Kofax Vice President Commercial Product Management Maureen Polte discusses why content-aware print and capture technology is a critical component of a successful digital transformation.
By Maureen Polte
Documents, there’s no escaping them. We print them, scan them, store them and share them. Businesses run on the information contained in physical and digital documents. And this makes managing and securing documents a key consideration in every organisation’s digital transformation.
While most organisations are adopting digital transformation initiatives significantly reducing the need for printed documents, paper documents remain an important part of daily operations. According to IDC, nearly three trillion pages will be printed in 2022. Organisations need to find a way to manage their paper documents and print infrastructure in a way that caters to business needs, while still transitioning to digital-based workflows.
With the amount of data organisations work with increasing, there are market and competitive pressures to increase productivity, keep up with regulatory and compliance mandates, and crucially protect sensitive information. According to IDC’s IT and Print Security Survey, over 40 percent of companies don’t have a formalized security policy on what documents can be printed/scanned/copied/faxed/emailed. Meaning there’s very little protecting sensitive information from inadvertent or deliberate exposure.
Most recently during the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve also learned how important it is for organisations’ print infrastructure to be able to scale quickly and support remote and distributed workforces with mobile capabilities.
Solution providers have started to respond to these increased pressures by partnering with software providers to extend smart multi-function printers (MFPs) functionality with capture, document management, security, mobility, cloud and output management software solutions. This holistic approach for smart MFPs is ushering in a new era of content-aware print and capture technology.
Unlike traditional print management, content-aware print and capture understands the content of a document that’s being printed or scanned and applies business rules to that document ensuring information’s properly secured. All without human intervention.
For instance, an employee mistakenly prints a document containing social security numbers to a shared MFP at the office. Traditionally, that document would print with the highly personal information and sit on the device, exposed until the employee arrived to get it. With content-aware print and capture technology, the solution identifies the printing of confidential personal information and acts on it by cancelling the print job. Or, in some cases, automatically redacts the social security numbers and continues to print the document. The employee can then retrieve the document using their badge once they arrive at the shared printer.
Automatic redaction functionality is particularly valuable for remote workers at home when using unsecured personal printing devices instead of a smart MFP. Content-aware print and capture ensures sensitive information doesn’t end up on a home printer.
Traditional scanning leaves organisations vulnerable to version control issues, email clutter and network traffic clutter. With smart capture technology, documents aren’t duplicated. With content-aware print and capture organisations can centralize management of documents and reporting, and the process is optimized.
Content-aware print and capture also improves an organisation’s ability to audit printed and scanned documents, for security and compliance. This is ideal for industries including healthcare and government, also requiring maximum system uptime, scalable document processing and throughput, and business continuity.
A leading UK food company was struggling with an incomplete audit trail for printed email because Microsoft Outlook/Exchange didn’t pass along the subject title when the message was printed. They implemented content-aware print and capture technology, using a simple rule to catch and extract email subject lines for reporting.
The company now has improved auditing and security compliance. And printed emails are easily identifiable for their workers. Over the past few months, as personal health and safety forced much of the global workforce out of the office due to COVID-19, they left their MFPs and printers behind. Any mission critical workflow dependent on those devices was no longer available, stalling business processes and creating manual effort.
With content-aware print and capture technology, any print and capture workflow established in their normal office environment remains available to a worker wherever they’re working. Security’s also maintained as each user sees only their workflows and print destinations. Content-aware print and capture can turn a generic MFP, personal printer or scanner into a personalized device allowing business processes to continue without impact, regardless of where the worker’s located.
Now more than ever, organisations must find automation opportunities wherever possible to increase efficiency, reduce manual work and focus on what matters most—serving their customers and managing their businesses. This requires an understanding of what’s being captured and printed across organisations, the ability to track costs closely and maintain business controls.
Organisations also need the ability to scale and adapt printing and capture practices, and most importantly protect sensitive and confidential information from exposure.
(Ed. Featured image by Photographer Pixabay.)