Move Over, Smartphones: That Copier is App-Savvy, Too

Today’s MFPs (multifunction printers) go beyond basic print/copy/scan/fax capability to enable users to perform a broad range of tasks. This includes converting scans to editable and searchable files, routing scans to electronic repositories, requiring user authentication before use, tracking usage behavior, and connecting with cloud services.

And thanks to the software platforms that underpin these and other MFP functions, that “copier” in the corridor can also run downloadable apps. So just as with a smartphone, an MFP can be custom-configured after purchase to perform the tasks a customer requires.

The purpose of most MFP apps available today is to streamline a common or repetitive chore to save workers time and reduce the possibility of mistakes. So, for example, instead of having to scan a paper document to a network folder or email, return to one’s desk, and move the file to an online storage/collaboration service, a “Scan to Google Drive” or “Scan to Evernote” app on the MFP will let a user send a file to the desired online folder with just a few button clicks.

And while scan capture/route apps are the most widespread, there is plenty of other functionality available in the growing universe of apps. One developer offers an editor app that lets you make quick edits to a Word or PowerPoint document right at the MFP before you print it out (handy if you catch a typo in a presentation on the way to the meeting), and there’s even a translator app that lets you scan a document in one language and receive a printout of it in another language while you wait.

And developers are just getting started. Given the relatively powerful computing hardware built into many MFPs, plus the shift to ever-larger touchscreen control panels, there’s no telling what types of apps we’re likely to see over the coming years.

So by investing in an MFP that offers an embedded software platform, you’ll have the option to extend its features and usefulness as new apps become available. This will keep your MFP from growing obsolete.


Many office workers may not realize that office MFPs are capable of downloading and running apps to help improve a wide spectrum of document-related tasks. The types of apps that are available depends on the specific MFPs you are using, but some of the most popular offerings streamline scanning workflows. To see how you can benefit from the MFP app universe, speak with your business technology provider today.

Will Apps Let You Say Goodbye to Server-Based Applications?

Once armed with a control panel full of document-centric apps, you may be tempted to pull the plug on that expensive, cumbersome server-resident document imaging software. Well, can you? Well, it depends.

As with smartphone apps, MFP-resident apps (MFP is short for multifunction printer) tend to offer more limited functionality than does a full-blown PC- or server-resident application. So if your organization relies on an existing document management or line-of-business application, you’ll want to look for a “connector”: an app that resides on the MFP to capture and route documents to that larger application.

For instance, connectors exist for destinations like:

  • Blackboard Learn
  • DocuWare
  • Evernote
  • Google Drive
  • Hyland Software OnBase
  • Microsoft OneDrive
  • Microsoft SharePoint
  • RightFax
  • Worldox

That said, if your workflow needs are less demanding, you may be able to find an app that delivers all of the functionality you need, without having to spend a lot of money on a more fully featured application.

Put another way, two or three well-chosen apps may handle only 80% of what a given customer may have on their wish list. But given the lower cost and complexity, some customers may opt for that over a traditional application. MFP apps exist for purposes like:

  • Document storage
  • Template creation and access
  • Custom one-touch scanning
  • MFP usage tracking
  • ID card copy
  • Print job release
  • Document editing
  • Document translating
  • Toner ordering


In many cases, MFP apps are simply connectors designed to route documents to already existing business software tools—including document management systems and cloud storage sites.

In other instances, MFP apps exist largely on their own to perform a specific functionality. Whether or not these apps can replace full-fledged business software is worthy of investigation, given potential cost savings that can be achieved.

SMBs May Find GDPR Compliance a Challenge

SMBs may be more likely than their enterprise counterparts to find GDPR compliance a challenge. Generally speaking, their focus on data security is not quite as strong as it is in larger organizations. Furthermore, they are often less likely to have internal resources to help them make sense of new regulations.



What is GDPR again?

