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Small Companies Highly Value Ease of Use

Compared to larger companies, small companies consider ease of use to be a top criterion for selecting a product or vendor for their organization. This blog post will discuss that trend, as well as how it ties into the procurement of print devices and services.

Ease of use by the numbers

A recent Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends survey showed that 54% of U.S. companies with fewer than 50 employees consider “ease of use & consistent front panel structure” to be a top feature for selecting a product or vendor—outside of device features. This compares to just 37% of all companies.

This could relate to the fact that small companies are less likely to have an IT person on staff, making the need for straightforward technology particularly important.

As shown in the chart below, price is also a leading concern of small companies. Price is tied to ease of use as a user-friendly product can result in lower costs in areas like IT outsourcing and employee training.

Besides device features, what are the most important buying criteria for selecting a product or vendor for your organization? Please select the top 3.

 Source: Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends researchSource: Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends research

Source: Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends research

How ease of use ties into print devices and services

When it comes to print devices, ease of use can be achieved through a large, responsive, and well-organized touchscreen that enables easy programming and initiation of print, scan, copy, and fax jobs. It can also be fostered through a straightforward PC print utility and/or print driver, simple printing from mobile devices, and hassle-free setup. Customers can seek out brands that are known to provide a user-friendly experience, and/or try out the devices before purchasing them.

Print services include printer repair, maintenance, and consulting provided by a third-party company. A technician that is able to configure the device and supporting software in such a way that it can easily be used will be appreciated by customers. Furthermore, the better this individual can explain how to use the device, the greater the likelihood no issues will be encountered.

Conclusion

Small businesses place a strong emphasis on the ease of use of print devices and their front panel structures. This is likely related to the fact they are less likely to have an IT person on staff to troubleshoot device issues. Small businesses are encouraged to seek out print devices that have truly been designed with the user experience in mind, as well as vendors that are focused on device usability.

Role of Software in Document Scanning

Most people are familiar with scan devices (single-function scanners, multifunction printers that scan, etc.), but they aren’t necessarily aware that software exists to help with scanning. This blog post will provide examples of ways that scanning & data capture software can enhance the document scanning process within organizations.

Use of scanning & data capture software

Before delving into the main components of scanning & capture software, we’ll take a look at the use of this software within U.S. companies (SMBs and enterprises included). As shown in the chart below, larger companies are most likely to have already invested in this software; companies with 100 to 499 employees are most likely to be considering it.

Companies with 1 to 99 employees most commonly have no plans to invest in scanning & capture solutions; digging deeper, it is those with 1 to 49 employees that are most likely to fall into this category (44%).

Are you considering purchasing scanning & data capture software?

Source: Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends researchSource: Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends researchSource: Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends research

Source: Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends research

What is scanning & data capture software?

Scanning & data capture software is software that is either embedded in a multifunction printer (MFP) or single-function scanner, or attached to a PC or server-based capture solution. It enables businesses to efficiently capture, process, and route documents to a document management system, an electronic content management platform, business process automation software, or other business applications.

The following paragraphs discuss the key components of this solution:

  1. Capture: Before you can integrate paper documents into your electronic systems, you must digitize them. Many solutions convert paper documents to popular static file types, such as TIFF, image PDF, and JPG. These solutions are built to meet varying needs, from knowledge workers capturing a few documents a day, all the way up to scan operators tasked with capturing huge volumes of batches all day.
  1. Processing: Once a document is captured, users can employ a variety of image enhancement and conversion settings to deliver it to its desired location in the needed form and quality. Many leading technologies employ sophisticated algorithms to intelligently enhance captured images to ensure easy readability. Users can apply optical character recognition (OCR) zones (or OCR across the entire document) or barcode recognition settings to separate batches, convert documents to dynamic form, and/or read and act on encoded indexing and routing instructions.
  1. Routing: Many capture applications dovetail with email applications, cloud services, document/electronic content management platforms, or other business applications and backend systems out of the box. This enables users to send scans to specific locations directly from the scan device control panel. This eliminates the need to scan a document to a local folder, then move it to the desired location.

