Trends in Business Document Workflow Automation and Optimization Vary by Vertical Industry, Company Size, and by MPS Type, IDC Study Finds

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., April 9, 2014 – As the hardcopy industry shifts its focus from hardware to business document workflow automation and optimization, a recent International Data Corporation (IDC) user survey has identified important trends that can help providers sharpen their solutions development focus and go-to-market investments.

The research shows clear patterns in which business processes are being automated and digitized and how these patterns vary by vertical industry, company size, and how advanced the managed print services (MPS) contract is (ie, Managed Print and Document Services (MPDS) vs. Basic Print Services (BPS)).

Key findings from the survey include the following:

  • The top business processes being automated and digitized over both the past 12 months and the next 12 months are heavily back-office oriented, but also include front-office sales and marketing/customer communications. The latter two areas are hardly targeted by hardcopy vendors/partners and represent significant missed opportunities, according to Angèle Boyd, Group Vice President and General Manager of IDC’s Document Solutions, Imaging/Printing & SMB research practices. One or both areas are opportunities in Retail, Services, Manufacturing, Financial Services, Healthcare, and small and mid-size firms.
  • Automating certain back-office business processes is far more common in some verticals. For example, regulatory/compliance processes are tier 1 or 2 priorities for Financial Services, Healthcare, Government, and large enterprises (1000+ employees). Legal processes are tier 1 or 2 priorities for Healthcare, Retail, Education, Financial Services, Services, and large enterprises (1000+ employees).
  • MPS is far more correlated with automating/optimizing many business document processes than not having it. But, within MPS, advanced MPS is more associated with vertical-specific processes and basic MPS is more associated with horizontal ones.
  • A print volume reduction initiative is correlated with automating/optimizing most of the 13 business processes. Exceptions suggest that those processes are being automated/optimized for other reasons, or that the companies automating/digitizing them are less concerned with reducing print.

The IDC study, Business Workflow Automation By Vertical, Company Size, MPDS/BPS, Print Volume Reduction – Past and Next 12 Months (IDC #247483), is one of a series of end-user studies based on an IDC online survey of 421 U.S. companies across company sizes and vertical industries about automating and optimizing various business document processes. This particular study analyzes business document workflow automation and optimization, by company size, vertical industry, type of MPS contract, and whether the company has a paper reduction initiative in place or not.

About IDC

International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 1,000 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. In 2014, IDC celebrates its 50th anniversary of providing strategic insights to help clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world’s leading technology media, research, and events company. You can learn more about IDC by visiting

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