Major European Survey on Document Management

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IT MANAGERS ARE PIVOTAL TO THE SUCCESS OF DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT WITHIN THE WORKPLACE

A major European survey, undertaken by media company VNU in partnership with services and technology company Xerox, has highlighted that the decision of purchasing Document Output Devices is increasingly being taken within the boardrooms of businesses across Europe.

Of the 1,238 organisations polled, representing a cross section of industries and companies both large and small, two thirds (61 per cent) confirmed that document management in the office was critical to the success of the organisation. Surprisingly, the same number (61 per cent) of businesses polled admitted that they did not have a document management strategy in place. Although the poll showed a clear desire to achieve efficiency with regards to document management within the organisation, revealingly less than a third (27 per cent) confirmed that they had complete management information and control on the costs of owning, running and supporting their Document Output Devices.

John Hopwood, director and general manager, Xerox Global Services UK said: There are some very clear and unambiguous messages coming out of the survey. The first is that business leaders - those with vision and clarity in their business planning - see how important it is to have a clear document management policy in place in order for their company to be a success. So at Xerox we are asking how so many companies can accept that document management is critical to the success of the office, while so few actually have a document management strategy in place?

It seems that medium-big sized businesses (between 250 - 1,000 employees) also bear the brunt of costs, with one in five (19 per cent) of companies of this size admitting the cost of owning, running and managing the organisations Document Output Devices was spiralling out of control.

Hopwood continued, Xeroxs document management solutions are geared towards individual business needs and tailored accordingly. While it is true to say that Document Output Devices have a business critical role in the running of the company, you have to get the buying decision right in order to make it work, ensuring that in the long-term the solution deployed becomes an asset to the company - not a burden. Xerox offers businesses real document management solutions that help reduce costs. We have a number of proven client case studies that have achieved savings in excess of 20 per cent.

Although the decision to implement a document management strategy is largely made at boardroom level, the survey highlighted it is IT managers who are actually picking up the task of looking after the companys Document Output Devices. Those managers who responded to the survey confessed that the job of looking after document output devices is an unwelcome burden to IT on top of their normal duties, and the larger the organisation, the more likely this is to be an issue. In medium / big and big companies, 38 per cent of IT managers confessed that supporting document output devices is an unwelcome burden to IT, compared to 18 per cent in micro sized companies. The Italians, on the whole, found it more burdensome than other countries, with 29 per cent of IT managers from this country finding that managing Document Output Devices was a problem, compared to only 20 per cent in the UK and 15 per cent in France.

Increasingly it is the IT manager who is being asked to pick up the pieces. When asked whether IT and document output maintenance was done by the same people, 89 per cent of respondents concluded yes. With 84 per cent of businesses stating that maintenance of Document Output Devices is managed and 60 per cent supported by the IT department, only 6 per cent of responses cited that the business outsourced the management of Document Output Devices and 27 per cent outsourced the support of Document Output Devices. The survey concluded that 85 per cent of IT departments manage, while 65 per cent support and maintain all IT equipment, in addition to their responsibility of maintenance and support of Document Output Devices.

IT managers are very often left to look after all the elements of the companys Document Output Devices although many of them would not consider this to be their primary function or concern, says Hopwood. It demonstrates that Xerox could provide a critical level of support to many businesses but only if board level directors fully appreciate how their staff need outside support to make their document management strategy a real success.

LACK OF DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT STRATEGY HAMPERING BUSINESS EFFECTIVENESS, SAYS SURVEY

Of the 1,238 organisations polled, representing a cross section of industries and companies both large and small, more than three-quarters (78 per cent) agreed that Document Output Devices contributed significantly to office worker productivity, while 71 per cent agreed that documents are of critical importance to the operation of their business processes.

A similar level, 61 per cent, agreed that document management in the office is critical to the success of my organisation. On a country split, the results show some wide variations in attitudes across Europe. The Italians appear to value the importance of documents the most, with 80 per cent agreeing that documents are of critical importance to the operation of their business processes and 90 per cent agreeing that Document Output Devices contributed significantly to worker productivity; the UK and Holland are the least document conscious, with only 45 per cent and 40 per cent respectively viewing document management in the office as critical to the success of their organisation.

But the findings of the poll contrast with the actual practice of implementing an office document policy. Only a third of all companies polled admitted to having a document management strategy in place (34 per cent).

Only around a quarter (27 per cent) say that their organisation has complete management information on the costs of owning, running and supporting their fleet of Document Output Devices, while almost a fifth (19 per cent) of medium / big companies admit that the costs of owning, running and managing their fleet of Document Output Devices is spiralling out of control.

John Hopwood, director and general manager, Xerox Global Services UK, said: The results of this survey are consistent with our experience in talking to potential customers. While so many companies recognise that documents are the lifeblood of their company, so few actually understand the costs associated with running printers, scanners and faxes. What is more, only around a third have considered the benefits and costs of having a document management strategy in place.

Whether this is based on a lack of understanding of how to use Document Output Devices, or a lack of management planning, we feel that companies are losing out on the opportunity to have an efficient document management policy in place. At Xerox we are committed to helping companies find solutions tailored to their business, trim their costs, and manage their fleet of Document Output Devices to the maximum efficiency to ensure that they get the best from their office environment and their staff.

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