*NEWS*OFFICE SYST. UNDERGOING BIG CHANGES

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*NEWS*OFFICE SYST. UNDERGOING BIG CHANGES

 user 2005-12-01 at 10:23:00 am Views: 87
  • #13200

    Office systems undergoing big changes
    BOSTON – You might think you’ve heard about every possible security vulnerability in your network, but what about your copiers?
    “Network-connected
    output devices are becoming an absolute primary target of people,
    foreign and domestic, who are penetrating networks,” said Jim Joyce,
    senior vice president for office services at Xerox Global Services.
    “Many of them are large devices with large disk drives, with a fair
    amount of memory and are network-connected and are not secure. This
    laptop [I'm using for this presentation] is probably 10 times more
    secure than any of the output devices we have in our environments
    today.”
    Joyce, sparking at the two-day Office Document Solutions
    conference in Boston last week, was among a number of presenters who
    implored makers of printers, copiers, scanners and other such devices
    to start thinking about more than just selling boxes to customers.
    Joyce
    said during an interview after his speech that Xerox has poured about
    $20 million in recent years into technologies to better manage office
    and document systems and is putting a particular emphasis on security
    these days. He noted that some machines, such as multifunction devices,
    might have several operating systems in them that could provide
    security holes if not protected.
    Look for Xerox in the months ahead
    to deliver more in the way of technologies that would enable document
    systems to be able to identify content so that companies can better
    prevent theft of intellectual property and other confidential data.
    Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center has been working on such
    technologies, Joyce said.
    Meanwhile, other office document-product vendors said they seek to go beyond selling boxes.
    While
    “solutions” might qualify as the single-most overused word in the IT
    industry over the years, presenters embraced it as a fresh concept
    capable of bringing new life to their industry.
    Charles Pesko, a
    director at InfoTrends/CAP Ventures, greeted attendees at the
    consulting and research firm’s event by stating that the U.S. copier
    market is maturing and that solutions are the answer to revenue growth.
    Not only do solutions – in the form of software, support and
    maintenance – offer revenue opportunities, but vendors that succeed
    here also will see a rise in hardware sales. For every dollar in
    solutions sold, a company will sell $4 or $5 of hardware with it, he
    said.
    “A lot of people just don’t get that yet,” he said.
    Among
    the biggest opportunities are document capture and creation, document
    management and document output management, said Joel Mazza, another
    InfoTrends/CAP Ventures director.
    A panel of vendor representatives
    from Konica Minolta, Ricoh, Toshiba America Business Solutions and
    Sharp Electronics agreed that solutions are the way to go. However,
    they said it is difficult to change overnight given that the hardware
    business is worth tens of billions of dollars a year, whereas the
    solutions market is a sliver of that. Most of them said they are not
    making money on solutions so far, but consider their efforts in
    software, support and more as an investment that will pay off in the
    long run.
    Bill Brewster, vice president of marketing for Konica
    Minolta Business Solutions, said every RFP his company gets includes a
    demand for at least one of four solutions offerings, such as security,
    device management, document management or workflow. The fact that
    delivering solutions can help sell boxes isn’t a bad thing, he said,
    but emphasized that vendors need to commit to developing strong
    software and support offerings to make the solutions attractive.
    The
    vendors also acknowledged they need to address how to encourage
    value-added resellers and other channel partners to sell the software
    given that current compensations systems are largely hardware oriented.
    Wayne
    Lyle, IS director for law firm Preti Flaherty, shared with attendees
    his organization’s experiences making strategic use of office document
    systems. Over the past few years the firm, which has 80 attorneys in
    five offices in New England, has rolled out software from eCopy and
    Interwoven to streamline handling of documents, as well as voice mail,
    e-mail and even dictation.
    The system has enabled attorneys and
    their assistants to scan documents into a network system that allows
    for easy access and secure storage of documents that previously would
    have been stuffed in filing cabinets or stored elsewhere. “We feared
    electronic images were just going to explode and nothing would be there
    to control what we were doing,” said Lyle, who works in Portland, Maine.
    Having
    a document-management system in place has been important given the
    SarbanesOxley Act and the Health Insurance Portability and
    Accountability Act. Even though those rules wouldn’t typically apply to
    a law firm, Preti Flaherty is a full-service outfit that works with
    healthcare and other businesses that do have to stick to those rules.
    “We get hit with those regulations from all sides because our clients
    do,” Lyle said.
    Lyle said in an interview following his presentation
    that the firm’s system handles roughly 1.5 million documents (largely
    in Word) and requires a couple hundred gigabytes of storage. But he
    foresees a time not far off when the law firm will need to split its
    master database to handle burgeoning volume.
    On the broader issue of
    office document-system vendors needing to go beyond offering just
    boxes, Lyle said he is all for it and noted that the integration among
    his scanning, document management and office equipment played a key
    role in his purchase decisions. Partnerships between vendors are
    important given the variety of office equipment at most companies and
    the specific needs of organizations in different vertical markets. “I
    just hope it’s more than talk,” he said.