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How public sector agencies can extend their MFD investments to boost security and productivity

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Public sector agencies spend hundreds of millions of dollars annually on printers, copiers, scanners and fax machines (or multi-function devices/MFDs). Several agencies have managed-print-as-a-service contracts that have consolidated purchasing of MFDs and respective services to drive cost efficiencies and better service their end users.

Many agencies aim to meet U.S. Executive Order 13589—Promoting Efficient Spending within the federal government through these contracts. But as the size of these investments has grown, so has the complexity of managing them and the increased reliance on intelligent automation technologies. MFD systems are highly connected and process vast amounts of sensitive information each day. Agency managers understand they need to maintain a keen eye on cost and risk. They have concerns, such as:

  • Are MFD investments being leveraged as efficiently as possible?
  • Is there appropriate security, governance and compliance protocols in place to protect sensitive information being processed?

Making the most of your MFD investments

Organizations realize that modern MFDs offer much greater value than merely printing, copying, scanning, and faxing. When smartly configured and connected, MFDs can also serve as highly intelligent, software-driven advanced machines that kick-start automation journeys across the enterprise.

Agencies can now extend the value of their MFD inventories by using them to intelligently capture information from digital and physical documents and then process and disseminate that information where it is needed across the enterprise. This applies to almost any type of automated workflow, including those involving  enterprise content management (ECM) systems such as SAP or Oracle, customer relationship management (CRM), electronic health records (EHR), enterprise resource planning (ERP), or other back-end or front-end systems.

It can also include GOTS (government-off-the-shelf ) or open source purpose-built applications. The information that MFDs capture can be automatically processed in any number of ways: data can be redacted, classified, reported, analyzed, converted, compressed, routed, watermarked, barcoded and extracted. This means that manual labor previously spent on these activities can be reallocated to higher-value work.

Extending security, governance, and compliance to MFDs

Every day in most government or military workspaces, sensitive information is printed, scanned, copied and faxed. Data can include personally identifiable information (PII), health records, sensitive proprietary information, research, competition-sensitive information, controlled unclassified information (CUI), and classified information, among many others. Due to its nature, this information is governed by numerous security, privacy and data-protection protocols and guidelines. But how effective are MFDs at managing compliance against those requirements? Modern MFDs can now identify the information they are engaging with and enforce the relevant compliance protocols to ensure that information is secure and protected.

Applying intelligent automation to MFDs 

So how can agencies protect the sensitive information they process? The answer lies in extending intelligent automation capabilities to MFD assets so they operate with applied governance, security, and connectivity to other enterprise business systems. Look for solutions that can deliver these integrated intelligent automation capabilities so that any agency can confidently employ their MFDs to capture data from emails, PDFs, paper forms, and other documents and set workflows in motion around that data. Such solutions, for example, can enable data extracted from a scanned document can be validated with systems of record, served up for review to an employee, and then exported to a system of record.

Extending capabilities with best-in-class print, capture, and intelligent automation

A content-aware print and capture software approach can protect the data in documents from exposure—whether inadvertent or deliberate. The key capabilities offered are:

  • Improved data visibility and security: Content-aware print and capture management can significantly reduce the risk of information loss and security breaches, securing the transmission of documents to and from users’ workstations, content management systems, mainframe systems and file systems. Look for solutions that met FIPS 140-2 compliance and been operated in SIPR and NIPR CAC environments within U.S. Department of Defense organizations.
  • Compliance and data governance: It is possible to simplify audits with automated reports and support chain of custody initiatives through capture and print workflows. A full, centralized audit trail of all documents—printed, scanned, and faxed (via fax server)—from the MFDs can ensure that the protection of sensitive information and to provide data for reporting metrics.

Additionally, when MFDs are incorporated as part of a broader intelligent automation platform, there are other benefits to agencies that include:

  • Reduced costs and optimized workflows: Organizations can drive incremental value to existing infrastructure by consolidating technology and automating business processes to increase efficiency and productivity
  • Intelligent process orchestration: Organizations can integrate business process management (BPM) to transform process automation across entire enterprise document management workflows. Look for solutions that can integrate with mainframe systems, the Composite Health Care System (CHCS), the Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application (AHLTA),and other back-end systems.

Work like tomorrow—today

Printers aren’t just printers anymore—today, they serve as the launch point of an agency’s enterprisewide digital transformation. Leveraging secure content-aware print and capture capabilities, along with industry-leading intelligent automation, can enable public sector organizations to have full-scale enterprise automation starting at the MFD. The result will be  improved mission performance and a greater return on investment for the MFD, all while enhancing security and compliance.

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