Printing technology displays a fantastic breadth of capabilities which range from the ability to print on different surfaces, to the use of specialty inks to produce amazing visual effects. However, printing also serves many industries in practical and critical ways. Nowhere has this been truer than with wide format printers and their closely related cousins, the wide format plotters.
Wide format plotters are not nearly as common as they once were, but it is a term which still occasionally appears. Discover what a wide format plotter is and the role it plays in printing today.
What Is a Wide Format Plotter?
A wide format plotter is a very specialized type of printer which generates printed documents ranging from two to six feet wide. Businesses which design or construct things have historically used a plotter rather than a traditional printer because only plotters were capable of unparalleled degrees of precision. Today, wide format printing has caught up technologically, making plotters less common than they used to be.
Printing with a Pen
Inkjet printers use drops of ink mixed on the paper. While laser printers use static electricity and heat to fuse toner to pages. Plotters do neither – historically, they used an actual pen to draw the output. This pen was attached to a metal arm which moved according to a set of hyper-accurate coordinates given by a computer running CAD software. This made it capable of producing sophisticated drawings with a high degree of accuracy.
Vector Not Raster
The nature of pen plotting meant that it rendered drawings in a vector file format rather than the pixelized raster, or bitmap, which is common in digital graphics today. Pen plotters made dots along coordinates which were then connected with a line. The result was a highly scalable image which did not lose clarity or detail as it was enlarged — this is a critical advantage of vector. Industries which demand precision need to be able to print in vector.
Who Uses Plotters
Plotters emphasize accuracy and clarity over beautiful, highly saturated images. Therefore, they have traditionally been common in industries which design or construct things. It might still be possible to find a plotter in:
- Product design
- Some craftsmanship
Choosing Precision with Modern Technology
Pen plotters did have a few drawbacks, which led to their ultimate demise. First, the pen needed to be capable of drawing the entire output in a single session. If the pen ran out of ink, the drawing had to be redone. Second, pen plotters were notoriously slow and had an almost nonexistent ability to fill solid areas, create gradients or different line shades. Pen plotters have primarily disappeared today as a result of these deficiencies, although it is still possible to find them.
Additionally, printing technology has evolved to the point where laser printers can deliver the same precision. Indeed, modern plotters take advantage of laser printing technology to produce printed documents at higher speeds. Wide format plotters and printers have gradually begun to look more alike — to the point where many firms, which may have once used a plotter, now opt to use a wide format printer instead.
Wide Format Printing
Today, wide format printing delivers the same high-precision printing that architecture and manufacturing industries rely on to build accurate, sound products. Furthermore, wide format printing introduces greater flexibility because it is capable of running other print jobs as well.
This makes a wide format printer much more valuable in the day-to-day operations of an office. Not only can a wide format printer produce the blueprints which drive creation, but it can also bring a greater range of printing needs back in-house.
Wide Format Printing for the Next Generation
Wide format printing is not optional for businesses which produce blueprints, layouts, or any other highly technical document which governs manufacturing or construction. Historically, these industries have relied upon devices known as plotters because they were able to deliver the precision needed to ensure stable, accurate development.
However, advances in printing technology in the last decade mean that wide format laser printers rival plotters in their ability to deliver high-quality blueprints. Plotters have been gradually replaced in favor of this faster, reliable, and more flexible technology.
RJ Young specializes in helping architecture and engineering firms select the best wide format printer for their unique needs. Contact an imaging specialist today to get started.
A Multi-Function Printer print, scan, copy, fax, and even edit documents from one convenient hub. This has made them an office staple, leaving few reasons for an office to continue to purchase discrete devices for each activity.
Companies embrace multi-function devices because they increase device impact while decreasing their physical footprint. Multi-Function Printers increase company-wide productivity and revenue when strategically deployed in a printing fleet. Read on to learn how upgrading a company’s printer fleet to include these multi-function devices transforms productivity and profitability in the office.
How to Better Understand a Multi-Function Printer
There are many different terms for the device known as the multi-function printer. No standardized language exists, therefore the manufacturers are free to refer to their products as they like. In other words, there are several terms which appear in reference to MPS or similar devices:
- All-In-One (AIO): A device which has a full array of document management options. This includes printing, scanning, faxing, copying, document editing, storage, and conversion.
- Multi-function Device (MFD): May or may not be a printer, but likely has printing capabilities.
