SMBs need to measure their print environment before going digital

John Morrison.
John Morrison.

Here, guest contributor John Morrison, Vice President of Marketing for Xerox Canada, presents important issues that businesses should consider in their journey to going 100% digital. Morrison is responsible for the development and execution of marketing strategies for Xerox technology, as well as the OEM’s document outsourcing services portfolio.

The majority of small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) want to toss their reliance on paper into the shredder. They see paper-intensive tasks – like invoicing, reporting financials and forms for legal services and human resources – as a waste of time and resources that could be better used elsewhere. That’s what the latest international research gathered by Xerox is telling us. A recent survey of more than 1,000 SMBs in the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany found that 80% of companies plan to begin making the shift from paper to digital processes in 2017. Six out of 10 respondents said that their ties to paper have a significant drain on their bottom line. Their take on the situation matches up precisely with our math. Xerox has crunched the numbers and found that printing and document management typically makes up about 15% of an SMB’s IT budget, and at least 12% of IT resources.

It’s encouraging to hear that so many SMBs have set their sights on making the digital transformation to realize savings and improve their workflow. But it’s also important to set realistic targets. Shooting for a 100% digital workplace may seem like a fast track to efficiency and savings, but it’s not an achievable target for most companies. The reality is that about 40% of business processes are still largely document-driven and are likely to remain that way. That’s why, like all major decisions and changes that affect how a business runs, good planning will help SMBs create the best chance at success in their move to digitize paperwork wherever possible.

The first step is figuring out exactly how much paper your workplace actually uses. To make sure you’re getting the most out of your print infrastructure, start by considering how information flows in your organization. Are there gaps that need to be filled – or perhaps functional areas that could benefit from simple improvements? What are the returns that could make a difference? It may seem overwhelming, but the measure of your print environment can be broken down into three basic areas:

  1. Return on investment. Are you spending the right amount on print? If you’re not sure of the answer, then it’s probably no. The right Managed Print Services (MPS) program can save you up to 30% by assessing your current devices (everything from volume and make to who’s using them and how) and giving you a detailed report and recommendations that will fundamentally change the way your team prints.
  2. Return on end-user productivity. Everyone wants an easier way to do their job, but no one wants to learn a complicated new system or have work interrupted while it’s being integrated. An experienced MPS provider can connect your team to the right systems and processes in a friction-free way, saving time, energy and stress. They’ll also help you with challenges like integrating mobile and cloud.
  3. Return on IT effort. Did you know that 40% to 60% of helpdesk calls are print-related? That means that your IT department is spending half of their time troubleshooting and dealing with unhappy people. An effective MPS program can ensure that you have the right tools to minimize the time they’re spending on print issues, freeing them up for more important duties.

Document management is about more than just reduced-cost printing. It’s about ensuring that information flows throughout your organization in a smooth, predictable and efficient way. It’s about making sure that your team members have what they need, when they need it – thus enabling a productive work environment, greater cost efficiency, and best of all, happy customers and employees.

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.