GDPR stands for the General Data Protection Regulation; it is a regulation in European Union law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union (EU). GDPR also addresses the export of data outside of Europe, and applies to any business handling personal data of EU residents. The purpose of GDPR is to give EU residents control over their personal data and simplify data privacy regulation within the EU.

What are some key requirements of the regulation?

Compliance with GDPR includes obtaining consent for data collection and processing, designing systems with data privacy in mind, and letting individuals (who ask) how their data is being used. In addition, organizations must remove this data from their possession in the event that an individual withdraws his or her consent for information use. Another requirement for companies handling personal data on EU residents is notifying these residents of a data breach within 72 hours.

So, how do SMBs view security?

SMBs consider information security pretty important, with 37% of U.S. SMBs ranking it a top business priority for the next three years—making it the second biggest priority out of 13 possible business priorities. While a similar percentage of enterprise customers consider document security a top goal (38%), this is actually the number one objective for this group. They are much less likely (25%) than their SMB counterparts (41%) to prioritize staying in business/being profitable, suggesting that security is more top of mind in the enterprise realm.

And how do SMB and enterprise resources compare?

While resources can be measured in different ways, Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends research shows that SMBs tend to have fewer internal resources in areas like IT. This can make interpreting GDPR a particular challenge, especially when considering that secure IT systems is a crucial component to ensuring GDPR compliance. The good news is that trusted third parties (e.g., office equipment providers) can provide expert guidance in this area.


The new GDPR regulation is in effect; SMBs may find it particularly challenging to make sense of its components as well as achieve compliance. Compared to enterprises, information security is somewhat of a lower priority for these entities; furthermore, in many cases SMBs have fewer in-house resources to assess the sufficiency of their IT environments for GDPR compliance. Seeking help from a trusted IT provider may be a good option for SMBs falling into this category.

GDPR Aligns with Today’s Business Priorities

While companies around the world, including the United States, are grappling with how to handle the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)—which governs the use of European Union residents’ personal data, it may be helpful to view the regulation in the context of today’s business priorities.

Recent Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends research shows that U.S. companies are most likely to say that improving document security is a top business priority. As company size increases, this is more likely to be the number one goal.

Which of the following are business priorities for your organization for the next three years?

Please select the top 3.

 Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends

Source: Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends

The emphasis on document security has a direct relationship to GDPR compliance. When companies ensure that their documents are adequately protected, through features like data transmission encryption and password-protected PDFs, they can help protect the privacy of customer information—the key tenet of GDPR. Network-connected devices like computers and printers, as well as software for tasks like document management, must also be adequately safeguarded.

Digging deeper into GDPR’s requirements, the regulation forces companies handling personal data on European Union residents to develop their systems and services with data privacy as a guiding force—as opposed to as an afterthought. Companies should also regularly test the security of implemented processes, as well as in some cases name a data protection officer to handle interactions with European Data Protection Authorities (DPAs).

Another component of GDPR is the need for customer/user consent prior to processing that individual’s personal information. Furthermore, consent must be given for a specific use of the information as opposed to for general information use; individuals can obtain information on how their data is being used; and people have the right to withdraw consent at any time. Should organizations not adhere to these and other GDPR requirements, they may be fined up to 4% of annual global revenue or €20 million—whichever is greater.


GDPR is a new regulation that governs the processing of personal data on European Union residents. The good news for organizations handling this kind of information is that the regulation largely aligns with the top business priority of many companies: improving document security.

By continuing to ensure top-notch security for documents, the data contained within documents, and the devices through which documents pass, companies are well on their way to achieving GDPR compliance. That said, other elements of GDPR like user consent and data breach communications must be incorporated into GDPR strategies.

Top Process Barriers in Finance and Insurance

In any organization, there are a variety of reasons why processes might not be top-notch. This could tie into cost, business culture, and lack of IT capability—among other factors. This blog post will discuss top barriers to process improvement in the finance and insurance sector specifically.

Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends surveyed employees in banking, loan underwriting, insurance, and insurance underwriting, asking them to indicate the extent to which eight potential barriers are slowing down their financial processes.

Top finance and insurance barriers tied to customer capabilities

For each of these groups, the top barriers were “our customer age and demographics slow down their part of the process” and “our customers lack the automation tools.” The below chart shows the results for bank agents/employees as an example.

Rate your level of agreement with the following potential “barriers” that slow down banking processes. 1 = completely disagree; 5 = completely agree (Mean)

Source: Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrendsSource: Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends 

Source: Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends

Implications of these results

In many ways, customers’ ability to efficiently fulfill process requirements is something finance and insurance firms can’t control. They can’t force customers to purchase technology like computers and scanners to speed up tasks like form completion, and it may be difficult to teach certain elderly customers (as well as others) how to perform transactions digitally.

But one thing financial institutions can do is offer a multitude of possibilities for their customers, enabling each customer to complete tasks in the way that best suits him or her. For those without Internet access, for instance, they should continue to let people do business over the phone, by mail, or in-person.

For digital-savvy customers, they should give them access to online banking, mobile apps, and electronic forms—among other tools that drive efficiency, flexibility, and satisfaction.

As more customers become digital savvy, more customers will perform tasks digitally—theoretically helping save time and effort. But in the meantime, it’s important that finance and insurance organizations continue to provide more traditional options for certain customer groups.


No matter what sector a company is part of, it should have a good understanding of its top challenges to process efficiency and effectiveness. Within the finance and insurance industry, it appears that customer access and capabilities is a leading obstacle to process improvement.

While this shouldn’t keep companies from modernizing their workflows, it should reinforce the importance of providing customers with multiple choices for completing transactions.

Storage of K-12 Student Performance Information

It probably does not come as a surprise that educators in K-12 schools often use more than one method of storing student performance information. But it may be enlightening to discover a paper-based book or journal is still the most common method of information storage. This blog post will discuss why it may be time for a change.

Where do you record student assignments, homework, grades, and assessments?

Source: Business Process Automation: Education K-12 Survey (Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends, 2017)Source: Business Process Automation: Education K-12 Survey (Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends, 2017)Source: Business Process Automation: Education K-12 Survey (Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends, 2017)Source: Business Process Automation: Education K-12 Survey (Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends, 2017)

Source: Business Process Automation: Education K-12 Survey

(Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends, 2017)

Paper lacks search functionality

With electronic storage systems, you can often search for information by category or keyword. For example, if you want to view all grades for a particular student, you can click on that student’s name. Then, if you want to view all student grades for a specific assignment, you can click on the name of that assignment. Multiple ways of viewing performance data isn’t necessarily possible using a paper-based book or journal.

Paper limits access

A paper-based book can only be accessed by one or two people at a time. But an electronic records system can theoretically be used by a variety of educators at once. During report card season, for example, multiple individuals can access the information contained within the digital system. Furthermore, in many cases they can access the system from anywhere using an Internet browser. This helps boost productivity—enabling teachers to quickly move on to the next task at hand.

Paper is subject to damage

All it takes to damage a paper file is a spilled drink or unruly pet. But electronic files typically reside in the cloud, make them much less vulnerable to these kinds of threats. Furthermore, as these files tend to be backed up there is a lower likelihood their contents will be compromised.

Paper is subject to theft

While a book of grades and assessments may not seem like the most likely item for theft, there are certainly situations where this could place. An underperforming student could steal and hide (or destroy) this book so no records of his or her performance remain. Or this student could alter the information in the file. With a password-protected online records system, this type of activity may be much more difficult.


Many educators are still using paper-based books or journals to record student grades and assessments. But there are various drawbacks to this method, including limited search functionality, limited accessibility, and vulnerability to damage and/or theft. School districts seeking to overcome these barriers are encouraged to speak with their trusted technology providers.

