Ever since mobile devices made their way into the workplace, there’s been something of a battle between mobile and paper. Large and small businesses alike have been struggling with the question of how to integrate cloud, mobile and digital workflows into their day-to-day operations.
So Canon USA hired the Harris Poll to examine trends in document management workflow, and their impact on the day-to-day operations of businesses around the U.S. Not surprisingly, there were gaps in how different people within companies view the issue.
Mobile Enterprise reported on Canon’s study, saying that an overwhelming majority of IT decision-makers strongly believe that tools to integrate mobile, cloud and digital workflow were very or extremely important investments for running their business more effectively, while executives outside of IT were much less likely to value such an investment.
In addition, although 82% of IT decision-makers surveyed were confident in their organizations' ability to integrate paper and digital document workflows, just 56% of non-IT executives said the same. Here are some other gaps between IT and non-IT professionals on the importance of investing in tools to manage them:
- Cloud-based document technology: 79 percent of IT decision-makers vs. 47 percent of executives
- Integrating paper-based and digital information into company databases: 77 percent of IT decision-makers vs. 55 percent of executives
- Printing information from the cloud: 75 percent of IT decision-makers vs. 45 percent of executives
- Managed print services: 71 percent of IT decision-makers vs. 46 percent of executives
Jared Hansen, CEO of mobile print leader Breezy, was not surprised at the gap between the two groups of business executives. “I think there is a knowledge gap between IT and line of business professionals when it comes to how important enterprise mobility management and related tools are to everyday business productivity, and I think the gap is even bigger between IT and most office workers, especially when it comes to how personally owned devices are managed and secured.”
The Canon USA survey bears out Hansen’s thinking on the subject of BYOD and mobile printing. The study found that 57 percent of IT-decision makers and just 23 percent of non-IT executives said their companies provide support for all devices and platforms. There was a similar disparity in the percentage of IT decision-makers and non-IT executives (12 percent and 36 percent, respectively) who said their companies only support some devices and platforms. Additionally, 67 percent of IT decision-makers said their companies offer mobile printing, compared to 47 percent of non-IT executives.
Although the study found that IT decision-makers and non-IT executives disagree on many subjects, the poll found at least two things that they agree on: the ongoing importance of printed documents and the importance of data security. Eighty-two percent of all professionals say that printed documents and the workflows to support them will remain important for at least a decade.
Security was a major concern for nearly two-thirds (65%) of both groups in the survey, with the majority fearing a data breach from outside the company.
What Matters in Mobile Print Management
The Canon USA survey also offers insights into what IT executives and other managers think is important when it comes to optimizing the way employees use their mobile devices to print and share documents. For example:
- 70% percent of professionals whose companies support BYOD said employees use their personal devices to access and share documents through company email
- 59% said employees access documents stored in the cloud
- 54% said employees access company databases from personally-owned devices
Just over half of the survey respondents (53%) said they currently have mobile printing capabilities for employees who bring their own devices to work. They cite a number of productivity benefits offered by their mobile print solution, including:
- Flexibility to print while employees are traveling (79 percent)
- Ability to print wherever employees are working within their company (78 percent)
- Ability to provide printed content to others, including team members, clients and customers (72 percent)
- Convenience of accessing printed content created on any device, in any location (68 percent)
Forrester Research principal analyst David Johnson wrote in Computerworld that it’s nearly impossible for companies to maintain a “one-size-fits-all approach to mobile devices in the workplace. Johnson said, "Forrester's research shows that the corporate personal computing environment is now a mix of legacy Windows, client/server, cloud-hosted and native apps, with a wide array of devices and operating systems, some of which are not well suited to an evolving, mobile workforce.”
Johnson cited Forrester’s April, 2014 report Find the Sweet Spot for Your Bring-Your-Own-Device Program in his article, writing, “IT leaders have the opportunity to offload costs and responsibility while increasing productivity by launching formal BYOD programs that meet employees' increasing demands to use the technology of their choice. Executives must develop a framework to continuously improve and evolve their BYOD programs by examining six factors, including employee profiles, device diversity, mobile application requirements, and self-service initiatives."
Breezy CEO Jared Hansen adds, “One thing to remember is that most of the challenges of BYOD and mobile printing are posed by unsupported applications and devices – that is, those devices without the security, print management, and document editing and storage tools that businesses need in order to protect data and ensure regulatory compliance. Companies can overcome most of them with a leading enterprise mobility management tool that includes Breezy’s secure mobile printing capability. On-device encryption and pixel-perfect printing of all kinds of documents from Android or iOS mobile devices from Breezy go a long way toward winning the battle between paper and mobile.”
For more information about Breezy’s secure mobile printing solution, download a datasheet on Breezy for Enterprise or download a copy of The Definitive Guide to Mobile Printing, a free ebook from Breezy.
Photo credit: The photo of the employee using an iPad during a meeting is by NEC Corporation of America and is used with a Creative Commons license.