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Issue of December 2004 

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Document Management

All for one, one for all

Group at table

Here's an interesting statistic to chew on maintenance costs account for 200 percent of the total capital cost of a printer. If you add the paper cost to the capital cost, you have a printer which during five years will consume the same money that you would have to shell out for a high-end Multi-Functional Device (MFD).

According to IDC, 1.2 million printers were shipped to India during 2003. In the last quarter of calendar year 2003, the unit shipments break-up between the different printer formats was as follows: Inkjets at 1,46,000 units, Dot-Matrix Printers (DMPs) 91,000 units and laser printers 41,000 units. Growth projections by IDC are pegged at 14 percent CAGR each for inkjet and laser printers, and a negative three percent CAGR for dot matrix printers till 2007. Put into perspective, the maintenance costs and the amount of paper churned out by these machines would be enormous.

Costs and MFDs

The fifth technology track, Document Management, highlighted the issue of printing costs and the role MFDs could play in document management. The use of MFDs aids the process of document management when combined with document management software. MFDs can provide capabilities to process, index, store and manage all types of documents. These include scanned documents, electronic documents and computer outputs.

Other factors spurring the growth of MFDs in the document management space are decreasing acquisition and operation costs. With prices falling to affordable levels, MFDs are today seen as the first choice as an input device for many document management solutions.

MFDs are one of the most vibrant segments within the Indian peripherals market; they are and will continue to be one of the biggest growth drivers for vendors. IDC says that inkjet MFDs are expected to grow at a CAGR of around 82 percent between 2004 and 2006; laser MFDs will grow at a CAGR of around 40 percent during the same period.

According to Ramadorai, Director, CMS Computers Limited, "The challenge is to make this technology more affordable. If we have to increase the penetration of laser MFDs, one obvious thing to do is make the technology more affordable. You will see some changes in price points by virtue of which the technology becomes affordable." To effectively manage printing and documents, organizations should also look into security aspects like patch management and secure access.

The case for outsourcing

The discussion also included the growing trend of outsourcing printing activities. Noted Ramadorai, "For organizations printing millions of documents annually, outsourcing is the most cost-effective option." Other topics like the affordability of color printing options were also discussed.

Sudhir Salian, Head, Retail and Strategy, ICICI Lombard observed, "It is interesting to note that eighty percent of the color printers are used for black and white printing. Once this anomaly is sorted out, and resources are shared for printing, it could help save costs for organizations."

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