Greg Clarke tells Sean Gallagher how he swapped fruit and veg, and fax machines for high-tech office success
Not very long ago, having a fax machine was seen as being ahead of the curve when it came to using technology in business. Today, faxes have largely been replaced by photocopiers with integrated scanners that speed up the transfer of documents while eliminating waste and reducing costs.
Similarly, advances in video conferencing have greatly reduced the time and cost associated with staff having to travel to face-to-face meetings with other colleagues or customers located in different parts of the country or indeed the world.
One company at the forefront of helping firms keep up to date with such advances is Dublin-based Digicom. Set up in 1997, it employs 36 and has an annual turnover of more than €8m.
“Our business can largely be divided into two main areas,” says managing director, Greg Clarke at the company’s headquarters in Dublin. “Firstly, we specialise in office print technology which includes supplying, installing and servicing everything from printers, and photocopiers to scanners and document management systems and software. These take care of the needs associated with running a modern office facility from capturing and importing documents to managing, storing, indexing, archiving and delivering documents throughout an entire organisation. We also provide security systems that protect these documents against unauthorised access.”
Greg then points to recent research that shows that workers can spend up to 20pc of their time filing or searching through paper documents. They can also spend as many as 10 hours a week searching for documents that were incorrectly filed or recreating misplaced ones.
“By implementing document management in a digital format, employees can now instantly retrieve documents within a digital repository through a simple search function that allows companies allocate a lot more time to using information and a lot less time trying to find it,” he says.
“The second part of our business involves the supply, installation and servicing of all things audio visual from large format LCD displays used for video conferencing and unified communications to digital signage and digital room booking systems,” Greg says.
His customer base includes large firms in the finance, tech, professional services and pharma sectors, such as Bank of Ireland, Northern Trust, HP, Indeed, Matheson, William Fry, Mazars and MSD. In addition, he works with a variety of local government clients including Cork County Hall and Roscommon County Council as well as a wide variety of small and medium-sized businesses.
“While most of our work is in Ireland, we also carry out work abroad, primarily in the UK and Europe, and usually on behalf of companies that are based in Ireland but who have staff and operations in other countries,” he says.
From Dun Laoghaire in Co Dublin, Greg spent his teenage years helping out in the family’s fruit and veg wholesale business. There he would regularly be called upon to do everything from unload bags of onions to mucking out fruit that had gone off. “It taught me a valuable lesson about the challenges of dealing with products with a short shelf life where you had to either sell it or smell it,” he says.
After school, he completed a degree in marketing in Trinity College before returning for a time to join the family business. However, he quickly came to the conclusion that his future in the business was limited due to the emergence of supermarket chains with dedicated fruit and veg departments. With that in mind, he headed off in search of a different career.
He began by selling electric typewriters before progressing to photocopiers and faxes. In 1988, and driven by a desire to experience life outside Ireland, he headed firstly to the Isle of Man and then to Los Angeles, where he spent the next seven years selling IT and computer software.
By 1995, he was ready to return home and set about establishing his own company, which was officially launched two years later. “I could see that all technologies were going ‘digital’ so that’s why I called the business, Digicom, standing for Digital Communications,” says Greg.
At the time, his biggest challenge was learning how to manage his cash flow. This was because investment in equipment was usually upfront while payment from customers was often slow.
Having worked abroad for years, he joined the Dublin Chamber of Commerce as a way to develop contacts and new opportunities. It was a move that would turn out to be invaluable.
In 2001, Greg hired sales director and now shareholder, Peter Fox to lead the development of the audio-visual side of the business. Originally from Cabinteely, Peter had built up a considerable track record in sales from selling franking machines with Pitney Bowes, paging systems with Eirpage and telco and internet services with Worldcom.
“We could see that technology was developing at a fast pace and that the nature of work itself was also changing, with many people now opting to work remotely,” Peter says. “Companies had staff in multiple locations and across different countries who needed to collaborate with each other regularly and we believed that video conferencing and webcasting would be the next big thing,” he adds.
They began to target young companies with growth potential on the basis that if they got in with these early, they could grow with them. Their strategy worked. As did their decision to approach FDI clients and the recruitment companies and office fit-out businesses that helped them get set up in Ireland.
“Our key differentiator in the sector has come from the extensive range of print and audio visual brands we stock but more importantly from our genuine commitment to providing impartial advice on what solutions best suits are clients’ individual needs,” says Greg.
Looking to the future, Greg and Peter see huge opportunities in both print and the audio visual as companies continue to seek out more efficient and more cost effective ways of doing business and communicating with staff, customers and wider stakeholders. “We plan to continue to grow at home and abroad and are confident we can double our turnover over the next three years,” says Greg. “We are always on the lookout for suitable acquisitions to help speed up that process and are currently undertaking research into developing a whole new division within the company that we hope to launch in 2017,” he adds.
After using the expertise he developed abroad, Greg, who is committed to giving back, became President of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce last year. He is also a board member of www.bizworldireland.org, a not-for-profit organisation that teaches entrepreneurship skills to primary school students. “It’s my way of doing my bit to help develop the next generation of Irish entrepreneurs,” he adds.
