The print security mistakes that are damaging your organisation

The Print Security Mistakes That Are Damaging Your Organisation

Global headlines highlight the crippling costs of corporate security breaches and 72% of companies say they recognise the implications of operating an insecure print infrastructure[1] – yet public and private sector organisations are still failing to turn their priorities into action and to protect themselves from the inevitable.

Organisations rate themselves 8.2 out of 10 for their print security infrastructure but 22% haven’t deployed any security measures at all and only approximately half have sought to harden their devices, implement formal policies or encrypt hard drive data[2].

With 61%[1] of security breaches occurring as the direct result of insecure printing, it is clear that information security is a primary challenge of the digital age. This seemingly innocuous activity will, if not given a rigorous security overhaul, provide an open door for data thieves and hackers to access corporate networks, steal data, impede operations and damage reputation, not to mention leave organisations susceptible to onerous fines and lost intellectual property. ­

It is the proliferation of the Internet of Things in particular, that has propelled printer security into the lime light and under the gaze of CIOs. As more and more devices join shared networks in a bid to revolutionise the workplace experience (the figure is expected to hit 10 billion by 2020[3]), the greater the range, seriousness and likelihood of security threats organisations face.

Here are the five most common and dangerous mistakes that are leaving organisations vulnerable to attack:

1. Lack of consistency. While CAPEX budgets might necessitate a blend of older legacy devices and newer equipment, a lack of device commonality and consistency across an MFP fleet makes it challenging to get a world view of printer security across the organisation as a whole. Different devices, from multiple vendors, using different software require the time and know-how that many organisations just don’t have. A standardised print environment with one technology partner is easier to manage, monitor and audit and dramatically reduces the risks. 38% of organisations with a centralised printing model reported no security breaches, compared with 18%[4] of those businesses with a more disparate approach.

2. No clear view of the risks. Most security policies do not cover print security, despite the inherent weakness of unprotected MFPs. As such this lack of understanding about the true nature of print security risks, the corrective steps required and where operational vulnerability lies, can pose very real threats to an organisation. A comprehensive audit of systems, behaviours and risks is the foundation for a robust print security policy that reflects an organisation’s true operational needs.

3. Absence of controls and settings. While lots of MFPs have the capability to control network access and manage how and when network protocols and ports are used, many CIOs wrongly assume these services have been activated. Failure to change the settings of MFPs away from manufacturer defaults adds unnecessarily to system vulnerabilities, even when hosted behind a firewall. Without making settings and controls secure it is possible for third parties to re-route information, introduce malware and intercept data, particularly as information waits in print queues. Open network ports compound these risks further making MFPs a highly targetable and attractive gateway to wider system access. Use the experience of third-party MSP to configure security settings to suit your needs and simply the task of device hardening.

4. Unclaimed confidential documents. Forty five percent of UK employees have seen confidential documents that have been left on printers[1]. These unclaimed documents present everyday security risks and can lead to sensitive and confidential information falling into the wrong hands, both internally and externally, with ease. The introduction of user identification through pull printing functionality eradicates this risk and creates a more print-considerate employee (reducing paper consumption and consumable costs).

5. Latent information and hard disk risks. Information does not just pass through MFPs – whether it is scanned, copied or printed, a copy will be stored on its hard-drive. Without encryption or systematic erasure, MFP hard drives can be hacked via open port connections and provide additional risks once printer leases have expired or kit is sold on.

Despite security being such a prevalent and senior-level concern in both large and small organisations, there are still too many who do not understand the risks or how to translate their fears into preventative action.

As the cost of a security breach in the UK reaches up to £3.14m[5] , it is crucial for compliance officers and CIOs to close the gaps in MFP print security by recognising it as a component of wider IT strategy, rather than a standalone hardware issue. This shift in approach, coupled with the help and guidance of an independent MPS provider, will help organisations to mitigate the increasing risks associated with widespread device connectivity and hacker-attacks.

With such formidable implications for those experiencing security and data breaches, there is no time to delay. Print security is a business imperative. To be protected is to be proactive.

