhibitor to large-scale cloud adoption, but with the new BI multi-cloud strategy available, 2018 may be the perfect time for your business to adopt the technology. With a multi-cloud strategy, choose the data you want stored in the cloud and in your company’s servers. This advantage allows for the best of both worlds, allowing your everyday mundane tasks to be carried out online, while keeping your proprietary data in your in-house servers.

5. Data Insurance

With data usage on the rise, businesses are highly advised to purchase data insurance. Data is an important asset for businesses, and its value will only continue to rise. With proper insurance, companies can be protected from the responsibility and burden of unforeseen data breaches – the global average cost of a data breach is worth $3.62 million last year. As such, more organisations are also expected to invest in cybersecurity insurance moving forward.

These days, business owners are no longer questioning the capabilities of BI solutions; they are interested in knowing what the best solutions are and what they can offer. If you haven’t employed any of these up-and-coming solutions in your business, now is the right time to get started!

For more business insights, follow Canon Singapore on LinkedIn.

A Feature of Canon’s After-Market Support Team

Meet Mr. Freddie Lim, a Senior Engineer who has risen up the ranks during his 20 years in Canon Singapore. Despite holding the responsibility of overseeing other fellow engineers in his team, Mr. Lim insists on a more hands-on approach, regularly visiting sites and directly interacting with customers to address issues. With customer satisfaction being his top priority, he has attended to customer requests outside of office hours, earning the trust of his clients.

We sit down with Mr. Lim to learn of his takeaways from his eventful professional journey, from a completely unrelated field to becoming an integral team member of Canon’s After-Market Support Team.

Tell us about your job scope and what it entails.

As a senior engineer, I manage my team of on-ground engineers. When they face technical difficulties or customer service-related issues, I provide prompt assistance whenever they escalate their cases to me. Due to the supervisory nature of my role, I provide service to clients located all over Singapore.

What is a typical day at work like for you?

Our engineers are generally split into two teams, attending to the West and East side of Singapore. At the start of each day, we evaluate the manpower demands and I pay greater attention to the team either with more challenging tasks or a relative lack of manpower. Both teams disperse to their respective clients, while I travel to multiple sites to ensure everything runs smoothly.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Our customers come from different sectors, and being on-site for each client is always an eye-opener for me. Personally I enjoy interacting with the clients; even when they might be frustrated with the technical issues at hand, I look forward to the sense of accomplishment at the end when I resolve the issues for them. I feel that is what makes my job feel fulfilling and worthwhile.

What are some of the challenges you have faced at work? How do you overcome them?

One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced throughout my 20 years with Canon is dealing with customer expectations. Understandably, our customers’ patience wears thin when faced with technical malfunctions, and I find myself helping to calm them down whilst attending to the issue. After the problem is solved, some clients might even try to take advantage of our service by seeking additional compensation.

When handling more challenging cases, I am thankful for the support provided by my team, especially my superiors. Not only do they provide us with additional technical expertise if needed, they also help to provide shorter-term solutions for our customers in the time being, such as arranging for temporary equipment loans while we are still fixing the problematic hardware.

What are some of your career highlights?

Just recently, I was selected to be part of the technician team for DreamLabo, a specialised photo printing machine. With just one or two machines in Singapore, this photo printing system is particularly niche. Although I was trained mainly in cutsheet printing systems only, I am honoured that Canon has trusted in my ability to pick up a new printing system, and provided me with the training to widen my skills set.

How do you go the extra mile for your customers?

Customers usually have a peak season, when they have greater demand for print output and efficiency. My team understands their needs during this period, and we put in extra effort to preempt for this increased demand, by exercising greater vigilance and ensuring all machines run smoothly prior to this peak period.

What has kept you working at Canon after all these years?

Before working with Canon, I was in completely foreign territory – I was assisting in account management! It became clear to me that I preferred a more active job outside of the office environment, and that is when I switched jobs to becoming an engineer in Canon. I’m not one to rest on my laurels, and I appreciate how the field of technology is always evolving, and also how Canon is committed to keep us up-to-date with new technologies. The dedication Canon has for each employee has motivated me to be a part of this company for the past two decades.

