With the economic recession leaving no end of IT untouched, CIOs and other attendees at Everything Channel's Print & Imaging Summit in Bonita Springs, Fla., have cost-effective solutions on the brain—be they the planned adoption of smart multifunction products or attempting to gain a better understanding of managed print services.
Gartner Managing Vice President Peter Grant on Wednesday night identified both of those solutions—plus software—as the "the three lighthouses guiding [organizations] to the land of print cost savings."
"A year ago, we sat here and tried to look at where the industry was going," Grant said, "and I think few of us could predict we'd see the economy in the condition it's in. But this is also a good time to prepare for growth, and [many observers] are looking beyond to what's going to happen when we come out of this recession."
For one of the world's most visible print and imaging vendors, one of those key initiatives is outsourcing, an area in which Xerox, Stamford, Conn., has devoted no small apportioning of resources in recent years.
At one of the Summit's morning keynotes on Thursday, John Kelly, president of Xerox Global Services North America, took the familiar cost-cutting solution one step further, suggesting that "next-generation" document outsourcing will not only ease balance sheet distress but also help organizations transform their business processes overall.
"CIOs and CTOs need to focus on and embrace the idea of outsourcing—take another look at it and see other areas and ways to operate in this environment," Kelly said, citing research data suggesting the economic and financial crisis will mean rapid advancement of next-generation outsourcing.
The fundamental problem when assessing document and printing expenses, according to Kelly, is that it's tough to figure out what's being spent where.
"Organizations really don't see this cost in any one line item—it's buried in various budgets and also the way that individual people work," Kelly said. "And many companies lack the expertise to find it and understand it."
Kelly identified five outsourcing cost-reduction strategies and quantified their potential cost savings by percentage.
First, he explained, most office infrastructures rely on multiple vendors and a constellation of devices—"not coherent, and really, a CIO's nightmare," he said.
An outsourced solution saves 10 percent to 30 percent of what many enterprises spend trying to keep a handle on all those devices, and, Kelly emphasized, makes for more streamlined workflow, content management, security and compliance.
"In the short term, you spend less money—that can be measured," he said. "But the long-term advantage is they become a stage for the next generation of value in enterprise content management. Being able to use this infrastructure to manage imaging workflow [allows you] to adapt."
Second, Kelly said, outsourcing streamlines print shop management and high-volume print production—a quick 20 percent savings, he suggested, in what organizations spend on outside printing services and non-combined print and mail operations.
Beyond that, outsourcing can help businesses automate their document processes, understand how organizations spend money on print management and design documents differently to pump up their efficiency. Outsourcing can save enterprises up to 30 percent of what they spend to maintain each of those areas, Kelly suggested.
"You really can cut costs—and can, in fact, deliver quantifiable results," Kelly said. "And when the market does come back, [it] will allow you to grow in an efficient way. The savings you generate really can be reinvested back into the business to enhance other core competencies."