Mobile Versus Paper Disrupts Workflow

— July 16, 2014

The inaugural Workflow Optimization Study, commissioned by Canon U.S.A., uncovered trends in how document management workflows impact day-to-day operations of businesses nationwide.
 
Results from the online survey, conducted by Harris Poll, unveiled significant findings about diverging opinions between IT decision-makers and non-IT executives, regarding the importance of integrating cloud, mobile and digital workflow strategies.
 
An overwhelming majority of IT decision-makers strongly believe that these tools are very or extremely important investments for running their business more effectively, while non-IT executives are less likely to view their operational importance this strongly.
 
Further, while 82% of IT decision-makers surveyed are very or extremely confident in their organizations' ability to integrate paper and digital document workflows, just 56% of non-IT executives said the same.
 
The following elicited a diverging response from IT and non-IT professionals, when asked whether investing in them is very or extremely important to running their businesses more effectively:

  • Cloud-based document technology: 79% of IT decision-makers vs. 47% of executives
  • Integrating paper-based and digital information into company databases: 77% of IT decision-makers vs. 55% of executives
  • Printing information from the cloud: 75% of IT decision-makers vs. 45% of executives
  • Managed print services: 71% of IT decision-makers vs. 46% of executives

"Most companies today continue to grapple with how they can effectively merge the continued strong demand for printed documents with the increasing volume of information being exchanged digitally by a modern mobile workforce," said Dennis Amorosano, vice president and general manager, Business Imaging Solutions Group Marketing Division, Canon U.S.A. "This nationwide study found that IT decision-makers and other executives do not always see eye-to-eye on the importance of investing in cloud, document workflow and mobile technologies. In many cases, the survey results indicated a 'knowledge gap' between IT and non-IT professionals' awareness of which technologies their companies are deploying, and how they’re being used."

BYOP?
The survey also garnered inconsistent responses between IT decision-makers and non-IT executives regarding their companies' BYOD and mobile printing programs. For example, 57% of IT-decision makers and just 23% of non-IT executives said their companies provide support for all devices and platforms. There was a similar disparity in the percentage of IT decision-makers and non-IT executives (12% and 36%, respectively) who said their companies only support some devices and platforms. Additionally, 67% of IT decision-makers said their companies offer mobile printing, compared to 47% of non-IT executives.
 
In Agreement on Security
Although the study found that IT decision-makers and non-IT executives disagree on many subjects, the results indicate that there are at least two things that these groups can agree on: the ongoing role of paper within their organizations, and security concerns.
 
A total of 82% of all professionals strongly or somewhat agree that they anticipate there will still be a need for paper-based workflows in their organization for at least a decade. When asked about the issues related to their current document workflows that they are very or extremely concerned about, nearly two-thirds (65%) of professionals cited security breaches, making it the top concern.
 
In addition to illuminating discrepancies between IT and non-IT professionals' awareness of and attitudes toward workflow optimization, this study also reveals how these technologies—especially BYOD and mobile—are currently being used in the workplace, and the value they provide.
 
For example, 70% of professionals whose companies support BYOD said employees use their personal devices to access and share documents through company email, 59% said employees access documents stored in the cloud and 54% said employees access company databases.
 
Mobile Printing Benefits
The 53% of professionals whose companies have mobile printing capabilities cited several benefits of the technology, many pertaining to the growing number of employees who telecommute or frequently travel for work.

  • Flexibility to print while employees are traveling (79%)
  • Ability to print wherever employees are working within their company (78%)
  • Ability to provide printed content to others, including team members, clients and customers (72%)
  • Convenience of accessing printed content created on any device, in any location (68%)

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