- Multi-function Peripheral or Product (MFP): Shares the acronym MFP with multi-function printer, but it may have different capabilities entirely. Read the product description carefully.
- 4-in-1 Printer: Typically refers to the main four functionalities: printing, scanning, copying, and faxing.
- Small Office/Home Office (SOHO): These printers are typically multi-function because their manufacturers assume that smaller operations have less space.
Upgraded Fleets Save Money and Increase Productivity
A printer is no small investment. Professional models run easily into the thousands of dollars, which may represent a significant expense for a business. It might be tempting to hold onto an outdated model as a result, but that could be augmenting operating expenses in the long run. Upgraded fleets save money and increase productivity because they:
1. Decrease Consumable Cost and Use
The older the printer, the more expensive consumables like ink and specialized paper stocks tend to get. This is partly because they get harder to find, and partly because manufacturers discontinue parts and supplies to encourage upgrading. Likewise, modern printers use toner and ink more efficiently. They also support duplex printing and support the option to print only in black and white.
2. Cost Less to Maintain
A single multi-function device is much easier to maintain than a horde of specialized devices. Additionally, multi-function printers are so common that most technicians will have likely seen the model before, making it easier to get a device serviced.
3. Supports Increased Integration
Most modern multi-function printers support Wi-Fi connectivity, which enables integration with other office devices. Users can easily access all of the device’s functionalities without ever leaving their computer. Likewise, mobile printing adds a new layer of flexibility and mobility to the workflow.
4. Modern Multi-Function Printer Features Make Printing Easy
Multi-function printers are notoriously easy to use. The users do not have to go digging around in complicated interfaces to find the print button. Intuitive color touchscreens direct users to exactly where they need to go. Automatic document feeders eliminate the need to fiddle with the machine.
Install Print Tracking Software
Upgrading the printer itself is only one way to save money and boost productivity. Offices which already have a reasonably modern printer may wish to implement another strategy to boost productivity and reduce costs: print tracking software.
Print tracking software, such as PaperCut or uniFLOW helps businesses get a better handle on their expenses and printing habits. Print tracking software allows businesses to:
- Automate reporting which makes tracking seamless
- Gain total visibility of the printing costs for an organization
- Highlight areas of improvement for optimizing fleets and individual printer use
- Manage consumables to help reduce costs
- Restrict access to the print environment so only the people who need to print can do so
Upgrade Your Printing Environment Today With A Multi-Function Printer
Modern businesses frequently operate on razor-thin margins, making any cost reduction potentially valuable. An optimized office print environment helps boost productivity, while reducing costs.
PaperKarma estimates that the average office worker uses close to 10,000 sheets of copy paper per year. That is the equivalent of 20 reams of standard office paper, or about 100 pounds of paper worth close to $200 per year. This article has outlined many of the ways that occur and has provided strategies to begin the optimization process.
Through the thoughtful deployment of modern printing devices, plus print tracking software, businesses can reduce this cost. Contact RJ Young today to begin strategizing your next-generation printing fleet which cuts costs while boosting productivity.
Forget projectors, ink-smudged fingers, and dry erase markers that run dry halfway through a sentence. Offices and educational institutions should enjoy the ability to create stunning visuals which deliver impactful and motivating presentations. Additionally, interactive whiteboards are a fantastic and modern way to motivate teams, inspire collaboration, and drive engagement in audiences.
RJ Young works with Ricoh to provide state-of-the-art interactive whiteboards for a variety of clients, industries, and educational institutions. Read on to learn how interactive whiteboards can revolutionize participation in a classroom or office.
Features of Ricoh Interactive Whiteboards
Ranging from 30 to 80 inches wide, Ricoh’s line of high-quality interactive whiteboards can meet the needs of large and small establishments. In addition, every device comes equipped with productivity amplifying features.
Users can enjoy the following features:
1. Workflow and Connectivity
Each whiteboard display supports an interactive experience by using touchscreen annotations. They also use apps to streamline productivity and connectivity with other platforms. As a result, enjoy full integration with Microsoft Office and connect with all devices to keep the workflow smooth and uninhibited.
2. Collaborative Capabilities
Create annotations and share screen images with remote users in real time to enhance the collaborative powers of a team. Leverage Ricoh’s Intelligent Workplace Services to create a comprehensive digital collaboration environment, which drives productivity and innovation.