Summary

Scanning & capture software solutions can be used to efficiently merge information trapped in paper with a company’s digital solutions. Key characteristics of scanning & data capture solutions include the ability to capture, process, and route documents to a digital archive and/or process. For more information on how this kind of solution can help your business, speak with your technology provider(s) today.

Need for Efficiency Driving Document Scanning

About 45% of U.S. companies expect to implement specific scanning projects/solutions within the next 12-18 months; of these organizations, efficiency is the top driver for scanning. This is the case for all company sizes except those with 5,000 or more employees (where compliance is the top reason for scanning). These statistics are based on research from Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends.

What are some of the key drivers for scanning within your organization?

Source: Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends researchSource: Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends researchSource: Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends researchSource: Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends research

Source: Keypoint Intelligence research

How scanning drives efficiency

Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends research also shows that about 44% of day-to-day business content is still found on paper. While paper may provide certain benefits to a company and/or its customers, in some ways it may take more time to process and use. For example, it may be more difficult to find a specific piece of information within a stack of papers. Using scanning, optical character recognition (OCR), and keyword search, however, data can be retrieved in a matter of seconds.

Furthermore, advanced scanning solutions such as fast and powerful scanners can drastically reduce the time needed for records digitization.

Security and compliance other scan drivers

Other important drivers of scanning are security and compliance, particularly within larger organizations. In terms of security, scanning can direct documents into secure databases that are theoretically less impenetrable than physical storage like folders and filing cabinets.

In terms of compliance, increasingly companies face external and internal mandates regarding the proper storage of information. For instance, as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, U.S. healthcare providers were required to adopt and demonstrate “meaningful use” of electronic medical records (EMR) to maintain their Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement levels. Digitization through scanning is consistent with this initiative.

Scan solution components

Organizations can achieve efficiency, security, compliance, and other benefits through both hardware and software scan solutions. Scan hardware includes the following equipment, each of which provides its own advantages:

  • Multifunction printers with scan capability
  • High-volume centralized production scanners
  • Single-function scanners
  • Smartphones/tablets

From a software standpoint, the following capabilities may be embedded into the device or offered as an add-on solution.

  • PDF creation
  • Optical character recognition (OCR)
  • Image enhancement
  • One button/shortcut key scanning
  • Optical mark recognition (OMR)
  • Automatic indexing

Summary

Efficiency is the top reason for companies to pursue document scanning in their organization, followed by security and compliance. If your company could benefit in any of these areas, it may be worth considering how new scan technology and software can help you.

3 Reasons Why Your Business Needs Managed Print Services

When it comes to your document imaging technologies, which may be costing your employees time and your business money, you can’t wait around for the problem to magically fix itself.

Now, to the “glass half empty” crowd, outsourcing has negative connotations that translate to inferior quality work, but for those “glass half full” folks, it can result in increased efficiency inside your company. After splitting that difference, though, the question of why you should engage with an MPS provider still remains.

While there are many benefits to managed print services, here’s a trio of compelling reasons to get you thinking…

1) Because your print environment is unmanaged: Even if you have somebody overseeing hardware and software, how much does this person truly know about the ins and outs of document imaging? How much data does he or she have access to, and is that data studied on a continuous basis? And that’s not taking the supplies portion into account, including replacing toner/ink and being responsible for storing them. An MPS provider has the expertise, the support organization and the understanding that every business has unique document imaging needs.

2) Because your employees want better tools: Managed print services begins with printers and MFPs, there’s no denying that. Once the document imaging ecosystem has been optimized, though, the focus can then be divided between continuous device analysis and bringing user concerns into play. An MPS provider comprehends this and has what you need to effectively change print behavior, enable security measures and implement software to streamline workflows and potentially automate business processes.

3) Because your business will save money: It’s all about the bottom line, but can you even determine what your total spend is on printing? Are employees outputting files on a nearby printer that carries a high cost per page instead of sending the job to an MFP that has a much lower cost per page but requires walking an extra 10 seconds? Are users allowed to print in color whenever they want to? What about enforcing duplexing? These are just simple cases in point, but the overarching message of all of them is powerful. An MPS provider will walk with you down the path of lowering total cost of ownership for your document imaging technologies.

