Two items on the news ticker this morning once again served as an oft-needed reminder that managing information as often involves older, more established technologies as it does the latest and greatest inventions.
Rather than delve into the specifics of the individually less-than-titillating headlines, let’s focus instead on the fact that one had to do with a fax server solution and the other on the use of the Apple iPad as a repository access device.
Chances are, you don’t spend tons of time thinking about how best to handle the sending and receiving of faxes. However, the medium they represent is far from becoming a historical relic – according to Research and Markets, in fact, the computer-based fax market will grow from $350 million in 2010 to $620 million in 2015. This growth is pegged in part to drivers that increasingly have less to do with paper than network connectivity, and by extension to process efficiencies and compliance imperatives.
This same factor is at work on the iPad side of the equation, for the ever-growing spread of broadband wireless and cellular networks is making it increasingly necessary to embrace tablets and smartphones as information system clients. Technologically, these would appear to be light years away from fax-capable machines. But in many cases, both serve essentially the same purpose: to capture and/or share information that is needed to fulfill some business purpose.
So if your inclination is to dismiss anything with the word “fax” in its body as being too outdated to warrant your attention, please don’t. It is entirely possible that someone in your organization is relying on this distinctly unsexy tool as completely as someone else is rushing to find a use for his or her fancy new tablet. But you won’t know the consequences of your omission until the compliance or financial auditors come a-knocking, and you surely don’t want to find out in that hardest of ways.
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