Organisations that want to reduce costs while streamlining their workflow need to look at putting document management systems and business intelligence solutions in place to bring output devices and documents under control.

That’s according to Holger Groenert, manager product marketing at Itec Distribution, who says that a very high percentage of the total printing costs in large organisations might be invisible or uncontrolled. With paper usage growing rather than declining, the problem is likely to deepen over the next decade.
“A large organisation could have thousands of document output devices – including printers, multifunctional products (MFPs), copiers and scanners – and millions of documents spread throughout the enterprise, and little control over how these are used by its employees,” says Groenert. “They should therefore manage these costs with the same amount of discipline as they would their telecommunications or information technology infrastructure.”
Companies need to shift away from only looking at hardware costs towards looking at printing and document management as an enterprise service, he adds. With the right tools in place, they not only achieve significant cost-savings, but also find ways to improve their efficiency by managing documents better.
Furthermore, document management systems that integrate with printers and MFPs also enable companies to streamline workflow. These tools simplify the management of huge volumes of data in a variety of file formats – Word files, images, photos, charts and graphics – from a range of sources. They also eliminate the need to save documents in paper form, saving both space and resources.
There is a range of powerful solutions available that make it simple for companies to automate routine document tasks like scanning them, converting them into standard file format like PDF and storing them in a structured manner to facilitate easy retrieval at any time, Groenert says.
These products allow users to easily retrieve a specific document from a vast amount of data with an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) function which allows for full-text search or search files by keywords, tags, annotations, or dates.
“Putting documents at employees’ fingertips for instant retrieval could save enterprises vast amounts of time and money,” Groenert says. “Imagine the lost time that accumulates in a large organisation every time employees need to search for an email or file. Also, with more efficient electronic storage of documents, one can minimise the need to print emails or documents and thus save even more money.”
Business intelligence tools for the document output environment also offer a range of cost-savings and efficiency gains, says Groenert. They can help enterprises understand volume, typical and peak usage patterns and sources of print, and manage them better.
Concludes Groenert: “With increasing regulatory demands and the volumes of data and documents produced by electronic systems growing by the day, it is becoming imperative for enterprises to take charge of their document output environments. They can no longer focus only on hardware, but must manage document output in a holistic manner using the many powerful tools at their disposal.”