The way we work today is changing and our workplaces are having to adapt to the ever increasing demand for mobility. Mobile devices and cloud based productivity apps mean that employees are connected to their tasks and colleagues no matter where they are or what time of day it is. At the same time, businesses are embracing big data, and trying to figure out how they can integrate the Internet of Things into the workplace in order to improve productivity,
performance, customer interactions, critical decisions and revenue generation.
Becoming the Connected Workplace
Transforming an office into a Connected Workplace has moved on from the days of Bring Your Own Device and into the unlocking of staff potential. Successful IT teams will not just support, but anticipate the various applications and service needs as well as the devices to support the business requirements. Remote working, which has been one of the most successful trends over recent years, will be replaced with smart offices that will act more like creative villages to make staff more productive, healthier and happier. Innovative tech companies such as Google and Facebook are leading the way with this by building offices that bring their people together in a more innovating and effective way. By harnessing the power of the cloud and the internet, the Connected Workplace means that not only will your office be able to recognise that you are heading to work, through your mobile phone, smart watch or even your in-car system, but it will be able to get you completely set up for the day. The office will automatically turn on your desktop computer, inform you of your schedule for the day, and print off any documents you have been updating while working remotely.
Everything Can Be Connected
The ability to connect any number of things and applications together to improve productivity is round the corner and one area undergoing major change to be part of the Connected Workplace is printing. Whilst print does still remain a necessity for many businesses, particularly large enterprises, documents are undergoing a digital transformation from traditional paper to files displayed on-screen, on mobile devices, and shared by cloud services. At Samsung Print, we are seeing a huge demand from our customers and are working with a number of specialists such as Danwood who have already embraced this. Working closely with Samsung they are able to provide a consultative approach to the customer, blending decades of managed print experience with the ability to deliver digital convergence across screens, mobiles and tablet devices. Today’s mobile approach means that it is increasingly important that employees are able to print from any device they are working from. It’s also crucial to be able to scan physical documents into digital versions directly so that they are available on mobile devices via the cloud. Cloud printing including Cloud Connector for Samsung printers, and MFPs is an innovative mobile printing tool, which lets business users manage their print operation from any device, at any time and from wherever they are. Working closely with Samsung, partners are able to help clients rethink their approach to print and introduce them to the connected workplace in order to unlock the potential from digitalisation, mobility and the cloud.
The Connected Workplace
Smart technology is empowering the rebirth and rejuvenation of the office, making it an environment where we will be happy to work. The Connected Workplace will allow employees to communicate intuitively, face-to-face, to consult and collaborate to solve the increasingly complex work situations. As we see more innovation, such as smart systems that can handle the masses of data and scheduling that makes a modern office run smoothing, we will see less stresses and less overworked workforce. In return we will see happy, positive employees who have time to be more creative and productive, which will ultimately benefit the business. For more info on the Samsung Connected Workplace please call Digicom on 01 4600022
Managed Print Services (MPS) is no longer about managing print output but about managing information.
In today’s business climate, reducing and controlling costs is more important than ever. When a business is preparing its strategies to increase revenues or improve business processes, it may not integrate its document management costs.
Companies that embrace a Managed Print Services (MPS) approach and implement a comprehensive output management strategy can realise substantial benefits such as:
- Decreased document-related expenses
- Controlled expenditures
- Increased employee productivity
- Eliminated or significantly reduced waste
- Continuous improvement with document life cycles
- Greener corporate citizen status
Digicom’s Managed Document Services reaches far beyond the realm of print. Our focus on end-users and incorporating change management to engage employees means we can make long-term improvements to your document processing and business efficiency. Through on-site and off-site services, our consultants and project managers learn about your needs. And when we evaluate your unique needs, we always consider the most critical component of continuing success – your employees.
As a consequence, we help manage your entire document environment, and you benefit from just one point of contact. Our size and position enables business expansion by adapting solutions from local to global coverage, from Distributed Print Services to Central Reprographics Departments. So you get more benefits than ever before and continue to achieve your goals.
Call for an appointment with one of our experts to discover the latest best practise in managing your documents and information: 1850 DIGICOM
PaperCut MF is the easy way to automatically monitor and manage copying and printing in your organisation, giving you control over your costs and environmental impact. PaperCut MF intercepts print jobs on the print server and analyses them, applying rules to enforce your print policies.
Digicom are of one Ireland’s leading re-sellers for PaperCut MF. We are currently running a PaperCut MF special offer, please get in touch with us for further information.
Dublin Chamber’s AGM Dinner 2015, which was kindly sponsored by Bank of Ireland, heard from Greg Clarke in his inaugural address as Dublin Chamber President and Mark Roden, founder of Ding.com and winner of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2014.
