Why MFPs Matter to IT Part III: Transforming Business Processes Contents 2 Executive summary 3 The real benefits of device consolidation 4 The importance of an open platform for networked MFPs 7 Scanning compression and the impact on network traffic 10 The real test of scanning: OCR accuracy 11 Conclusion 12 For more information
August 2008 Author: Jeffrey Coffed Worldwide Product Marketing Manger Xerox Corporation
Why MFPs Matter to IT Part III: Transforming Business Processes Executive Summary
In many of today’s business environments, multifunctional devices (MFPs) are the new norm. The decade-long transition to digital technology is essentially complete; analog devices are quickly becoming things of the past. And fully two-thirds of new monochrome and most all color copiers in today’s offices are networked MFPs, according to consultant Brian Bissett, publisher of The MFP Report. With the ability to print, copy, scan and fax via an integrated MFP, Bissett says knowledge workers are producing more page and network volumes than ever before. Networked MFPs output 25% more pages than similar standalone copiers, and with the increasing use of color in documents and installs of color MFPs, those page volumes are expected to increase. But there’s another side to multifunctionality at work in the office. The convergence of multiple technologies into single devices means that MFPs are now becoming the new ‘‘print area network’’ for workgroups in all types of vertical markets. As a networked peripheral that can also be accessed as a walk-up device for all types of document applications, the MFP is again changing the way people work with documents and share knowledge in the office. Central to this transition is the increasing level of technology available ‘‘on the box,’’ especially an MFP’s scanning capabilities. With an MFP and a simple software application, end users can turn paper documents into electronic formats and send them to multiple destinations------email, document repositories, network folders, even remote printers------all with a single scan. According to IDC's 2007 scan-enabled MFP forecast and analysis, ‘‘scan-enabled MFPs have increased from 61% of MFP shipments in 2004 to 80% in 2007.’’ And their 2008 hardcopy usage end-user survey shows, ‘‘Small, medium and large businesses are consistently almost 1.5 times more likely to say they mostly scan using scan-enabled MFPs than to say they mostly use scanners.’’ The advent of MFP scanning capabilities has also created a variety of concerns-----chief among them, how much traffic is created on the network, and how the information stored and generated on an MFP is protected and secured. Clearly, however, MFPs offer new technologies and capabilities that can help speed workflows and boost productivity in the office. Scanning is key to integrating MFPs into office workflows, and complex jobs are now as simple as pushing a few buttons on the user interface or clicking a couple choices via a desktop client. For those in IT, the issues that matter most are how much scanning capability can be accommodated without slowdowns on the network, how well the actual scanning functions perform to enable new levels of performance and reliability, and how to protect information and maintain the security of documents, based on specific users within the enterprise.
Scan-enabled MFPs have increased from 61% of MFP shipments in 2004 to 80% in 2007 ------IDC's scan-enabled MFP forecast and analysis, 2007
According to the U.S. Document Imaging Scanner Survey Report 2007, which highlights the findings from a study conducted by InfoTrends, an astounding 70% of respondents reported using MFPs for scanning in U.S. business environments, up significantly from InfoTrends’ 2004 business-scanner survey, when only 48% of respondents reported using MFPs for scanning. ------InfoTrends, April 1, 2008
Small, medium and large businesses are almost 1.5 times more likely to scan using scanenabled MFPs than use scanners. ------IDC hardcopy usage enduser survey, 2008
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Why MFPs Matter to IT Part III: Transforming Business Processes The real benefits of device consolidation
For a business of about 1,000 employees, there can be 150 or more printers throughout the organization. And for many organizations, the devices comprise a mix of manufacturers, models and output capabilities. According to pageafterpage.com, with most IT departments spending at least 15% of their time on printer-related issues, consolidation presents some real opportunities. Among them include fewer devices to integrate onto the network, manage, maintain and train workers to use. With each different make of device, there’s another print driver to load and a different user interface to learn. In addition, with a wide assortment of desktop and network printers in place, there’s a variety of supplies to order and associated vendors to call for upkeep and repairs. Along with IT’s involvement in keeping the network and printing devices up and running, there’s the question of how workers are using each device and if it’s being used appropriately. IDC’s 2008 Survey on Managed Print Services indicates that ‘‘29% of buyers report their companies ousource at least some of their distributed printing/imaging environment. Forty percent of companies have been approached in the past year to buy such services.’’ When businesses choose to assess their device utilization with the help of a third party that’s experienced in not only ensuring cost reduction but also increasing user satisfaction, they can get the maximum ROI from their investments in IT infrastructure as well as their imaging and output devices. According to the 2008 IDC survey, companies report productivity gains in reducing demands on IT, help desk, supplier relationships and managing devices from using Managed Print Services. Implementing usage reporting to make workers more aware of what and how much they print, companies can also create changes in user behavior that add up to big year-over-year cost savings in output paper and supplies, along with decreased traffic on the network. The answer to many of the current issues and high costs associated with office printing for many businesses is to implement additional networked, workgroup MFPs from a manufacturer that supports continuity among its print drivers and user interfaces. By combining printing, copying, faxing and scanning in a single, easy-touse device, with scanning’s associated digital capabilities via email, MFPs give knowledge workers the wide variety of capabilities they need to handle both paper and digital documents. This convergence of technologies not only extends the value of a company’s print resources, but can also provide a single platform that allows for customization, with easier design and deployment of workflow applications to optimize business processes. And when applications are Web-based and built to perform across the enterprise, MFPs become more than multifunctional------they become the epitome of what multitasking means to an organization. Today, networked MFPs can be a real boon to IT departments in companies of all sizes. But with scanning at the heart of many MFP and work-process functions, companies will want to make sure that a device’s scanning capabilities can meet the demands of their workforce without compromising network speed and efficiency.
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Vertical Markets & Managed Print Services: • Health care and retail most interested in lowering device count • Banks, insurance most interested in optimizing workflows • Government, health care most likely have MPS • Banks, insurance and health care most likely to add to existing contract • Break/fix; ink/toner replenishment; installation and help desk most often mentioned ------ 2008 IDC Survey on Managed Print Services
Why MFPs Matter to IT Part III: Transforming Business Processes
The importance of an open platform for networked MFPs
After a decade of various approaches in the evolution of MFP software, two key approaches are the most common today: an embedded Java approach and a Web services/Web browser approach. Each has its strengths and certain limitations in the eyes and experiences of software developers and end-users, according to Brian Bissett, consultant and publisher of The MFP Report (www.mfpreport.com). Java is a popular and powerful programming environment, and many programmers are trained in Java. A limited number of Java applications can be developed to reside in an MFP. These can include applications for specific processes, or an application that links images and other data from the MFP and an external application. While most programmers would agree that Java is easier to use than many traditional programming languages, it still requires a fairly high level of skill and experience. Also, Java applications can require a significant amount of an MFP’s processing speed and memory. This in turn can slow down the MFP’s multifunction capabilities while it also reduces overall productivity for office workers. In addition, Java applications don’t always work well for creating user interface screens for display on an MFP’s control panel. And in today’s offices, an MFP is not only a valuable connected device for those working from a desktop, it’s frequently also a convenient walk-up device.
‘‘It is important to point out that if a particular task (e.g., OCR) is best achieved through programming in Java or another language, such programming can still be integrated as part of a Webservices approach.’’ ------ Brian Bissett, ‘‘From Peripheral to Platform: MFP Software Development Tools and Xerox’s Extensible Interface Platform,’’ October 2006, Bissett Communications
Xerox’s Extensible Interface Platform (EIP (EIP) EIP) gives
Corp., publisher of The MFP
independent software vendors an advanced, easyeasy -toto-use MFP software s oftware development environment According to Brian Bissett, consultant and author of ‘‘From Peripheral to Platform: MFP Software Development Tools and Xerox’s Extensible Interface Platform’’ from October 2006, EIP advantages for software vendors include: o The ability to leverage current Web standards and IT infrastructure; o Fast and easy application creation, accessible to a broad range of developers; o A rich and highly customizable user experience at the MFP control panel; o Compatibility with a broad range of MFPs------without burdening the processors and memory in those devices; o Inherent support for secure and comprehensive application deployment, user access and device management; and o Scalability as it relates to number of servers, applications, MFPs and users.
