Fast Facs on Automation11 Jun, 2008 By: Chris Norwood imageSource
Fast Facs on Automation
At this year’s ITEX ‘08 expo, I noticed several fax automation vendors and
resellers exhibiting. In alphabetical order, the most recognizable product names
were Biscom, Castelle, GoldFax, RightFax, TargetFax and XmediusFAX. Each of
these providers shared information about their compatibility with the wide
variety of MFP devices, sign up specials, margin opportunities & dealer
programs. For those considering reselling fax automation, there are several
other items to consider as well.
(1) The fax server market is expected to grow an 8.2% compound annual
growth rate to $400 million by 2010.
(2) Enterprise Internet fax services are expected to grow 26.8% with a compound
annual growth rate to $440 million in 2010.
(3) Individual Internet fax services are expected to grow 24.4% with a
compound annual growth rate to $670 million in 2010.
Bill Gates has said, “First rule of any technology used in a business is that
automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. Second
rule is, automation applied to any inefficient operation will magnify the
In the past, the sending and receiving of fax transmissions was extremely
inefficient. It was an arduous manual process which involved employees traveling
back and forth from their desks to printers and fax machines, which in some
cases, could not be positioned very close due to its telephony requirements.
This process also included employees making a variety of unnecessary stops,
stocking both printers & fax devices with paper, forgetting fax numbers,& so on.
The implementation of a centralized fax server or fax automation solution
greatly reduced several of the above listed inefficiencies by transferring the
transmission and receipt of faxes to the users’ desktop, designated printer and
SIMPLICITY OF IMPLEMENTATION
The Top 3 requirements to successfully implement and use a fax automation
(1) Hardware & Software Experience
(2) Telephony or IP Experience
(3) End User Training Ability
Hardware and Software Experience – While Microsoft Certification is
always a plus, it is often unnecessary. In most cases, implementing a fax
automation solution requires the ability to install one or more fax cards and a
centralized application on a server class computer.
The server class computer must have network privileges and be accessible by
specified user groups. Depending on the environment, there are more complex
implementation requirements, such as direct email integration, host-based
faxing, SAP or fax enabling a custom or web based application. Most fax server
software vendors provide training for these types of implementations or offer
professional service assistance on site or remotely.
Telephony or IP Experience – Similar to fax machines, fax servers can
use analog phone lines for sending & receiving fax transmissions. For increased
efficiency and higher volume environments, fax servers may also use digital
lines (T1, PRI, BRI, E1) and/or IP networks. Each environment–analog, digital or
IP–requires different types of telephony experience where often training is
provided by the fax server vendor or a fax card OEM.
End User Training Ability – Once a fax server solution is implemented,
it’s critical to get end users off to a great start. The ability to conduct a
hands on training session will allow the fax server administrator to identify
power users and desktop faxing business processes. It will also identify novice
users and sources of potential system anomalies.
EASE OF USE
Computer based fax transmissions use the same keystrokes and processes
commonly used in the most popular desktop applications, so the process of
sending and receiving faxes is very simple. If a user can print a document to a
printer, they have the ability to send a fax from their desktop. If a user can
receive and open email and its attachments, they have the ability to receive a
fax at their desktop. The processing burden however does not reside at the
user’s desktop. Processing occurs on the fax server, similar to how email works.
Documents commonly transmitted by fax are included in almost every sector of