Tuesday, June 21, 2011
I Want My....I Want My..... SMART MFP
Years ago we called them copy machines, of course they were used to make copies, about ten to twelve years ago we saw the transformation of copy machines (analog) to digital copiers. The only difference was that the manufacturers had the technology to convert the scanned page to a digital format and then use a laser beam to write the image to the photo conductor (drum). The old copiers (analog) that were unreliable, service intensive and the butt of office jokes was transformed into reliable hi speed copiers that could scan and print from the network.
So, a few years back, digital copiers took another leap forward with the ability to add software cards (Java) that would allow the digital copiers to become work flow and information hubs in the office. This next generation is what I call a SMART MFP, pretty much they are designed to work with software that will enhance productivity and increase efficiencies in the office.
Today's SMART MFP's will allow users to scan documents as scan2word, scan2excel, scan2ftp, scan2url, scan2sharepoint, scan2folder, scan2drive and process them as search able pdf's, editable pdfs, index, and OCR and that's just the tip of the iceberg. I could probably bore you to tears with all of the applications that are available today.
What I see in the field is that most end users still treat the MFP as a commodity, clients looking to buy on price instead of buying on savings . Let me elaborate on the savings, the savings would come from saving countless hours of handling and managing a paper based work flow. If you can cut 10-20 hours a month of labor, that's a big savings. How about if you could cut 5 hours of labor per month per employee? It can be done with today's SMART MFPs.
If I were an end user I'd want my MFP to process all of those mundane tasks related with the handling of paper. I'd also want my MFP to tell me who is printing what (files) and how many along with having restrictions of what files they can and can't print. If I were using forms, I'd like to be able to have my MFP print onto NCR paper and auto staple these forms so I don't have to buy them from a print shop. While I'm at it, why can't I have a virtual (cloud) fax numbers for all of my employees do they can send and received faxes from the PC's without wasting time going to and from the MFP.
Good news is that everything I mentioned above can be done with SMART MFP's.