Altron Document Solutions has announced how the company plans to disrupt the legacy office automation model and overhaul its managed print services offering in response to the growing need to digitise operations.
“The shift to work-from-home and remote working operations due to Covid-19 social distancing requirements and lockdown regulations has accelerated the transition to a less paper-intensive workplace,” says Jonathan Osbourne, executive head for Intelligent Work Space Services at Altron Document Solutions.
Remote workforces need to securely access, edit and approve documents digitally. And while digital transformation was already high on the agenda before the pandemic, many businesses opted for a top-down digitisation approach.
Top-down digital enablement is a capital-intensive process and can limit the pace and scale of digital transformation
“Top-down digital enablement is a capital-intensive process and can limit the pace and scale of digital transformation. This hampered pre-lockdown pivots to seamless work-from-home models. The need to rip and replace legacy enterprise solutions and write off sunk costs in on-premises systems also makes digital strategies unpalatable amid the current economic crunch,” says Osbourne.
Instead, Osbourne suggests that a bottom-up approach that allows companies to sweat assets and capitalise on existing hardware can create a self-funding and more responsive digitalisation model.
“Companies can realise incremental cost savings and unlock greater operational efficiencies by implementing our new Xerox Intelligent Workplace Services (IWS) solution. The business can then reinvest these savings or unlock working capital to fund broader strategic digitalisation initiatives.”
Importantly, the IWS solution addresses a major impediment to realising digitisation-based cost efficiencies: fixed-term contract lock-ins for office automation solutions.
“The legacy office automation model ties customers into a fixed-cost hardware contract for on-premises printers as part of the traditional capital recovery mechanism. Issues arise when companies accelerate their digitisation initiatives because they retain the hardware and the associated costs,” says Osbourne.
It is these constraints that Altron Document Solutions aims to address with its innovative Xerox IWS offering. “The need to create a new go-to-market strategy that effectively disrupted our legacy business model was clear.”
Through its Xerox IWS consultancy programme, Altron Document Solutions will apply operational best practices and methodologies to assess a workplace environment and its infrastructure footprint to identify areas of inefficiency.
“Once we understand a company’s necessity for print, we can begin the transition from traditional managed services to digitisation initiatives that can optimise this environment and drive cost savings.”
Companies must decide how far back to go because, beyond a certain point, digitisation efforts will deliver diminishing returns
Altron Document Solutions digitises a company’s environment using comprehensive security, analytics, digitisation, and cloud technologies and software to stop the paper on-boarding process and automate paper-intensive processes to seamlessly capture, store and integrate information into backend systems.
This process includes a concurrent effort to back-scan, digitise and on-board historical paper-based data and documents based on a company’s specific requirements around data storage, content management and regulatory compliance.
“Companies must decide how far back to go because, beyond a certain point, digitisation efforts will deliver diminishing returns,” explains Osbourne.
It is at this point when the process should switch to a second-tier archiving exercise as it may become more cost-effective to store older documents in hard-copy format.
“While these capabilities will suppress printing requirements, a need for paper will remain to some degree during the transition to a paperless environment. As such, we will still supply hardware at no additional costs, until it is no longer required,” says Osbourne.
This approach allows Altron Document Solutions to reduce a company’s hardware footprint in step with the pace of its digitisation roll-out.
Beyond the immediate efficiency and cost benefits, an IWS-centric digitisation programme creates opportunities to advance to full digitalisation
Once all documents and data are digitised and hosted in a cloud environment, companies can begin to unlock operational efficiencies by automating workflows, enabling secure, seamless access for remote workers. The Xerox IWS solution can also restrict access to specific documents or elements within documents to ensure data integrity while meeting compliance requirements with audit trails.
“Beyond the immediate efficiency and cost benefits, an IWS-centric digitisation programme creates opportunities to advance to full digitalisation,” says Osbourne.
And Altron Document Solutions is uniquely positioned to leverage expertise within the Altron Group to deliver next-generation capabilities such as end-to-end cloud enablement, robotic process automation, big data analytics and artificial intelligence.
“Ultimately, a bottom-up IWS-led digitalisation strategy will automate manual tasks and processes to save time and lower costs. The solution also improves compliance and easily integrates with enterprise applications and third-party systems to effectively redefine the way workers collaborate and interact with content,” says Osbourne.
About Altron Document Solutions
Altron Document Solutions (ADS) is Africa’s leading document management technology and services company and the largest Xerox distributor in the world. It is the authorised Xerox distributor in 26 sub-Saharan African countries offering the complete range of Xerox document equipment, software solutions and services. ADS forms part of JSE-listed Allied Electronics Corporation (Altron).
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