A Growing Demand for Document Automation Spurs Profit and Improvements
By Kevin Craine
Despite the idea of the paperless office, a lot of business gets done using paper. This not only includes ad hoc and process-specific workflow for things like new account openings or customer onboarding, but also large-scale and enterprise activities like accounts payable, billing, or human resources.
Digital transformation starts with the ability to digitize and optimize information at the earliest opportunity. This places device manufacturers and Managed Print Services providers directly at the center of their client’s digital transformation journey. The trick, however, is to empower copiers, printers and multifunction devices to do more than just copy, print and scan.
A Revolution in Document Processing Automation
I spoke recently with Ed Wingate, Head of Strategic Partnerships at aluma, to discuss these aspects, and what he feels is an untapped opportunity in the market for multifunction device suppliers and manufacturers.
“I believe that the document processing market is ripe for disruption,” says Ed. “If we look historically at the market, it's been dominated either by those players who provide batch capture of documents usually deployed in scanning centers or service bureaus, or it's in large enterprise workflow applications. Both are complex and high-volume. In those cases the complexity and high costs are justified because the project is big enough to have the effort and expense make sense.”
Multifunction device manufacturers and Managed Print Services providers are directly at the center of their client's digital transformation journey.
Automation Demand Pushes Growth and Profit
But the current market opportunity isn’t just found in large applications. Ed says we’re seeing a growing demand for digitization and process automation across the board. “The need for automation is pervasive in small and medium-sized businesses, as well as in individual corporate departments that are currently being overlooked because their needs don’t rise to the top of IT priorities. So I see a large swath of opportunity that is not currently being addressed by the existing document management players.”
According to a research study conducted by AIIM International, 60% of organizations feel that processes that are repetitive and use a standard operating procedure would benefit most from process automation. Automation that crosses process boundaries is key; 37% of organizations are focused on cross-department processes, with those connection points seen as where the opportunity to automate and improve is the greatest.
Ed points out that multifunction device providers are perhaps best positioned to drive and take advantage of the untapped market opportunity for document automation. “Multifunction devices are pervasive. They touch every document in the office. And it is during those three or four critical seconds -- when the document is scanned and handled – that the opportunity to add some intelligence and value to the process presents itself. That’s the exciting opportunity that device providers and managed print providers have available at their fingertips today.”