'Digital imaging will be big by 2005'

DQI Bureau
New Update

Sharp, a leading player in digital printers, has woken up to the Indian

opportunity. Sharp Business Systems CEO Sunil K Sinha outlines the Sharpdesk

strategy. Sharp Business Systems India, a 74:26 JV between Sharp Corporation

Japan and Larsen & Toubro India is all set to gain more than a toe-hold in

the HP-dominated print management solutions market. Sinha believes that the time

for pushing digital printers/copiers in India has come. He outlines the company’s

strategy in an interview with Nandita Singh of CyberMedia News Service.


What’s so unique about the Sharp Digital Imager?

At 33 paisa per page in gray scale, it makes for an ideal cost cutting

solution in an organization. Also, it is an ideal option when one’s objective

is to have control over the workflow, or confidentiality. We have created a

suite of fully networked, user-friendly solutions for our imager line of digital

multifunction products. It gives users the ability to copy, print, scan and fax

information from one single device. The integrated software Sharpdesk mimics the

workflow in an organization, making it easy for users to manage document

workflow, monitor print conditions and activities, and track printing usage for

accounting purposes–all from the convenience of one’s desktop. With this

device, users can generate, duplicate, integrate and disseminate information

quickly and seamlessly.

In one of its latest models, Sharp has included an ImageSEND

feature, with which users can fax or e-mail scanned documents in a single step

at an incredible speed–a fax takes just two seconds. When fully connected, it

becomes an input device that allows users to convert a hard copy document into

digital information that can be e-mailed, converted to other formats, and shared

across networks or the Internet.

How is Sharp positioned in the Indian digital

printer/copier market?

Sharp has been the pioneer in the digital imaging market. It is true that HP

has the stronghold in the copier/printer and there are other players too. But if

it’s digital, nobody gives you as much value as Sharp does. And going by the

market forecast, 80% of the copier market will be digital by 2005. This is a

huge opportunity. For digital imaging we have started marketing at New Delhi and

Kolkata and will be extending the initiative to other major cities as well. We

have 10 sales and 15 service offices across the country, along with a strong

distribution network of 330 dealers.


What marketing strategy is Sharp adopting to step up


Our marketing effort is largely direct and personalized. We go to the client’s

place, which usually is a corporate-sector large enterprise, give a demo and

even leave the machine there for a few days for them to have a feel. Most often,

they don’t like us to take it back. One realizes that the usage cost comes

down dramatically as does the cost of consumables, and seamless information flow

is integrated in the business processes.

How have you involved your dealer network in the marketing


We are looking at strengthening our distribution network and may appoint

more dealers. However, we are not looking at catering to old-for-new exchange

schemes or even replacement demand. We provide value to the customer and will

not be adopting mass marketing tactics. Sharp stands for value and remains so.

We are conducting product demos across the major cities. I would say, since the

launch of the product in July 2003, it has done satisfactorily. As the IT

infrastructure-spend rises, the market for our product will also pick up. With a

price range beginning from Rs 39,000, there is a value proposition for an

organization of every size. It is just that there is not enough awareness about

our product in the market. We are looking at how to change that. Our product

will sell on its integrated office automation feature value, which can be scaled

up as the organization grows.