The New Workplace – Digital Transformation in Effect

Elena Drecheva, Managing Director of Konica Minola in Bulgaria, shares her thoughts on the digitalization in the workplace, the culture of repetitive innovation and the lessons we should teach our children

Elena Drecheva is the Managing Director of Konica Minolta Business Solutions Bulgaria Ltd. She has been leading the organization for more than 15 years. During this time the Bulgarian branch of the Japanese company Konica Minolta has been growing steadily and occupying top positions on the market. Under Elena’s leadership the number of Konica Minolta’s partners in Bulgaria has increased by 21% and its team size – by 46%. The company now has offices in 9 Bulgarian cities.

Elena Drecheva has a MBA from Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski ”. She later completed a leadership program at Stanford University. Elena has numerous certificates in the spheres of sales, marketing and project management.

In 2006 she received the “Young Female Entrepreneur” Award from the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy.

At the end of February, the Bulgarian division of Konica Minolta presented its vision for the digital workplace. It is a combination of video surveillance with artificial intelligence and innovative technologies and platforms that help companies increase the efficiency of their business processes and provide complete solutions for document management and printing. Only days later, the declared state of emergency in the country made the demonstrated technologies a necessity for every organization. We asked Elena Drecheva, Managing Director of Konica Minolta Business Solutions Bulgaria Ltd, how the workplace is being transformed and how business organizations have been affected.


Working from home has made digitalization in the workplace a mandatory component of the business environment. What innovative solutions has Konica Minolta offered to organizations?

We offered many solutions that can be useful to companies both in times of a declared state of emergency and after, when things are back to normal.

We could divide the solutions into:

  • Remote Connection Tools: AIRe Link allows instant, remote, audio-visual connection for service and support through both browser and mobile device. The camera of the mobile device is used so that a remote operator or another associate can assist with solving technical problems; VPN connection tools.
  • Digitalization of hardcopy/paper data in companies: paper documents on site are not accessible when working from home. We offered a service for their digitalization (DaaS), without even having to take them out of the offices of the companies (from a security point of view), moreover it can be used for extracting the information for later use in processes, creating electronic archives and importing them into CRM, ERP or other systems.
  • Consulting and tools for digitizing and automating companies’ business processes: the pandemic has shown that this is the way forward for companies that plan to be sustainable. Every company has processes that are not covered by the ERP and / or CRM system it uses and here is our added value. Examples of this are processes related to clients, employees and communication with public authorities: approval of contracts, approval of costs, processing of internal and external correspondence, documentation on various ISO certifications, employee files, leave of absence approval, monitoring of sick leaves and many others. This makes the experience and the daily activities of the employees in the companies pleasant and eliminates the obstacles for fulfilling their day-to-day responsibilities. Companies, on the other hand, ensure speed, efficiency and quality of their work with their clients.

Digitalization gives the opportunity of “sorting” and analyzing the data without considering where we are – at the office, at home or on a business trip.

–              A tool for searching easily through the information data volumes of the company just with a couple of clicks

–              We offered the companies the opportunity for prevention through thermal cameras – they measure the external temperature of the people and alert when certain values are exceeded. As well as various solutions for intelligent video surveillance for commercial sites, for example, which detect and visualize various indicators such as crowds, time spent in different parts of the site, emotions and more. Metrics that would be useful for making important and informed decisions by  the top management.

For what type of companies are these innovative solutions suitable?

Practically for every company in the different industries, which has more than 5 employees, works with documents and handles data.

Throughout the years you have been leading Konica Minolta in Bulgaria, how has the company and the business environment in the country as a whole changed?

During these 15 years, both the company and the business environment have changed multiple times. We started on March 1, 2005. Since then we have done a lot of work with my wonderful team of brave professionals. In the beginning, we were a provider of high-end multifunctional devices with the best maintenance service for these machines. Then we introduced  printing as-a-service and its outsourcing in the companies in Bulgaria. We upgraded with digitalization of paper documents and creation of electronic archives, moreover we added automation of business processes. In 2017 we’ve upgraded our portfolio with an entirely new field for us, related to the digital workspace – intelligent video surveillance. We ventured into industrial printing as well – packaging, labels, spot varnishing and foiling.

We changed the environment by training our partners, it changed us by challenging us. This has helped us as an organization to always look for adaptability and sustainability.

Konica Minolta holds over 21,000 innovation patents. How does an organization make sure that it is always on the cutting edge of technological development? How do you build a culture of repetitive innovation without getting into a routine?

It is a well-known and good practice for the teams dealing with innovation in companies to be separated from those dealing with the main businesses of the organization.This has been implemented here too. We have colleagues whose responsibility is to seek innovation for the benefit of our customers. They are physically located in different parts of the world, including in Bulgaria, and in cooperation with partners – start up companies, universities and other organizations, they create innovations – they first have to make a prototype, test it, improve it and then finally they can  offer it for commercialization. We are ready to partner with any company that is interested and / or needs innovation.

What is the future of technologies in your industry, and how are they changing it?

Technologies are evolving towards artificial intelligence, robotics, hybrid and cloud infrastructure, connectivity, intelligent digital workplace, etc., and at a fairly fast pace. This changes the work environment and the requirements for employee responsibilities. There are more and more partnerships on specific projects among technology companies. Consolidation processes are also underway – M&A of companies. This provides access to more resources and even more opportunities.

Where do Bulgaria and the Bulgarian organizations stand on their way to digital transformation?

Bulgarian organizations are already aware of the need for a change in the direction of digitalization. For them, the question is not “whether”, but “when” should this happen. Digital transformation is, in the first place, a way of thinking and then a process with clearly defined priorities and a vision for the future of each company. Our advice is to develop a clear plan and start quickly with something small and then gradually expand the scope. Companies can count on advice from our experienced consultants.

What is the last book you read and how did it impress you?

“Time Shelter” by Georgi Gospodinov. I didn’t want it to end. The novel is about  living in an acute deficit of future, about nostalgia for the past or fear of what our present has become and, accordingly, the need for a Time Shelter. The book brought back memories of the past and provoked me to answer questions that move me at this moment.

What do you think is important for us to teach our children?

I will be happy and proud if I can teach my two children human values – to be honest and open, to respect each and every human being, to live with dignity, to value and seek knowledge and to be brave.