Greg spoke of his background and driving vision for the Chamber for 2015, speaking particularly of the need for greater support for building the entrepreneurial culture in Dublin and Ireland. Read Greg’s speech in full below:
Samsung Smart MultiXpress Wins 2 Editor’s Choice Awards
The critical acclaimed Samsung Smart Print range – Samsung has brought smartphone-like ease of use and expandability to its new MFPs.
Samsung is shaping its print offering to meet the challenges of the office of the future
Launched at September’s IFA 2014 consumer electronics exhibition in Berlin, the ten new MFPs are the first of their kind to be equipped with an Android operating system. The combination of Android OS and Samsung’s Smart UX Center, the same touch technology used in Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets, provides a familiar user interface and a scalable platform for individual printer apps – just like a smartphone. It also allows the printers to operate independently of a PC with on-the-go connectivity through Samsung Cloud Print.
This, says Mark Ash, General Manager of Samsung Electronics’ Print Division in the UK and Ireland, makes the Smart MultiXpress series ideal for the flexible working practices employed by businesses today.
The Sunday Times recent ‘How I Made It’ article on Greg Clarke (Managing Director, Digicom). Read how Greg has grown the business since 1997, and also what lies in store for the future: “We have a good management team in place and good systems and processes. This means things are handled better, which means [profit] margin is better too. All in all, we have a good platform for growth”
Date: 7th November 2014
Location: Digicom Samsung Business Discovery Briefing, Dublin Chamber of Commerce, 7 Clare St, Dublin 2.
The aim of the Digicom Samsung Business Discovery Briefing was to teach business owners and decision makers how to save their business money by:
– Using the right device, to do the right job, at the right time and in the right place
– Making mobile technology work for them
– Cutting their office print costs
– Benefiting from Samsung’s free KNOX security protection software
There were expert speakers and presentations from Digicom and Samsung on the latest in mobile and print technology developments. Once presentations were concluded, attendees had to chance to see the CubePro 3D Printer in action, and just as importantly, the new range of Samsung Multifunctional Printers (featuring 10’ Android).
If you have any questions or require further information on anything in Friday’s presentation, please get in touch with me firstname.lastname@example.org
Title: Digicom | Samsung Business Discovery Day
Date: 7th November
Location: Dublin Chamber of Commerce, 7 Clare Street, Dublin 2.
In every sector, companies are discovering that mobile technology presents new opportunities – transforming service, support and ultimately improving sales.
Cloud Computing, BYOD as well as the massive growth in the smart phone market, the emergence of tablets and new technologies for meetings are all creating new behaviours and expectations in the workplace, providing opportunities for new more agile and flexible modes of working. The benefits will be a more engaged and agile workforce, which in today’s dynamic and fast moving markets is vital to enable businesses to innovate and adapt at the requisite speeds.
Join us at the ‘Business Discovery’ Event and find out how mobile technology can save your business money whilst putting your customer at the heart of your business.
What you will see & learn:
- See and experience our latest technologies in action that are set to drive the enterprise revolution & new ways of working.
- Leverage new platforms based on consumer technology to add more speed and flexibility to current business operations which will lead to a more productive workforce.
- Discover Samsung KNOX – protection against mobile threats is essential in any workplace especially a BYOD workplace. Samsung Knox will keep devices, networks & infrastructure safe from mobile threats and protect corporate devices, plus the sensitive data they carry.
- Gain insight for IT as to how to adapt to this new ‘always on’ reality and enable employees to make the most out of these technologies and work in new ways.
New models are designed to be independent, intuitive and scalable for businesses users Samsung Electronics introduced ten new multi-function printer (MFP) models to the European market at the ‘Smart MultiXpress’ Unveiling Event at IFA 2014, in Berlin. The MFPs are the first printers of their kind to be equipped with an Android operating system, and are designed to be more independent, intuitive and can be used in all business environments.
As part of Samsung’s focus to develop printer solutions that seamlessly fit into the IT and Smart office ecosystem, the new Android based MFPs will feature Samsung’s Smart UX Center which operates independently without a PC, with app scalability, and a consumer friendly UI.
“As Samsung continues to strive for user-focused innovation, the introduction of the first Android OS-equipped MFPs will enhance Samsung’s smart office experience for business customers” said Mark Ash, General Manager, Print Division, Samsung Electronics UK and Ireland. “Businesses seek smart printing solutions that can be managed easily whilst still delivering powerful performance at reduced costs. Our new print technology not only delivers all of these things but also ensures that super smart is also super simple”
Printing without a PC
The new Samsung Smart MultiXpress series of MFPs each feature a 10.1-inch full touchscreen panel that enables users to search and print from web browsers, emails, maps, images and other types of content – without the need to connect to a PC or server. The touchscreen also offers the ability to preview documents, as well as editing and annotating capabilities.
“As our B2B customers’ work styles and processes continue to become more mobile, Samsung will continue to provide new printing solutions that feature intuitive user interfaces, superior performance, and above all else, increased efficiency and productivity for the mobile and fluid workplace,” said Mark Ash. (Taken from Samsung Printing Innovation Update)
Digicom are OA Partners for Samsung Print Dublin and are looking forward to bringing such innovative printing to Ireland.