3. Open Architecture
Additionally, all whiteboards come with Ricoh’s Embedded Software Architecture — this software helps maintain application compatibility across devices that many offices may use. The open nature of this software means numerous third-party solutions can also integrate flawlessly with Ricoh devices.
What To Consider When Choosing an Interactive Whiteboard Solution
The power and versatility of interactive displays have made them widely popular, leading to a vast array of offerings on the market. When choosing an interactive whiteboard solution for a classroom or business, consider the following:
- Audience size. Consider how many people will need to interact with it. Undoubtedly, devices which support multiple simultaneous functions enable more collaboration.
- Connectivity. The ability to link to numerous devices at once allows the audience to watch the presentation on their own devices. This benefits large lecture halls, or meeting rooms where everyone wants to take their own notes.
- Space size. Interactive whiteboards range from 30 to 80 inches wide. In other words, this impacts how far it can be viewed from, and where viewers should – or should not – sit.
- Software and apps. A classroom will require different apps and programs than an office. On the other hand, an office might find the ability to integrate with other document management platforms advantageous.
- Durability. Above all, interactive whiteboards in a classroom setting must be durable to withstand student use. In other words, higher-end interactive whiteboards will find a better home in offices that want to wow clients.
RICOH Interactive Whiteboards Amplify Learning and Teaching
Interactive whiteboards in the classroom bring a variety of benefits to students, teachers, and schools. Here are three reasons why classrooms should embrace this modern technology:
1. Facilitate Active Learning
Students who are engaged with the material learn better. Furthermore, interactive learning encourages students to take an active role in the classroom. This is scientifically shown to increase learning and knowledge retention.
2. Encourage a Technological Culture
Technology in the classroom is a contentious topic. However, it is a healthy disagreement about whether or not it belongs there between teachers and students. Nonetheless, the presence of an interactive whiteboard in a classroom sends the message that an educational institution embraces technology. Interactive whiteboards also create a forward-thinking and modern culture which reflect the expectations of students.
3. Assist with Lesson Structure
It is not just businesses who can leverage the app and connectivity capabilities of the whiteboards. Teachers can also put these tools to use to create new and exciting lessons — faster, and for less work.
Interactive Whiteboards Drive Productivity at Work
It’s not just students who get bored with one-way communication and lackluster dry erase scribbles. Interactive whiteboards bring many of the same benefits to the workplace, with the additional benefit of supporting current workflow processes which are already in place. Thoughtfully deployed interactive whiteboards in the workplace are beneficial in the following ways:
- Transforms lectures into brainstorming sessions that involve all participants
- Keeps everyone on the same page with real-time file sharing
- Supports annotations to help prevent details from slipping through the cracks
- Connects with mobile devices and laptops to fit seamlessly into a workflow
- Improves the quality of meetings and training sessions
- Puts an impressive foot forward with current and future clients
Interactive Whiteboards: Technology for 21st Century Presentations
In conclusion, Interactive whiteboards are a low-disruption, high-impact update for offices and lecture halls. Create an atmosphere of motivation and forward-thinking by using an interactive display to transform presentations.
RJ Young helps businesses and educational institutions make the best selections for all of their technology solutions. Contact an expert today to start a discussion on how interactive whiteboards can benefit you.
What are Cloud Solutions?
Cloud Solutions promise it all: unbridled computing capabilities, access from anywhere at any time, and storage capacities to handle massive amounts of data modern businesses are expected to manage. It is easy to get starry-eyed about the potentials of this technology, especially when cloud computing has become so wildly popular.
Public clouds pose several risks that may make this technology inappropriate for businesses. Cloud services are amazing, but they are not a cure-all for improving business efficiency and productivity.
The Hidden Risks of Cloud Solutions
Cloud solutions are known for reducing costs, improving accessibility, and allowing companies to perform data computing tasks beyond what their native current infrastructure allows.
However, with these advantages come risks which are sometimes not obvious or carefully considered.
1. Latency and server problems will impact business operations – Companies choose cloud-based services because outsourcing infrastructure is less of a headache. However, this also means downtime and latency are outside of a company’s control. This becomes more of a problem when a company shares space with other operations on a public cloud. Just like when someone ties up bandwidth by downloading massive files, other users on the public cloud can throttle accessibility for everyone. In addition, bandwidth restrictions can throttle access to the cloud, limiting accessibility and productivity.