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Why MFPs Matter to IT Part III: Transforming Business Processes The importance of an open platform for networked MFPs, continued
The other key approach in MFP software development today is in the creation of Web services------an approach that became possible only after robust, embedded Web servers with small footprints became available in recent years. This approach incorporates international Web standards that work to create applications and link them with each other, produce user-friendly MFP interface screens, and manage all of the MFP’s software. Because Web services applications have now become simpler and easier to create than Java programming, a Web-based MFP platform is therefore open to a wide variety of developers, including corporate developers and technology resellers. And because these types of applications use standard Web-based tools to create serverbased applications that can be configured for the MFP’s touch-screen user interface, they offer distinct advantages to all parties: IT systems integrators can serve customers faster, quickly integrate solutions into existing IT infrastructure, and manage centralized solutions from anywhere in the world via the Internet. For endusers, these applications allow MFPs to be adapted to fit office workers’ processes and habits, and not the other way around. These applications can also simplify complicated workflows while making the MFP easier to use------and workers can even complete some tasks at the MFP, such as retrieving documents on a network, without the use of their computer. ‘‘Open’’ architecture combined with an open software platform for its connected devices allows an enterprise to get altogether more value from its IT infrastructure. In this day and age, IT is central to every facet of the organization’s core business.
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Why MFPs Matter to IT Part III: Transforming Business Processes The importance of an open platform for networked MFPs, continued
Using menus and languages that are specific to a business or workgroup, such as, ‘‘Search client database,’’ ‘‘Submit form to claims department,’’ or ‘‘Fax to accounts payable.’’
Making personal preferences appear on the touch-screen of the MFP with the swipe of an ID badge.
Turning complicated workflows into quick, easy processes with the push of a few buttons.
Entering hardcopy information into a document repository with the simple touch of a button.
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Why MFPs Matter to IT Part III: Transforming Business Processes Scanning compression and the impact impact on network traffic
As noted throughout this series of white papers about MFPs and why they’re so important to IT, the rate of change in technology today requires open architecture for the network and in the development of new devices. Nowhere has this rate of change become more obvious than through the increased use of scanning to create and leverage digital information. The power of scanning gives offices more workflow options, making it easy to turn hardcopy documents into electronic files for fast distributing, organizing and archiving. However, many popular multifunction devices don’t have the ability to adequately compress scanned images, and this results in greater strain on network bandwidth------or files with degraded image quality. In both cases, productivity suffers and IT is often required to help workers with scanning jobs. Either the scanned output or distributed information doesn’t provide good image quality, or the network can become so burdened with large files in transit that the entire organization’s workflow slows to a crawl. Neither scenario is acceptable in today’s fast-paced offices. It’s important to look for MFPs with the processing power and intelligence on board to accomplish some scan-related tasks (e.g., scan to OCR). This is analogous to the difference between GDI printers versus those that use standard print languages such as PostScript or PCL. GDI printers rely on the host computer to do the print processing, instead of the printer. For maximum productivity, connected MFP devices selected by an organization should be capable of not only sending multiple files that contain text and graphics without slowing down the network, but also of creating digital documents or printed hardcopies that are true to their original sources and easy to read. Industry Analysts, Inc. puts scan-file sizes to the test As many workgroups and organizations have discovered, not all MFPs are equal in this regard. Xerox contended that its MFP models produce smaller files than competitive models when documents are scanned into non-searchable PDF files for emailing. To verify this stance, Xerox engaged the Technical Services Division of Industry Analysts, Inc., an independent third-party test lab, to conduct quantitative tests of scanned file sizes produced by 20 MFPs from Xerox and competitive manufacturers. The competitors included Canon, Konica Minolta, Hewlett Packard, Ricoh, Sharp and Toshiba. Each of the Xerox devices tested were Xerox® WorkCentre devices, with rated speeds of 42 to 77 ppm.
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Solutions in greatest demand are document capture / scanning, forms processing and print utilities. The number one revenue producer for the channel is document capture / scanning. ------ IDC 2008, Office Document Solutions Opportunities
Why MFPs Matter to IT Part III: Transforming Business Processes Scanning compression and the impact on network traffic, traffic, continued
Xerox® WorkCentre products* produce scan files that are up to 9 times smaller than those produced by competitive products.
