The Datamax Thinking Blog

Educating, collaborating, and sparking ideas for maximizing the technology that matters.

Controlling Print Costs with a Document Management Solution

When considering the many costs that an organization has to expend, one of the most misunderstood is that of printing costs.

The Gartner Group estimates that as much as 30% of organizations' print costs can be eliminated with simple technology solutions.

The Business World is a rapidly changing entity, and technology helps adapt to these changes quickly and will help a company keep its competitive advantage. Paper has always been an inefficient medium for conducting business processes, and recently has become a key focus for Business Process Improvement (BPI) initiatives. So what are the main reasons for a company or organization to move towards the paperless environment?

Below are the two main categories:

1. Operation Efficiency and Business Process Improvement

Using a digital repository can improve productivity. This is an obvious benefit. Any time you can reduce the time required to perform a required task, that time can be applied elsewhere. A basic online search for a customer file requires about 5 seconds. To accomplish the same information lookup with a physical file cabinet can take 10 – 25 minutes, or perhaps even days if the file is held in offsite storage. This is just for basic lookups, and not complex searches, which could take weeks if performed through the physical file system.

2. Risk Reduction

An ECM/DM system allows for the backup of critical files. What would happen to an organization if their file room was destroyed by a fire or flood? Business Continuity Planning is a critical theme today, allowing an organization to insure that a disaster of any kind will not bring business to a halt. Scanning paper files provides the ability to backup and restore key business documentation.

Is Your Business Running At Its Best?

The core of any business is a group of processes. Predictable processes like invoicing and collections, order fulfillment and customer support are the fundamentals that drive businesses to success. Continual improvement of business processes leads to better results like increased revenue, reduced expenses, faster collection, regulatory compliance, and reduced risk.

The following are a few points to consider that will help improve your business processes:

1. Begin with the end in mind. Define what the real goal of your process is.

2. Map Out the Process. Think of the four Ws: Who, What, When and Where.

3. Determine what inhibits your process. There is always a more efficient way to complete a task.

4. Consider any risks. Are you overlooking any potential regulatory or legal problems? Is your business prepared for a natural disaster?

5. Determine the costs. Consider the hard costs of the process along with the labor costs.

6. Envision a Better Way. Improvement always begins with a vision of a preferred situation.

Processes: Tied to Documents

Since documents are the key vehicles by which information flows through business processes, by devising a well thought out plan you can leverage technology to improve business processes and start being more productive today.

Reasons for Multifunction System Popularity

This year over 1.2 million office multifunction systems will be installed in the United States and the movement continues to grow. These systems provide printing, copying, faxing, and scanning features in one cost-effective device.

The basic logic behind these systems is obvious: it is just practical to combine these similar functions for cost savings and fewer devices to supply.

However, some of the largest reasons behind the rapid implementation of these systems extend beyond cost savings. Multifunction devices can merge with document management software to allow process automation and deliver bottom line results.

Modernized Communication:
Multifunction systems email, fax and print together. Scan to email functionality delivers paper documents securely to their recipients as email attachments. Fax routing directs incoming faxes to email addresses.

Automated Business Processes:
Multifunction systems offer a convenient on-ramp to get paper onto a digital network. New capture software provides the technology for information to be read from scanned documents where it can be routed through a pre-defined workflow.

Expanded Security Features:
Security and compliance are hot new issues for virtually every industry. Multifunction systems can help enhance your corporate security with a secure Electronic Document Management System.

If you are looking for a corporate initiative to save money, then you likely are considering or have already implemented multifunctional technology. Even if you already have a multifunction device integrated into your business processes, there are always new features that can improve the efficiency of your office.

Color Printing, Get Noticed, Get Remembered

Did you know that color is one of the easiest ways to increase sales?

Research indicates that using color and graphics increases interest, retention, and improves comprehension.

The facts:

Color improves comprehension by 75% Color increases retention 40% Color accelerates learning by 20%1

According to Kathleen H. Seelye, “Color and graphics add 78% retention, while a photo can result in a 130% increase in retention.”2

Use an Image to Almost Double Your Persuasiveness

A study conducted by the University of Minnesota found that the use of simple graphics increased the persuasiveness of a message by 47%. To measure the effect, they had a group of people read a passage of text and rate it for persuasiveness. Then they had another group rate the exact same text, only this time it included a graphic. The score jumped by 47%!3

Better yet, invoices that use color to highlight the all-important balance due section are paid up to 30% more quickly than boring old black-and-white bills.4

1. Don Jones, The Definitive Guide to Office Color Printing

2. Donna L. Boss, S.I.G.N.A.G.E. S.E.L.L.S., Kathleen H. Seelye, vice president, Thomas Ricca Associates, Englewood, Colorado

3. “Color and Graphics in Proposals,” The Clare Ross Organization, Marketing and Management Consultants

4 “A dozen ways to guarantee you'll get paid”, Home Office Computing, Linda Stern, 10/92

Ten Things to Know About Data Security

The intellectual property of your business is vital to its continuing success. Therefore, it is important to ensure confidential documents are not susceptible to security breaches. Whether it is a computer virus or a disgruntled former employee, you need to ensure your information is safe from unauthorized viewers. Luckily, with document management systems, it is easy to integrate advanced security features into your current workflows. Electronic Document Management can help protect your documents and increase productivity. If you are unsure if a document management system is right for your business, here are ten things you should know about document security:

1. Document management seeks to prevent data loss from the various kinds of threats to data. Unless a systematic approach is adopted for document security your business could be shut down by a breach of security.

