Fujitsu calls paperless office a myth

With the release of its ScanSnap fi-5110EOX document-scanning device, Fujitsu Canada Inc. of Mississauga, Ont., is trying to convey to the market that paper does not necessarily lead to inefficiency at the office.

According to a white paper written by John W. Hoye Jr., director, business development

at PFU Systems, a company owned by Fujitsu, technology advancements including the wide distribution of electronic content through the worldwide Web and low cost distributed printing technologies have generated more paper utilization in the office than ever before.

Hoye added that contrary to widely held belief that paper is somehow at the root of all productivity and efficiency problems, businesses are now beginning to understand that paper can serve a very important role in the flow of ideas and information around the office.

John Hay, the newly promoted national sales manager, imaging products for Fujitsu Canada, said the SnapScan product compliments paper use. “”We don’t want to eliminate paper. It serves a crucial role in the process of thinking. The goal is to have less paper not to completely eliminate it.””

He added that companies could take steps to reduce its paper consumption by simply making fewer photocopies and implementing a document archive system.

This is where resellers come in. Hay said Fujitsu is encouraging its reseller network to do more consulting in the area of document archiving using the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) format.

“”This is not an off the shelf solution,”” he said. “”You have to get into the organization and understand their paper documents needs. It can cross a lot of boundaries and it is a collaboration type of sale.””

Typical document archiving solutions require a database and a network that can support not only the database, but also scanning devices such as the SnapScan. On top of that, resellers must educate the customer on a new business process, Hay said.

The SnapScan has margin potential of around 15 per cent, but resellers can earn more by implementing a document archival system, Hay said.

He added that these types of sales have a six month sales cycle.

Besides debunking the paperless office theory, Hay added there are other more compelling reasons for resellers to start pushing document archival systems such as new regulatory compliance laws that came out of the Enron and several other accounting scandals in 2003 and for disaster recovery.

“”From and disaster recovery standpoint many people remember all those documents flying around New York during 9/11,”” Hay said.

CitiBank, for example, had an office across from the World Trade Center and they managed to recover their documents within two days because they implement a document archival system, Hay said.

The SnapScan has a new form factor and is capable of handling 15 pages per minute. It comes with higher optical resolution and one button functionality that automatically coverts paper documents and even photos into PDF. The unit’s feeder tray accepts portrait documents as well as business cards and can detect if they are colour or in landscape and saves them as such in PDF.

Priced at just under $700, the ScanSnap has full duplexing capability. Fujitsu is also offering a $75 end user rebate to all Canadian ScanSnap customers through September 3, 2004.

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