When was the last time you physically sent a fax? The answer for almost half of enterprise fax users, according to the latest IDG MarketPulse report, Enterprise Fax and Capture Technology, is this morning. In all, 44% of respondents say they use paper-based faxing. Not only that, but over a quarter of these users say the volume of paper-based faxes will remain the same, while another quarter expects it to increase. In other words, people still use paper.
Enterprise fax: Have we created a ‘paper tiger’?
The term ‘paper tiger’ refers to something that appears powerful but is actually quite ineffective. This is an excellent summary of manual, paper-based fax. The cost and efficiency challenges surrounding this approach have been well understood for decades. For example, the time wasted and risk associated with lost or misplaced faxes surely has to make heavily regulated companies in sectors such as healthcare and finance consider alternatives.
IDG’s research underlines the awareness of the drawbacks of paper-based faxing. When asked, human error topped the list of challenges when processing fax-based content. Respondents put the loss of productivity and rework due to missing or lost information not far behind. So, companies understand they have a ‘paper tiger’ with manual fax processes – and the report shows that things are changing with respect to enterprise fax.
Enterprise fax is going digital
There’s a growing move towards digital faxing. The fact that almost half of people still use manual fax is still stunning, but the figure is significantly down from the last time IDG surveyed the market. In 2017, the analysts found that 60% of respondents used paper-based fax processes – that’s almost a 30% decrease in two years.
This decline in paper-based fax is mirrored in the rapid growth of digital fax alternatives. In two years, the number of companies using on-premise digital fax servers – such as OpenText™ RightFax™ – has doubled from 20% to 40% while those using Cloud fax services – such as OpenText™ Fax2Mail™ – has grown by 70%, with over a third of respondents using the Cloud.
One major reason for this rapid transition is the need to seamlessly integrate fax into increasingly digital workflows. Digital fax solutions remove virtually all of the manual fax challenges. In addition, they allow for better and more effective control of data and enable end-to-end processing with enterprise applications.
IDG asked respondents to consider a technology that could “automatically capture and extract data sources from email attachments, faxes, or paper and intelligently route that data to the appropriate application or records system in a usable format.” Only 1% thought it wouldn’t be valuable to their business.
Security: The driver and inhibitor of enterprise fax?
Key benefits of enterprise fax are that it has always been secure and compliant. It provides an easy means of tracking documents, providing a high level of confidence that a document is sent and received with an auditable trail. It offers proven, secure transmission of legally binding documents – ensuring compliance with industry regulations such as HIPAA and SOX.
With the growing threat of cyberattacks, security has become a massive concern for companies implementing enterprise fax. According to the IDG report, 80% of respondents said improving the security of fax content exchange was one of their top concerns and 88% of respondents said fax security is their primary challenge.
As more organizations look to the power, scalability and cost benefits of the cloud, we’re seeing an increase of hybrid fax deployments that enable workflows to be split between on-premise fax servers and Cloud services. A hybrid solution, such as OpenText™ RightFax Connect, allows the enterprise to ensure data integrity and security and integrate seamlessly into digital processes and workflows.
The security and compliance capabilities of hybrid fax deployments make the transition to digital fax attractive for every enterprise. Who knows? In another two years, we may finally have said goodbye to paper.
Download your copy of IDG Market Pulse: Enterprise Fax and Capture Technology to learn more.