Discover how Konica Minolta’s new bizhub SECURE service can protect your business and improve print security

Nick Harris
Head of Support Services

[1] Quocirca 2017 – Print Security: An imperative in the IoT era report
[2] Taken from Gartner research 2018 ‘Over-confidence in Print Security’ PowerPoint
[3] https://iot-analytics.com/state-of-the-iot-update-q1-q2-2018-number-of-iot-devices-now-7b/
[4] Quocirca 2017 – Print Security: An imperative in the IoT era report
[5] Figures from PWC’s 2015 Information Security Breaches Survey Report

In 2019, IT will be shaped by simplification, automation, security and the continued rise of the IoT

2019 will see a real-life implementation of technologies that rely on automation to relieve and empower IT departments, helping them meet the challenges the continuing shortage of skilled labour and looming security threats pose. Increasingly, these automated technologies will in turn integrate elements of artificial intelligence to recognise patterns, make decisions, and predict outcomes. According to the industry experts of IT service provider Konica Minolta, this year will also lay the groundwork for significant technological adaptations of technologies such as 5G and blockchain.

  1. (Re-)Gaining momentum: edge-computing and the multi-cloud 
    With the continued rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), edge-computing is becoming ever more crucial. IT infrastructure decisions in 2019 will be shaped by one question: What data should be stored and where is it processed? Where fast access without dependence on external connectivity is needed, edge solutions will be the path forward. Ensuring data recovery, maximum cost efficiency and access to “to go” applications will be the domain of cloud solutions, either private or public. However, this diversification towards the multi-cloud will need to be seamless to the user. Wherever data is stored and from wherever it is accessed, the experience must be seamless, immediate and secure.
  1. Skilled labour shortage starting to reshape work in IT 
    As the battle over IT professionals intensifies across Europe, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular will feel the impact of the competition from big players in the IT industry and beyond.

    Skills shortages are having a significant impact on the UK’s digital economy. In January, the British Chambers of Commerce reported that 81% of manufacturers and 70% of services firms reported difficulty in finding staff with the right skills.1  This is only set to get worse as we approach March 29, with declining immigration figures due to the uncertainty surrounding  Brexit and future immigration policies. To address the skills shortage, the Trade Union Congress is urging the government to create a million new manufacturing and high tech jobs by 2030. 2 However the issue is addressed, it is clear that the shortage of relevant skills will be a challenge for UK businesses this year.

