Businesses Turn to Resellers to Cut Paper Costs

Xerox international research reveals nearly half will turn to office equipment resellers for help with paper-free solutions

More than 80 percent of small/mid-size businesses (SMBs) want to cut paper out of the way they invoice, report financials, manage legal and human resource forms and handle other time consuming processes, according to a Xerox survey.

The survey of more than 1,000 companies in the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany shows respondents expect to make the change during the next 12 months.

Nearly half (46 percent) of respondents confirmed that a significant amount of time is wasted on paper-intensive processes and six out of 10 view this as having a major impact on their bottom line. SMBs in Germany (51 percent) and the United States (50 percent) cited they spend the most time, followed by the United Kingdom (43 percent) and France (37 percent).

As SMBs prepare to digitise their paper processes, most will turn to experts for recommendations since only one in five respondents are aware of existing paper-free solutions in the market. The study shows that 47 percent will go to an office equipment dealer, one in four will look to their IT reseller and 37 percent will turn to the product manufacturer.

“Change can be overwhelming for SMBs, but there are many ways to evolve in the right direction,” said John Corley, president, Channel Partner Operations, Xerox. “As SMBs embark on their digitisation journey, it’s important to understand how technology – such as apps on printers and managed print services – can support their vision and strategy to achieve successful digital transformation.”

Priorities driving business decisions

The survey, conducted by independent market research firm Coleman Parkes Research, shows increasing productivity as a top priority, along with growth and reduced printing costs. Other findings include:

•Overall, 28 percent reported they are well advanced with respect to implementing their plans to digitise paper processes, with France (33 percent) being furthest along.
•U.S. SMBs are lagging in their plans to digitise processes with 41 percent citing they have just started, compared to the average (37 percent).
•Twelve percent of all SMBs are one to three years away from implementation.

In addition to focusing on digitisation and automation, SMBs are also exploring other areas to improve productivity, including:

•Managed Print Services (MPS): Of the SMBs surveyed, 42 percent have an MPS contract, while 40 percent said they plan to put an MPS contract in place within the next year. Sixty-six percent spend more than £813 each month for printing activities, a significant cost of doing business. Companies with MPS contracts cited reduced costs, decreased paper consumption and improved tracking of print costs as top benefits.

•Mobility: By the end of 2017, 23 percent of SMBs believe mobile devices will be completely integrated with their workflow processes. Today, 66 percent of SMBs include mobile printing in their mobility initiatives, while 27 percent plan to within the next year. The main drivers include increasing productivity of mobile workers, meeting customers’ needs for remote information, and improved and faster customer service.

•Security: It’s becoming increasingly important for SMBs to secure business-critical information across all technology with the rapid growth of data. As a result, 56 percent of SMBs currently include printers and/or multifunction printers in their security strategies.

SMBs in the United States and Western Europe spend £32.5 billion annually on office equipment and related print services1. Helping these businesses improve their processes has been a major focus for Xerox. The company has introduced a variety of solutions to help SMBs automate processes, improve mobility and reduce printing costs through MPS. Xerox’s ConnectKey technology automates manual paper-dependent processes and makes it easier for mobile users to collaborate and work more effectively, even outside of the office. It also leverages partnerships with Cisco and McAfee for a multi-layered approach to securing printers.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine