Research firm IDC has reported that this year, for the first time ever, sales of mobile devices are predicted to surpass those of traditional desktop and laptop computers, and 85 billion downloads of mobile apps are predicted to generate more revenue than the mainstream computing market. 

Each day, each month and each quarter sees an ever-increasing number of individuals being added to the millions who already tap into cloud services to print, upload document captures, convert documents and send them.

The ease of management and the unlimited server capacity offered with cloud services in conjunction with the high functionality of mobile devices, is a powerful combination that results in a growing need for the hybrid management of documents.

Cracking the mobile printing conundrum

Mobile printing is complex. Smart phones and other mobile devices usually have no on-board print functions and rely on either a cloud service or an e-mail service to render print jobs at multi-function printers. Solution providers are left to solve the issue of how to connect mobile devices to Multi Function Printers (MFPs), which means device acquisition either by proximity location services or by building server-based directories.

The rapid adoption of cloud services and the incredible rise in use of mobile devices in the enterprise are creating increasingly diversified document workflow patterns. The demand is becoming greater for solutions that provide both ‘anytime, anywhere’ access and the ease of use of digitised documents, but also the functionality and necessity of paper documents.

The MFP device itself is built to support hybrid processes of managing documents, with its capabilities to copy, print, fax and scan. The solution sale to accompany the device should, in turn, be constructed to take advantage of this benefit.

MFPs at the heart of the scan and print workflows

Print workflows and scan workflows are distinct activities. But when viewed within the context of business processes – and executed via the central ‘hub’ of a networked MFP – the process overlap becomes clear. When presented with the decision of whether to print or scan – and having the software in place at every MFP to make each process as efficient as possible – users will overwhelmingly make the best choice to perform the task in the most productive way.

Hybrid management of documents is already in place today in many companies, and is being expanded by cloud services adoption. However, it is happening on its own, not by design. Using the MFP as the ‘hub’ for the hybrid management of documents and providing the necessary software solutions to holistically control documents, both printed and electronic, wherever they reside – on the network or in the cloud – will unleash new revenue potential as organisations begin to put structure around this new, hybrid approach to the management of documents.

The challenge in 2012 is to inform more end-users about the role of mobile in the hybrid management of documents. By doing so, companies can save money and sustain their business, while ushering in added business efficiency through the devices most commonly used by their staff.