‘‘As a group, the Xerox color MFPs produced significantly smaller file sizes when scanned to file than any of the MFPs from the other vendors tested. Xerox black-and-white MFPs, as a group, produced the smallest file sizes of all of the MFPs tested.’’ ------ Industry Analysts, Inc., Comparative Analysis Report, following March 2008 testing by the Industry Analysts Technical Services Division (IATSD)
*Xerox MFPs tested by Industry Analysts, Inc. include the Xerox WorkCentre 7242, WorkCentre 7345, WorkCentre 7675, WorkCentre 5632 and WorkCentre 5675.
The testing was conducted using nine documents that were created to represent average types of documents that might be scanned to email in a typical office. The test documents included color pages with text and photos, monochrome pages with text and photos, and single- and double-sided multi-page documents. Each of the documents was scanned on each of the test devices using settings meant to produce the smallest non-searchable PDF file possible. Each scan created was emailed over the Xerox network to an IATSD g-mail email account specifically created for the test, and Industry Analysts, Inc. then measured and recorded the results.
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Why MFPs Matter to IT Part III: Transforming Business Processes Scanning compression and the the impact on network traffic, traffic, continued
The Xerox MFP file-size advantage The file-size advantage delivered by Xerox means that users can create and distribute high-resolution scanned images that contain text and graphical elements without consuming excessive network bandwidth.
Xerox products employ the latest image-compression technologies, including the Mixed Raster Content (MRC) method, which splits scanned-file data into separate text and graphic elements. JPEG compression technology downsizes the graphical elements, while JBIG2 compresses text elements. In this way, the Xerox MRC compression method splits a single scan into separate text and graphic components for optimized compression of each element.
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Why MFPs Matter to IT Part III: Transforming Business Processes The real test of scanning: OCR accuracy
To make scanning via an MFP its most productive for office staff, it needs to be easy to use, flexible and reliable------not only in its functionality but also in its ability to accurately ‘‘read’’ words on the scanned pages. Superlative optical character recognition is essential to accurate scans of pages with text. Because workers are increasing their use of scanning each year, and they need to be able to easily capture, manage, manipulate, repurpose and distribute information, accuracy is crucial to their work. It’s also critical to the success of businesses of all sizes, especially those in the information-intensive areas of law, accounting and healthcare. Scanners are quickly increasing their capabilities to meet user demands. In a June 3, 2008 article produced by Buyers Lab, Inc., BLI Managing Editor Daria Hoffman said, ‘‘In just the year since BLI added scanners to the roster of products tested, we have seen tremendous improvements in this dynamic product category…not only are they more compact and easier to use, but many include features that buyers used to have to pay more for.’’ In the same article, the Xerox DocuMate 262i, a departmental scanner, was among BLI’s semi-annual picks in the scanner category. The article cites the DocuMate 262i’s Visioneer One Touch software ‘‘for simple automated clean-up of documents ensuring optimal OCR.’’ Superlative OCR accuracy carries over to Xerox MFPs, as well. While most vendors have not yet provided OCR capability in their products, Xerox is making it available in most of their large format MFPs at no extra cost. Even better, Xerox MFPs offer the most accurate solution available, providing 79% more accurate OCR than similar devices from Canon as tested by Industry Analysts.
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‘‘With our excellent scan compression technology and advanced OCR capabilities, IT departments can count on Xerox MFPs to do their jobs more quickly, efficiently and accurately than similarly featured MFPs------and without adding additional loads to network traffic.’’ ------ Leah Quesada, Xerox Office Group, Product Marketing Director
Why MFPs Matter to IT Part III: Transforming Business Processes Conclusion
With more ‘‘technology on the box’’ than ever before, MFPs are helping organizations of all sizes transform their business processes. And these new technologies are doing more than making knowledge workers more productive-----they’re also helping IT departments handle their responsibilities with more ease and efficiency. Today, networked MFPs are central to the printing and scanning functions of the workplace, both from the desktop and at the device itself. From that standpoint, real transformation has occurred in the ways workers can send digitized documents to email, document repositories, network folders and even remote printers, quickly and easily. Through the capabilities of new server-based software applications that link MFPs to other functions on the network, multifunction printers are increasingly becoming the new ‘‘print area network’’ of the office and essential tools for getting more work done faster every day. With the open, Web-based software platforms of some MFPs, such as those by Xerox and its Extensible Interface Platform, companies are able to customize the functionality of their MFPs through the help of independent software developers. Page volumes notwithstanding, the increased use of scanning could mean a large strain on the bandwidth of a company’s network. It is important for IT managers to note what types of compression an MFP’s scanner uses in order to minimize the load on the network------without compromising image quality and the accuracy of scanned text. Without reliably accurate OCR, scanning isn’t the time-saver and work-process booster in the office. For industries that rely on meticulous reproduction of valuable information, superlative scanning capability is a must. As end-users worldwide and third-party organizations are finding, the family of Xerox multifunction printers is scoring high marks in the areas that are critical to transforming business processes: EIP for customizing work processes via the MFP, substantially smaller scan-file sizes compared to many of the competition, and superior OCR capability. These business-process technologies are worth serious consideration by almost any type of organization. And they’re all among the many reasons why today’s MFPs matter to IT.