    Konica Minolta’s experts predict that, in the near future, the dominant IT positions left in SMEs will be for developers and managers of IT services – positions with creative tasks or a high level of coordinative responsibility. IT personnel in those companies will be able to focus on more attractive and demanding projects with significant business impact. The arduous, repetitive tasks of the traditional IT administrator will be automated or, where this is not possible, outsourced. In addition to the continuous growth in managed services in 2019 and beyond, IT solutions such as Konica Minolta’s Workplace Hub will enable high levels of automation, rendering doing such repetitive tasks obsolete.
  1. Security: centralisation of data security in the age of connected devices 
    With increasingly complex and powerful malware like cryptoworms targeting businesses in particular, malware and industry espionage are growing concerns for companies of all sizes. Potential vulnerabilities are increasing further as intelligent IoT devices find their way onto the shop floors of production companies as well as into offices. The increase in possible threats from the attackers on the one hand has led to a plethora of defensive measures from companies on the other. According to Konica Minolta’s IT experts, this is a source of a number of problems. Different solutions from a range of vendors working independently can lead to potential conflicts and not to an all-encompassing, holistic solution. In the best case, this procedure is simply not efficient, in the worst case, it is a threat to security. As a result, IT security in 2019 is expected to see a rise in centralised solutions, synchronising security across all layers – ideally controlled via one security dashboard. This is an approach the experts from Konica Minolta recommend and implement for their customers.
  1. 5G and its promise for the future of business IT reliability 
    The fifth generation of mobile network technology is so convincing that several non-connectivity service provider companies such as Daimler, BASF and Siemens are evaluating whether to compete with classic carriers such as Vodafone for 5G licenses. Why? 20Gbps downlink and 10Gbps uplink speeds for each mobile base station are fast enough to truly revolutionise device connectivity, enabling huge amounts of data to be transferred very quickly. This makes it not only a door-opener for user-focused technologies such as highly automated driving, but a big leap forward for business IT solutions as well. With its unsurpassed high bandwidth and security, Konica Minolta’s IT experts see this mobile data standard as the ideal candidate for failover technology for conventional server and device connectivity, for example. Industry 4.0 applications will make this even more important. 5G will take shape and develop in the next few years, and this is indispensable because providers will have to fully implement this technology before it can become truly important for businesses.
  1. Blockchain – further real-life application will only come with simplification 
    With its omnipresence in the industry debate, no trend outlook for IT in 2019 can afford to disregard blockchain technology. By allowing digital information to be distributed but not copied, blockchain technology is creating the basis for an overwhelming array of possible applications across industries – from authenticating every step in the food production chain to accurate public healthcare records. However, as blockchain technology deployment is complex, the path to the mass implementation of this technology must lead through simplified plug-and-play applications. According to experts from Konica Minolta, this is the biggest hurdle to turning the hype unleashed by Bitcoin into a real, self-sustaining technology movement. In 2019, this will start to pave the way for new use cases, eventually turning into successful businesses. In the years to come, additional obstacles will have to be addressed, from computing power and security – yes, this is also an issue even for blockchain – to sustainability in the light of the huge amount of energy it consumes. This will make it possible to truly scale blockchain technology. The technology will then be a bright prospect for creating the basis for an overwhelming array of possible applications across industries.
  1. Natural language processing becomes a natural part of the workplace 
    Natural language processing has been adopted primarily in the consumer space, with the rise of Alexa, Google and other voice activated AI assistants. However, in 2019, as voice assistant vendors increase the intelligence and critical reasoning possible with such devices, Konica Minolta experts expect the widespread adoption and implementation of AI voice assistants within enterprises. These will support a range of increasingly more complex tasks, such as scheduling, information search, handling email, processing expense reports and providing augmented intelligence capabilities. In addition, natural language processing forms a key part of chatbots, which are expected to become the predominant method for first line interaction with customers. Benefits of such AI systems include positive ROI, greater employee and customer satisfaction, and quicker problem resolution times.
  1. Machine learning comes of age 
    Machine learning is used in areas such as computer vision, natural language processing, speech, text and image recognition, and predictive analysis. In 2019, machine learning will be deployed increasingly across a range of industries, from manufacturing through retail and transport. This is a result of the increased availability of pre-trained learning models, third party data sets and models, and open source training data. These make it easier to train the machine learning algorithms to deliver the predictive and analytical results businesses require, whilst affordable storage and processing power brings machine learning to a much wider audience.
  1. Move to responsible and ethical use of AI 
    Konica Minolta experts expect 2019 to be when we start a move towards responsible and ethical AI. This is driven partly by 2018’s Facebook privacy issues, but also increasingly from laws and regulations from governments and the formation of AI ethics governance bodies. For example, in the UK, a report from the House of Lords recommends the UK seek to develop a common framework for the ethical development and deployment of artificial intelligence systems. This is to ensure the public trusts this technology and sees the benefits of using it, as well as preparing the public to challenge the misuse of such technology – for example, invasion of privacy – should this occur.

[1] https://www.britishchambers.org.uk/news/2019/01/bcc-quarterly-economic-survey-big-squeeze-on-firms-from-recruitment-prices-and-cash-flow

[2] https://www.tuc.org.uk/blogs/we-want-million-more-manufacturing-and-hi-tech-jobs-2030-heres-how

Learning lessons about the cloud

Deploying a cloud strategy for schools can feel like jumping off a high diving board for the first time. Questions like ‘What’s the risk?’ and ‘Is this going to hurt?’ run through your mind.

Fear not, a new report, Cloud Computing in Educationfrom research company GlobalData reveals:

  • why the cloud is such a draw for education providers –  particularly schools
  • how it is driving digital transformation across the sector
  • ways in which schools can overcome lingering barriers to adoption

Many schools, academies, and similar institutions have already leapt from that diving board. According to GlobalData, 96% if universities and 35% of school have implemented cloud technology. And spending on cloud-based technologies among education institutions will continue to grow through 2020/21.

