A managed services model for the collaborative workplace
This blog was first published on Louella Fernandes – Perspectives on print in the digital age on March 17th 2016
An information managed service (IMS) is emerging as a key approach to enable digital transformation. Such providers are building on their traditional print heritage and evolving their offerings beyond the traditional managed print service (MPS). IMS offers a comprehensive range of services and solutions to manage enterprise wide information – both paper and digital – to drive improved productivity, lower costs and better employee engagement.
Digital collaboration technology has revolutionised how we communicate and live our lives. Mobility has eliminated the boundaries of location and time. Now it is easy to communicate and collaborate and share information rapidly with others no matter their location, time zone, or geography. As consumer technology permeates the workplace, employees expect to engage in new and higher levels of collaboration and information sharing in the workplace. This is pushing organisations to accelerate digital transformation and gain better control and management of information throughout the organisation. As such more organisations are increasing investment in digital workplace tools – such as connectivity solutions, collaboration and information management – to build their digital future.
The information management challenge
The digital workplace must enable effective information collaboration amongst employees, partners and customers. Information is the lifeblood of any organisation, whether it is email, documents, web sites, transactions or other forms of knowledge, and it continues to grow. Yet although many organisations are building an information-sharing workplace, all too often information resides in inaccessible silos and is not easy to access or collaborate or share information. In many cases, information still resides on paper format which hampers productivity and makes it more difficult for effective collaboration and faster decision making.
Ensuring that employees, customers and partners access to information at the right time, right place and from the right device requires a holistic approach to information capture, distribution and output. This means the use of digital workflow tools – such as document capture – for instance through a multifunction device (MFD); video conferencing, digital documents, cloud sharing portals and multichannel communications. Certainly, those using such solutions are reaping the benefits. A forthcoming Quocirca study on digitisation trends reveals that those organisation that have already adopted digital workplace tools are reporting multiple business benefits. These include increased productivity, faster business processes and improved customer satisfaction, faster decision making and increased profit – far beyond those that have yet to invest in such tools.
A new approach to information management
An information management service (IMS) provides a compelling solution for businesses that want to use a single strategic partner for areas such as information capture, collaboration and output management, with all the benefits of a traditional managed print services (MPS) model. Typically it compromises the following three key elements in order to take a broad view of the information lifecycle across an organisation.
- Phase 1: Information capture. Information may be captured at the point of origin through multifunction printers (MFPs), business scanners or mobile devices. For instance, paper invoices or expense receipts can be scanned and routed directly to an accounts application through an MFP interface panel.
- Phase 2: Information management and collaboration. This may include solutions for cloud document management and sharing portals (for instance such as Dropbox, Box, OneDrive or a privately hosted platform). This enables employees to access, share and collaborate on content, while maintaining high levels of control, privacy and protection. Most advanced MFPs offer this capability direct from the user panel. Better collaboration can also be achieved through more effective visual collaboration – such as interactive meeting rooms which employ interactive displays where information can be shared and annotated on the screen.
- Phase 3: Information output. The need to create and deliver content that is personal, relevant and timely is paramount in today’s fast-moving digital era. Through the use of advanced customer communications management solutions, content can be created and distributed by an organisation in a multitude of formats. This ensures customers receive personalised content to their channel of choice – be it mobile, email or even paper formats. Meanwhile digital signage is becoming more prevalent in businesses of all sizes as a lower cost and dynamic alternative to static printed communications. In addition to traditional functions like meeting room presentation, businesses are using digital displays for signage such as conference room identification and scheduling, dynamic branding and information display and communications.
An integrated managed services approach enables organisations to take a broader approach to integrating and managing paper and digital information. Quocirca research has revealed that those who have moved beyond MPS and implemented information workflow tools are most confident in their overall information management strategy. Organisations should capitalise on this significant opportunity to improve productivity, customer satisfaction and employee engagement. Harnessing the emerging digital tools for collaboration – such as cloud document capture and sharing and interactive visual communications, is fundamental to the success of digital transformation.
About the Author
With over 20 years’ experience in the print industry, Louella Fernandes is a respected and globally recognised analyst focusing on the evolution of business printing. Louella is currently Associate Director for Print Services and Solutions at Quocirca.