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Why MFPs Matter to IT Part III: Transforming Business Processes For more information
Xerox, renowned for its technological innovation, has focused that innovation on the challenges IT faces on a daily basis. We offer proven expertise in improving document and business processes, and put that expertise to work every day around the world, liberating thousands of IT professionals from the tedious and resourceintensive hassles of managing their output infrastructure. Xerox is committed to ensuring that our customers’ businesses run at top efficiency, with services and service availability levels aligned with today’s organizational demands and designed to minimize the impact of your IT workload. The full portfolio of Xerox services is a comprehensive array of offerings, customized to address specific business and IT management requirements. Xerox service expertise includes dedicated technicians who respond to all support calls, along with trained analysts and engineers who are ready to be on-site when needed. In addition, Xerox offers new administrative technologies to simplify processes, plus full Internet support: •
Local support team of dedicated sales consultants, technical specialists and analysts
Online services for Web-based administration tasks
Online Support Assistant and self-help tools
Xerox Office Services for end-to-end management of the printing and imaging environment
Office Document Assessment and Xerox Office Productivity Advisor Services
Device-Centric ServicesTM, Xerox’s DRM Platform for the Future†
Look for more in the ‘‘Why MFPs Matter to IT’’ series, including: •
Part I: Validating the Technology
Part III: Transforming Business Processes
Part IV: Ensuring Security on the Network
Learn more about how Xerox can put our forward-thinking to work for you. Contact your local Xerox provider, or visit www.xerox.com/solutions. †
Smart eSolutions client is a free download from www.xerox.com/smartsolutions and installs on your PC. It’s available for a range of Xerox network-connected devices, including Phaser® printers, Document Centre®, WorkCentre® and WorkCentre Pro. It also includes award-winning CentreWare® Web device-management software. CentreWare Web is free and can be downloaded from www.xerox.com/centrewareweb.
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Why MFPs Matter to IT Part III: Transforming Business Processes For more information, continued
About the author Jeffrey Coffed, Worldwide Product Marketing Manager with the Xerox Corporation, is a marketing professional with 18 years’ experience in the high-tech sector. He has worked in all phases of marketing, including strategy, product marketing, growing channels, developing programs, training, marketing communications and events. Currently, he’s responsible for the marketing of Xerox’s high-end color MFP portfolio. Prior to joining Xerox, Jeff served as a product marketing manager with Hitachi Data Systems. He was responsible for the company’s flagship products and led Hitachi to the enterprise digital-storage market-share leadership position. During his tenure at Hitachi, he was a key contributor in several high-profile product launches, authored several white papers and articles, and worked with the global sales force to increase revenues. From 1988 to 2000, Jeff held progressively responsible positions with ATTO Technology, Caslon & Company, Dartnell Enterprises Incorporated (DEI) and EDS. He developed the marketing plans and programs for ATTO Technology and helped to create its channel partner program. At Caslon & Co., he supported the member companies of the Print on Demand Initiative (PODi), a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to educating various market segments about the benefits of print-on-demand technology. With DEI, he led the company’s marketing efforts and started is Office Imaging Division. Jeff began his career with EDS as a systems engineer, after graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in management science from the State University of New York, with concentrations in marketing and computer science. He is presently working on his Six Sigma Green Belt certification.
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