Channel Post speaks with Chris Lynch, Head of Production, Xerox MEA on where the print industry stands in terms of digital transformation and how it can enable enterprises optimize business operations and costs.
What does digital transformation mean with reference to the Print industry?
In its narrowest sense, ‘digital transformation’ means ‘going paperless’. More broadly, it means using digital technology to operate more efficiently or remove cost and waste from their operations and to engage their customers in new ways.
Digital transformation essentially means moving from a ‘physical’ or ‘analogue’ world to a ‘touchless’ or ‘digital’ one across the Print industry. The concept of ‘information digitization’ plays an ever-growing role towards utilizing ‘less paper’ and providing a communications platform which harnesses the full power of digital technologies. It is about re-imagining and re-engineering the way Print organizations operate and in the way that they communicate and transact business with their customers.
How does digital transformation impact an organization?
Digital transformation has opened up new opportunities and there’s a whole spectrum of ways in which organizations can adopt and utilize digital technologies to transform their businesses. This means that organizations can automate and streamline their business processes to deliver operational efficiencies and improved customer experiences. This involves optimizing day-to-day operations through time- and cost-cutting technologies such as scanning to deliver hard-copy information to multiple recipients instantaneously with less time and paper.
Digital transformation undeniably delivers operational cost reduction for organizations. We believe that less-paper environments can help reduce the amount of money spent on printing needs by at least 30 percent. But these numbers will primarily depend on the success of digital transformation and the speed of transition, as well as previous dependence on paper-based processes.
Which areas of businesses do you see adopting digital transformation in the region?
Retail & online enterprises, banking, financial services and healthcare are some of the prominent sectors that are increasingly adopting digital when we look at this region. Relatively, some governmental organizations have taken the lead in adopting digital transformation initiatives – such as ‘Dubai’s Paperless Strategy’ – which holds up as a role model for other governments and private entities worldwide to march towards the road of a digital world.
I would say, most organizations in the Middle East have either already started digitalization initiatives or are planning to do so in the next few years. We’ve seen tremendous growth in the adoption of digital printing technology, both on the production floor and in the back office. We expect this trend to continue growing.
What can enterprises do to go digital and optimize business operations?
It is necessary to digitize information as early in the process as possible and at Xerox we constantly innovate to create better and less-paper environments. Digital transformation is one of the key priorities in Xerox’s strategy and technology development operations. Any public or private organization can simply start doing so by using less paper. There are a number of very basic and simple strategies which can be adopted to use less paper – significantly less.
First of all, only print when you have to. Second, use both sides of the paper whenever possible. You can set two-sided printing as the default on print drivers. Third, print in color when appropriate. Using color is a much more effective way of communication when used responsibly. Scanning is another simple-to-use capability on almost every multifunction device now. It is the fastest way to deliver hard-copy information to a distribution list, ideal for review teams to share markups and revisions, avoiding the cost of overnight delivery, fax lines and the associated cost and use of paper.
What is the future for Print industry in the age of digital transformation?
The future of the print industry will revolve around helping Print Service Providers become more digitally competent, in order to enable them to offer new value to their customers and make print in whatever form it takes, more relevant to the consumer. Underpinning this goal, is the desire to drive ‘sustainable and relevant print’. Digital printing is the ‘greenest’ or most sustainable form of printing, since digital documents can be shared in numerous ways without the need to utilize actual paper material.
Xerox strives to bring new tools and technologies to its customers which are digitally-oriented to encourage ways of communicating without the need for paper and to drive down the cost of producing these materials and their impact on the environment. In addition, we constantly work with organizations to develop new approaches and digital technologies that help them deliver operational efficiencies which eliminate cost, reduce errors and streamline printing operations to save time and wastage. As a result, these efficiencies can help deliver significant cost savings for our customers while safeguarding our environment.