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How to enable today’s mobile workers for success

By Ken Van Aelst   

Construction Software mobile print mobile worker mobile. mobile device Ryerson University

An architect reviewing plans at construction site on digital tablet

According to a Ryerson University survey, 70 per cent of Canadian employees are mobile in some way (physically) and this is expected to increase to 73 per cent in 2016. As enterprises move to an increasingly mobile workforce, they face the challenge of adapting legacy document workflow to a mobile document environment. Employees today are only as mobile as the process allows them to be. Without a mobile strategy that includes document workflow, device use by mobile workers might be limited to making calls and checking email.

For a successful outcome, two issues must be resolved: how to integrate mobile usage into an existing enterprise workflow, and how to print from a tablet or other device when the task requires it. Workers can be more responsive and productive when they have the documents they need anywhere, anytime.

A Next Generation Managed Print Services engagement is a logical place to start. The reason is that a Next Gen MPS provider is already thinking in terms of the totality of your document output environment and the processes connected to it. When considered as part of a total MPS offering, mobile print becomes a means of helping employees get work done more efficiently by providing document accessibility without compromising information security.


For mobile print, start with managed print

Integrating mobile workflow with existing legacy processes sounds complicated, and it’s certainly nothing to jump into without preparation. This is where an MPS vendor can fill in the gaps. Next Generation MPS is as much about document processes as it is about document output. Lean on the assessment tools and offerings from thought leaders in the MPS space. With these resources, they can look deeper into your document environment and uncover ways to incorporate mobile print into your MPS, and by extension, into your business processes.

Further complicating the situation are processes that use hybrid documents. In some processes, documents are born digital, then become paper and eventually convert back to digital. For example, a contract may be auto-filled online, printed for a signature, then scanned into the customer database. Sometimes paper documents turn digital and stay that way. This could be a medical record scanned into an EMR system. Dealing with enterprise workflow requires you to manage the transitions between the two forms. A workflow analysis by your MPS provider can lead to better understanding of the transitions between paper and digital and back.

However, that’s just part of it. Now you also have to consider document fluidity in mobile work environments. You can’t enable a mobile workflow strategy without first considering the processes in which employees work. Again, turn to your MPS vendor to identify and solve a mobile process gap or inefficiency.

Optimize mobile workflow

Just as you optimize processes to increase productivity and streamline service, now you can start thinking in terms of how to do the same with mobile workflow. Aim for a mobile strategy that increases productivity by keeping users connected to their enterprise document workflows. What are the points where a mobile worker touches enterprise content? tent? How can you solve business challenges, optimize service and reduce costs by leveraging mobile workflow? Identify processes that could benefit from giving workers, business partners or even customers the ability to print from any mobile device to any printer.


Ken Van Aelst is the Vice President of Eastern Operations for Xerox Canada, experts in engineering the flow of work to help clients achieve greater efficiency and productivity and realize better business results. He is based in Montreal.


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