That's the message from John Kelly, president of Xerox North American global services, who Sunday used his opening keynote to discuss document management opportunities with IT executives at Everything Channel's annual Print & Imaging Summit, held this week in Los Angeles.
Reining in the costs of printing unnecessary documents is a fairly easy way for companies to improve productivity and control costs, Kelly said.
At the very least, companies can make a number of simple changes to their infrastructure to cut printing costs, including outsourcing printing to third-party service providers and cutting back on printing devices.
"We have overequipped offices," he said. "You can go from an average of two employees per [printing] device to up to 20 people per device with optimization."
At a deeper level, companies also need to rethink the way their work gets done and use workflow management techniques while leveraging a streamlined printing infrastructure to increase productivity, Kelly said.
The goal is to increase the efficiency of document management using technology. For instance, Kelly said, people often print something out to push it to the next phase in the document workflow instead of moving it electronically. "You want to use technology to move the documents, not people," he said.
Companies should also look for ways to improve the effectiveness of their communications, Kelly said. For instance, older documents that are still being used regularly for customers could be updated for color, especially as they are converted to electronic use. Or paper documents could be made electronic not only for general use, but in a variety of ways for specific uses, including for call centers or on BlackBerry-type devices.
Customer requirements for more efficient document management and printing solutions were key to Xerox's September $6 billion-plus acquisition of business process outsourcing (BPO) solution provider Affiliated Computer Services, Kelly said.
"We recognize over the long term the need for document processing in business," he said.
When the deal closes during the first quarter of 2010, the company will operate as an independent organization and is expected to initially be branded ACS, a Xerox Company.
Document processing of the sort that can be done with ACS' business BPO technology is suitable for many industries, Kelly said.
The banking industry, for instance, is very document-intensive, and customers need a robust, fault-tolerant business processing infrastructure and end-to-end processes that respond quickly to changes such as new interest rates or new financial products, he said.
Mortgage services is also an area ripe for BPO technology and is served by Xerox thanks to its acquisition of Advectis in 2007, which brought it the BlitzDocs Collaboration Suite. The suite helps lenders, brokers and investors manage the process needed to underwrite, audit, collaborate, deliver and archive loan documents electronically.
Kelly said Xerox's BlitzDocs meets the needs of companies that require electronic mortgage processing to meet new requirements for fast processing while ensuring quality control.
Health-care services is another area where BPO is urgently required, Kelly said. Hospitals and doctors' offices are very document-intensive businesses, and funding from the economic stimulus program is available for them to be less paper-centric and adopt technologies such as automated forms, he said.