October 10, 2017
Why melding paper–based processes into digital workflow need no longer cause companies a major headache.
A new IT World article penned by Michael Nadeau, Senior Editor of CIO, reveals how global printer and copier vendors such as Xerox, Konica Minolta and Canon are helping to enhance productivity by introducing new automated solutions for scanning and analysis of paper documents.
As Nadeau describes, these companies and their associates “have decades of experience helping customers manage their paper documents” and have plenty of knowledge pertaining to how these documents are “generated, processed and archived.”
But why would they want to enable their customers to transition from hardcopy to digital, asks Nadeau. An answer was provided by the president of market research firm Actionable Intelligence, Charles Brewer, who said, “Customers became aware during the recession [of 2008] just how expensive printing can be”.
The consistent decrease in page counts have “led to a focus on services such as managed print services”.
“What you are seeing now is MPS 2.0, where you can further build out workflow and business processes that you can do with your capture device,” says Brewer. “The printer/copier guys have the hardware in place. They have the relationships with the IT teams. Because of the way they sell MPS, they have relationships with CFOs. They are at the C level, and the corporate officers realize that you can use your copier for a lot more than copying.”
“The traditional office device—the multifunction printer (MFP) in particular—has become a much more centralized component in different types of application workflows that you find inside the general office,” explained Dennis Amorosano, vice president and general manager at Canon Business Imaging Systems Group (BISG) and Canon Information and Imaging Solutions (CIIS) Professional Services. “We’re at a point now where customers are much more educated in terms of the office technology that’s available and are using that technology more frequently than ever in key workflow processes.”
According to Nadeau, “The document imaging vendors see their products as complementary to enterprise systems.” An example is Canon and the company’s Therefore information management and workflow solution. “Without an ERP system, a business can’t run. The types of workflow systems we’re putting in place have a dramatic impact on productivity in particular business processes, but the business can still operate without the discrete application workflows we’re involved with—with the exception of the accounts-payable workflows,” explains Amorosano.
“The ERP vendors and systems integrators who implement those systems tend to focus on the core business process. They are driving implementation activity that is capturing maybe 80 percent of the workflow. Oftentimes the paper-based aspects of the processes are not as well automated and integrated,” he continued. “Canon has all this imaging expertise and heritage, and we’ve been able to look at the process that our customers are driving from an end-to-end perspective. We’re automating the ‘first mile’ of the process—the most paper intensive and the most manual.”
“We do not compete with ERP providers,” says Pavan Gourisetty in the article. Gourisetty is senior director of product management at Xerox, which sells its DocuShare Flex content management software. “We know that we are not the only enterprise software company in the IT ecosystem. They use applications like SAP, Oracle Financials or Workday. All of those systems are treated as systems of record for batch-specific use cases. We want to be the system of record for content management systems capable of integrating with other line of business applications. We like to be known as an ecosystem platform provider.”
While paper documents “might require manual intervention for a number of reasons”, new printers and copiers can now help automate these processes as well as bringing other handy features such as “simple touchscreen user interfaces”.
“Having features and capabilities that are part of that user experience that customers really demand now as table stakes — having integrated viewer capabilities, search engines, separate integration with capture tools all that within one user interface — is really important in terms of providing these platform solutions at the document content management layer,” explained Wasim Khan, who is the head of global workflow automation at Xerox.
“With Flex, you’re going to get a more integrated imaging capability in one simple user interface. It’s less cumbersome, less clunky,” he continued. “When customers are using various Oracle systems or different back-ends, Salesforce or CRM systems, we have all those connections already built.”
Meanwhile Canon is hoping to “apply artificial intelligence and analytics” to its solution“We have technology that allows us to recognize not only documents, but also the context of the document and the content itself,” says Amorosano. “The system gets smarter over time. The system almost becomes intuitive in terms of knowing what you want to do. We’re looking at how we can apply that AI technology to the way in which customers are placing content in and using content within the Box ecosystem.”
For the full article please click here.
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