Contributed article by Kofax | 31 August 2021
Zakir Ahmed, Senior Vice President & GM
Asia Pacific & Japan at Kofax
Chances are your organization relies on a fleet of multifunction devices (MFDs) to manage basic printing, scanning, faxing and copying functions. In doing so, MFDs support an “always on” print infrastructure and are a critical component in keeping the engine of your business humming.
What you might not realize is these essential, but at times overlooked, office devices could give your organization a Tesla-sized turbo boost.
MFDs are capable of so much more than basic print, copy and fax jobs – and herein lies a golden opportunity for businesses that take advantage. Because they’re connected devices and part of the larger Internet of Things (IoT), MFDs have the potential to add enormous value to organizations and accelerate digital transformation.
Just think about how the IoT has spurred an evolution in other legacy devices—thermostats, interior lighting, even cars. And while we all can’t afford a Tesla, this automobile certainly leads the way in showing what a connected vehicle can do.
MFDs now offer the same power to organizations. They can be the catalyst that accelerates your digital transformation strategy and delivers exponentially more value. Tesla’s famous Ludicrous Mode allows its vehicles to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in less than three seconds. So how can you make your MFDs just as fast? A simple tune-up with intelligent automation capabilities converts MFDs into digital transformation on-ramps. Capabilities such as content-aware capture workflows that connect to business applications and deliver secure print and output management enable companies to extend the value of sizable MFD investments and propel themselves further along their digitization efforts – improving productivity, security and compliance.
Productivity faster than a speeding Tesla
Remote work has skyrocketed due to the pandemic, but where will it settle for the long term as operations slowly come back to normal? The current estimate is that by the end of 2021, remote work will stabilize around 34 percent. While this is less than what we saw at the height of the pandemic, it’s still double the norm from pre-Covid times. Additionally, people will most likely need to keep wearing masks and practice social distancing into 2022, which means businesses need to prepare for long-term social distancing in the workplace.
Many organizations are investing in tools and technology to keep productivity up while supporting remote work and social distancing. Collaboration tools and e-signature technology are just some examples of the focus on digital transformation and automation. But MFDs can also play a role by increasing efficiencies, optimizing costs and driving productivity via intelligent capture workflows that disseminate information across the enterprise and automate routine tasks.
As many employees continue to work from home or at best begin to shift to a hybrid work model, they can’t get their hands on needed information from systems or workflows that only output documents in a printed format. Hybrid workers have to wait until they come into the office. Fully remote staff are worse-off, stalled until the information is manually distributed to them. Advanced print and capture management technology helps organizations overcome these roadblocks by improving hard copy output workflows and ensuring employees have timely access to critical business information. Productivity remains high no matter where employees are working, and they have the information they need to perform their jobs efficiently and serve customers.
When organizations apply intelligent automation and content-aware capture, print and mobile workflows to MFD fleets, productivity speeds up significantly. Document capture workflow automation enriches information quality, increases accuracy and reduces error-prone manual tasks. The information that MFDs capture can be automatically and securely processed in a number of ways. Data can be redacted, classified, reported, analyzed, automatically routed, watermarked, barcoded or extracted. Employees who previously spent time on these labor-intensive tasks can now be redirected to higher-value business activities that drive growth and improve customer retention. A solution that provides secure mobile print, release, capture and authentication keeps hybrid and remote workforces cruising along with zero business disruption.
Navigate security and compliance
Large volumes of data are captured, processed and transmitted across MFDs every day. While companies want to keep all of this information secure, some of the data demands higher levels of protection. Financial data relating to clients and the company itself, personal health records, and competitive research are just a few examples where a breach can have disastrous consequences. Document security is important for competitive reasons and your company’s reputation. And then, of course, there are the regulations and guidelines that can result in hefty fines. HIPAA, PCI DSS and GDPR are the big ones that come to mind.
Unfortunately, regulatory and legal activity related to employee privacy infringements will double in 2021, according to a Forrester blog titled “Predictions 2021: Privacy Becomes an Imperative in a Year of Transition.” Organizations must take steps to ensure that the sensitive and confidential data processed by MFDs remains protected from inadvertent and deliberate exposure. Digitizing content and automating workflows for capture and print transform MFDs from a potential security liability into an advanced alarm system that improves security and compliance at scale across the enterprise.
Data encryption and secure print release capabilities keep the data transmitted by MFDs secure and ensure confidential information is only accessed by authorized users. Intelligent automation allows companies to apply consistent business rules and data protection policies, including:
- Automatic redaction
- Rules-based printing
- User authentication
- Secure mobile print release
Unlike traditional printing, content-aware print and capture technology provides the context of what’s being printed and identifies (or even stops) the printing of inappropriate information. A centralized audit trail of all documents that have been printed, captured and faxed from MFDs provides the data required for detailed metrics. Tracking and reporting improves compliance with GDPR and other regulations through a clear chain of custody. Organizations also can apply consistent business rules and track the movement of documents and the information they contain.
A self-driving solution
MFDs equipped with automation capabilities become the on-ramp to enterprise-wide digital transformation initiatives. An Intelligent Automation platform that provides a variety of integrated technologies and connects to business systems creates a scalable, efficient solution.
Plus, a seamless experience across all devices with a single unified and intuitive interface delivers maximum convenience to your entire staff—whether they’re remote, in-office or hybrid. Employees can turn on cruise control, while still making sure documents get to the right people at the right time, through the right workflows and processes.
When shopping around for a solution, organizations should check the window sticker for the following features:
- Unified authentication (MFD and mobile)
- Intelligent capture
- Secure print release
- Usage tracking and auditing
- Multichannel capture integration (mobile, MFD, desktop, email)
- OCR conversion
- System-to-system connectors
- Information monitoring
- Information redaction
- Secure document quarantine and release
The above checklist will help you select a fully equipped solution—a luxury model, if you will. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to come at a luxury price tag, thanks to cost-effective cloud deployment options. Plus, the time and money saved on printing, error reduction and efficiencies enable organizations to maximize their investment and obtain a fast ROI. Digitally transformed MFDs can do much more than basic print management. Organizations that upgrade MFD fleets with an Intelligent Automation platform maximize their investment and accelerate transformation strategies.