We all know that small and mid-size business owners wear many hats. That means a lot of responsibilities, and plenty of weight on their shoulders. Xerox recently collaborated with third party research firm Coleman Parkes to survey more than 1,000 companies in the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany to learn more about their unique challenges, and to better spot opportunities in the making. The respondents ranged from operations managers, IT managers and owners to CTOs, painting a clear picture of the critical needs of today’s SMB.

So what is keeping SMB owners awake at night? If you’re among them, the answer probably won’t surprise you. Their concerns are myriad, but three clear standouts topped the list, starting with paper to digital.

Anytime, Anyplace, On the Go

Remote is how we prefer to work these days – any time, any place we choose, and we expect the same level of connectivity regardless of where we access our work emails, join conference calls and print documents. 23% of survey respondents envision their mobile devices being integrated with their workflow processes by 2018. 66% include printing in their mobility initiatives, and 27% more will do so in within the year. Yet keeping up with a world increasingly on the go is also a complex undertaking with more than a 1/3 who don’t yet include mobile printing in their mobility initiatives (nearly 40% in the US).

Xerox Mobile Print helps bridge any mobile device to any brand of printer, giving remote workers the convenience and efficiency they need to get the job done, and helping small businesses boost their productivity for every worker, in the office or remotely. Its high level of security also means you can rest easily on those rare occasions when you’re not working at all.

Safety First

Which brings us to the topic of security which is top of mind for almost every SMB.

The research from Coleman Parkes elaborates more on security and examples of unintended scenarios showed that an alarming 46% of companies do not include multifunction printers (MFPs) within their security strategies, yet printers and MFPs may constitute the biggest security threat in the office. Here are the top threats – and opportunities – related to digital security.

  • Network Security – Hackers can access your network via peripherals, making proper network security critical to preventing unauthorized remote access and protecting confidential data.
  • Device Access –Open access devices, including unprotected printers, can be a huge security threat. Business owners must have the ability to grant or deny access if they want to protect their information. Public device access is a welcome mat for hackers.
  • Data security – Keeping personal and confidential information safe as it passes to, from, and through the device, helps to not only protect your data, but helps businesses maintain compliance with applicable industry or government compliance rules and regulations.
  • Document Security – Safeguard hardcopy and electronic documents by ensuring they are received and viewed only by the intended recipient.

Xerox MFPs equipped with ConnectKey® Technology take the guesswork out of securing critical information. With ConnectKey, Xerox became the first company in the industry to offer McAfee whitelisting technology for multifunction printers, helping businesses detect unauthorized access and tampering, and providing a single point of reference for monitoring, alerts and reporting. From HD encryption to secure print and email connectivity, ConnectKey® Technology offers a host of ways to protect your critical business information.

The Demand for Digital

From restaurateurs to family physicians, every business owner has been impacted by the shift from paper processes to digital. It is a fundamental shift in how we live, how we connect with others, and how we do business every day, in every industry. This has made a huge impact on our personal lives; acclimating one’s business to these changes can be even more complicated.

Research from Coleman Parkes showed that nearly every business surveyed wanted to increase their productivity through improved workflows, with more than 80% hoping to improve their current document workflows processes within the next year. The question for each of them is where to begin? Combatting a shift of this magnitude requires a sound, thoughtful strategy from someone who understands it fluently. Xerox gets it and leads the industry with expertise, insight and technology innovation.

Only 1 in 5 survey respondents were aware of existing paper-free solutions in the market, making channel partners a valuable resource in a rapidly changing world. As SMBs embark on their digitization journey, it’s important to understand how technology – such as apps on printers and managed print services – can support their vision and strategy to achieve successful digital transformation.

Multifunction printers enabled with ConnectKey® Technology include a wide range of time and money saving solutions that also help to boost productivity, like scan to cloud email and the Xerox® Scanning App for Docushare®. And those are just the beginning. You’ll find a world of apps that are easy to use, and simple to understand and implement, making their impact big while keeping the learning curve small.

Perhaps the most important component of digitization is Managed Print Services (MPS). 42% of survey respondents have MPS in place, while another 40% plant to adopt MPS within 12 months. More so than print, the right MPS starts with device optimization to save costs. It then leverages capabilities, innovation and automation for better document security, productivity and sustainability.

To learn more about how Xerox can help you overcome the three biggest challenges facing small businesses today, visit us at Xerox.com or contact your channel partner today.

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