Workflow Q&A: Terrie Campbell, Ricoh Americas’ Vice President of Strategic Marketing

Terrie Campbell, vice president of strategic marketing at Ricoh Americas Corp., shares her thoughts on how workflow and business process management are changing the imaging industry’s landscape and why technology will play such an integral role in the industry’s future.

What is your current state of mind?

Positive, no question about it – positive, excited and energized. I see the rapid change of the market, work styles and generations as just a really great opportunity for us. And I’m happy to be part of a company that I feel is so well equipped to go into this space.

What is the greatest challenge you face today?

As much as I’m energized by the changes in the market, those are also the challenges – keeping pace with the market and moving the organization quickly enough, at the size that we are, to stay nimble and flexible in this rapidly changing market and environment.

What is your greatest concern for this industry?

The biggest concern I have is that I see sometimes this lack of recognition of just how much has changed. I see a lot of our partners, for example, maybe not switching over quickly enough to the new way of communicating and sharing information. I think that’s going to cause some pain in the long run that potentially could be avoided. The concern, I think, is not retooling quickly enough at an industry level.

What do you see as your biggest opportunity?

Work-style innovation and information sharing are where the biggest opportunities are because both encompass so many things – the technology, the process, data storage and retrieval, and even big data analytics, which is the buzzword people talk about a lot.

All of that, in some way, influences the processes and the work style of the individual. Being able to understand those moving and shifting dynamics and bringing the right answers to customers that can be consumed is just a huge opportunity, in my opinion.

How has workflow/business process management altered the industry’s landscape?

It’s forced the lens to widen. We’ve had to think about more than simply the output of a workflow or a business process and adjust what we think of as workflow and output. You have to recognize that it’s the entire workflow that matters – the input, the process and the output. In this industry, our view has primarily been on just the last leg of that journey.

Workflow and business process management has really said that if you want to play and you want to be viable, you cannot stay in that commoditized space of simply putting ink on paper or toner on paper. You must move upstream. You must think about where that information is coming from, who is creating it, how is it getting used in the meantime and where it’s going to go at the end of its life.

That, I think, has created pressure for organizations that are not equipped to go out and manage that or look at that in a holistic way. It’s also created some interesting partnerships in the industry because you see organizations starting to come together and work together that may not have even considered that as an option even five years ago. That’s because it gets down to the information that’s moving and how it’s getting used.

What would you consider your greatest achievement?

The answer that first jumps to mind is seeing my three children (now) grown and as productive adults. But in a lot of ways, that’s not my personal achievement – that’s their personal achievement too.

Probably my greatest achievement has been the ability to add value at the right time in the organization and to have an influence on the direction of an organization of this size. That’s exciting to me, and I feel good about it because it’s not something that happens organically. It happens because of hard work and really looking into what’s important to your customers and what’s important to your employees.

You can’t just assume you get it. You have to do the heavy lifting, peel it back, keep peeling it back and keep asking questions. Being able to come out of that with something that resonates and helps an organization move and change is something that you don’t often get to do in a career. It’s putting your fingerprints on something that touches the lives of many, many people. That has great meaning for me.

Where are you investing the most within your company this year?

We’re investing in the technology and resources to communicate most effectively. You’re going to see more around unified communications, enhancing people-to-people interactions and, even in the broader scale, helping companies be dynamic in the way they communicate their messaging. So there’s a lot of investment right now on our side around audio, visual and unified communications.

What qualities do you look for when making key hires?

Independent thought and someone who is a hard worker – someone who can be a critical thinker and take what seem to be disparate points of information and understand their relevance, then apply that to what we should do about it.

You can have someone who is an independent or critical thinker who can come up with all kinds of abstract ideas. But if they can’t tie it back to what it means to the organization in the space we’re in, it doesn’t really help. (I look for) people who think critically and practically and are vocal about their ideas, thoughts and concerns. I feed off the ideas of the folks around me.

Who is your next hire?

We have a critical need to continue to expand the vertical knowledge that we have in our organization. We’re looking for people who understand the dynamics of an industry but then also understand the impact of technology and can link the two together. Our next hires are very much going to be in the vertical space – pharmaceutical and more specialization around the financial industry. Obviously, the information-intensive industries are where we’re looking. They are all information-intensive, though, right? I should say document-intensive.

How would your employees and co-workers describe you?

Here’s what I think. They’d say that I am driven and I am a hard worker and visionary. I also use a lot of humor and try to keep it light as much as possible because Lord knows we have enough to be serious about. Anytime you can have some laughter in the place, it sure seems to lift everyone’s spirits, and you want to do that.

They would also tell you I sometimes get too many irons in the fire. That’s a southern thing, maybe. Sometimes, I get too many things going, and that creates stress around communications. If you have too many actions going at one time, it becomes hard to focus and specialize. That’s probably the side of me I really have to pay attention to because I get very excited about new ideas and concepts and can end up spreading it a little too thin.

If your customers were to describe your company in three words, what would they be?

We do a lot of research on this. When we win deals, one of the top things is that we’re seen as flexible. I would also say reliable, that we keep our promises when we make them, and we’re very strong on the after-sale side of the business so that if something does break or goes bump in the night, we’re there to respond to that. I would say they also see us as a technology company.

Innovative. It’s an interesting word, right? Most people, when they think of “innovative,” their minds go to Apple, right? But in the space we’re in and the types of things we do within our technology, we are considered innovative, and we’re really building on that background of work-style innovation.

Why do you hold your current business position today?

I’ve always been willing to put in the work and the effort. I’ve sacrificed, and honestly, I’ve made sacrifices and made choices that, probably as I look back on them (now), I would do (some things) differently. I’ve made some mistakes in my choices in my career.

At the end of the day, I did everything I possibly could to have the company be successful. My agenda is not a Terrie Campbell agenda – my agenda is the company agenda. I truly enjoy seeing the company be successful. I enjoy the employees around me being successful. I like the team spirit, and I’ve always promoted that.

And I’ve always been willing to speak up, even from the very beginning of my career, if there’s a better way, a different way. Let me show you. I don’t just (identify) a problem. I’ve always tried to bring a resolution to that problem.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Without question, “synergies,” “leverage” and “services.”

Managed print services or managed services?

Managed services. For sure.

Do trends exist in this industry?

They do. They definitely do.

Who are your favorite writers?

Jane Austen.

What is your favorite quote?

I have a lot of them. Probably my favorite quote, because it’s been my mantra for my life, was my Dad’s quote (and originally said by Benjamin Franklin): “You can do anything you put your mind to.” That has been my guiding principle. Regardless of background, education, gender, race, religion, belief systems or anything, it did not matter: If I really put my mind to something, there was always the opportunity to succeed. It may seem corny. To me, that’s my favorite quote. It kept me from being intimidated in any situation.


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