2. Big data has big questions about ownership – Lack of visibility with cloud services is another major factor that companies should consider. This also includes where data resides once it has been put on the cloud and exactly who owns
Most contracts from major vendors indicate that whoever uploads the data owns it. However, that will not stop vendors from locking companies into contracts and rendering them dependent on the services. It also does not mean that data created on the cloud will necessarily belong to the company and not the vendor.
3. Anticipating needs and Budgets is harder than it looks – Although companies choose cloud services because of scalability, scalability in the cloud is hard to understand.
Cloud service vendors enjoy large fee structures, costs of services, and what is or is not included at each price tier. Combine these factors with a miscalculation about what a company needs and many businesses end up paying for too much or end up paying for the wrong service.
4. Compliance Requirements can get Complicated – The healthcare industry, financial services, and other similar industries have strict compliance guidelines that they are required to follow. Using cloud infrastructure in these industries can become more trouble than it is worth if not addressed correctly. A shift in the cloud infrastructure may cause a company to become noncompliant without realizing it. Therefore, companies will need to implement new compliance measures that were not previously thought of before.
Companies can also have compliance issues when they only think about
The other major risk associated with cloud services involves unexpected costs. Businesses are sometimes hit with unexpectedly large bills because they do not understand what they are purchasing or what their business truly needs. These unexpected bills can occur:
- During egress from the cloud.
- By signing up for “free” services that are, in fact, trials.
- Through paying for potential capacity, not actual capacity.
- By requesting services or features which cost extra.
- As a result of bugs or glitches, which spike server traffic.
- From rogue cloud resource usage by employees.
The true cost of cloud computing is rarely visible unless focused planning and proper governance occur. Avoid these costs through:
- Turning services off when they are not being used.
- Using cloud computing strategically, and not for everything.
- Restricting access to cloud solutions on a need-to basis.
Benefits of Keeping Data Private
It may be more appropriate from a business standpoint to build dedicated infrastructure rather than relying on a public cloud or cloud service. Some of these business needs may include:
1. Control of Data – Organizations such as those handling personal health insurance need to retain full control of data storage, transmission, and use.
2. Resource Dedication – Dedicated cloud computing capabilities do not suffer from downtime or latency problems caused by neighbors on the cloud.
3. Cost Visibility – Operating private infrastructure prevents expensive mishaps such as paying for unanticipated — but needed — equipment, purchasing too much storage, or requesting support that is not included in the purchased package.
4. Better Customization – Customization often drives up the cost of cloud computing services. Organizations requiring customized cloud solutions may consider looking into building their own.
Do Not Stay Foggy About Cloud Solutions
Cloud solutions are a powerful, flexible way to bring new capabilities to a business and there are many instances where such technology is appropriate. However, the hype around cloud infrastructure sometimes blinds users to the risks associated, especially the concealed costs.
Avoid getting caught off guard with an unmanageable bill by taking the time to understand the nature of cloud infrastructure and the services it offers. Contact an expert at RJ Young today to learn what is right for your organization.
The fast-paced, tech-savvy environment makes managed network services a smart move for startups and small businesses. Rather than scrambling to throw together digital infrastructure, fully managed IT services in Chattanooga, Tennessee provide professional-level expertise and security from day one. Below are three benefits of small business IT Services in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Why a Small Business Benefits from Using Fully Managed IT Services
Starting off on the right foot in the digital environment gives a leg up to any modern business and represents a critical requirement for survival in a startup-oriented economy. Here are three benefits for small business IT Services in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
1. A Managed IT Provider Increases Security and Reduces Risks
Hackers dedicate their careers to breaching security. Businesses should meet this dedication with equal vigor. Managed IT providers give businesses the same level of professional cybersecurity as the leading tech companies.
When it comes to technology, small businesses are at a disadvantage and hackers know it. Since 2011, cyber attacks have increasingly targeted small businesses because they bank on the assumption that startups and family-owned operations will not have the expertise to thwart infiltration. This approach has worked up until now.
Managed IT services provide one prominent solution to this problem. One of the largest benefits of these services involves the ability to leverage professional experience and infrastructure without needing to make the costly investment to develop them in-house.
The IT industry is rapidly evolving and that is not set to change any time soon. Hackers continue to find more creative ways to make off with valuable data. The challenge of staying on top of all their tricks may stress and bloat a company’s security budget.
This environment creates more ways for critical details to slip through the cracks and create exposure. Conversely, there exist few problems which professional cybersecurity experts have not seen before. When it comes to small business managed network services or IT services, there is no excuse to slack on partnering with a reliable provider.