Want to keep learning? We’ve got you covered. Call us today at 888.700.0237!

Document Management: Importance of Mobility and Usability

Two trends shaping the overall business technology market are mobility and usability. Consumer experiences are driving expectations for business; this includes the handling of business documents.

This blog post will review how the latest document management systems integrate mobile and user-friendly features. Document management is defined as the use of a computer system and software to store, manage, and track electronic documents—including images or documents captured with a document scanner.

Mobile-optimized document management features

Keypoint Intelligence/InfoTrends research shows that 62% of individuals with a smartphone use that mobile device for work. That figure is approximately 40% for tablets.

Figure: Do you currently use a smartphone/tablet for work activities? Please select all that apply.

Source: Mobile Impact on Print (Keypoint Intelligence/InfoTrends, 2014)

Source: Mobile Impact on Print (Keypoint Intelligence/InfoTrends, 2014)

Certain document management systems capitalize on the growth in mobile device use at work with such features as:

  • Document management apps for mobile devices
  • Systems optimized for mobile device use
  • Connectors to popular cloud services
  • Automatic notifications sent to email

As time goes on, Keypoint Intelligence/InfoTrends would expect more mobility features to be built into document management systems. For example, this may include the ability to access a document management from a smartwatch or other wearable technology.

Usability-optimized document management features

Usability is similarly a growing focus for corporate IT decision makers and users. Workers expect their business technology to function in a manner similar to their consumer technology. This means document management systems must have an intuitive interface across devices (e.g., PCs, mobile devices, multifunction printers).

Specific user-friendly features may include:

  • Clean, well-organized layout
  • Powerful document/content search functionality
  • Easy to access and search help database
  • Wizard that helps users navigate key features

Other relevant trends

A balance should be struck between features that simplify the use of document management systems, and security features that ensure only authorized users access these systems. This is particularly true when the technology is being used in industries or departments that handle sensitive and/or confidential information.

Other trends that are shaping document management system development include a move toward cloud computing, faster turnaround times for clients, and support for multiple languages.

Conclusion

As organizations undergo digital transformation, document management systems have become essential tools for storing and managing digital information. The trends of mobility and usability are shaping the development of these systems; this is only expected to continue in the coming years. Customers will benefit from the addition of new features and functionality centered on these trends.

 

Document Process Automation on the Rise

Multifunction printers (MFPs) offer so much more than print, copy, fax, and scan. Current devices can serve as a hub for many document-centric tasks, ranging from smart capture to advanced document workflows. Smart capture involves the enhanced digitization of hardcopy documents, while advanced document workflows include organizing captured data and connecting it with electronic records systems.

Keypoint Intelligence/InfoTrends recently performed a study suggesting that the adoption of these types of solutions is on the rise. Out of 250 U.S. general office workers surveyed, 60% reported that their organization has taken steps to simplify, remove, or automate document-related business operations. This figure could be higher, considering that 18% did not know whether this was the case.

Figure: Has your company taken steps to simplify, remove, or automate document-related business operations?

Source: Future of Office Printing (Keypoint Intelligence/InfoTrends, Fall 2016).

In the survey, 71 percent of respondents cited increasing efficiency as the number one reason for taking these steps. This is consistent with other Keypoint Intelligence/InfoTrends surveys showing that efficiency and productivity are top business objectives of corporate IT decision makers. Other top drivers of document process improvement were a desire to decrease paper use (61%) and costs (53 percent).

None of these concerns are new, of course, but the growing availability of MFP solutions to meet these concerns promises growing adoption of document process automation solutions. Solutions like intelligent capture and document management can solve innumerable efficiency-related pain points—saving time, money, and frustration.

These solutions may also aid in securing corporate documents and data. By placing business information into a secure digital database, there’s a reduced risk of it getting into the wrong hands. In fact, a recent Keypoint Intelligence/InfoTrends survey revealed that just 43% of general office workers believe the paper documents they handle for their jobs are “very secure.” Forty percent said these documents are “not secure” or “somewhat secure;” 14% didn’t know how secure these documents are.

