See Impossible at the Canon Analyst & Media Event

Posted on by Greg Cholmondeley | 1 Comment »

by Greg Cholmondeley, Workflow Practice Director, Caslon & Company


One CanonLast week I had the pleasure of attending Canon’s #canonsummit media and analyst event in Melville, NY and I’d like to share my key takeaways from that event. Don’t worry, I’m not going to drag you through four hours of PowerPoint slides, but they did have an important message about their “One Canon” strategy which is worth sharing for people interested in doing business with that company. Before I begin though, I just have to say that if Canon treats their customers with the same thoroughness and care that they used to plan and deliver this event, then they really do put being a customer-driven organization at the top of their priority list. It was an awesome event.

And that really is the core of their strategic vision. They have a vast array of products ranging from consumer products like their EOS Rebel T5i digital camera which I have, to professional camera lenses like the ones that 70% of the Olympic photographers used, to massive production presses like the i300. But, as great as these may be, they are products and Canon is redefining its marketing and organization to align with what their customers need to do rather than just the products they need to buy.

Now, this isn’t a novel concept, and it’s going to be an evolutionary process, but Canon really seems to be taking it to heart. Bringing a strategic change like this into reality requires the right vision, organization, infrastructure, compensation, and culture. All that takes time and, from what I saw, they have agreed to their vision and are announcing how they are reorganizing their business units to begin the process of cascading that vision throughout the company.

I am going to paraphrase a bit, so pardon me if I misrepresent some organizational nuances. Prior to this event, Canon had two organizations which reported into Toyo Kuwamura: One was Canon Solutions America (www.csa.canon.com), which was largely responsible for the Oce production product line and large format printing. The other was the Canon USA/Business Imaging Services Group (www.usa.canon.com) which managed the Canon-developed products including cameras, lenses, projectors, office printers, imagePRESS, etc..

Canon Org ChartNow both of those organizations, along with Canon Financial Services and Canon Information and Imaging Solutions have come together. And, they’ve structured that larger organization much more along functional lines than product lines. In particular, they’ve created five marketing organizations which, in theory, will focus more on specific types of customers and their needs than just on specific product lines. Considerable thought went into creating these organizations, however they clearly didn’t waste any time on naming them:

  • Marketing Sub Group 1, led by Hiro Imamura, primarily focuses on all Canon copier and production products
  • Marketing Sub Group 2, led by Hiro Imamura, Dennis Amorosano, focuses on solutions
  • Marketing Sub Group 3, led by Mal Baboyian, primarily focuses on Oce production and large format
  • Marketing Sub Group 4, led by Nobu Kitajima, primarily focuses on “non-copier products” which include their explorations into Mixed Reality, which is really cool. What a great person to sit next to at dinner!
  • Marketing Sub Group 5, led by Toyo Kuwamura and Tracie Sokol, focuses on marketing programs, vertical marketing, sales training, etc.

Like I said, creatively-challenged names.

The positive reaction I have to this is that Canon is migrating their organization to drive their senior leadership towards broader, customer-driven perspectives. Mal Baboyian, for example, now has to focus on Mexico and Latin America as well as the United States. However, vision changes take time and I doubt that this structure is an end point. Hiro Imamura still has the Canon office and production printers in Marketing Sub Group 1 while Mal, Rob Ready and Sal Sheikh still focus on Oce production and large format products in Marketing Sub Group 3. Meanwhile in Marketing Sub Group 4, Nobu Kitajima has the challenge to develop a unified go-to-market strategy for both Canon and Oce brand large format printers.

So, it will take time to implement a customer-driven vision throughout their organization, but the good news is that Canon is actively working towards that vision and is living up to their motto to “See Impossible.”

One Response to “See Impossible at the Canon Analyst & Media Event”

Comment from Pk
Time September 1, 2016 at 9:41 pm

Good to hear they are trying to improvise. First of all they should have different approach to C to B and B to B business. Also they need to hire people with basic knowledge in related business. Have to take feedback from the field seriously. Strengthen logistics and support as per the market requirements. Otherwise I don’t see value for their efforts on restructuring.

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