2. A Managed IT Provider Simplifies Compliance
Finance, healthcare, and manufacturing comprise the three largest industries of Chattanooga. Regulatory compliance is far more than just a buzzword or even a best practice in these industries. Legal requirements make it a priority.
Compliance regulations cover the storage, use, and transmission of data. When correctly followed, they provide a framework which guarantees the safety of employee, patient or consumer data; depending on the industry, these may range from encryption recommendations like in NIST, to legally mandated procedures such as in HIPAA. Failure to comply often involves costly fines or even lawsuits resulting from a breach.
Managed network service providers know regulatory compliance and can help streamline an organization’s achievement of the requirements. In the case of managed IT services, the burden of compliance gets shifted to the professionals. Small businesses can stop worrying.
3. Stay Focused and Boost Competitiveness
Small business IT services keep employees focused on what matters: making the business successful.
IT problems can disrupt productivity and can cause businesses to lose money because most businesses heavily rely on digital infrastructure. The smaller the business, the greater the potential impact. Rather than focusing on profitable strategies, employees spend time detangling problems and searching for the right fix.
Adopting fully managed IT services in Chattanooga, Tennessee also gives small businesses a competitive edge, especially in the city’s startup tech sector. The city where Coca Cola bottled its first drink has a reputation for innovation. Citywide access to fiber internet and investment into startup infrastructure has attracted workers and investors looking for the next big thing which will disrupt an industry.
This means small businesses need to present a professional digital face from the start. They must convey the same stability as established companies, along with the promise of agility and creativity not found in a larger company.
A broken website, half-functioning server – or worse, a successful hack – simply does not send that message. With the right managed IT provider providing seamless support, even startups can send the message that they take security seriously.
Small Business IT Services Give Startups a Boost
Managed IT providers constitute a logical choice for startups and small businesses for many reasons, and those benefits are amplified for newer businesses. Professional experience in digital infrastructure and cybersecurity ensure that a business gets off the right start.
Sixty percent of small businesses fail with six months of a cyber attack, making managed IT services a vital component of every organization. Interested in ensuring the longevity of a business? Contact us today to see how RJ Young’s managed IT services can support your business’s success.
Finding a Huntsville Managed IT Services provider can be challenging, especially in the growing technology market.
A 2018 survey indicated that two-thirds of small businesses reported experiencing a cyber-attack in the twelve months prior. Unfortunately, that mind-boggling number is not a fluke. Hackers bet on a lack of experience within small businesses to secure their customer data and trade secrets. As more regions develop startup infrastructure like the Huntsville technology economy, these attacks will only grow more common.
An increasing number of businesses leverage professional IT services and support to avoid becoming a part of that statistic. Partnering with a managed IT provider will have many immediate benefits including freeing up employees for other strategic applications. Agility constitutes a critical ability in the fast-paced world of tech startups. Managed IT services can help provide this skill.
Technology Guide: What to Look for When Choosing a Managed IT Services Provider in Huntsville, Alabama
There are more than a dozen managed IT providers that operate in the Huntsville, AL area. This area had been recently called the tech hub of the South. Look for these three qualities in a managed IT provider to ensure you are making the best choice.
1. Modern and Well-Planned Facilities
One of the main advantages of using managed IT services includes cost-effectiveness. Outsourcing IT lets a small business gain access to newer technology and improved cybersecurity without the upfront investment which such infrastructure demands. A full service managed IT provider must be able to deliver on these points with a modern, robust network operations center.
Up-to-date facilities indicate a proactive approach to data security. Sophisticated automation technologies or artificial intelligence deployed in deep analytics represent two emerging capabilities in cybersecurity which clients can expect to see. These technologies create the flexibility to rise to the challenge of addressing security in a perpetually evolving digital environment.
Physical investments in redundancy and disaster recovery indicate a commitment to protecting against data loss. This includes considering physical location. A business in Huntsville, Alabama must consider infrastructure prepared to deal with flooding. Many people believe that living on a 100-year floodplain means that they will never see the historic flooding often mentioned in the news.
This means that such a disaster will catch most people off guard when it happens, and a good managed IT provider will consider this when planning its physical and cloud infrastructure.
2. Strong Hard and Soft Skills
The thriving tech scene of Huntsville, Alabama is ideal for attracting startups, but qualifications do not equal experience. IT professionals need a strong set of technical skills, and the ability to know what solutions are appropriate in different environments. IT deployment looks very different in the case of large corporations and small businesses. Leveraging IT solutions to meet the needs of small and growing companies often require the type of creativity and ingenuity which only come with experience.