It’s easy to see why. The research finds that improving cost-effectiveness and reducing capital expenditure (capex) are key motivations for moving to the cloud (see Figure 1).

Drivers for cloud adoption in UK education

Figure 1: Drivers for cloud adoption in UK education

The report cites the example of the Academies Enterprise Trust. This is one of the largest institutions to adopt Google’s G-Suite and Chromebooks, and the move is anticipated to save £7.7 million over the next five years. Mainly through savings in licensing, power saving, server hardware and maintenance.

The cloud can also help improve your service delivery without significant extra investment. Take disaster recover for example. Your school needs to maintain consistent service delivery, but small-scale cyber attacks remain common. And cash-strapped institutions that opt to sweat older IT systems remain vulnerable. According to the GlobalData report, “tens of schools” in the South-West of England suffered from attacks over the past year. With some paying hackers for the release of data. A cloud-based disaster recovery strategy cost-effectively combats this issue, storing data securely and remotely in UK-based data centres.

Cloud solutions also give schools the flexibility to throttle capacity up or down depending on demand. All done quickly, cheaply, with little or no supplier input and no need for redundant capacity.

And the cloud offers unprecedented opportunity to share services between schools. One example of this involved the joint procurement of a single back office system among eight Sussex and Surrey colleges operated as a private cloud by SISSC Ltd (Shared Services in Sussex and Surrey Colleges). According to the report, “The cloud application of this FE Sussex collaborative project provides the opportunity to make significant cost savings through the reduction in individual college servers, over and above common software savings.”

Make no mistake, cloud computing is a key technology trend across UK education, driven by:

  • the potential cost savings
  • the desire to improve service delivery
  • the drive for a more flexible and scalable IT estate
  • greater collaboration
  • a ‘cloud-first’ attitude

Now is the time for your school to take the plunge. Time to take the leap and benefit from a cost-effective, flexible and secure future.

The full report is available here:
Cloud Computing in Education – the growth of cloud based technologies

Jonathan Smith 
Public Sector Business Unit Leader

Would you like Cloud with that?

Cloud hosting

Exciting news from Konica Minolta – we’ve been awarded a place on the G-Cloud 10 framework and are delighted to support the Public Sector on its Cloud First and digital transformation journey with Managed Cloud Hosting services.

Why the excitement?

Our relationship with Public Sector organisations goes way back in time – to before the existence of the internet and cloud solutions – so we know a thing or two about the challenges they face. That’s why we made it a priority to offer our services on G-Cloud 10 to ensure that we’re in a strong position to help.

When it comes to Cloud adoption in Public Sector, it’s clear from evidence that good intent and desire exists to make this transition however, there’s still a long way to go especially when the all-important governance and security standards, in areas such as justice, education and healthcare, make quick deployment of new technology difficult.

So, while the outlook remains cautious, we anticipate that the uptake of cloud services will continue to increase at pace, based on solid facts and some very reassuring first hand evidence:

It’s a fact. The number of organisations looking at the opportunities cloud brings is growing. A recent study by the Cloud Industry Forum* shows that 82% of public sector organisations have already adopted cloud services, up by 20% on the previous year, demonstrating how rapidly the sector has come to see cloud as an acceptable and essential IT delivery model.

Word of mouth. Every year, Konica Minolta supports around 60 events and exhibitions in Public Sector alone. Increasingly we are asked “can we put that service in the cloud?” and the answer is yes. Yes we can.

In fact, we can answer yes in multiple ways. From a straightforward hosted print solution to being able to provide the highest levels of security with a bespoke engineered model from our technical architects, our focus is firmly on the future and to help Public Sector organisations understand the benefits and take advantage of the many rapid advances in digital technology, including managed cloud hosting services, AI, automation for smarter workplaces, and more.

