The 7 Question Self-Evaluation of Your Corporate Fax Profile…
or How Fax Servers are Like Airplanes
Companies looking to trim IT budgets and improve services to internal customers need to understand how the different departments and locations use their services. Faxing is a great example.
Many organizations have either under or over invested in on premise fax servers and supporting telephony and IP infrastructure because peak load conditions are hard to predict and may occur only one or twice a month (billing, sales orders, HR documents and the like trend with peaks and long valleys. Do you support the peak load and have many multiples of unused bandwidth 90% of the time? Or do you equip for the median load and attempt to deal with the delays and unsent faxes at the peak.
Because fax server bandwidth is similar to airline seating (can’t be stored and has zero value once the plane has left) sizing becomes a critical cost/benefit equation. Typically fax server capacity decisions depend on the importance of the documents being transmitted. And since faxed documents often have financial implications, most companies tend to overspend for peak load capacity and back-up service protection rather than risk service delays or interruptions.
An alternative for companies that have variable transaction volume is to get out of the fax server business and use hosted fax services in the cloud. Think of this as using a service provider as a pay-per-use proposition: going back to our flight analogy, instead of maintaining an airport and fleet of planes, you simply buy a seat as you need it.
In-house fax server or hosted fax services?
How do you determine which approach is best for your organization? Start with an evaluation of your fax habits:
1. Is your fax volume predictable?
2. Is your fax volume growing or declining?
3. Do your faxed documents require routing/workflow?
4. Do you integrate fax services with other server hosted applications?
5. Do you need an audit trail of fax transactions?
6. Is your company subject to regulatory compliance?
7. Have you ported other business applications to the cloud?
The answers to these questions will help create the picture of your corporate faxing profile, and the potential success for implementing a hosted fax solution.