How Mobile Technology Can Improve K-12 Education Processes

Given the widespread use of mobile devices in personal and work life, it doesn’t seem farfetched to imagine greater use of this technology within K-12 classrooms. In fact, many classrooms are now investing in mobile technology for teaching and administrative purposes. This blog post will take a look at this trend, including several factors spurring interest in mobile education technology.

Mobile technology provides convenience, speeds up tasks

One huge benefit to mobile technology is that it is portable. Tablet computers, and smartphones in particular, can be easily carried or placed in a pocket—enabling them to be used in virtually any location.

This provides convenience to educators, helping explain why they are more likely to agree than disagree that mobile technology improves K-12 education processes. Furthermore, immediate access to a mobile device speeds up the completion of tasks.

Would you agree or disagree that the processes could be improved with mobile technology?

(1 = completely disagree; 5 = completely agree)

Source: Business Process Automation: Education K-12 Survey (Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends, 2017)Source: Business Process Automation: Education K-12 Survey (Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends, 2017)Source: Business Process Automation: Education K-12 Survey (Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends, 2017)Source: Business Process Automation: Education K-12 Survey (Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends, 2017)Source: Business Process Automation: Education K-12 Survey (Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends, 2017)

Source: Business Process Automation: Education K-12 Survey

(Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends, 2017)

Mobile technology opens up learning possibilities

When students have access to mobile devices and associated mobile apps, they have access to a wide range of content they might not otherwise encounter. For example, they can view information that’s updated in real time, available in a variety of languages, and sourced from all corners of the world.

While this information could theoretically be viewed on a desktop PC as well, there are typically not many of these in a classroom. A classroom is more likely to have access to multiple mobile devices due to their size, portability, and cost.

Mobile technology gives students technical skills

The skills required for student success are shifting as technology evolves. Once, schools prioritized typing on a traditional keyboard, but this need is largely being replaced by typing (or swiping) on a mobile device touchscreen or voice-controlled input.

In order for students to excel at new technologies, they need to be using them. They will gain advantages over students who lack access to these devices (and associated software), making them betting prepared for college and ultimately a career.


Mobile technology in the form of devices and software can truly improve processes from a convenience, speed, and learning perspective. Teachers can complete tasks more efficiently, while students have the opportunity to acquire a vast array of content and technical skills that can serve them throughout their personal and work lives.

MFP Makers Take Different Approaches to Getting Apps to Customer

How will you get the apps to customize your MFP (multifunction printer)? The answer depends on which brand of MFP you choose.

Different brands of MFPs

Unlike as in the smartphone world, where the two dominant players (Apple and Google) follow pretty much the same development and distribution model when it comes to apps, in the MFP world there are more than 10 players—each of which is taking a slightly different tack.

On the one end of the spectrum are vendors that are fostering an open approach to development, letting partners develop apps and deliver them directly to end customers. A few OEMs have set up “app store” portals where certified apps can be searched and downloaded.

But even that model has variation: Some OEMs require dealer partners to be the “gatekeepers” of those app portals, while other MFP makers allow customer IT personnel or even end users (with the proper permissions) to download apps to their MFPs without dealer involvement.

And more conservative MFP makers are maintaining a circumspect approach, allowing app development only by authorized partners and tightly controlling which apps are offered and by whom.

Pricing, too, is all over the map. Some apps are free; some are free to dealers but carry a list price that the dealer is free to charge or not as the sales situation warrants; some apps are priced at $9.99, while others are priced as high as $999 per license.

Clearly, in these relatively early days of the MFP app paradigm, there’s a long way to go before there’s any consensus on a go-to-market strategy. And with so many MFP makers, there may never be a common approach like we see in the smartphone realm.


Businesses interested in MFP apps to improve their workflows should find out how these apps can be accessed. For example, they will want to know if they are able to download the apps themselves, or if a technician must be involved. Print technology providers are a great resource for this information.

MFPs Apps are Appealing to Potential Customers

Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends research shows that customers are generally aware of MFP (multifunction printer) apps and, more importantly, are poised to base their purchasing decision on the availability of those apps.

