This article by Amy Perry originally appeared on OpenText.com
“Fax is dead.”
“Who faxes anymore?”
“1985 called. Your fax is sitting on the dusty fax machine in the forgotten corner of the office.”
I’ve heard them all.
Naysayers beware! New IDC research has confirmed that not only is fax still heavily used within organisations today – with growing fax volumes – it will continue to grow in the coming years.
IDC has uncovered something quite amazing. The analyst firm conducted a survey and published a report on the state of faxing today – and identifies the future role of fax. Entitled Fax Market Pulse: Trends, Growth and Opportunities, this is the first serious examination of the fax market in many years. It has almost felt like the research industry forgot fax existed. This IDC research reveals fax users have a very different attitude.
Fax is transitioning from a communication necessity to a business strength.
The research was conducted with senior decision makers within four key sectors – Financial Services, Healthcare, Government and Manufacturing – in three regions – North America, Western Europe and Asia Pacific. The top line findings show fax volumes are on the rise.
In all, 82% of respondents saw fax usage increase or stay the same over the previous year. Among respondents who indicated year-on-year growth, fax volumes grew by an average of 27%. In fact, almost a quarter of those respondents reported growth of between 50 and 74%!
What I find particularly impressive is that, accounting for ups and downs in fax volume, every sector reported net growth in fax volumes. It is clear that fax remains at the core of the document-centric business processes that are mission critical within these industries.
So what about the future of fax?
Despite popular opinion that “fax is dead”, quite the opposite is true. As the numbers prove, fax volumes have grown, and it’s impressive to note that fax volumes are expected to continue to grow over the next two years, with nearly half of all respondents anticipating further fax volume increases.
While some of this growth can be attributed to improving economic conditions fueling business expansion leading to more fax traffic, the anticipated volume increases – an average of 25% growth in volume – suggests there’s more to it than that. Organisations in these industries are using fax strategically to increase their capabilities and improve the way they work with customers and suppliers.
Change is coming
Perhaps the most important finding from this report is that fax is rapidly reaching the tipping point. IDC found that today, 36% of the pages faxed each month were sent or received using standalone fax machines. That will not be the case in just two years’ time. By then, the majority of faxes will be exchanged digitally – with cloud-based fax services becoming the most popular format.
As companies move to a fully digital business, it’s clear that the paper-based medium of standalone fax machines will become obsolete and a hindrance to digital transformation. IDC shows that fax technology has evolved and is carving its role in today’s digital business environment.
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