The University of Alabama – home to the national champion of major college football in three of the last four seasons – recently finished renovations to its magnificent football facility. The 30,000-square foot Mal Moore football building features, among other things, a $9 million weight room, multiple 70-inch flat screen televisions, and a 212-seat theater-style meeting room.
Yet, for all the state-of-the-art amenities made available to Alabama football, the program relies on outdated technology to ensure the next class of recruits officially comes to Tuscaloosa. The known-to-frustrate fax machine, at least on National Signing Day, is king.
“The fax is the standard because sending letters of intent by mail is far too slow for nervous coaches,” Mark Garrison wrote for Marketplace Tech. “The NCAA does allow recruits to scan and email their letters, but few do.”
In this way, the most powerful college football team in the land is no different from countless small to mid-sized businesses around the world. Faxing can make life miserable, much like an in-your-face football coach. But when it comes to sending and receiving critical documents, it remains a preferred means of communicating.
In fact, 72% of U.S. businesses (60% in the UK) still rely on traditional, paper-based faxing, according to a survey commissioned late last year by GFI Software™. Furthermore, 54% of respondents (42% UK) maintain faxing is a central part of their daily workflow with customers, vendors and co-workers.
Still think faxing is in its final act? It is estimated that roughly six million fax machines are purchased each year, and approximately 125 million are used worldwide today. Faxing, while no longer in its heyday, continues to serve an important role in industries such as healthcare, insurance, law, education, finance and IT, just to name a few.
“As long as businesses have some customers who require (faxes), it doesn’t really disappear,” Gartner Research analyst Ken Weilerstein told CNN Money earlier this year. “The demand clearly decreases, but that doesn’t mean you can pull the plug on it.”
Rather than bank on a funeral for faxing, plenty of software companies recognize that the service still has value – particularly when it comes to transmitting signed documents, meeting compliance and fulfilling e-discovery requests. There’s a level of trust that doesn’t exist with email attachments, hence the abundance of fax server software that offers a more functional and affordable way to fax.
You know the pros of a fax server that supports online fax services: You can save time and money, and increase efficiency by sending and receiving faxes from your email client and mobile devices. You can reduce your overhead by bidding adieu to costly fax hardware, phone system integration, phone lines, ink toner and piles of paper. You can protect privacy by ensuring confidential information only reaches intended recipients. All you need is an Internet connection.
Of course, those benefits should now serve as a baseline when discussing advantages electronic faxing provides. It’s possible to do more with fax server software that:
- Offers a web services API – This application programming interface enables you to transmit documents and monitor status using your electronic faxing solution from a cloud application. Imagine the flexibility this feature can provide physicians making their rounds at a hospital, for example.
- Enforces OCR for outbound faxes – When this optical character recognition option is enabled, you receive a scanned image of the fax as an attachment to the notification email. This enables you to easily search for specific outbound faxes, and see the content contained in those documents, directly from your email application. Come tax time, how much hassle might this feature eliminate for accountants that must makes sense of all the forms they send to clients?
- Integrates with email archiving – Electronic faxing that integrates with an email archiving solution enables you to distinguish fax emails from regular emails. What business couldn’t benefit from this resource? Corporate email users send and receive more than 100 daily emails on average, according to The Radicati Group, a technology market research firm.
Unlike the leather football helmet, faxing is far from dead. Quite the opposite, actually.
“On the computer, the art of the fax has gained a second life,” Nick Cobb recently wrote for Yahoo! Small Business Advisor, “one that may see it increasing as a viable market for many years to come.”
Learn more about how your business can benefit from robust fax server software today.