You’ve got a big IT budget to present in five minutes. You’re sweating, you want a glass of water, and you’re rushing around to get everything set up—it’s crunch time. But when you swing by the printer to pick up the information packets, the documents are mysteriously missing. Now, you’re sweating bullets.
If that scenario doesn’t do it for you, imagine one of your users needs critical info printed back at the office to close a deal—via mobile device. Sounds stressful, doesn’t it? But these types of scenarios are all too common in offices where implementing a modern workflow is a must. Whether it’s documents, presentations, research, social media posts, memos, or collaboration tools, office workers are swimming in both paper and digital materials fundamental to their everyday tasks. Paper and digital documents coexist in the modern workplace and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
Today, it’s like all everyone’s fates depend on maximum efficiency at work—as IT knows well, with how fast tech moves. Implementing a modern workflow, which enables people to seamlessly switch between a range of formats, is key to getting stuff done efficiently.
The paper trail reveals its value
Let’s break it down to understand just how much people need paper. Data from an IDC InfoBrief, sponsored by HP, titled “Modern Workflow: Multifunction Printer Importance in an Increasingly Digital World” makes it clear that while digital formats are becoming standard in business, paper is still important:
- Workers say they use 28 percent paper and 72 percent digital documents.
- In two years, they expect to use 20 percent paper versus 80 percent digital.
Employees today are more mobile than ever, too, but having a hard copy to take home or when travelling is a top reason—54 percent, in fact—workers turn to paper time and time again. According to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 3.5 million Australians are allowed to telework at least some of the time. For them, printed documents are just plain useful, so they need the ability to print remotely and from mobile devices—seamlessly and securely.
Work isn’t the same as in the old days
The shift in balance between digital and paper documents is a pressure point for heaps of small businesses. Without implementing a modern workflow, inefficiencies and bottlenecks can gum up the works and prevent employees from being as productive as possible.
In a European-focused report, IDC revealed more than 20 percent of today’s workforce’s time is spent extracting information from multiple documents. That’s a lot of time. On top of that, workers can use up to four or five different content repositories to get their work done, which can make keeping track of document-based work processes confusing. Document-related processes are also contributing to a 20 percent loss in employee productivity each year. It’s like running with weights on. Any tech that can improve the efficiency of working with documents can go a long way.
You should think about the security of your workflows, too. As the workplace goes digital, the door opens to more security risks—yet 75 percent of small and midsize businesses have no document security system in place. IT is plagued by the increasing sophistication of attacks, the need to control employee mobile devices, and print security. Hacks and data breaches can wreak havoc on operations, so security needs to be a priority in managing both physical and digital documents.
Implement a modern workflow with MFPs
You may understand why implementing a modern workflow is a good idea—but doing it is another thing entirely. To achieve your workflow goals, you should turn to innovative technologies, such as multifunction printers (MFPs), which fulfill three core needs: efficiency, security, and mobile printing and scanning.
Imagine if your users could produce whatever paper-based documentation they needed on demand, without hitting delays or dealing with reprints due to poor quality. Multifunction printers can help businesses update and enhance their document-based processes. They print fast and consistently, which eliminates the need to wait around the printer for documents to slog their way through.
MFPs can also address security concerns. More than 70 percent of IDC survey respondents indicated that security features have a “high level of influence” on printer and MFP acquisition, which makes sense, given what a pain security can be. Buyers want to have their cake and eat it, too—or in this case, they want printers equipped with security features that ensure IT infrastructure is secure, fit seamlessly into their workflows, and actually make their lives easier.
There are three types of security features you’ll want to seek out in MFPs:
- Device security features, including user authentication, secured device ports, secured hard drive, secured paper trays, and automatic sign-off
- Data security features, including controlling/restricting use of features, tracking and monitoring use, security services, and authorised printer firmware
- Document security features, including pull printing, locked/blocked sending destinations, and printing from cloud applications
3. Mobile printing and scanning
MFPs are serving an important function in the paper-to-digital transition with their scanning capabilities. 93 percent of office workers expect to either maintain or increase their current volume of scanning in three years, according to the IDC report, and offices need to be equipped to effectively handle these needs. Workers expect to print up to 40 percent more from their mobile device in three years, as well. By enabling mobile printing, you can speed up the review and approval of documents and increase the number of transactions that can be processed.
All these improvements have a direct impact on the bottom line, and because MFPs tie into emerging IT trends, they’re becoming the norm in the workplace. Feeling frustrated or bogged down by inefficient workflows? There’s no time like the present to explore how multifunction printers could make your life—and the lives of everyone you work with—easier.