By: Louella Fernandes, Principal Analyst, Quocirca
Published: 20th February 2014
Copyright Quocirca © 2014
While mobility and the cloud are transforming today’s workplace, many businesses still operate a hybrid mix of paper and digital workflows. The transition to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) places more demand on the need for an accessible, reliable and secure print infrastructure. This is vital in boosting mobile productivity and collaboration whilst ensuring document security and compliance.
The key component of a secure and reliable print environment is the smart multifunction printer (MFP) which has evolved from a peripheral print and copy device to a sophisticated document hub that can be integral to business processes. The emergence of advanced integrated software platforms turns the MFP into a powerful productivity tool, effectively bridging the paper and digital divide.
At one level, it may be as simple as using the MFP to scan a document and store it in a cloud service such as Google Docs or Evernote. At an enterprise level, the MFP can be used to connect and route documents across existing enterprise content management (ECM) technology, improving productivity and efficiency of paper-intensive processes. Think scanning an expense receipt at an MFP which automatically routes the information to accounting for approval. Or the scanning and routing of new account applications from MFPs in remote bank branches to centralised repositories.
Smart MFPs not only enable increased productivity by speeding up paper-dependent business processes but also allow a distributed mobile workforce to collaborate and work more effectively. For instance, most Smart MFPs enable mobile workers to print directly from their mobile device by authenticating at any MFP on the corporate network using either a user ID/password or ID card authorisation. As more employee-owned smartphones and tablets proliferate in an organisation, security and the tracking of the printing of documents from these devices becomes ever more important.
With the majority of vendors expanding their smart MFP portfolios – including Canon, Dell, HP, Konica Minolta, Kyocera, Lexmark, Ricoh and Xerox – what should businesses look for when evaluating a cloud connected Smart MFP?
For businesses operating a larger shared MFP fleet, they should consider using the expertise of a third party managed print service (MPS) provider. MPS can help organisations to reduce costs by consolidating outdated, energy-inefficient devices in favour of MFPs, minimise downtime and improve productivity through advanced software solutions. Consider independent providers that can advise on the right combination of hardware, software and services that suit a particular business need.
Like it or not, paper documents will be around for some time with many businesses continuing to rely on them to support certain business processes. Businesses should leverage the MFP to improve businesses processes that are paper dependent. With careful evaluation of how they can integrate with existing enterprise systems, MFPs can play a vital role in today’s mobile workplace by improving productivity, increasing collaboration and reducing the burden on IT staff and budgets.
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Published by: electronicdawn Ltd.