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Altron Document Solutions launches EME/QSE partnership programme in SA

Altron Document Solutions, the world’s largest Xerox distributor and Africa’s leading technology and services company, has launched a new partnership programme specifically for ICT-specialist exempt micro enterprises (EMEs) and qualifying small enterprises (QSEs) as part of its broader broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) social outreach, diversity and responsibility initiative.

Spearheaded by Altron Document Solutions Business Development Manager for SOE and Government, Zandile Poyo, the EME/QSE partnership programme invites all qualifying companies – EMEs with R5 million or greater annual turnover and QSEs with R10 million turnover – to actively work with Altron in creating a new parallel channel for local enterprise and public sector tenders.

“We face multiple difficult challenges in South Africa in the form of unemployment, skills shortages and lack of access to services and resources that we, as established service providers and successful South African corporate businesses, are morally and commercially obligated to help solve,” says Poyo.

“At the same time, most of the tenders for the provision of ICT services to large enterprise and public sector organisations specify subcontracting to EMEs or QSEs as part of their B-BBEE mandates,” she says. “But there’s a bottleneck in delivering these services because the scale of these projects often means EMEs and QSEs don’t have the necessary resources to fulfil them on their own, and many large corporates don’t have established relationships with vetted and qualified EMEs or QSEs equipped to meter out these services on their behalf.

“In both cases, opportunities to ramp up service delivery and contribute to the type of growth that directly addresses the challenges we’re facing as a country and industry, are being lost.”

Poyo says the partnership programme is intended to change the status quo, capitalise on these lost opportunities and actively contribute and grow the ICT entrepreneurial community from grassroots level up by creating a countrywide network of trained, skilled and qualified EMEs/QSEs with the full backing of a pan-African OEM organisation.

“The first step for us is to identify potential EME and QSE partners, and actively reach out and engage them about the benefits of joining forces with Altron Document Solutions,” says Poyo. “Depending on their size and skillsets, we’ll initially work together to skill them up on how to on-sell Xerox equipment and provide managed services to their customers. The path is then open, as they grow and progress, for partners to take on account management duties, and eventually become full-blown Altron Document Solutions value-added resellers (VARs).”

For its part, Altron Document Solutions will provide EME and QSE partners with access to the group’s nationwide resources and consulting teams. A new onboarding and training programme has also been developed exclusively for the EME/QSE programme and is already being rolled out to a handful of initial partners. As part of the programme, partners will also have access to business development skills, including help with putting bids together, access to OEM resources, and additional staffing support for their own projects.

Altron Document Solutions represents the complete range of Xerox document equipment, software solutions and services to 26 sub-Saharan Africa countries, so qualifying EMEs and QSEs should ideally be aligned with these types of services, either directly or with complementary networking, communications or similar ICT services.

“It’s important for us that all of our EME and QSE partners are properly vetted and that everything we do is above board, in keeping with the values of honesty and transparency we live by as part of the Altron Group,” says Poyo. “We’re not interested in winning bids with brown paper bags; this is a serious endeavour with the ultimate beneficiaries being the communities our partners work within and the families they support.”

Do you own or manage a qualifying EME or QSE? For more information on how to join the Altron Document Solutions EME/QSE partner programme, contact Zandile Poyo directly on Jo’burg (011)928 9135 or by email on Zandile.Poyo@altron.com.

Altron Document Solutions

Altron Document Solutions (ADS) is Africa’s leading document management technology and services company and the largest Xerox distributor in the world. It is the authorised Xerox distributor in 26 sub-Saharan countries offering the complete range of Xerox document equipment, software solutions and services. ADS forms part of JSE-listed Allied Electronics Corporation (Altron).

https://www.bdsol.co.za/

Xerox Corporation

Xerox Holdings Corporation (NYSE: XRX) makes every day work better. We are a workplace technology company building and integrating software and hardware for enterprises large and small. As customers seek to manage information across digital and physical platforms, Xerox delivers a seamless, secure and sustainable experience. Whether inventing the copier, Ethernet, the laser printer or more, Xerox has long defined the modern work experience. Learn how that innovation continues at xerox.com.

Cloud migration vital to fast-track transition to digital workplace, says Altron Document Solutions

Before the pandemic, various digital technologies and capabilities were already permeating the physical workplace.

Companies needed to accommodate an increasingly mobile workforce who need to access information via different platforms and devices, while also integrating a growing number of peripheral devices as the Internet of things (IOT) grew.