Additionally, soft skills matter because small businesses often exhibit more specialization than larger ones. They often benefit from service programs which specialize in specific industries. A managed IT provider experienced in working with retail businesses will understand the needs of a retail business much better than one which primarily works with industrial manufacturers.
However, soft skills go beyond simply understanding the unique composition of a small business. IBM identifies deep skills like managing change, professional communication, and cross-platform integration as hallmarks of competent, reliable service. A managed IT provider may implement adequate cybersecurity for a business which can deepen client and vendor relationships, making the provider ultimately sustainable.
3. The Ability to Grow with a Business
Small business can pose particularly challenging IT requirements. They may have unusual business structures which underscore the demand for bespoke solutions. Small businesses constitute dynamic systems which experience change rapidly. Look for a provider who can keep pace with an organization as it expands, changes direction, and encounters unexpected circumstances.
A good clue as to a managed IT provider’s ability to scale lies in its approach to solutions architecture. Effective scaling relies on features like modular infrastructure, and this often manifests as a services catalog. A provider adopts software or processes which fit together like building blocks in this approach. The result creates a high degree of customization possibilities without needing to rebuild an entire system each time.
Scalability has advantages which sustain both the client and the provider. Scalability ensures long relationships with clients, deepening the value and support which a managed IT provider can achieve in the long run.
Looking for a Managed IT Provider in Huntsville, Alabama?
Huntsville, Alabama has made a name for itself as one of the fastest growing tech hubs in the US. Acquiring the IT services and support which a startup or small business needs can be a challenge. Also, it can be especially challenging in an environment that embraces a self-reliant and entrepreneurial spirit.
Managed IT services help small businesses put their best foot forward in the digital field. They ensure their most valuable data remains secure from day one. Find out how managed IT services can benefit startups and small businesses while providing excellent customer service. Contact a managed IT services professional today!
RJ Young announced today they had completed the acquisition of Digitec, a privately-owned office equipment dealer, specializing in multi-functional printers, headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi. Digitec is a family owned and operated business that has been operating for over 30 years. Primarily a Canon and Ricoh dealer, they serve customers throughout the entire state of Mississippi.
“We are excited to expand our presence in Jackson, MS and further our mission of providing excellence in printing technologies.” President and CEO of RJ Young, Chip Crunk said. “Digitec is an excellent business and has an impressive network of customers. Customers will benefit from the expertise and service for which we are known.”
Employees from Digitec will remain in place to continue their support and service for customer accounts. These employees will join more than 600 RJ Young employees to ensure the continued high expectations of standards in sales and service in Jackson, MS location are met.
About RJ Young
RJ Young is one of the largest independent office equipment dealers in the country, specializing in document management solutions, managed print services, mobile office solutions, fulfillment services, and office imaging. Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, RJ Young has been helping small to enterprise level businesses since 1955 and has over 600 employees in over 28 sales and service locations across eight states. Under the corporate tagline “Your productivity is our mission,” RJ Young helps modern professionals become more successful in their businesses with solutions to securely manage paper and digital information and empowers businesses with leading printing technologies. To learn more about RJ Young, visit https://www.rjyoung.com.
While high importance is placed on business threats such as phishing scams and security breaches, one of the most significant threats to companies is often overlooked. Natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornados, and flooding cause significant damage that most businesses are unable to recover from. Though natural disasters of significant size may be infrequent, when they hit, they can cause irreparable damage to unprepared businesses. FEMA recently reported that 40 percent of small businesses hit by natural disasters fail to recover from them. Some of these companies could have remained in business if their disaster recovery plans had included managed IT services. These management services for businesses include a pre-emptive set of strategies that help keep networks running and minimize recovery time.
Remote Data Centers
Natural disasters put buildings and their contents in jeopardy. Disasters such as the 2010 Nashville, Tennessee flood or the 2011 Huntsville, Alabama tornados, can devastate business facilities. Hurricanes and fires can devastate everything from equipment and documents to the very infrastructure of the building. An easy way to ensure documents in the building are safe is with remote data centers. These data centers are provided alongside managed IT services and allow documents to be remotely stored digitally. Not only do these services provide remote monitoring of data, they can digitally back up all documents from their remote data centers. If a company neglects to have digital copies of vital documents, they stand minimal chance of re-opening their business after a natural disaster. These remote data centers guarantee that documents are secure following such disasters.