Learn more about the growth of cloud-based technologies in UK education

Velocity Racing for the Win – the F1 in Schools Challenge

Velocity Racing Team 1

Last week the Velocity Racing team from Inveralmond Community High School in West Lothian dropped by our Livingston office to give us some insight into their journey as an all-girl F1 model racing team. The team won the F1 in Schools Regional Finals in Scotland this year, and made it through to the UK National Finals of the challenge, where they ranked 8th in the UK. The girls also won an award for the best pit display and were praised by judges for their professional attitude.

This week, the 6-strong all-girl team will be jetting off to Singapore to attend the world finals of the F1 in Schools Challenge. Their model race car is made from condensed foam and metal parts with a COfor momentum. If they win the challenge, they’ll be off to a once-in-a-lifetime F1 Grand Prix Race Night in Singapore.

Along the way they’ve smashed their £30k fundraising target – raising £37k! They’ve also worked hard to secure some great sponsors including Arnold Clark, among others.

Determined to win, they have a fully branded F1 racing team presence and are using the full power of social media to get people behind them. You can follow them on Twitter to see what they’re up to: @velocityracing

We wish the girls best of luck and fingers-crossed they come back with the gold!

What is the F1 in Schools Challenge?

The F1 in Schools Challenge is an amazing opportunity for young people to design, build and test model F1 cars. This challenge has been designed to encourage more young people to engage in subject and careers with a STEM focus.

How are Konica Minolta involved in the challenge?

We’re committed to encouraging young girls and women to pursue STEM subjects, and we’re very proud to be supporting the Velocity Racing team!

Follow Velocity Racing:

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prc0PEcPCZk

Twitter: @VelocityRacing

Facebook: @VelocityRacing

Scottish Schoolgirls Driving STEM Awareness: https://digit.fyi/scottish-schoolgirls-f1-in-schools/
Velocity Racing Team 2

Recognising IT Superheroes

IT remains crucial to the success of any business, however this function often comes in for a lot of stick despite the heroic advances it makes against a tidal wave of daily demands and challenges. IT organisations face unyielding pressure; they’re tasked with delivering secure, efficient, future-proofed IT environments to sustain, protect and help grow their business and all this can certainly take its toll with team feeling overworked and undervalued.

When combining these copious challenges with over stretched resources and budgets, there comes a point when relying on in-house IT alone can pose a major risk, akin to Thor dropping his hammer or Flash running too fast (yes, that truly is his weakness!).

Enter the IT Superhero!

IT Superheroes have found protection for their businesses and teams by turning Managed Service Providers for help with handling many mundane tasks, providing service desks, infrastructure management, strategy development and more. This means in-house resources have more time to actually breathe and focus on adding value and driving the business forward through digital transformation and other pressing initiatives. This win-win situation is one that continues to grow.

70% Adoption and Growing

At Konica Minolta, we wanted to know how IT leaders and business owners feel about Managed IT Services and what they look for in a trusted provider so we ran a dedicated research study with SMEs in the UK.

With more than 70% of respondents currently using Managed IT Services and 62% of those planning to expand their usage over the next 3 years, clearly there is no shortage of IT Superheroes out there. SMEs now recognise the vital role these third party providers play and how businesses can reap the benefits through access to the latest technology without the capex, the ability to scale services up or down and expand their skill set as required, and so much more.

If you’d like to see more survey results, please download our infographic: Making IT Superheroes.

Stay connected – and stay ahead – with one tick

With pressure on businesses growing by the day, it’s more important than ever to stay informed. And that means receiving the latest industry insights and news from Konica Minolta.

Mission critical data at your fingertips. For free.

If you’re to stay ahead, it pays to stay informed. After all, if you’re the first to know, you’re the first to act – and react.

A place on our mailing list can give you that business advantage. After all, it means you get the useful, relevant content you need to make the right decisions. Content that shows you how to hit your business goals and how we can help you do it.

In fact, you’ll be able to draw on our huge amount of knowledge and experience across areas such as digital printing, augmented reality, managed content and IT services. And draw on it for free.

Whether that’s exclusive industry research, useful eBooks, infographics, case studies and videos, it’s all free and it’s all yours to use for the benefit of your business.

Our aim? To help your business work smarter.

How do you opt-in?