While cloud transformation approaches varied, most businesses had already embraced elements of cloud computing. Organisations understood the many benefits offered from this technology deployment model, such as the cost and operational efficiencies and greater flexibility and agility. And, they sought to leverage these advantages.

Then COVID-19 changed the dynamic. Meeting lockdown restrictions and social distancing requirements substantially accelerated the need and urgency for businesses to transition to the cloud.

Piecemeal approach

Businesses enabled work-from-home capabilities with various cloud technologies, often in a piecemeal approach.

Now that the dust has settled, business leaders have a clearer understanding of their cloud requirements, and they understand the complexity of transitioning from a physical to a digital workplace.

Organisations that find themselves in this situation need to create a strategic cloud transformation roadmap to realise end-to-end cloud capabilities. However, many businesses don’t know where to start.

In addition, every cloud transformation initiative holds inherent challenges, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. More importantly, any digital adoption roadmap must achieve its objectives without impacting operations. It must remain business as usual while organisations untether themselves from the constraints of the physical workplace.

Achieving transition without disruption

This process typically begins with a thorough assessment of an organisation’s current cloud capabilities and existing IT assets and real estate.

This process reveals how companies can leverage existing assets and sweat sunk investments in existing infrastructure and legacy systems while identifying the enabling technologies required to migrate clients from on-premises systems to the hosted environment.

This cloud readiness assessment must also include a thorough understanding of the structure of a company’s on-site content and information and all data-related processes and procedures. This analysis should look at data holistically to guide subsequent data segmentation and classification initiatives and identify the underlying technologies required to implement and support digital migration.

In this regard, Xerox’s cloud-enabled Intelligent Workplace Services (IWS) solution offers the ideal tool to bridge the physical and virtual work environments. An IWS solution should include applications that can utilise existing hardware to digitise physical documents and records and simplify document management.

These capabilities deliver immediate cost benefits as they leverage physical assets to support a company’s digital migration, thereby mitigating the need to invest in additional assets to realise its strategic cloud transformation objectives.

IWS solution functionality includes easy capturing capabilities from multifunction printers, scanners and mobile devices, and document classification using meta-data and tags. Upfront data classification is vital because it streamlines data storage directly to the cloud. This process automatically applies rules related to accessibility, editing and sharing, enhance security and compliance, and simplifies integration in the cloud with automated onboarding.

Going public

As companies migrate more content to the cloud, they can start to transition away from on-premises hosted solutions and migrate certain services, data and documentation to the public cloud. The public cloud offers greater flexibility and agility, allowing businesses to implement the next phase in their digitisation plans based on their specific requirements and maturity level.

For instance, with more content and records in the cloud, a document management solution enables mobility. It also provides remote or mobile employees with secure access to critical information from any location via any device or platform.

And staff gain instant access to templates and additional functionality, such as virtual signatures, which significantly improves the user experience and increases the speed at which they can complete tasks.

However, businesses can also choose to retain control of sensitive content, customer data or applications by maintaining certain on-premises solutions with a hybrid cloud deployment model.

Individualised requirements

The specific cloud topology will vary depending on a business’s individualised requirements. And migrating data and services to the cloud offers multiple configuration options based on their level of complexity and their maturity level.

And, once in the cloud, businesses gain unlimited scalability from a services point of view. The solution can grow with the business without onerous upfront capital expenditure by allowing organisations to consume services on-demand.

And cloud migration positions businesses favourably to easily integrate additional solutions to enhance their digital capabilities. For instance, companies can integrate intelligent content management solutions that automate alerts for contract retention period reminders or rental lease renewals, as examples.

It also becomes possible to analyse digitised company data using analytics tools to yield critical insights and apply a proactive lens to data in real-time to inform strategic decisions, rather than retrospectively analysing data.

While this is the utopian vision for end-to-end cloud enablement, the journey to this point starts by leveraging IWS capabilities to transition one workflow at a time to the cloud, based on an organisation’s budget or adoption constraints.

Altron Document Solutions

Altron Document Solutions (ADS) is Africa’s leading document management technology and services company and the largest Xerox distributor in the world. It is the authorised Xerox distributor in 26 sub-Saharan countries offering the complete range of Xerox document equipment, software solutions and services. ADS forms part of JSE-listed Allied Electronics Corporation (Altron).

https://www.bdsol.co.za/

Xerox

Xerox Holdings Corporation (NYSE: XRX) makes every day work better. We are a workplace technology company building and integrating software and hardware for enterprises large and small. As customers seek to manage information across digital and physical platforms, Xerox delivers a seamless, secure and sustainable experience. Whether inventing the copier, Ethernet, the laser printer or more, Xerox has long defined the modern work experience. Learn how that innovation continues at xerox.com.

