Mobile workflow has changed the way we work with information—enhancing customer communication and improving collaboration between knowledge workers. The adoption of mobile technologies and cloud-based computing platforms is helping businesses improve efficiencies and drive productivity, which in turn boosts customer satisfaction and revenue growth.
In its 2013 Mobile Workforce Adoption Trends report, Forrester Research estimates that 29% of the entire global workforce can now be characterized as anywhere-anytime workers—a figure has doubled since 2012 and will continue to grow.
Today’s knowledge workers require constant, uninterrupted access to business-critical information. While it is easily defined, for those businesses that lack an effective digital workflow solution it can be overwhelming. The challenge lies not just in the process of making information accessible, but also ensuring content integrity as information is manipulated and moved throughout what has increasingly become a fragmented document environment.
Migrating from paper to digital workflows is the first step toward improving the efficiency of critical processes, but where to begin? Many businesses continue to work in traditional paper document-based workflows that are extremely inefficient and often counterproductive. In some cases, content is generated, printed and then distributed for additional input or collaboration, which could involve filling out forms, hand-written annotation or even the simple process of signing a document.
Today, a significant percentage of printed digital original documents are re-keyed into computers to make sure they’re available in digital workflows.
It is a vicious cycle for many organizations, where documents move constantly from analog to digital and back to analog again. This type of inefficient document environment wastes valuable time and resources and can lead to increased errors and inconsistencies between documents, especially when data entry is required.
Document workflow solutions
The network MFP is one asset that could be used more effectively to automate workflow and optimize paper-based business processes. Most businesses view the MFP as just another piece of office equipment—a peripheral device for scanning, copying and printing. But today’s MFPs are more sophisticated, with embedded operating systems, Web browsers and the ability to connect directly to the cloud. New tablet-like control panels simplify the most complex of procedures and allow for the creation of customized workflow solutions.
When combined with integrated workflow software and solutions, the network MFP becomes an important business asset and a measurable resource for improving productivity. Businesses can dramatically cut costs by reducing print consumption and eliminating non-essential paper. At the same time, MFP-based workflow solutions help organizations gain control over key business processes to automate workflows and manage content security, while providing access to information when and how it is needed.
The intelligent MFP should not only be viewed as a gateway to fully integrated digital workflow system, but also a means for doing so in the most cost-effective manner. Sourcing and deploying the necessary software components across multiple scanners and printers is very costly and difficult to manage. The more effective alternative is to move these activities to fewer, but more powerful MFPs. Doing so could reduce dependency on paper-based workflow, while allowing employees to work with digital content in more meaningful and effective ways.