Strother Smith, Divisional Head – Imaging Solution

In my 25 years in imaging – and having to adapt to the ever-changing printing and scanning dynamics that have mostly pushed the “Paperless” or “Less Paper” digitised office environment – I have experienced changes in the printing business such as Y2K and the analogue copier to digital device conversion. Even simple things like scan to email or shared folders were among the WOW factors in digitisation at one point, along with the automated workflow from an MFP and document distribution, digital forms printing (raw data from system to a printer that merged a form with the data), the Follow me type solutions, full MPS offerings from paper to binders, and all the way to production scanning requirements with OCR and routing.

With all the challenges faced in 2020 and the 35% reduction in print, which will never be retrieved, the “Paperless Office” has been fast-forwarded by 5 years. Businesses with remote or work-from-home users not having access to printers or multifunction printers have adjusted to digitisation, adding Adobe Edit/Sign and DocuSign into their divisions and allowing the printing, scanning, and copying process to still continue. We have seen a need for smaller solutions, for a cost effective multifunction printer or low volume scanner, and we have adapted our sales and services to be able to do 100 smaller deals rather than 10 bigger ones. With the focus on adaptation and agility due to digitisation, we have been able to bundle accordingly, juggling stock constraints, and being open and transparent with the clients has boosted our coverage and relationships.

The main focus as the Divisional head of A-Solutions Imaging is to ensure we provide the correct printing, scanning and recreation solutions which could be hardware and/or software that ensures secure release, productivity gains, a reduction in operational expenses and overall a fluent work space, from the large office to home office.

With POPIA and the need to digitise hard copy in the most secure way for the clients and ourselves, we have made great inroads to have the ability to manage print by offering full EDMS and ECM solutions with fully automated offsite storage and tracking if needed, allowing informed decisions to happen within seconds, rather than having time delays in searching for that file, email or scanned PDF.

A digitised printing, scanning, and copying platform can grow and adapt as the needs of a business expand to a level of having every bit of information about the entity all linked together in a document management system – a central dashboard viewing all types of files, from emails, scans, Word docs, Excel sheets, and Powerpoint files. Having a powerful OCR and search engine attached adds more value to the solution. Adapting to digitisation is less complicated than you think. You can have an entry-level basic option, with rentals available, or a fully integrated solution with ERP and CRM links.

The planning for any business we interact with is to grow with them and adapt with them while staying ahead of their competitors and ahead of ours.

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