Print environment analytics boosts efficiency, curbs costs

Effective, proactive analytics in the document management and print environment has become a priority for global organisations seeking to adapt and optimise their environments in the new normal.

This is according to Tosi Fasinro, Global Lead Analytics & Insight at Xerox Services, who says now more than ever before, organisations are looking for assistance to transition to the new normal of flexible workplaces and new financial constraints. “Those that use the right analytics tools, people and processes effectively will be those that ultimately succeed,” he says.

Fasinro says the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed office environments. “It hastened the speed of digital transformation and has also driven organisations to look at re-optimising their assets to meet their new flexible workplace needs.”

In the document management and print environment, optimisation means much more than controlling costs incurred through excessive or unnecessary printing. Fasinro explains: “Printing is part of a workflow process, so by analysing the environment and print volumes, we can map workflows and identify ways to make processes as efficient and automated as possible.

Cost is always a big factor for organisations, but the costs they see are just the tip of the iceberg. There are costs associated with fleet management, life cycle and storage. In addition to impacting running costs, the print environment impacts productivity, efficiency, environmental and sustainability goals, as well as enterprise risk and information security. With effective analytics, all of these areas can be improved.”

Jonathan Osbourne, Altron Document Solutions head of sales, says local customers are increasingly seeing the benefits of deploying analytics on their networks. “Without analytics, they might have to look at print volumes across all the printers in the organisation – and there could be thousands of them – wasting time and money. They would then have to look at print and scan volumes, then go to the sites and speak to people about what processes the device helps them conduct. To do a proper, thorough assessment in this way could take months, so it’s very difficult for them to get ahead of the curve without analytics. When they deploy analytics on the network, they can extract the history and within hours have a trend analysis, see what departments print and scan the most; and within a week they can produce a very accurate ROI report and get accurate insights into areas where they can reduce unnecessary print.”

With a track record of over 20 years as a trusted managed print services partner, Xerox takes a leadership role in showing how analytics can help address key business challenges.

“Our technologies, people and processes enable two key areas – device analytics and user-based analytics,” he says. “Device analytics looks at factors such as how many machines there are, print volumes, environmental impact and power consumption. Then when you move through to user-based analytics, it really gets interesting – analysing what individual users and departments are actually doing from a usage point of view. It reports on the types of applications being used, when they print, and where they are printing from. This provides valuable insights to various decision-makers – from the information security team through to the environmental officer.”

Innovative Xerox Analytics tools such as Rapid Assessment Tool, Asset DB and CompleteView Pro help organisations understand the full scope of the print environment across Xerox and non-Xerox devices. The Xerox User Analytics Service unlocks the data hidden in print management systems to capture savings, improve sustainability, tighten information security and drive digital transformation; while the Xerox Print Awareness Tool inspires smarter printing decisions by providing insight into the costs, productivity and environmental impact of each print job.

Fasinro notes that analytics is most effective when applied to drive continuous improvement. “At Xerox, our people know they work as trusted advisors, so we deliver this insight and data proactively and regularly, working with customers throughout the life of the contract to continually improve the performance of the service we sold them.”

For over a decade, Altron Document Solutions has been assisting leading enterprises in the South African market to use Xerox Managed Print Services analytics tools to optimise their print environments for greater cost savings, visibility, efficiency and productivity.

Xerox Intelligent Workplace Services uses comprehensive security, analytics, digitisation and cloud technologies and software to deliver a more seamless work experience across paper and digital platforms.

Altron Document Solutions is the world’s largest Xerox distributor and Africa’s leading technology and services company. It markets and services the complete range of Xerox document equipment, software solutions and services to 26 sub-Saharan Africa countries. Altron Document Solutions forms part of the JSE-listed Altron group.

Xerox launches ConnectKey-enabled AltaLink Digital Workplace Assistant

The Xerox AltaLink C8100/B8100 Series with ConnectKey Apps and Automation speeds digital transformation and supports workers in and out of the office.

Xerox announced its new Xerox AltaLink C8100 and Xerox AltaLink B8100 Series multi-function printers (MFPs), which can better support today’s flexible work environment and help companies speed their digital transformation with access to the ConnectKey ecosystem of apps.

In addition to its printing capabilities, the AltaLink 8100 series helps speed workplace digitisation with ultra-fast scanning of up to 270 images per minute and optical character recognition that allows clients to extract more value from information. Combined with ConnectKey apps, including connections to the most popular cloud solutions, these printers can support a key area of focus for businesses as they shift from physical to digital enterprises. According to a recent global Future of Work Survey by Xerox, 34% of businesses are expediting digital transformation plans as a result of COVID-19.