We’ve got an immeasurable amount of knowledge and experience – across areas such as digital printing, augmented reality, managed content and IT services – and we like to share it with our customers for free. That’s why it’s vital you opt-in to receive our exclusive industry research, eBooks, infographics, case studies and videos.

How do you opt-in?

Opting in to our mailing list couldn’t be simpler. With just one tick, you can choose how we continue to communicate with you.

And that’s all there is to it. You can feel reassured that we’ll always treat your personal details with the utmost care and will never sell them to other companies for marketing purposes.

We’d love you to keep up to date with the latest from Konica Minolta.

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Make everyone’s day better. Why you should take your first steps towards an Automated Accounts Payable Solution

Process Automation Expert James Gibbons, Konica Minolta shares his thoughts.

Have you wondered what a streamlined Accounts Payable process could look like in your business? I bet you have many times.  Have you imagined what it would really look like for you, your day, your team, your business, your suppliers and most importantly, your customers? Now here’s the important question – what have you done about making it a reality?

Well, if the answer is ‘not much’ or ‘I don’t know what to do’, then keep reading.  It’s not a daunting task to take those all-important first steps. In no time at all, your Accounts Payable process can become more efficient – and your team’s workload will be reduced considerably, enabling them to focus on other business critical tasks.

But, someone has to take the initiative and lead the change? That ‘someone’ could be you.

With any change, of course, there is an element of fear. One of the main concerns I hear every day when discussing any form of Process Automation – especially within Accounts Payable – is fear of people losing jobs or their role in the company being diminished.  But the truth is, that it is a misconception.  Automating your AP Process doesn’t have to mean loss. It’s a simple change that will make all the difference. It will enhance the AP Process and underpin your finance system – not replace it.  More importantly, it makes everyone’s working day better.

Yes, Process Automation will reduce the amount of manual input – but is that a bad thing?  I would argue that it’s a good thing.  In reality, it will free up your team from time-consuming tasks, allowing them to be more efficient and spend more time on detailed operations.

So, here’s ‘The Science Bit’ about AP Automation.   Manual entry will be captured by using Intelligent Optical Character Recognition, it can then ensure that the information is correct by 3 way matching against Purchase Orders and Goods Received Notes. The solution can then route invoices to the correct authorisers for payment, all happening automatically, based on pre-determined rules. Now that’s what I call change. With the laborious, mind numbing task of data crunching taken care of, you, your team and your colleagues can focus on other tasks and on growing your business. Not only does this make your AP process more efficient, it promotes job satisfaction, and raises morale.

Once all the information is collected, automatically entered into your finance /ERP system and paid, Process Automation opens the door to intelligent, real time reporting. Having access to up to date reporting will give you better insight into your cash flow, identify potential problems before they occur and improve relationships with your suppliers.  Management reports will be a few clicks away, so no more long hours working on putting reports together for your Board or Leadership team.  Imagine how good that change will be!

So why wouldn’t you take your first steps to implementing a Best-in-Class Automated AP Solution? Get in touch if you would like to talk it over with me or one of our Automated AP Consultants and we’ll help you make it happen.

Email us anytime at hello@konicaminolta.co.uk

Discover more on how you can take control and automate your AP process.

6 Reasons why it’s time to visit The Print Show

Visit Konica Minolta at The Print ShowVisitors at The Print Show 2017 are amazed by Konica Minolta’s Integrated Color Care Unit (IQ 501) and Color Care server.

The combination of the BLI award winning AccrioPress C6100 and integrated IQ 501, upgrades your overall performance with an unparalleled image quality that is automated and consistently reliable.

We demonstrated the new colour management system to a vast number of print service providers and the feedback was consistently outstanding.

The benefits of which were highlighted thought out the day included:

1. The IQ 501 will add a closed loop control of your colour outputs. This colour management system will safeguard your business and your brand integrity.

2. Monitoring the colour and registration, to recalibrate on the fly to reduce delays.

3. Reduces make ready times from an industry norm to around 5 minutes. Maximises efficiencies and ultimately reduces spoilage and additional costs.

