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European businesses are seeing an explosion in the growth of information coming into their organisations, as well as an increase in the ways they access it. In fact, IDC predicts that the volume of data they receive will have increased six-fold over the past five years to 2015 and is set to continue at a similar rate. This presents a significant challenge for businesses in terms of making sense of the information accessed and delivering it in a cost-effective and time-efficient way.

IDC’s latest whitepaper: ‘Are your business processes stifling your market opportunity? Cost-efficient print and document management through smart MFPs’, identifies the need to get to grips with the exponential growth in access to information as being a key workplace trend that is driving many initiatives to improve business process efficiency.

This is underlined by its finding that, among global ‘information workers’ (i.e. professionals that rely on computers to carry out the bulk of their day-to-day work) document-related challenges are wasting time and contributing to a significant 20% loss in productivity each year, the equivalent to over 2 working months. In response, IDC says many organisations are searching for ways to optimise existing human resources through, for example, easier access to information via data search tools or improved digital archiving.

A further key driver of many workplace initiatives stems from the balance that must be struck between making operational cost reductions while driving productivity. Increasingly, companies are paying closer attention to their print-related operating costs and looking for ways to streamline their activities. However, feedback from organisations surveyed in previous IDC research also shows that steps taken to reduce and manage costs must also factor and offset the need to improve productivity, protect sensitive data and enhance customer care.

Smart MFPs – the key to redefining business and document workflows
IDC points to smart MFPs as being highly-valuable tools in overcoming these challenges, by ‘helping to ‘redefine how workflow is performed’. This is because these intelligent, connected devices have the potential to act as a platform for growth by providing cost and time-efficient workflow solutions that improve compliance and security while supporting key business objectives such as mobility.

In the evolving, data-rich business environment, scalable smart MFP devices also offer a much-needed tool for streamlining the processes used to manage rising volumes of data in both paper and digital formats.

Another significant evolving workplace trend identified by IDC is the impact of the growing mobile workforce. It estimates that, by 2018, as many as 75% of employees will be working from mobile devices in different locations, such as at home or on the road. As such, there is critical need for the growing mobile workforce to have ‘anytime and anywhere’ secure access to accurate information.

Acting as ‘on ramps and off ramps to the cloud’, smart MFPs extend the utilisation of the device from primarily printing and copying paper-based pages to a customisable digital transformation tool, enabling companies to capture, integrate and communicate information.

From a security point of view, providing anywhere and anytime access to employees inevitably raises security concerns. Here too, smart MFPs allow organisations to pay close attention to identifying which employees require access, which should have restricted access and what information can and cannot be printed, controlling access via secure ID cards and security PIN codes, for example.

In all, by providing flexible cost and time-efficient workflow solutions that improve compliance and security while supporting cost-cutting initiatives, smart MFPs offer modern businesses the opportunity to redefine how workflow is performed. Equipped with these agile, flexible printing solutions, they have the opportunity to improve process efficiency using smart solutions that can easily be scaled up to accommodate future business growth.

OKI Europe’s extensive portfolio of smart MFPs offer businesses a range of tools to improve the way that documents are handled, managed and processed through an organisation and increase efficiency.

Responding to the key workplace trends identified by IDC, the powerful multifunctional devices combine sophisticated software with advanced technology to ensure the highest level of security, support mobile printing from tablet and smartphones and enhance productivity and improve document input, throughput and output using OKI’s embedded sXP (smart Extendable Platform).

For further information, visit www.okieurope.com/smartmfps