Follow Canon Singapore on LinkedIn, as we showcase more of our valued After-Market Support staff in the months ahead.

“If you want to be an entrepreneur, it’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle. It defines you. Forget about vacations, about going home at 6 pm – last thing at night you’ll send emails, first thing in the morning you’ll read emails, and you’ll wake up in the middle of the night. But it’s hugely rewarding as you’re fulfilling something for yourself.”

– Niklas Zennstrom, venture capitalist and co-founder of Skype and Kazaa

Starting a business can be exciting and immensely fulfilling, but it might also be the most challenging thing you ever do in your life. If starting a business is on your books for 2018, here are some practical tips to get you going.

1. Reflect

Before you get down to the writing your business plan, take a step back and ask yourself these questions:

  • Why do you want to start a business?
  • Is the reason worth the investment of time, money and energy that you will have to put in, with no guarantee of success?
  • Can you sustain your interest towards this new vocation when the going gets tough?

The answers to these questions will anchor your purpose and drive you to the right direction.

2. Define

Once you have defined your objectives, think of ideas for your venture. Beyond just the business idea, envision the future landscape your business will be, especially in the present accelerating digital landscape.

Will major technological changes affect your business? Will your products and services be rendered obsolete in years to come?

3. Research

Discover your competitors and their services. Marketing research is vital especially when your business is in its infancy. A simple but important question you need to address is if there a demand for these services in the first place.

You ought to find a need, and meet it. By discovering customers’ needs, your business will be in better position to fulfil the untapped market potential.

4. Test

Before releasing your products/services, test them in stages. Such practice is essential in most start-ups these days. This is to ensure any detected flaws can be resolved/adjusted with minimal loss of profit. Let users explore your products/services and take down notes from those interactions. Pay attention to users’ feedback through verbal and body language.

5. Administrate

Working out the legal aspects of your business can avoid future problems. Seek a qualified and experienced lawyer to assist you in this area. Here are some of the items that should be resolved as early as possible:

  • Business Structure
  • Name of business
  • Registration of business
  • Tax matters
  • Permit matters
  • Business License
  • Banking matters
  • Trademarks, copyrights or patents

In our next article, we’ll share some guidelines and tips on writing a business plan. Stay tuned!

For more business insights, follow Canon Singapore on LinkedIn.

A new year provides the opportunity for businesses to start with a clean slate. We recommend some practical goals that every business can set and follow through for the new year.

Plan Ahead

It’s easy to get caught up with the business of the new year, but it is important to set aside some time to plan ahead. Start by reviewing past goals and updating them to reflect current business needs. List key milestones to attain and be specific about them. In addition, identify current and future obstacles wherever possible, so that you can better predict and avoid potential risks.

Delegate More

Delegating can be hard when you are used to being in control of everything, but it is a necessity if you want to grow the business. Delegating allows you to see the bigger picture and identify key areas where your personal expertise is required.

To effectively delegate, train your employees well enough till they can take over some of your tasks. Make sure you clearly communicate your objectives too so that they can carry out your instructions correctly. Once you have done so, trust your employees to make the decisions pertaining to their area of responsibility – avoid micromanaging!

Prioritise Marketing

This is especially important for SME business owners who may a lot on their plate, and overlook the importance of marketing. The first step in a consumer journey is awareness – simply put, people can’t buy or use what they don’t’ know about in the first place.

Set aside time to establish a proper marketing strategy. Otherwise, engage a marketing expert or agency to provide advice and devise a solid plan to act upon.

Get Your Tech On

Upgrade your hardware if necessary. Don’t let slow internet speeds and faulty machines hold you back from achieving more out of your business. Change old devices if you need to, and make sure to update your existing software for enhanced security.

Do proper research as well and tap on the wide bank of applications and services online to simplify your business processes. This will save you much time, effort, and money in your work.