“ConnectKey technology transforms the AltaLink C8100/B8100 into the digital workplace assistant that modern businesses need to speed their digital transformations,” says Tracey Koziol, senior vice-president of Global Offerings, Xerox. “The tablet-like user interface allows for easy, familiar interaction or the user can choose to print from their mobile devices. These workplace assistants bridge the physical and digital world with innovative apps, like converting the most challenging handwriting into editable text documents, auto-redacting documents for private information and even creating audio files from text.”

According to Quocirca, a smart MFP is a key enabler for digital transformation, providing access to services and systems beyond digitisation and into more complex business process and workflow automation.

“The most mature smart MFP platform is Xerox ConnectKey,” says Louella Fernandes, director, Quocirca. “Xerox ConnectKey-enabled MFPs support a range of cloud and mobile digital workflows, boosted by a broad ecosystem of Xerox and third party-developed apps. The Xerox App Gallery continues to only grow stronger with more apps and widening developer support.”

Additionally, a more flexible workforce brings with it heightened security concerns. Xerox partners with leading cyber security experts such as McAfee and Cisco to give AltaLink comprehensive built-in security that protect both device and network. Integration with industry-leading security solutions like security information and event management solutions from McAfee, LogRhythm and Splunk simplifies reporting and management of security events.

For the past two years, Keypoint – BLI has named Xerox Workplace Suite and ConnectKey Apps the Document Imaging Software Line of the Year Award and Outstanding Job Management & Mobile Print Solution.

Altron Document Solutions

Altron Document Solutions (ADS) is Africa’s leading document management technology and services company and the largest Xerox distributor in the world. It is the authorised Xerox distributor in 26 sub-Saharan countries offering the complete range of Xerox document equipment, software solutions and services. ADS forms part of JSE-listed Allied Electronics Corporation (Altron).

https://www.bdsol.co.za/

Xerox

Xerox Holdings Corporation (NYSE: XRX) makes every day work better. We are a workplace technology company building and integrating software and hardware for enterprises large and small. As customers seek to manage information across digital and physical platforms, Xerox delivers a seamless, secure and sustainable experience. Whether inventing the copier, Ethernet, the laser printer or more, Xerox has long defined the modern work experience. Learn how that innovation continues at xerox.com.

Aiming for the print less office

Offices are unlikely to go paperless in the foreseeable future, but it is important to aim for ‘print less’ offices for sustainability and to slash costs.

This is according to Jonathan Osbourne, Altron Document Solutions head of sales, who says large enterprises still field fleets of thousands of printers, running up bills of millions of rands on printing.

Organisations with little to no control over their print environments could have employees printing entire cookbooks, school projects or running their own private print businesses using corporate printers, resulting in up to 60% of print in those environments being unnecessary, he says.

“Next-generation managed services have helped eliminate abuse, but a great deal of unnecessary printing still happens,” Osbourne says. “Many employees still print every e-mail, invoice or document for approvals or signing off, when these workflows could be digitised. Many organisations still have simultaneous digital and paper-driven processes.”

Osbourne says unnecessary printing slows processes and adds significant costs to operations. “When organisations look at the TCO of print, they seldom consider the impact of lost efficiency, and the costs of paper and filing services.

“We are helping organisations to move to a print less future, not a printless future, through an analytical layer that looks at the processes behind the use of the printer, and digitising them. We are looking at XaaS or consumption-based modelling, making it easier for organisations to process the documents, making workflows more efficient and still saving the customer money. So we as Altron Document Solutions are transforming document management and workflows with Xerox Intelligent Workplace Services. It’s good for customers and good for the environment,” he says.

Xerox Intelligent Workplace Services solutions work hand-in-hand with Xerox machines, seamlessly integrated to automate processes, help lower costs, enhance team collaboration, make data more accessible for faster decision-making, and reduce errors and improve compliance.

Xerox ConnectKey apps offer an array of apps to simplify and automate tasks to save time and money. With apps for sectors ranging from education and healthcare to legal and business, ConnectKey apps reduce process duplication and simplify workflows. For example, Connect for Salesforce instantly digitises and organises client documents, and searches documents within a Salesforce account for printing. Connect for Sage Accounting speeds up payment processing with fewer errors, making processing and payment as simple as scan, review and submit.

