Digital documents have become essential to boosting workplace productivity, and scanning has become a vital element for businesses.
Following a survey, we found that 43% of respondents consider digital documents to be very important, 29% say somewhat important, and 16% consider them critical to their organization.
These figures were lower for Western European countries in 2013, suggesting an increase in reliance on scanning technology over the years. Higher adoption rates were reported by businesses in the manufacturing, business services, and finance sectors.
“Digital document technology can get our job done very quickly. It adds to the productivity of our organization and increases profitability. It simplifies tasks for the employees and saves us time. That’s what it will continue to do, and it makes sense to invest now.”
The benefits of scanning documents to the office digital environment are universally recognized.
Both decision-makers and end-users are enthusiastic about scanning, with most interviewees mentioning multiple benefits.
Most commonly for end-users, it is about controlling and simplifying the sharing process.
For decision-makers, the benefits are more practical including cost savings, space saving, and reassurance.
• Store and tag copies of important documents and have an audit trail.
• Avoid putting documents in mechanical devices that could jam or tear the paper.
• Enable documents to be emailed.
• Save space by reducing physical archives.
• Save money on paper and ink/toner.
• Have a back-up in case copiers break down.
With the increase in scanning, there has been a small corresponding decline in print volumes, indicating an increased reliance on digital documents.
Despite the rise of digital, 48% of respondents agree that they still prefer reading paper documents over on-screen, suggesting that there is still a place for physical documents in the office.
The reliance on printed hard copies will continue for several reasons:
• As a back-up for electronic documents
• Hard copies are more socially acceptable in meeting
• As a legal requirement to store important paperwork
• Physical documents are easier to work with in group environments
Whether creating, copying, or converting physical documents to electronic copies, processing information is an essential part of daily life in the workplace.
The findings from the research demonstrate the following key trends:
With both scanned and physical document production vital to the daily running of a business, it comes as no surprise that multi-function devices have played a key role and have had a tangible impact on productivity.
As the chart below shows, multi-function devices have significantly improved productivity for more than half of all end-users:
To what extent have the following technology products improved your productivity in recent years?
Larger organizations see real value in multi-function devices, and 60% of utility companies and 67% of public sector organisations say that they have improved their productivity in recent years.
Of those surveyed, 48% of end-users said they have access to a multi-function device, and another 24% say that they would like to have one in their workplace.
When asked if their organisation were to get rid of its printers and multi-function devices, 75% of respondents said they would be inconvenienced by such a move. In fact, 21% said they would not be able to do their job without them.
The importance placed on multi-function devices will see their usage increase 59% over the next three years.
Many (57%) of the users currently rely on their multi-functional devices for color printing or copying.
“We want to avoid a fragmented system, with a separate scanner, a separate printer, and a separate photocopier. I don’t want these devices split apart, and I don’t think it’s a very healthy sign for a modern company.”
• Healthcare, KSA
An increased penetration of multi-function devices boosts the capability of businesses to share and store documents electronically, and, in with this, scanning becomes even more firmly entrenched as the principal driver of document workflows.
Respondents have been clear about the effectiveness of both printing and scanning.
Both of these, in tandem, will remain crucial elements in the smooth running of a business.
The feature set provided by multifunction devices ensures that they play a significant role in the coexistence of both digital and printed office documents.
There has been a huge proliferation of multifunction devices over the last few years; and data indicates that this category will continue to display sustained growth.