Does Ricoh's lack of roadmap mean there is no roadmap?

Started Feb 28, 2012 | Discussions thread
OP Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 31,855
Re: that would be silly

Midwest wrote:

zigorus wrote:

i'm sure Ricoh has a plan for developing their product offerings. they're just choosing not to share it with the outside world until they feel the time is right.

don't you think it's nice to be surprised and delighted now and then?

Surprise and delight are wonderful for birthday parties but a poor way to run a company. People need at least a fundamental knowledge and commitment of what they are buying into and whether it has a future that coincides with their own goals. They want to know what they are investing money in when they buy a system rather than spending the first $1500 and then wondering when something wonderful might happen.

If they want to spring some good news over and above their stated plans then fine, but that is not a substitute for running a business in a businesslike way.

MW you are always a breath of straight-forward thinking and I basically agree with your assumptions.

But there is another factor known simply as "industrial intelligence".

A large company might put out a detailed road map knowing quite well that they have the resources to tough it through quickly and on time. A smaller company might be more reluctant to signal it's future products due to the set in stone commitment it's customers then expect. Politicians seem to reserve the right to change their mind and sometimes get punished in the polls for it but at least it usually doesn't sink the company.

Furthermore if a smaller company sets out it's product line for the future it is open to have it's products blocked by counter-products on every move. Ricoh has reason to rue it's GX camera being targeted by the Panasonic LX. The big bear moved into their niche. Of course loyal Ricoh people always reserve the right to buy another brand if it has more features and it suits them better at the time.

Even Canon are very coy about their road map and I as a substantial owner of their product am at a bit of a loss as to whether I should contine to invest in their newer dslr bodies. I have said so on this forum.

If they would say "we will have dslr bodies from entry level to professional level forever" we might be re-assured even if they were lying and there would be a road map for their customers to beat them over the head with. If they said "we will make entry level dslr cameras for another 2/3 years and then phase them out for an EVIL type replacement, we estimate that we will continue to be making professionall level dslr's for another ten or however long there is a viable market for them" then we might know better how our investment will stand up and that there is indeed something to plan for.

If they said "we are going to phase out the EOS EF mount over the next 10 years and introduce a smaller purpose built mount for new glass and a purpse built series of EVIL type cameras" then we woul know precisely where we stood and Canon's dslr business and EOS EF lens sales would quickly hit the wall.

So we cannot blame poor little Ricoh for being reticent when Canon are not overly forthcoming either. Industrial knowledge is precious and a road map is a dangerous one-sided bond carved in rock.

So we have to have surprises, but for myself I would not at all mind the odd selective "unofficial" leak to give some idea of each company's future direction. "Unofficial leaks" are not carved in stone and if the reaction is adverse the project can be quietly dropped, if the story is changed or it simply never happens, then it was only the figment of some blogger's imagination and does the company no harm. However we might just be able to filter the gems from the dross.

Besides a few false (but believable and from a reliable source) leaks can send your opposition off on some tangent blocking move resulting in some merriment at the after work drinks session ...

We tend to forget that these companies are making multi-million dollar investments in a high technology product for a very competitive market and selling to a largely fickle customer base that reserves the right to buy or not buy or change brands in a flash.

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Tom Caldwell

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