Companies considering secure digital document solutions are encouraged to reach out to their document technology providers for more information. Their knowledge of your business positions them to provide advice specific to your needs and requirements.

Of course, new needs are continually arising as new business technology and services enter the market. The beauty of the latest document software solutions is they can often be purchased on a monthly basis, giving companies more flexibility as requirements and priorities shift.

Lang Company offers a variety of document solutions, customized to fit your needs.  Call 888-700-0237 today to learn more!

Capture Solutions are the Bridge Between Your MFP and Digital Systems

Many businesses have adopted enterprise content management (ECM) and document management systems (DMS) to convert slow, inefficient, and expensive paper-based processes to digital form. But according to a Keypoint Intelligence/InfoTrends study, most incoming work documents (anywhere between 51 and 67 percent) are in paper form.

Figure: Of all external business content that your company receives, what percentage comes in as paper?

Source: Future of Scanning (Keypoint Intelligence/InfoTrends, 2015)

So while businesses can do extraordinary things with documents in digital form, like automating their business process and enabling users to share documents instantly around the globe, they are still stuck with the problem of efficiently merging information trapped in paper with their digital solutions.

Solve one problem, create another.

Luckily, the same devices that are responsible for all of this paper—namely printers, copiers, and MFPs—are also the answer. Businesses can leverage their MFPs to do much more than just print, copy, fax, and scan paper documents.

Many are outfitted with embedded capture applications, or can hook in to PC or server-based capture solutions. These enable businesses to efficiently capture, process, and route documents to a document management system, an electronic content management platform, business process automation software, or other business applications.

Key characteristics of a capture solution

Capture

Before you can integrate paper document into your systems, you must digitize them. Many solutions convert paper documents to popular static file types, such as TIFF, image PDF, and JPG. These solutions are built to meet varying needs, from knowledge workers capturing a few documents a day, all the way up to scan operators tasked with capturing huge volumes of batches all day.

Processing

Once a document is captured, users can employ a plethora of image enhancement and conversion settings to deliver it to its desired location in the needed form and quality. Many leading technologies employ sophisticated algorithms to intelligently enhance captured images to ensure easy readability.

Users can apply optical character recognition (OCR) zones (or OCR across the entire document) or barcode recognition settings to separate batches, convert documents to dynamic form, and/or read and act on encoded indexing and routing instructions.

Many solutions enable users to configure customizable scan profiles that can be assigned to a hard or soft key on the device’s control panel to streamline commonly used scanning workflows. These profiles can include everything from resolution and thresholding settings, to where OCR zones should be deployed, to where the document should be routed.

Routing

Many capture applications dovetail with email applications, cloud services, watched folders, document/electronic content management platforms, or other business applications and backend systems out of the box. This enables users to send scans to specific locations directly from the control panel. This eliminates the need to scan a document to a local folder, then move it to the desired location.

Call 888-700-0237 and ask to speak to our Solutions Specialist to learn more.

 

How Managed IT Solves the IT Infrastructure Dilemma

The dependency on information technology grows every year, as new and better technology hits the marketplace. At the same time, many small and medium businesses feel the need to do more with less—particularly as globalization and the Internet have increased competition. The need for more technology is high, but IT budgets aren’t necessarily keeping up.

That’s where managed IT infrastructure services come in. Managed IT providers have access to the necessary technology to keep businesses running optimally. But the cost of this technology is dramatically less in the form of a managed IT engagement compared to the traditional means of procuring IT assets.

Managed IT providers are able to keep prices low through serving a wide range of customers. They spread the cost of the IT infrastructure over these customers, who are increasingly turning to them for this type of engagement. SMBs need these resources to compete, and can procure them affordably through a managed IT deployment.

SMBs also appreciate the flexibility of this type of offering. They can add on technology components when the need arises, or remove assets that are no longer required. They could potentially pay for various offerings on a monthly basis, and stop their engagement at any time. This type of arrangement is very much consistent with some of the trends in the consumer entertainment space, showing the growing influence that personal lives are having on work habits.

