Businesses Find Need for Printers, Even in the Digital Age

According to an InfoTrends study, a company handling 5,000 printed pages per month will spend, on average, more than $27,000 on printed document management.

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Business owners and decision-makers use their printers more often than commonly thought, according to two surveys completed for Brother International by Wakefield Research and InfoTrends.

Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of business owners and decision-makers at companies with 500 employees or less use their printing devices at least four times a day, according to the survey by Wakefield.

In addition, nearly half (49 percent) of the respondents in the Wakefield survey prefer to read documents on a printed piece of paper.

Internal corporate departments such as human resources, accounting and legal rely heavily on hard-copy documents for processes such as employee onboarding, invoicing and note taking, according to the InfoTrends study.

"Some of the major verticals that continue to print include health care, retail and wholesale; and to a lesser degree, government and education still continue to print a variety of applications," Jeff Sandler, director of solutions marketing at Brother, told eWEEK. "And again, all companies continue to print, but you may see it more concentrated within selected departments and application and workflow specific."

The InfoTrends study also indicated that companies are investing heavily in document workflow and management.

According to the study, a hypothetical company handling 5,000 printed pages per month will spend, on average, more than $27,000 on printed document management.

On the whole, organizations report plans to cut back on print spending over the next couple of years at an annual rate of 5 percent, although the construction (2 percent) and hospitality (1 percent) industries are expecting print spending to grow.

The InfoTrends survey also shows that the overwhelming majority of companies maintain hard-copy files for purchasing (93 percent), expense reporting (85 percent), accounts receivable (86 percent), accounts payable (86 percent) and sales operations (80 percent).

"The Internet of Things is not necessarily new to the printing business. Networked print devices have been making a long and fruitful journey from corporate networks to small offices and workgroups for over 20 years," Sandler said. "Wireless printers for small offices and home/personal use are also very common today, but before people started to install wireless networks, [they were] much less common."

He explained that the IoT for printing today has created an entirely new model of convenience for the consumer that would have been hard to imagine just a few years ago.

"This has enabled the introduction of subscription-based programs like Amazon Dash [a shopping button on the Amazon app]—it is really just the extension of the one-bill-for-service concept, much like a cell phone or car lease, that is being readily embraced by consumers," Sandler said.