The adoption of a managed services model in business can be a strategic and definite move towards a more streamlined and cost effective operation.

When applied and integrated through an outsource agreement with an established, credible IT partner, decision-makers are given the reassurance that the company’s infrastructure is effectively utilised and managed, writes Rob Sussman, joint-MD at Integr8 IT.

Essentially, company directors are freed up to concentrate on the core business and related strategy, rather than having to spend time and valuable resources on ICT infrastructure management.

A clear example of how a managed service can add value to a business is found in the introduction of the fax-to-e-mail solution that allows for faxes to be delivered straight into an e-mail facility.

The fax process is still considered an integral part of corporate digital communication. Many printer solutions incorporate the fax machine facility and the all-in-one concept (printer, copier, scanner and fax machine) has emerged as a popular choice to make up the front line of business communications technology.

The advent of the paperless office, underpinned by innovation around the mobile and wireless technology infrastructure, has necessitated that faxing be managed electronically.

The convergence of e-mail with a fax facility is a strategic move and was really only a matter of time before the platform gained momentum in the market.

And it is not difficult to understand why.

Key driving forces behind the growth of the mobile and wireless market are represented by the objectives of lowering cost and increasing productivity.

Businesses, especially those operating within the small-to-medium bracket, continuously push for affordable and suitable technology. The chief aim is to secure an investment in solutions that ensure a lower total cost of ownership but yield results because they fit into the core technical and business requirements.

The incorporation of a fax-to-email solution helps to lower the running costs of a business. A solid solution from a credible partner should represent a saving due to free setup, installation, training and support; the fact that the solution can easily be integrated with existing communications infrastructure and not require additional hardware or software to be effective; and there is no charge for incoming faxes. Additionally, the business is afforded the benefit of cost saving in maintenance, paper and print cartridge usage.

Other benefits that make a solution like this viable include the fact that faxes received via e-mail can be accessed from anywhere in the world (again reinforcing the concept of a truly mobile office) as well as an increase in productivity because there is no risk of faxes going missing or landing up in the wrong hands.

The advent of e-mail and multimedia applications to communicate and transfer data has now assimilated the traditional fax machine. The concept of one device to multi-task and cover a number of communication disciplines over many platforms and applications is not far off.