Despite the IT industry's best efforts to set the world on a paperless path, people still conduct business using physical documents.
Inundated on a daily basis with piles of paper—medical forms, legal contracts, and handwritten receipts—small businesses must capture it all digitally, and then incorporate the information into their collaboration, accounting, and business process software.
Forming a bridge between paper-based transactions and electronic workflows, HP Inc., the PC and printer focused company that emerged from Hewlett-Packard's recent split, announced a new Android app and a trio of ScanJet Pro scanners designed to help SMBs quickly turn stacks of documents into productivity-boosting digital files.
Mobile Scanning App: Point, Shoot, and Work
In January, HP plans to release its JetAdvantage Capture App for Android. The free app will let small business owners incorporate mobile document scanning into their cloud collaboration software.
According to Jordi Padros, future-product marketing manager for HP Jet Advantage Solutions, HP's "small business customers typically deal with lower transaction volumes" compared to larger firms, making it tough for them to justify investing in scanning hardware and document management services. In general, they also lack "the scale or capacity to deploy the infrastructure" required to support document scanning on a large scale.
On the flipside, SMBs are "shifting to mobile and cloud faster than enterprise customers," Padros told Small Business Computing. This approach to acquiring IT capabilities lets small businesses "scale faster as they grow," he said. And not being tied down by hefty upfront IT investments "gives them more agility" as circumstances change or as new market opportunities emerge.
With this in mind, HP developed its new JetAdvantage Capture App. Simply using an Android smartphone's camera, mobile workers can "capture documents quickly and easily," Padros. They can then email or upload their scans to any of the big four cloud-storage services, namely Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, or Microsoft OneDrive. The app's built-in Page Lift technology automatically crops, rotates, and cleans up the images, delivering scanned documents that look as though they were fed through a physical scanner, Padros said. A shortcut wizard lets you customize and streamline in-app workflows. You can also use the JetAdvantage Capture App as a control panel, of sorts, for Wi-Fi-connected HP multifunction printers (MFP) and scanners.
HP's ScanJet Pro 2500 f1; one of three new scanners designed to help small businesses turn paper forms into digital records.
Leaner, Meaner Small Business Scanners
With an eye toward SMBs with desk-based paper document workloads, HP announced three new ScanJet Pros with scan-to-cloud-and-network support. They also feature smaller physical footprints and better performance compared to their predecessors, according to Kris Provencio, future-product marketing manager at HP Inc. LaserJet and Enterprise Solutions.
The new ScanJet Pro 2500 f1, a personal, PC-connected, flatbed desktop scanner, includes an automatic document feeder designed to handle about 1,500 pages per day (ppd). HP claims the machine supports one-pass duplex scanning and can scan up to 40 pages per minute (ppm).
Provencio recommends the 2500 f1 for front-office scanning tasks that require customer interaction, or for office workers that frequently scan documents.
Take the department of motor vehicles, for example. "If they take documentation from you, they have to walk over to a multifunction printer [to scan it]," leaving customers alone, unattended, and facing increased wait times. With the ScanJet Pro 2500 f1, "you can get similar functionality on your desk," said Provencio. "It's a convenience thing."
The ScanJet Pro 3500 f1 takes a step up the feature ladder. With a 3,000 ppd duty cycle, speeds of up to 50 ppm, and USB 3.0 port, the 3500 f1 is designed for general office scanning. It also ships with HP's EveryPage ultrasonic sensor technology, which helps avoid paper misfeeds. "It makes sure that when you put a document in the ADF [automatic document feeder], it scans in every page as expected," said Provencio.
The new ScanJet 4500 fn1 cranks out up to 60 ppm with a duty cycle of 4000 ppd. Designed for SMBs with heavier paper workloads, this network-connected scanner features a flatbed that supports legal-sized documents, a color touch-control panel and scanning to email and network folders capabilities. HP ScanJet Pro 2500 f1 and 3500 f1 are available now for $299 and $549, respectively. The ScanJet 4500 fn1 ships next month with a price of $899.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Small Business Computing. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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