Managed Print Services Saves More than Cost6 Jan, 2015 By: Michael Rich, Nuance Communications
The increased presence of technology in the workplace has caused a fundamental shift in work habits, particularly as we consume more and more information on the screen instead of a piece of paper. Some solution providers may be threatened by the trend toward the paperless office, but outdated or inefficient practices in the workplace could be costing companies much more in wasted productivity than could ever be gained by reducing print costs.
The real value of Managed Print Services (MPS), then, comes not just from saving money on print-per-page. The most value is derived in helping businesses drive employee productivity through improved business processes and a more streamlined office document strategy – from capture, to storage, distribution, and output. For many businesses, the cost of printing is inconsequential relative to the process efficiencies that could be achieved with an optimized document strategy.
Strategies & Procedures
MPS providers can help customers reduce printing costs by establishing rules-based printing procedures, which can range from administrator-controlled access to output devices, to mandatory restrictions and printing limitations. When implemented properly, rules-based printing procedures can be an effective means for optimizing business processes and controlling output costs.
But, on the other hand, if these policies are strictly enforced with no thought given to the impact on workflow, they can cause significant disruption to worker productivity. In some cases, employees will actually waste significant time and effort simply to avoid certain restrictive print policies in order to do their job effectively. An effective MPS program should leverage intelligent software to encourage better print behavior, rather than simply mandate it as a cost-savings utility. The result is an improved working environment and a workforce that is equipped with the information needed to make proper decisions regarding output costs versus alternative document-based processes.
Another essential ingredient to MPS success is engagements must be tailored to meet the specific needs of businesses. A key part of any MPS strategy needs to be analyzing office and departmental workflows to identify where automation can streamline processes and optimize productivity. Organizations must consider how workers access, manage and share documents; understanding the various ways information flows through an organization is critical to identifying where inefficiencies and waste occur throughout the entire document lifecycle.
For example, scanning, one of the major elements of an MPS strategy, provides an on-ramp for adding paper-based information directly into business applications, such as expense reports, customer relationship management systems, you name it. Office workers, on average, spend 16 percent of their time searching for information, but scanning creates searchable digital files which eliminate the labor required when hunting for information manually.
Capture technologies can play a critical role in creating an optimized approach to document workflow. This approach helps simplify the process of implementing the printing fleet, drives worker productivity, and leads to a more effective and efficient overall document strategy. As the business world continues to move to mobile technologies, this becomes even more important. MPS providers should focus on ways to bridge the gap between the paper and digital worlds and embrace the transition to digital and mobile workflow.
Advancements in digital display technologies and cloud-based infrastructure are driving even more ways of creating, sharing, collaborating, storing, and distributing business information. Fueled by the adoption of mobile devices and the rapid progression of the Internet ecosystem, individuals can now work from anywhere and at any time, with unlimited access to the business data needed to conduct their jobs. Businesses today have access to a wealth of information that is typically created by a variety of individuals using a variety of different software applications, all of which have unique file structure and formatting issues. Dealing with incompatible file formats and consolidating content into a single document structure for viewing or printing are daunting tasks – an MPS strategy designed to “optimize printing” should certainly address such common office issues and, in turn, improve workflow efficiency for all users involved.
As MPS expands beyond large organizations into small- and medium-size businesses, it has become increasingly important that the imaging channel drive value beyond cost-savings. The fact is, printing remains a critical office function, but when incorporated into a greater strategy, businesses can achieve strategic objectives ranging from anytime/anywhere access to information to streamlined and automated document environments. How can MPS help you and your customers drive productivity and profitability.
Article by Michael Rich, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Document Imaging, Nuance Communications. Visit http://www.nuance.com for further information.