Have you ever lost a Fax? It is amazing that despite Email, Application Programs, etc; Analog Fax Technology just won’t die. Many Industries still use it predominantly. Some that you might not expect, like the Medical Channel, with Hippa Compliance and the need to contain and safeguard patient information, one would think Faxing would no longer even be an option.
Other Industries that seem to be stuck in the 90’s with Fax are the Legal, Financial and Construction Channels. All of these industries require a level of reliability that goes beyond old school Fax.
Have you ever had a customer or supplier tell you they sent you a Fax, yet you do not have it? Fax Technology until recently has been largely an unmanaged Business Process that is notoriously unreliable.
Last year, I had a Large Construction Client contact me and ask “Is there any way of getting a re-print of a fax we received last Tuesday?”, Apparently a Municipality had faxed them a Bid Package, which was lost or not recieved, but the municipality would not re-fax, because it suggested favoritism, perhaps. This was a Million Dollar Bid Package; with their current device, they could not.
Hewlett Packard has made Analog Fax Technology more reliable and dynamic with their latest models of Multifunction Printers (MFPs). I have been evaluating the HP LaserJet M4555 MFP for the last couple of months, and am very impressed with the fax options and back-up Fax options that the device offers.
The Feature that would have helped my Construction Client is called Fax Archiving. You can create an email account in Exchange (or even gmail, hotmail, etc) and have a copy of every Fax that you Send or Receive, arrive in the Inbox, where it will safely stay until, if ever, you need to retrieve it. The MFP will even send you a “Thumbnail” image to your email, so that you know that you have received a Fax, or that someone in your office sent a Fax.
In fact, you don’t even have to have your Faxes printed on Paper. The M4555 MFP will allow you to receive all of your faxes via email, multiple email addresses even. This is great for Compliance Officers in a Hospital or Medical Office, they could then route the patient information to the correct person or department without the whole office reading it as they look for their Faxes. “Say, I know Bill Smith, too bad about his asthma”.
Of course you can send faxes right from your computer as well without the need to create paper in the process, you also get an email confirmation when the fax is complete. Most Companies and Organizations are looking to reduce paper in processes or even Go Paperless, and this function supports that.
While Hewlett Packard and others are innovating on Old School Fax, Can you think of any other functions that will help Fax become more reliable or useful?