Cloud Storage & Mobile Accessibility
Along with data being backed up remotely, another managed IT feature that helps protect data is cloud storage. When documents are digitized and placed in the cloud, they can be accessed anytime, anywhere, and from any mobile device. Though cloud storage may not have the capacity that the remote data centers possess, it is a great tool for storing files that are needed on a regular basis. Immediately following a disaster, managed IT’s cloud storage alleviates the stress of being unable to go into an office space to get documents and continue working. With managed IT’s mobile accessibility, employees can access their work remotely from their mobile devices, ensuring that the company does not fall behind due to uncontrollable circumstances.
Rapid Response Rate
When a company utilizes the services of a managed IT provider, they acquire an entire team of network experts. The disaster recovery services, offered by the provider, are put in place well before a disaster. When these systems are in place, the expert team is able to respond to any network threat rapidly — regardless of whether the company needs enterprise level managed IT services or small business managed network services. This minimizes network downtime and mitigates the chance of losing data. After a disaster occurs, the last thing a business needs to struggle with is fixing network problems. With managed IT services, businesses have a dedicated group of experts, whose sole task is to fix the network. This reduces network downtime and allows businesses to focus on repairing other problems such as infrastructure damage.
Learn More About Protecting Your Business
Discover how RJ Young’s Managed IT Services help prevent data loss and give you peace of mind during natural disasters. To discuss how RJ Young can create a disaster recovery strategy tailored to your business, fill out a contact form or give them a call at 800-347-1955.
When it comes to implementing digital transformation solutions, accounts payable departments often takes a backseat to other business processes. This makes sense because of the increased rigor that financial documentation goes through during processing. However, optimizing customer-oriented workflows, or process automation, without optimizing your invoice and billing solutions is a half-measure that will generate production bottlenecks in time. There are three ways to improve workflow efficiency with accounts payable automation.
Instead of treating your accounts payable department like a burdensome cost, you can implement AP automation and innovative managed services that will transform accounting processes into cost saving value-generating assets. Once you start quantifying value in terms of cost-savings and efficiencies, the opportunity to upgrade your accounts payable processes is one you will want to take as soon as you can.
From digitally invoice processing to implementing state-of-the-art data and network security solutions, you can provide your accounting department with the tools it needs to produce long-lasting value and eliminate manual processes.
Three Workflow Solutions to Improve Accounts Payable Efficiency
Today’s finance officers have to cope with increasingly complex regulations while being able to offer useful advice to partners using modern data analysis to draw insight. This puts CFOs in a position to balance concerns of performance, efficiency, and risk using data that may not always be immediately available.
To be able to take advantage of the data that accounts payable processes generate, you need to collect, store, and communicate data effectively. A solid financial data infrastructure can remove up to 25 percent of your current staff’s workload, increasing your capabilities significantly.
RJ Young’s workflow optimization specialists identify three valuable ways today’s organizations can reduce waste and inefficiency in accounts payable department. These include customized process automation, managed print services, and mobile compatibility.
1. Customized Process Automation and Workflows
Your organization operates according to a strict set of unique processes that determine what happens to incoming financial documentation. Those processes include solutions for invoices, procedures for billing, and retroactive corrections of mistakes (when possible).
Paper-based workflows are simply too slow and too inefficient to generate value in today’s workplace. But you cannot reasonably expect to bulldoze your own existing processes and replace them ad-hoc with brand new digital ones.
You need customized digital workflows that mirror your paper-based processes while improving the speed and efficiency with which accounts payable employees process individual documents. This allows you to set hard-and-fast rules that enforce regulatory compliances and speed up the capture of incoming financial documentation.
Additionally, customized digital workflows allow you to route new documents using automated tools that prevent the possibility of sensitive data getting into the wrong hands. You can also speed up the invoice approval process with real-time approvals. Customized workflows allow you to keep a closer eye on data transfer and printing so that your company enjoys greater data security.
2. Managed Print Services
Printing can account for up to 15 percent of unreported annual business spending. That alarming figure is easy to understand when you factor in the cost of ink and toner cartridges, paper, printer maintenance, and employee downtime caused by printer-related issues.
Managed Print Services transform your print fleet into a value-generating asset that is scalable, efficient, and easy to manage. These services turn an ad-hoc expense into a fixed fee while incentivizing your service provider to keep your print fleet in perfect working condition.