Xerox DocuShare is an intuitive, cloud-enabled enterprise content management platform to manage a wide range of paper-based and digital content, and automate business processes. The Xerox DocuShare Lifecycle Manager automates the scheduled review, update and disposition of documents to support audits and compliance. The Xerox DocuShare Optical Character Recognition (OCR) add-on enables organisations to scan to create searchable PDF files, Microsoft Office documents or simple text files. The files are then fully indexed and can be accessed using the search function.

Xerox Intelligent Workplace Services uses comprehensive security, analytics, digitisation and cloud technologies and software to deliver a more seamless work experience across paper and digital platforms.

Altron Document Solutions is the world’s largest Xerox distributor and Africa’s leading technology and services company. It markets and services the complete range of Xerox document equipment, software solutions and services to 26 Sub-Saharan Africa countries. Altron Document Solutions forms part of the JSE-listed Altron group

Flexible workforces, POPIA compliance deadline raise SA focus on document management and security

The changing face of workplaces, along with a growing focus on compliance with the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA), is driving South African organisations to focus more on document management and security in their print environments.

This is according to Petr Nemec, Director of Channel Managed Print Services at Xerox, who says print is picking up after a slump during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. As it does, organisations are making document management and security a top priority. “The move to a flexible work environment and likely changes in office layouts from open plan and shared environments is one factor driving this focus on security. Another is compliance – particularly among SMEs in South Africa who are moving to become POPIA compliant ahead of the coming deadline.”

Jonathan Osbourne, Altron Document Solutions head of sales, says POPIA is a hot topic in South Africa, where stakeholders in the financial sector in particular are expecting to see an example being made of a non-compliant organisation after the deadline for compliance.

Printers, scanners and copiers are often overlooked in broader enterprise security strategies, but there are numerous risks to sensitive and personal information in this environment. According to Xerox, around 70% of organisations have had a print breach and most of these are carried out within minutes. If proper security isn’t in place, documents with sensitive and confidential data moving around the network to multifunction printers for printing, scanning and copying can be intercepted.

Osbourne notes that Altron Document Solutions is now helping a number of customers to harness intelligent tools to better secure their print environments, with features such as the ability to redact content to ensure that sensitive personal information is not visible to those who are not authorised to view it.

Says Nemec: “The most common threat in this environment is negligence. People leave their computers open with sensitive data on-screen, and they leave documents containing sensitive information on printers. It is now more important than ever to secure this data in shared places and devices, and to ensure that if a document is submitted from a device, that it is securely retrieved by the correct, authorised user. This limits the risk of negligence.”

Nemec says organisations need to take a structured approach to document management and security. “This why we designed Intelligent Workplace Services (IWS): we deliver comprehensive analytics, digitisation and cloud technologies and software, with a structured approach to creating and maintaining security. Our security motto – prevent, detect, protect – protects the environment, thereby achieving the outcome of compliance.”

To secure data in the print environment, Xerox advises that data encryption, network security and user authorisation be deployed. In addition, confidential documents should never be left unattended in paper trays. Instead, print jobs should be sent securely to the printer, and released only when the user enters a passcode or swipes an ID card. Security can also be enhanced by using image overwrite to electronically ‘shred’ documents that are held on the hard drive as part of print processing.

Xerox Workplace Suite supports best practice security – and ultimately compliance – through features such as authentication and access control, advanced content search, which generates alerts when certain terms or strings are copied, scanned or sent, and through integration with network accounting.

“Prevention is still the cheapest way to deal with security issues,” says Nemec. “Prevention should start with using the right devices with right levels of security.” Xerox ConnectKey technology-enabled devices are built to be trusted endpoints with intrusion protection, device detection and document and data protection.

“For structured security, organisations must also look at the process of printing and retrieving documents with tools to ensure that every document is encrypted, and securely submitted through a LAN, extended LAN or cloud, then securely retrieved,” he says. Xerox Printer Security Audit Service provides ongoing reporting and alerts through an interactive dashboard, making it easy to provide print security management across the entire fleet.

“In addition, admins should be able to look for sensitive words or string chains in anything printed, scanned or copied, and understand who is handling the sensitive content and whether they have clearance to do so,” Nemec says. Xerox User Analytics Service unlocks the data hidden in your print management systems to provide insight into when and where people are printing – such as after hours.

Xerox Intelligent Workplace Services uses comprehensive security, analytics, digitisation and cloud technologies and software to deliver a more seamless work experience across paper and digital platforms.

Altron Document Solutions is the world’s largest Xerox distributor and Africa’s leading technology and services company. It markets and services the complete range of Xerox document equipment, software solutions and services to 26 sub-Saharan Africa countries. Altron Document Solutions forms part of the JSE-listed Altron group.