Today’s business environment challenges organisations to achieve more with fewer overheads, resources and less time. The essential growth organisations chase must be realised through improved business productivity and workplace efficiency.
Generally speaking, productivity relies on two key principles: efficiency and effectiveness. To achieve these, organisations must rely on people and processes. And with technology increasingly infiltrating every aspect of our personal and working lives, it too, has an integral role to play in enhancing business productivity by improving day-to-day business processes.
While printers and print-based services and solutions may not immediately spring to mind when looking for ways to enhance business productivity, there is a much greater opportunity than most organisations realise. Rapid technology advancements are dramatically impacting the way businesses are leveraging their printer investments and overall print infrastructure.
Importantly, by offering open architecture platforms, printer vendors are increasingly expanding the scope and scale of capabilities offered by printer devices including wireless connectivity, remote access and support for mobile devices, as well as integrated solutions, which work seamlessly with electronic document management (EDM) software platforms.
There has been a proliferation of innovative printer-based solutions which can generate productivity gains for all types of customers – from the home office worker and small business owner to large enterprises and government departments. The good news is that most of these productivity enhancers also have a direct and positive impact on the bottom line, enabling businesses to act much sooner.
Subsequently, productivity must be front-of-mind when sales organisations – including the channel – are speaking with existing and potential customers. Leading resellers are well aware that it’s no longer about selling a box and toner, but rather the emphasis is on selling business solutions. Resellers must be able to talk authoritatively about the printer technologies that are available to streamline the way organisations’ handle documents and manage associated business workflows.
There are a number of areas to discuss with your customers to get the ‘productivity’ conversation started.
1. Farewell paper-based processes
IDC estimates the average white collar worker spends up to 45% of their time managing documents. This is typically because many organisations have no overall structure in place to manage documents and paper is the common vehicle for business processes. Creating an environment where stored documents and document processes are converted into an electronic format makes it much easier for users to access, route and manage information. Take for instance the processing of invoices. Today, many businesses receive each invoice via paper-based mail or fax. To complete the payment of the invoice, additional copies are often made before the invoice is eventually stored somewhere in its paper-based format. This process can take hours and even days of staff time, is prone to errors and if there are any subsequent queries about the invoice, even more time is spent wading through filing systems to locate it.
It is far more efficient to have invoices scanned at the point of receipt (or to have incoming faxes automatically diverted to email). Key information on the invoice can be captured at this point to automate various actions in the process workflow, including automatically routing the document to various locations throughout the organisations so that multiple actions can be undertaken in parallel. This reduces the amount of time staff spend from hours and days to just minutes. Additionally, the document is securely stored on the network in a format that makes it very easy for staff to locate.
2. Mobile Printing
The emergence of smart phones and tablets has enabled a significantly greater mobile workforce. The ability to offer a print solution that supports mobile workers whether they’re in the office, at a remote branch, on the road or working from home, is critical.
Solutions enable users to access any printing device on the network, at any time – whether that device is down the hall or in another city. Users send the document directly from their mobile device, where it is held in a secure queue until the user releases the job at the most convenient device.
A true managed print service (MPS) is not simply just another way to pay for printers, consumables and service. It should also do more than reduce the amount of time businesses spend managing printers and print-related issues.
An MPS should facilitate improvements in document related processes and reduce costs by determining the true business needs, and then optimising the fleet to meet them. It should also continuously track and monitor outcomes to maintain an optimal state and identify opportunities to improve business workflows.
4. Integrated document management
Integrating print and multifunction printer(MFP) technology with key applications such as content and document management systems is another key opportunity for businesses to drive greater productivity and save time and money.
There are a growing number of server-based solutions available for a broad spectrum of integrated document and capture processes. These highly secure, fully scalable solutions can be accessed directly from the touch-screen interface of a smart MFP.
This approach helps simplify the most complex scanning and routing jobs and is supported across a large range of enterprise content management systems including Microsoft SharePoint, FileNet, EMC Documentum, OpenText Hummingbird, Interwoven WorkSite, Kofax, Perceptive Software and Digitech.
With the touch of an icon, customers can quickly and easily transform hardcopy images into structured and intelligent digital documents that can be securely routed directly to their business’ information system(s).
The ability to educate the New Zealand market about generating efficiencies of this scale and incorporating them into daily business practices will give resellers a cutting edge.