From print policies to streamlined workflows

11/04/20173 Minute Read

Too much paper and information? Integrating imaging and printing policies with workflow solutions can help organizations streamline, automate, and secure document-intensive processes.

One of the biggest challenges for organizations continues to be managing information in multiple forms. Information includes electronic data and paper documents, as well as legal records that may be stored as either. At the same time, officials are under pressure to provide greater information transparency and security—all while cutting costs and minimizing paper and power consumption.

Imaging and printing devices, such as multi-function printers (MFPs) and scanners, play an important role in how information is captured and routed through organizations. They are the hub for converting paper-based documents to electronic formats, and vice versa. Imaging and printing policies can help to streamline and protect critical information workflows. In turn, efficient and secure workflows enable enhanced service delivery; minimize paper consumption and lower overall costs.

How imaging and printing policies enhance workflows

With the right imaging and policies, organizations can:

  • Enhance end-to-end security. Imaging and printing policies may define broad categories of users and which devices they can access. They can also identify when authentication is necessary. Users can authenticate using their Smart Cards, user ID and password, or PIN—or a combination of these, for multi-factor authentication. In addition, policies may include and enforce rules for capturing information required for regulatory compliance reporting.
  • Streamline business processes. Imaging and printing policies can help automate and streamline information workflows. They can make sure the right information gets to the right people at the right time and eliminate time-consuming manual processes. And they can ensure that critical print jobs—such as important citizen correspondence—get priority over routine jobs.
  • Reduce paper use and overhead costs. Imaging and printing policies can reduce wasted paper and administrative costs. They may require duplex printing under most circumstances, and establish rules for digitizing, storing, retrieving and routing new information.

Getting started with imaging and printing policies

Getting started with imaging and printing policies can be a multi-step process, including:

Define who, what and how. The first step to developing useful imaging and printing policies is to establish guiding principles, such as:

  • Who will make policy decisions?
  • What will the policy regulate (print, copy, fax, scan, etc.)? What are the goals for improving workflows or reducing paper and energy consumption, and how do they relate to my organization’s environmental goals?
  • How will the policies be implemented? How will changes to workflows be managed? How will the new policies be enforced and leveraged across work groups?
  • Map business processes to printing infrastructure. Information captured by imaging and printing devices may be necessary to one or more critical business processes. Documenting where this information should go and what it will be used for can help establish rules for securing and storing data, automatically routing it and checking it for errors.

Think about security. Printers, scanners, copiers and faxes all can present security risks. Imaging and printing policies around security may cover:

  • Password protection of network access to devices (EWS/NIC)
  • Hard drive data erase schedules, stored job aging guidelines
  • Ensuring all MFPs support secure log-in

Don’t forget the metrics. Metrics allow you to see what’s happening in your organization, track and identify usage trends, make decisions and plan for changes. They help you verify that your imaging and printing devices are meeting your agency’s needs and identify opportunities to reduce paper waste and other overhead costs.

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