2. Very few businesses can survive a complete loss of business data. Even partial losses can prove extremely serious, especially to smaller businesses. Consider what would happen if you lost all your customer data and invoice records from a computer virus. It can render you unable to recover your fees from credit customers that can equal a few months of sales. Or consider the secret product formula that gives you an edge in the market being stolen.

3. Document security starts with an intricate look at all the risks documents face and the impact of each. A clear view can make upper management aware of the real dangers that can easily occur, and as a result they are more likely to support security-enhancement measures.

4. One of the primary security measures is preventing unauthorized access to documents. Only authorized persons should be able to access each type of data. Access restrictions should be placed both on classes of data and levels of employees and can be integrated easily with the access controls on your multifunction device.

5. All documents should generate automatic audit trails to monitor who accesses specific documents. Most data losses have been attributed to employees and it’s essential that a record of their activities is on file.

6. Firewalls and Antivirus programs can prevent access to data on the internal network by external entities, such as hackers and viruses. However these tools probably only scratch the surface for the security of your company’s data. Protecting individual workstations doesn’t necessarily mean all your documents are secure.

7. Verified backups and storage at separate locations can help the business recover from data losses caused by different events, such as natural disasters like a fire, accidental or intentional deletion of data from hard disks. Electronic Document Management will make it easy for you to have an alternate location for data storage.

8. Electronic Document Management will verify your backed-up data to ensure it is recoverable in case of need. Systematic policies and procedures can ensure that all critical data is backed up in an up-to-date or even real-time manner. In the absence of Electronic Document Storage, not all data may be backed up and data loss recovery can prove incomplete.

9. Electronic documents can be tampered with comparatively easily, but document management puts authentication procedures in place to validate critical documents at the recipient’s end. Features such as electronic signatures can help ensure that documents have not been altered since they were signed.

10. Above all, regular evaluations must be carried out to identify current security vulnerabilities. Electronic Document Management Systems provide easy to access interfaces to allow for constant optimization.

Standards for information security can help businesses understand the complex issues involved and implement best practices for document security. With increasing dependence on electronic documents, this is an issue that cannot be ignored or left to untrained staff. Luckily, an easy way to increase your document security is through an Electronic Document Management System.

- See more at:

Reduce Office Printing Costs in Three Easy Steps

Unmanaged office printing can easily consume up to 3% of annual revenues according to the Gartner group. Therefore, if you are searching for an area to trim your company’s overhead, your print environment is a great place to start. To control and reduce this expense there are a few strategies you can integrate.

Consolidate Devices

If you look around your office there are probably areas that have a laser printer, a copier and a fax machine sitting right next to each other. This presents a great cost-saving opportunity. Each of these devices has a separate cost of operation that comes from stocking unique supplies, supporting the network, handling repairs and service and electricity. With today’s skyrocketing energy costs, it is possible that it actually costs more to power your devices than it costs to put supplies in the devices!

You can combine devices with multifunction systems that print, copy, fax and scan in a single unit. These reliable systems can handle applications from desktops to workgroups to departments. Consolidating devices with multifunction systems could provide instant and long-term cost reduction for your organization.

Re-Route Print Jobs

Some of your printing devices are less expensive to operate than others. For the most part, high-volume networked systems have a lower operational cost than smaller desktop devices. While desktop devices may be necessary for productivity or privacy reasons, larger print jobs could easily be routed to network devices to reduce costs.

New software makes it easy to re-route print jobs automatically. You can assess your basic needs and set routing rules. For example, print jobs over 20 pages could be sent to a networked multifunction system. The end user would simply print their job exactly like they normally would. However, with this software a pop up window would let them know that their job was routed to the workgroup device as a cost-saving strategy. Applying print routing to your organization could create cost savings of 30% or more.

Outsource Print Management

Office printing costs expand well beyond the cost of printer supplies. When considering the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of office printing, you need to include several additional costs:

· Purchasing requisitions for printer supplies, parts and repairs

· Inventory costs for printer supplies

· Shrinkage costs for stolen supplies

· Support costs for printer issues

· Power costs

By outsourcing Print Management to professionals, you can reduce costs and improve the productivity of your IT department. Managed Print Services programs can provide a variety of options to control the costs of your print environment.