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Beyond the Basics: Step Away from the Fax Machine

May 31, 2012

 By Allison Boccamazzo, Managing Content Producer

For too long, experts in the field have predicted that fax would be replaced by something entirely new; perhaps email or an alternative form of electronic communication. Despite these contentions, good old fax still proves to be a reliable, functional, universal source of communication, as well as a critical contributing factor in many workflow processes. So why, then, are businesses steadily replacing fax machines with network and VoIP fax solutions?

For one, business initiatives such as process improvement, managing regulatory compliance, application integration, and device consolidation are just a few of the determining factors. If your knowledge on current fax messaging and communications trends is slight– or dare we say very rusty, then read on; here’s a quick, little brush up on the trends in today’s business environment and the benefits that organizations are reaping by implementing an automated, desktop faxing solution.

While many organizations today still depend on manual fax machines to send or receive faxes, this slower process eats up productivity, and the cost of supplies and maintenance can frankly become overwhelming. In addition, inefficiencies resulting from fax machines and manual workflow processes can undermine an organization’s ability to compete and increase profitability.

So when looking to upgrade from manual fax processing, keep in mind that Voice over IP (VoIP) is dramatically changing telephony communications and even more quickly making analog phone lines a sure thing of the past. By upgrading from traditional fax solutions to fax VoIP, you will be leveraging the built-in fax of most VoIP routers and gateways, and your organization will save more while increasing productivity and mobility.

One noticeable advantage to making the switch is, as just mentioned, increased productivity. Hours of employee productivity will be saved by eliminating the need to travel to and use multiple business machines to print and fax various documents. This is especially advantageous for larger enterprises with very heavy fax volumes.

Now, how do you choose your Fax Solution? Using this guideline might help:

  • Determine your needs: First, figure out and gather your requirements before you begin investigating different technologies.
  • Look to the future: As the telephony industry continues to change in what seems like the blink of an eye, we all cringe to think of the day that VoIP technology will be replaced with something new and better, but when that day comes, you’re going to want to be prepared. So as much as you don’t want to look to the future, it’s essential that you do!
  • Choose the right hardware: Stay away from fax hardware that still uses modems, and if a fax server solution that includes a fax board makes sense for your organization, then make sure the fax software can manage high volume with a single server.
  • Integrations are Vital: Choosing fax server software with flexible APIs is important if you’re looking to integrate your fax system with multiple applications and systems. Keep in mind that installations should be seamless with common applications, such as email and VoIP systems.

Hopefully, this bite-sized crash course will refresh your memory on the basics (and not-so-basics) when it comes to network and VoIP fax solutions!

Edited by Jamie Epstein

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