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New Study Examines Print Volume

13 Jul, 2006

New Study Examines Print Volume

ROLLING HILLS ESTATES, CA--The Electronic Document Systems Foundation (EDSF) announced the publication of an insightful co-branded research paper that examines key issues and trends in the document communications industry. Based on the findings, organizations may want to re-examine their current document communications strategies and adjust for increasing complexity in both technology and management. The study found, for example, that electronic documents may not reduce print volumes and postage costs. "Document Communications---Industry Trends: 2006 Survey Results" is a collaboration between Doculabs, a Chicago-based technology consulting firm, and the University of Illinois at Chicago Center for Research in Information Management (CRIM).

“The findings of the 2006 EDSF Document Communications Trends report mark a watershed for the industry, indicating that the usage patterns of document-based communications are beginning to undergo substantive change,” said James K. Watson, Jr., Ph.D., CEO and founder of Doculabs. “In this year’s study, we found an increase in the use of electronic document delivery, although, unfortunately, without a corresponding decline in print and mailing cost. We also found that data-driven, digitally printed color documents are starting to become more pervasive. As these trends continue, we expect that many organizations will need to re-evaluate their go-forward strategies and their suppliers, as well as their desired investment levels.”

Highlights of the study include:
--Only increased support for electronic document delivery will improve document communications with customers. Security concerns and the need to integrate paper and electronic delivery systems most inhibit migration toward electronic delivery.

--Electronic document delivery continues to grow, but not at an accelerated rate, most likely because of poor promotional efforts and suppliers’ failure to offer sufficient incentives. There may also be user concerns about privacy and frustrations with functionality.

--Electronic delivery has not reduced print volume and thus has not provided print or postal savings. Simply “getting users online” may have been expected to reduce print volume, but the relationship between electronic delivery and print suppression is more complex.

--Color print is gaining market share, not only with marketing materials but also for service fulfillment (transactional) documents such as quarterly statements. The number of organizations using color in 10% or more of their documents has nearly doubled each year.

--Responsibility for document communication strategies is increasingly consolidated but remains fragmented. Respondents whose firms have a single executive to manage document strategy lodged responsibility variously in IT, operations, or marketing. This suggests that many firms remain unsure where document communications fits organizationally.

"Document Communications---Industry Trends: 2006 Survey Results" is available as a free download at www.edsf.org.

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