Another important advantage of a managed IT engagement is the increased efficiency. Companies can quickly purchase IT services to accommodate new needs, as opposed to taking the time to research and source equipment and other solutions on their own. This increased efficiency can be a benefit to customers, clients, employees, and partners.

In closing, managed IT infrastructure services are an ideal way to solve the current IT infrastructure dilemma. Organizations gain access to much-needed technology and services while deriving benefits around cost, flexibility, and efficiency.

Contact Lang Company today at 888.700.0237 to learn more about Lang IT365.

Key Questions for Determining Managed IT Services Readiness

Managed IT infrastructure services are growing in importance, but how do you know if they are right for your business? This blog post provides four key questions for determining your readiness for this type of engagement.

  • How would you describe your current infrastructure? Businesses are encouraged to think about the adequacy of their current IT infrastructure. Do they have the appropriate hardware, applications, and storage capacity to handle current projects? Do they have the right mix of staff to maintain IT operations?

If you answered “no” to these questions, you may be a good candidate for managed IT infrastructure services.

  • How volatile is your business? It’s also important to consider how much your business changes. Do you see a big discrepancy in the amount of projects depending on the time of year? Can one project require a significantly higher amount of IT capacity and expertise?

If your company’s IT infrastructure requirements are fairly unpredictable, you may be an even better candidate for managed IT infrastructure services.

  • What would it cost to upgrade your current infrastructure? This could mean purchasing newer computer equipment and applications, hiring help desk personnel, or investing in other required or desired resources.

If this investment seems too costly, you may be an even better candidate for managed IT infrastructure services.

  • What would it cost to outsource the procurement of these resources? Have a conversation with your technology vendors about the potential cost of outsourcing elements of your IT infrastructure. Find out how easily you could upgrade, downgrade, or end an agreement.

If the cost and flexibility of a managed deployment seems attractive, you are an even better candidate for managed IT infrastructure services.

These are four key questions that can help you decide whether to seek out managed IT services. For those who aren’t completely sure if a managed IT deployment is right for them, they can ask to speak to current customers about their experience. They could also start with a small engagement, potentially expanding to a larger deployment as time goes on.

Contact Lang Company today at 888-700-0237.

3 Quick Ways to Improve Device Security

Critical company information passes through all types of devices, including PCs, mobile devices, and your document imaging printers and copiers, every day. What’s more, company information might be stored on these printers and MFPs without your knowledge. Vulnerability extends to devices that sit on the periphery of your network—they, too, are gateways for hackers.

Security: It’s something you should never take lightly and always be trying to bolster. For instance, there could be an MFP in a remote area of an office that nobody bothers to look at, let alone use, yet it’s become an easy target to attack. Or that aging single-function printer that has proprietary data stored on the hard drive, which could be exploited by one of your own employees if you’re not paying attention.

Can you ensure that your devices are properly protected, and be more vigilant? Printers and MFPs offer plenty of standard features for you to take advantage of, along with a bevy of options that your service provider can help deliver. Here are some of the basics of device security:

Authentication: Specifically with copier-based MFPs but also with printer-centric technology, administrators can enable PIN codes to force users to enter their passcode before using a device. Typically, the more robust a piece of hardware, the more forms of authentication you’ll see. From there, optional methods such as ID cards or biometrics can be purchased.

Permissions: While more information is stored on your PCs’ hard drive, in many cases there’s still plenty of data living in the hard drive of your document imaging devices. Many brands allow administrators to control access to stored information through role-based policies—and oftentimes you can limit access to the hard drive as well as insure the integrity through encryption.

Secure Printing: This feature, which is available standard on many devices, also has properties in document security, but because users have to enter a password to release the job at the device, there’s an extra layer of device security. The next step in this path is the optional secure pull printing, which can deliver convenience to your employees as they can now pull their print job from any device that has this solution.

With just a little research and know-how, minor changes can deliver an immense impact. Keen attention must be kept to all areas within your business for potential gaps, awareness of business information, and document and network security.

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