Powerful analytics allow you to look at print consumption at the individual user level to determine which AP team employees are abusing print resources – and why. This also gives you the power to change your print fleet layout to accommodate employee workflows so that the departments that print the most have the ideal resources available to do so.
3. Mobile Office Solutions
Enterprises are increasingly moving towards the Bring-Your-Own-Device trend. For an increasing number of employees, work no longer refers strictly to what happens at your desk. The ability to process and communicate data from the palm of your hand is an important and valuable asset.
While there are legitimate security concerns to letting employees use their own mobile devices, the fact is that employees will choose the most convenient way to get things done. If that means using a mobile device to send sensitive customer financial documentation, it is up to you to make sure that the transfer is a secure one.
Developing and deploying robust mobile office solutions help to standardize processes and procedures for using mobile devices. This allows employees to print, scan, and transfer sensitive data from their mobile devices securely while enjoying full access to company resources.
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Every day large volumes of paper documents can become difficult to manage, often leading to data entry errors, loss of information and inconvenient work delays. This inefficient use of time, office technology, office equipment, and human resources can result in significant financial losses for any sized business. Workflow Automation and Business Process Automation help businesses boost their productivity and efficiency.
Workflow Automation software is comprised of a set of tools aimed at maximizing all the benefits of performing automated business processes while reducing costs. It allows individuals to automate repetitive business processes and easily follow up on uncompleted tasks. Users gain knowledge into workflow performance with in-depth visibility into what needs to be done, who is involved in the process and what will happen after an action is taken.
In order to build effective automated processes, organizations should implement workflow software that will deliver the following five essential features:
- 1. Accessibility
Today, the most efficient workflow software systems are mobile accessible, providing users the ability to view document information, give approvals and access data and reports from any location at any time. It’s not enough to rely on one platform, as workflow software should be compatible from Mac to PC, tablet to smartphone and laptop. With mobile accessibility, security is a requirement. Advance workflow software should offer role-based access control so that workflows containing sensitive information can be kept hidden from certain users. Administrators can easily customize what each individual user can see and do, ensuring accessibility without sacrificing document and information security.
- 2. Visibility
High-level decision making depends heavily on the documentation at hand, corresponding data, and effective communication, which can be tough to monitor. Decision makers want to know quickly which processes are on track and which ones are in need of attention. Advanced workflow software provides a structured, centralized system allowing users to effectively track business processes and documents as they are completed. Of course, building automated business processes within workflow software may result in an inefficient process design. Robust, built-in workflow reporting improves visibility, allowing users to see what’s being held up and where to focus attention. This allows key people to instantly check the status of a process, analyze critical workflow steps and make effective decisions.
- 3. Notification
Within a busy environment, people tend to abandon documents if they are not reminded of them. An effective workflow software system will send notifications to remind users of action items such as upcoming approvals, data entry and indexing. With automatic notifications, users no longer have to wait for someone to hand off a document onto their desks. Workflow software makes business-critical documentation available on demand, immediately accessible and ready for action. Event triggers add flexible intervals between workflow actions based on the timing of a process. A process can be set to notify a user once a week, once a day, or once an hour. Ensuring best practices, by eliminating paper chasing and reducing processing delays, workflow software confirms that all steps have been completed correctly and checkpoints met before moving forward.
- 4. Non-Sequential Routes
It’s no doubt that certain processes need multiple manager approvals and review. Instead of building several different workflows for each department, advanced workflow software allows users to create one complete workflow on a singular design canvas that follows a different track depending on which department will do the approving. All steps can now run simultaneously as opposed to sequentially so that more can be done in less time, making the process more efficient.
- 5. Integration
The best workflow software systems will integrate seamlessly with an organization’s existing business applications such as QuickBooks and SalesForce. Users can also integrate their document management workflows with office equipment, including printers and scanning devices, which acts as the catalyst for workflow automation. Additionally, form designing platforms incorporate workflow software to allow data to be accessed and worked the moment it is captured, for more efficient and faster completion.
Workflow software makes any organization become more efficient by helping to save time, avoiding unnecessary manual work and making better use of resources.
Stop wasting time and money. Ensure your solution delivers these five features when it’s time to implement a workflow system in your organization and become the office hero -or rockstar. Learn more about Business Process Automation and Workflow Solutions today by contacting us today!