Various futuristic looks have been talking about the paperless office since the mid-1970s, but we are still not very close to it, since this tool still has an important place in the way we work and interact.
However, the information is being processed more and more in electronic format, and the technology of multifunction products (MFP) guides us with the intention of finally being able to embrace this trend. In this sense, Lexmark offers some aspects to consider in the midst of this trend.
Beyond an interface with a touch screen and easy to use, a new class of smart multifunction devices can be programmed to perform business operations such as the integration of scanned images into the workflow or applications such as document sharing. The additional advantage for a Smart MFP is that each cone can be programmed to ask the user for the necessary information. This helps ensure that the correct data goes to the document at the time it is scanned. It also helps in training users: They no longer need to remember all the steps of each process; The Smart MFP remembers the information for them.
From costs to productivity tools
Most organizations have traditionally seen printers, photocopiers and multifunctionals as elements that generate a cost. Thus, while executives focus on objectives such as maximizing employee productivity and achieving business growth, they do not always see their purchases of printers and photocopiers as part of the solution.
However, the way organizations acquire these devices is changing, since in the purchase decision they look for the cheapest offer that includes all these features. Of course, companies still have an adequate level of specifications and performance, but what it is now is to really assess how the capabilities of an intelligent multifunction printer and its ecosystem can help achieve the business objectives of the buyer.
The process that is imposed
The MFPs that consolidate the functions of printers, copiers, scanners and fax machines have been available for years, but the real advantage of a smart multifunction printer lies in using it as part of a business process.
In a typical business environment, users scan a document from a device to their office or desk; Then, using some type of image software, they check the image in their workstation, maybe they write down some information about the scanned document, they save it locally, they enter the application they need to use to accomplish their task and then copy and paste the image or part of the contents in said application.
With a smart multifunction printer, the user only has to select the cone that drives the relevant process, scan the document and let the device do the rest. The MFP is integrated into the applications on the network that use the scanned images or the data within those images, helping the user to eliminate steps, be more productive and reduce errors.
In this way, the Smart MFP is not only responsible for enforcing the functions of traditional printers, scanners, copiers and fax machines, but also for tasks of added value that traditional devices do not perform. This creates incredible potential for savings, underlining the reduction in operating costs or process improvements.
Suppliers as partners
Gartner, an information technology consultant, says: “MFPs can play an indispensable role in the content management strategy of an organization. In this way, customers of end users will no longer see their printer or MFP as any other provider, but as a value-added partner.
Before listing all the advantages of a Smart MFP, the first thing is to clearly know the objectives of the organization. A quality Smart MFP will work with to define and clarify those goals, and educate the user about the technical capabilities that are unknown.
From a more technical point of view, the Smart MFP ecosystem should support universal drivers, applications that run on the device itself, a print environment with and without a server, mobile users, cloud infrastructure, API-based connectors for applications network and its own existing software, which can allow the management of content and processes of the general workflow.
But also, we talk about an ecosystem that is autonomous and therefore does not need third-party software or middleware.
Many of the providers require that their devices have this additional software to operate and perform the integration. But, due to the nature of these connections and generic integrations, unnecessary complexity is added, as well as risks to network security.
When IT buyers begin to see the efficiencies and savings offered by a Smart MFP ecosystem, the mindset will change. After all, smart multifunction printers not only talk about costs, but also tools that can help improve all your processes and make your human resources more productive.
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