4. Registration and Fogra accredited colour output within 3 sheets. Konica Minolta technology will help you achieve ISO standards to upsell your business services and approach previously untouchable markets with high colour requirements.

5. Delivers accurate and consistent registration for both inline finishing and offline finishing, again reducing make ready times, adding valuable cost benefits in terms of both in labour and materials.

6. Removes colour inconsistency and helps towards both retaining and delivering business into new markets. You will now be able to comfortably compete at the highest level of digital print quality in new business partnerships, maximising your return on investment.

There is still time to register for The Print Show. Please register at: http://bit.ly/2xJ4R1f.

For more information on the AccrioPress C6100 and integrated IQ 501, please visit: https://simplyefficient.konicaminolta.co.uk.

Dave Gully is Product Marketing Manager at Konica Minolta Business Solutions UK.

Email: dave.gully@konicaminolta.co.uk

3 Reasons why it’s time to revisit the Digital Mailroom

Digital mailroom

The printroom and mailroom should be the heart of any oganisation’s communications strategy.

When combined and optimised effectively these two important assets can become your organisations communications hub, enabling your key stakeholders to streamline processes and communicate more effectively.

Managing incoming mail is a vital aspect of every business, yet in many organisations this process remains too slow, costly and error-prone, significantly disrupting line of business operations, causing further delay and added expense. But help is at hand in the shape of the digital mailroom.

The digital mailroom, or mailroom automation as it is also known, is having somewhat of a renaissance – and when you look closely it’s easy to see why.

Think Bigger

Think about the old fashioned mailroom – which ironically is exactly the thing that many people think of when picturing a digital mailroom. The key point is that the old mailroom processed incoming AND outgoing mail – and a modern digital mailroom should do too. Optimising your inbound mail handling is fantastic – as we’ll see in a few lines time – but it’s a bit half-hearted if you are still sending paper out of the door to other organisations isn’t it!

Go the whole hog and figure out how to do multi-channel output as well as input. Send your invoices electronically, remove the need for pre-printed letterheads, create brand consistency across all outbound communications and much more – truly digitise your business. Not only will you be much more efficient, but your customers and suppliers will thank you to.

Everything Changes

The days of all mail arriving at the office as paper have gone. Content arriving into a business is now quite simply, multi-channel. By that I mean emails, faxes (both paper and electronic), paper, EDI streams, XML files and so on and so forth. So those people that think a digital mailroom solution just handles paper to pdf need to get an update to their thinking.

Kofax describe it well with their “First Mile” phrase – basically anything that comes in the (virtual) door needs to be processed by the digital mailroom. That processing should identify what the content is, extract the relevant information if it can, and then route on to the relevant person or process as quickly as possible. The first mile processing almost becomes ubiquitous – just happening as far as the user is concerned – and needs to happen for all of these multi-channel inputs.

One Thing to Rule Them All

So onto the last reason for looking at a digital mailroom automation solution – efficiency. Not the efficiency of processing the content – which I think is a given – but the efficiency of the business strategy used to select software. Think about it – when looking to optimise business processes most people look at it process by process. AP, or HR On-boarding, or claims management – the list goes on. As these processes are digitised each one will include a capture element, digitising the content that needs to be passed to the process. Unfortunately each one will likely include a separate capture element – not re-using what has already been built for the other processes. A digital mailroom however, can provide content to ALL of these processes, from any of the multi-channel sources that I described above. So not only are you getting the benefits of the digital mailroom, but you’re also getting yourself a long way down the road to digitally enabling all of your other business processes.

But don’t take my word for it – Industry expert, Harvey Spencer, shared his thoughts on this topic in this recent AIIM webinar “Re-imagining the Digital Mailroom for the 21st Century”. The webinar also included expert input from Konica Minolta and Kofax, and customer comment from Winchester City Council. To view the webinar simply follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wV2De4atwE

Hopefully, I’ll have persuaded you that it is time to take another look at digital mailroom automation.

Dave Jones is ECM Marketing Manager at Konica Minolta Business Solutions UK.

Email: dave.jones@konicaminolta.co.uk
Twitter: @InstinctiveDave
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/instinctivedave/