Organizations continue to rely on fax as a secure method of information exchange, but as organizations consolidate and modernize to digital fax solutions – either in support of digital transformation strategies or as part of process automation projects – there are a number of things to consider and challenges to overcome: complexity, changing business requirements and cost.
Complexity: When fax is critical to an organization – and it often is when a business process or workflow depends on it – the complexity of the fax environment rises to meet the needs of the organization. Regardless of the deployment option, organizations must understand the business requirements to properly design and map the solution.
Software-based solutions are typically the most complex deployment, requiring significant time and resources to first design, then implement, manage, maintain and troubleshoot the solution.
For an on-premises fax server deployment, telephony connections are the most complex part of an implementation, requiring additional resources to coordinate with your on-site telephony team. Onsite telephony is the most common point of failure for faxing. Outdated telephony and some voice over IP networks cause jitter, delays, packet loss and faxing failures for organizations, resulting in lost business, slower business processes, and poor customer satisfaction due to delays or failed fax communications.
Integrations are the most important part of a digital fax solution’s deployment and add additional complexity to an implementation. In order to gain the business benefits of digital fax solutions – speeding time to exchange documents, increasing customer satisfaction, speeding up business processes and reaching new markets faster – digital fax deployments must integrate with back end systems.
Email integrations make faxing fast and easy for users. Secondly, integrating with enterprise applications such as ERP with SAP or Oracle, CRM, DM, EMR systems in healthcare, custom or legacy applications is when process automation and document-centric workflows become digitally integrated workflows to accelerate those business benefits. It’s so important to that these integrations are properly identified, designed and implemented, adding to the complexity of any deployment.
Upgrades, health checks and monitoring are an ongoing requirement of deployments and often require significant investment in time and resources.
Finally, making sure that the system remains stable and reliable, with high availability, ensures that faxes continue to flow in and out of the business.
However, due to the complexity of an implementation, this leads to a large resource drain on an organization:
- Through a single threaded IT resource with the responsibility of managing and maintaining the deployment
- Competing priorities which distract from digital fax initiatives
- Time away from focusing on other strategic IT business initiatives
The next C is changing business requirements. Once a digital fax solution is in place, it may be humming along, stable and reliable. You might think your work is complete, but the business around you is continuously improving, expanding and changing.
Whether your organization has introduced a new product, expanded to a new market or adopted a new enterprise application, evaluate those changes to determine if there are opportunities for improvements and changes with your digital fax solution to optimize and digitize any workflows. Mergers and acquisitions are a key impetus for consolidation and modernization projects. Identifying where further expansion and integrations may be needed for process automation keeps the environment continuously improving to meet the needs of the organization.
This leads to further resource drain, competing priorities and time away from other initiatives.
Finally, the last C is cost: all organizations want to improve the ROI of solutions and lower the TCO so understanding the true cost of your digital fax solution is important, including:
- The hard dollar cost of equipment, software, hardware, the cost to continuously upgrading and expanding
- The cost to the overall business when you can’t meet your SLAs or process content quickly leads to poor customer satisfaction, lost business and missed opportunities
- The cost of the resources required to make sure that the digital fax solution that supports a critical part of your business is managed, maintained, upgraded and continuously improving to meet the needs of the business
- And finally, the opportunity cost of not diverting those precious resources to focus on your core business and other strategic initiatives
How do you overcome the 3 C’s of digital fax solution deployments? How can you minimize complexity, meet the changing business needs and lower the total cost of ownership of the solution?
Outsourcing to overcome the 3 Cs
What is your outsourcing maturity path when choosing a digital fax deployment to simplify the infrastructure and add more value to your organization?
On-premises fax server deployments are the most complex and require the most resources. Everything is onsite: the software, hardware and connections to onsite telephony. This deployment requires the most IT resources
A hybrid solution simplifies an on-premises deployment by eliminating the connections to onsite telephony and leverages the cloud for fax telephony and transmissions. Hardware and software is still maintained onsite.
Cloud fax services further simplifies digital fax deployments by eliminating all onsite hardware, software and telephony and moves everything to the cloud. This requires fewer IT resources, is easy to use and implement but cloud fax services traditionally lack the deep integration and process automation capabilities of fax server software.
Finally, managed services offerings typically deploy fax server software with in a secure data center for their customer, and require the least IT resources since the complexity, infrastructure, integrations, management and maintenance offloads to the vendor. This deployment option provides access to experts and value added services to optimize your digital fax solution.
Managed services solutions provide a ton of value beyond the technology that if offers: it provides most importantly the experts, people and best practice processes to design, implement, managed and maintain the technology, offloading that responsibility from you to the provider. Through value added services and expertise, managed services acts as an extension of your IT team, allowing you to focus on your core and divert resources to other strategic initiatives.
Let’s quickly take a look at what a digital fax managed services offering looks like:
- On the left is your internal environment with enterprise applications, custom or legacy applications, workflows, business processes and user needs for digital faxing
- On the right are the stakeholders with which you exchange faxes: customers, suppliers, partners, etc
- In the middle is a digital fax managed services offering, including the people, processes and technology to offload from your resources to a digital fax managed services provider
Important elements to note are the security, global presence, reliability, scalability, visibility and transparency this solution provides. Access to additional resources and expertise make a managed service deployment successful.
The key benefits to a managed services offering are:
- Extending the expertise of your team to a trusted provider
- Shielding you from complexity by eliminating the burden of the infrastructure, integrations, management and upgrades
- Lowering your TCO by providing reliability and scalability to meet your changing business needs, refocusing resources and future proofing your technology
Managed services offerings allow you to accelerate the business benefits of a digital fax solution, improving security and decreasing risk, accelerating time to revenue with shorter business cycles and process automation, improving customer satisfaction and supporting digital transformation strategies.