Cloud, cloud, cloud. It’s one of those phrases we see everywhere now, so much so we don’t see it at all. It’s become as common as, well…clouds.

Most people tune out buzzwords unless they’re specific to our interests and concerns. If your interest lies in business documents, the information they hold, and the workflows that move them, you have good reason to pay attention to this cloud story.

Document Infrastructure Isn’t Easy
Let’s start with why cloud matters to document workflow. Businesses continue to face challenges with launching and maintaining both with hardware and software aspects of document infrastructure. Why cloud matters is that cloud services and platforms help solve these and other issues:

  • The cost to host and manage solutions continues to increase.
  • The time and energy to research technologies and the expense to bring older systems up to date are prohibitive.
  • Existing solutions often run outdated versions minus important patches and updates.
  • Limited resources compromise updates and the ability to introduce new solutions.
  • Deployment plans sometimes neglect to fully implement or test backup and disaster recovery systems, leaving vulnerabilities.
  • Corporate security limits and sometimes restricts external connectivity and access to corporate systems. This is one of the biggest business drivers for cloud adoption.

Reducing Complexity
Cloud-based services have become part of the push to remove complexity from document-centric workflows, while making them easier to acquire. When cloud-hosted as an on-site software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering, document management technology drives cost out of your operation, while increasing your productivity through simpler workflow.

Cloud-based document services enable automated, repeatable processes that can be deployed and managed with less stress and expense on your organization. Standardized document processes support workflow optimization, risk assessment and audit reporting. Another outcome is faster delivery of information to customers, suppliers, agents and others, which fosters loyalty and satisfaction.

What To Look For In Cloud-Based Document Platforms
What else should you look for in cloud-based document workflow services and platforms? Here are some of the essentials:

  • Intelligent Capture: Do the processes help transform information on paper into flexible digital content?
  • Protected File Storage: Can captured information be made available to authorized users through password-protected access?
  • Audit and Compliance: Does the document management process support compliance by providing access to documentation for regulatory and audit requirements?
  • Index and Search: Once the system extracts meaning and value from scanned documents, is information automatically indexed and stored in a searchable format?
  • Mobile Access: Does it enable anywhere-anytime content access, so employees can better manage, process and share documents?
  • Integration: Does the platform easily integrated with your environment, including your MFP, laptop and smartphones?

What’s on the Market Today
Configuration, implementation and support services are included in some of the latest offerings on the market. These solutions support process optimization, risk assessment and audit reporting.

Xerox has two new cloud-based offerings developed to provide document management and workflow automation at the personal and enterprise levels. Xerox DocuShare Private Cloud Service is a cloud-delivered Enterprise Content Management and Process Automation solution.

Xerox also just announced a private cloud version of its Xerox Digital Alternatives personal workflow automation service. The solution can either be deployed on premise or in a Xerox hosted private cloud and can integrate tightly with other components of the wider enterprise IT infrastructure.

Look to MPS Providers for Answers
Strongly consider partnering with a vendor who also provides Managed Print Services to smoothly integrate device capture technology into your cloud environment. By combining a variety of resources — hardware, software and expertise — the right partner can accelerate process automation by capturing, storing, sharing and transforming paper-based and electronic documents. When cloud-based document management is combined with Managed Print Services, your multifunction printers can be leveraged to provide turnkey content management.

Whether you start with personal document workflows or something bigger, look to the cloud for a very compelling strategy for enterprise document management, or even your digital transformation. Cloud underpins all the other aspects of digital transformation – mobile, social, big data – which makes it a word worth noticing.