In a recent survey of technology-purchase decision makers, almost three-quarters of respondents indicated they were familiar with MFP capabilities and applications beyond basic machine functions of copy/print/scan/fax.

Figure 1: How familiar are you with MFP capabilities/applications beyond the typical copy and print functions?

Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends researchKeypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends research

Source: Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends research, 2017

Respondents were presented with a list of seven buying criteria for selecting an MFP vendor. Among respondents from medium-sized companies, the availability of MFP apps ranked second in importance after service/support. For small companies, apps ranked third (after service/support and brand).

When asked about the importance of MFP apps in the purchasing decision, 100% of respondents from medium-sized companies said they played an extremely important, very important, or important role compared to 78% of those in small companies.

How does your company feel about MFP apps?

While many companies recognize the usefulness of MFP apps, you need to think about your company’s specific circumstances. One key question is whether your company handles a good deal of hardcopy documents over the course of the day. If this is the case, MFP apps for streamlining tasks around print, copy, fax, and scan might make sense.

For example, scan-to apps enable organizations to route documents directly into a wide range of desired locations—including network folders, PC desktops, and cloud services. As another example, an ID card copy app simplifies the copy of double-sided ID cards onto a single page.

Over time, dozens and dozens of MFP apps have been developed to help companies save time and boost productivity. That said, representatives from your organization will need to speak to your business technology provider to determine which specific apps are compatible with your print devices. Other important questions to ask your provider are how the apps can be installed and whether a fee is required.

Key takeaways

  • MFP purchasers are familiar with the functionality MFP apps can deliver beyond the typical print/copy/scan/fax features of most devices.
  • In a few short years, MFP apps have gone from being non-existent to being one of the most important factors considered when weighing which MFP to purchase.
  • The portfolio of apps a device make/model supports can be an important differentiator that separates one MFP from a competing product in the minds of purchasing decision-makers.

Finance and Insurance Workers Cite Benefits of Automation

In a series of surveys on the finance and insurance industry, respondents within this sector noted the benefits their firms have achieved through automation of common processes. This blog post will discuss the major benefits they cited.

Improved processing time, customer satisfaction top benefits

Regardless of whether the respondent works in banking, loan underwriting, or insurance, he or she was most likely to say that highly automating processes has improved processing time. The below chart shows responses from insurance claims representatives as an example. Customer satisfaction was often a common benefit as well, with on average two-thirds of finance and insurance professionals citing this as an automation effect.

For the processes you feel you have been able to highly automate, what are some of the benefits you have seen?
Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends

Source: Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends

Implications of top automation benefits

Faster processing times and better customer service are something most organizations would like to attain. That said, it’s also important for finance and insurance firms to consider the top objectives within their organization. Is improving productivity a top goal, or has information accuracy taken on greater importance in recent years? The good news, however, is that automation appears to provide benefits in quite a few areas that may be top-of-mind for financial companies.

Other organizational considerations

Beyond the benefits included in the survey, other potential benefits of automation could tie into employee satisfaction, the environment, and accessibility of information. Once companies take stock of their major initiatives, they are encouraged to ask their business technology providers how new technology and/or automation can help them achieve their goals. Any case studies or specific information can help prove the benefits are indeed real.

Drawbacks of automation

Another healthy exercise for finance and insurance firms to perform is a consideration of the drawbacks of automation. For instance, are there certain clients that wouldn’t be able to benefit from digital and/or automated systems? Would it be possible to somehow maintain more traditional processes for these particular clients? Other key questions revolve around the cost, training, and maintenance required for new systems.


Research suggests that improved processing time and customer service are the top benefits of automation in the finance and insurance realm. Finance and insurance firms are advised to consider their top organizational objectives, and how automation might bring them closer to these goals. This could help ensure that any drawbacks of automation do not outweigh the impact of its advantages.