Legacy print infrastructure a barrier for cloud migration
A study commissioned by imaging solutions leader Lexmark has found that outdated print infrastructure is a major obstacle for businesses looking to invest in cloud migration. The study, conducted by IDC in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, found 57% of surveyed businesses said lingering print infrastructure is negatively impacting their cloud migration strategy, with only 43% investing in print infrastructure that drives digital transformation (DX) initiatives.
The study identified operations, supply chain, distribution, finance, marketing, sales and human resources as the business units with the most critical printing needs. Despite the decline in print volumes due to the pandemic, essential workflow processes still have integrated printing requirements. Stephen Bell, Lexmark Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand, noted that cloud-based print infrastructure is a key strategic initiative that companies can invest in to complete their cloud strategy and adopt a digital-first approach to their business practices.
“The pandemic has exposed gaps and weaknesses in IT infrastructure, with print among the most critical areas lagging in companies’ digital transformation journeys,” Bell said.
The businesses surveyed said the most significant challenges to managing legacy print infrastructure included ensuring the security of print infrastructure and devices (81%), the IT burden associated with managing print and print servers (81%), inventory management (81%), a lack of visibility into spending (80%) and a difficulty in updating or replacing legacy print hardware (79%).
Robert Palmer, Research Vice President (Imaging, Printing and Document Solutions) at IDC Research, said organisations must start thinking strategically about print. “To elevate the conversation around print and include it within the broader context of their DX discussions related to cloud migration and document process strategies,” Palmer said.
IT leaders appeared to prefer as-a-service consumption models over financing (70% vs 22%), with 94% recognising that the Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to improve printer fleet management.
“IT leaders recognise the benefits of cloud and IoT. Delivering print as an IoT product-as-a-service will accelerate business agility and simplify IT management and acquisition, while improving the user experience for customers. Cloud print infrastructure as-a-service provides access to a modern and secure print infrastructure that can provide a basis for future digital transformation initiatives,” Bell said.
The study commissioned by Lexmark follows the publication of IDC’s Worldwide Digital Transformation Spending Guide, which predicts that global spending on DX technology and services will grow by 10.4% to US$1.3 trillion (AU$1.8 trillion).
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