Manage Your Cash Flows

For businesses, it is one thing to make money, but it is another to know where the money is spent on. Is it time to change some vendors or suppliers? It is important to constantly review your past expenses and shed the excesses for your company to maintain good financial health.

One useful method is to create a financial plan for the year ahead with monthly cash-flow projections to avoid cash shortfalls. Doing monthly updates to compare your projections and spending will help you track your cash flows and keep to your budget too.

Give Back To Society

Paying back to the community is a good business practice that is often overlooked despite the slew of benefits that come with it: enhanced corporate image, more social connections, which translate to better business prospects.

Consider donating to a cause that aligns with the values of your company. If money is an issue, you can also be a mentor and share your professional knowledge freely with others. Every little action counts and it is simple to start being socially responsible.

Start off 2018 on the right foot by trying out some of these resolutions. Once you get into the habit and commit to them, your business is poised for success. Here’s to a fruitful year ahead for your business!

For more business insights, follow Canon Singapore on LinkedIn.

Given any high pressure work environment, business productivity apps might just help make your professional lives that much simpler. Aimed at improving the everyday tasks of running a business – from accounting to communication, project management and task management — here are some of the most effective tried-and-tested apps to assist with boosting productivity.

1. Evernote

Evernote is more than just a note taking app. When used right, it provides a workspace that allows storage of notes, information, documents, files, images and much more. Thoughts may sometimes be fleeting, but logging them in a seamless app helps you keep track of multiple trains of thought instantly.

Can’t find a note? Everything you log including handwritten notes are searchable. Evernote is available on both mobile and desktop for seamless integration for maximum productivity.

Get yours now: https://evernote.com/

2. Basecamp

Modern, dynamic and intuitive, Basecamp is a great project management and communication tool that handles both team and client liaison simultaneously through coherent organisation. With a bird’s eye view of all happenings across an entire business, you’ll feel back in the driver’s seat again with complete control on a single screen.

Basecamp’s discussion boards in particular keep specific conversation topics on single page; organising ideas better than multiple messy email loops. Other features include to-do lists, message boards for announcements, schedules for deadlines and milestones, as well as automatic check-ins to get insights from your team on a regular basis.

Learn more about Basecamp: https://basecamp.com/

3. Trello

For a more personal task management tool, Trello is the go-to kanban-style app. The app is designed to give you an overview of all your tasks from the get-go as you plan your day accordingly. Trello allows for the creation cards similar to sticky notes, which you can later arrange according to custom columns according to your whims and fancy.

Its simple interface and stickers all contributes to its charm; adding a certain lightness to the heaviest of work. If you’re working on a project with a team, collaborative boards are also available to keep track of key actionable deadlines viewable to everyone involved. For an added bonus, Trello is conveniently available offline on mobile.

Sign up for Trello: https://trello.com

4. Slack

Serving as one of the top go-to messaging apps in the market, Slack does exactly what its name suggests — it cuts you some slack. Created specifically for teams, the app facilitates discussions with key stakeholders regardless of geographical location. Slack’s search functionality keeps your abreast of the most current information; putting knowledge in everyone’s hands through transparency. It also allows integration with most other productivity apps and services allowing for a perfectly streamlined and inter-connected workflow.

Start effective communication: https://slack.com

5. FreshBooks

Spend less time on accounting, and more time doing the work you love. Smaller businesses that don’t need the most intuitive double-entry accounting system would appreciate the features offered by FreshBooks. Easy, fast and secure, the app manages and tracks invoices, time and expenses of your business. FreshBooks is not only simple and intuitive, it automates tasks through organisation, freeing up your time for more pressing tasks.

Monitor the financial performance of your business through reports presented to you in a straightforward and visually pleasing manner. The app is also cloud-enabled — allowing for easy access on multiple devices on-the-go.

Take control of your finances: https://www.freshbooks.com/

For more business insights, follow Canon Singapore on LinkedIn.