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The Question is not Paper or Digital!

The real goals are availability and efficiency, combining an optimum mix of both technologies.

An all-digital company can perfectly well be a bad communicator, or may do it too expensively. Very concretely, the line between doing a good job and an OK one is not the result of technologies but comes from organisations that know their real needs and adapt them regularly.

 

A statement: A document policy is designed to serve the activity of the organisation, whether private or public.

It must deliver an efficient service that is measured in both marketing (or stakeholders’ satisfaction) and internal efficiency terms. Putting these metrics in place usually proves tricky as expenditure in one department may generate benefits in another one. One needs a holistic view, as well as solid analytical accounting. This is one of the major obstacles to organisation evolution in the face of change. All too often, this is painfully solved when budget restrictions force the change.

Then, it should be obtained at the best-cost possible. And it should be environmentally sustainable. Experience shows that when the proper metrics are in place, these objectives align themselves and are not contradictory.

 

Technological pace of change is not going to slow down. So the unstable conditions, we experience today, are not going to fade away. Digital Transformation is not going from one state to another but is a permanent situation. The collapse of technological and financial barriers will enable, whatever the market you operate in, imaginative entrants to weigh on business models and force organisations to adapt quickly.

This is what is happening in the printing market, which has already become the document market.

 

There has already been a movement from the purchase of equipment, often without a real understanding and management of usage requirements, to a real services offering called MPS (or Basic Managed Print Services). MPS enables an organisation to rationalise its printing assets, and ensure that these are matched more accurately to usage requirements. Audits of existing equipment and usage, which are usually the first step in adopting MPS, generally show that organisations have significant over-capacity, resulting in under-usage of expensive print assets. As a result, adoption of MPS can typically reduce an organisation’s print costs by 25-30%.   Another major benefit is that MPS billing is usage-based, which transforms costs from fixed CAPEX, to variable OPEX. However, it should be noted that while the move towards MPS has been going on for almost 15 years now, it has so far only achieved high levels of penetration in large organisations, and is still at a fairly early stage of adoption in the SME sector.

 

During the same period, companies addressed virtualisation of many of their processes. This movement has taken 10 years.

This has also generated a further displacement of document volumes, leading to a new rationalization wave while virtualisation has been happening. The improved reliability of printing equipment has enabled the re-use of devices, which had not reached the end of their life. In the past, lack of flexibility in re-deploying and obtaining optimum usage from devices impaired the agility of organisations, a fact which has become less and less acceptable. On a positive note, more efficient usage of equipment represents good news for the environment.

This affects both print production and office equipment, so new consolidations are ahead of us. This will encourage (and maybe force?) interaction between departments who until now did not meet too often. They will share hardware and software assets as well as work methods and human resources. This should generate reduced global cost and a more unified customer approach. We can call it Advanced MPS.

 

But all these fast evolving technologies need to be used efficiently by capable staff who are trained and regularly retrained. The rigidity therefore has moved from the equipment and assets to the presence of capable staff to use them efficiently. This is what organisations really want to avoid. New services are appearing, e.g. MCS (Managed Content Services), which include in their offerings competences, which are themselves rationally shared.

These new cycles are just appearing but let us forecast that they will be adopted much faster than the former ones.

Be curious! Remain Practical! Those are the qualities that you will go on using in order to define correctly your needs that will be changing faster and faster.

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This article was written on 14 Jan 2016, and is filled under Point of View.

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