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The future of fax

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Fax is still a powerful business management tool, and according to CRAIG FREER of Vox Amvia, is enabling business processes worth billions of Rands a year in South African corporates.

Financial institutions using RightFax process well over 10 million fax pages a month and fax is a key enabler of their home loans and vehicle finance approval processes.

These organisations choose fax because it is more reliable and secure than e-mail, and provides a full audit trail. These are companies that cannot afford a communication failure or delay, or must preserve the confidentiality of their communications. Fax is the only medium that can meet these requirements.

In addition, says Freer, fax integrates directly into enterprise resource planning systems such as SAP and Oracle to automate business processes. It used to be necessary to capture faxed information manually, but with improved optical character recognition (OCR) technology the process can now be entirely automated. A faxed invoice, for example, can automatically be identified as an invoice, routed to the correct process and captured in accounts payable.

Fax sending is even easier. Batches of thousands of purchase orders or other documents can be processed in minutes ‚ and there is clear, auditable proof of delivery.

Integrating fax with business processes now also makes it easier to monitor and manage turnaround times. A fax comes with a verified delivery time, which makes it possible to time very precisely the start of a process like issuing a quotation or answering a customer query. Better management and monitoring makes for quicker service and more satisfied customers.

The only reason to send a fax nowadays is because it starts, ends or feeds into an important business process. So even though it’s an old communications medium, in many ways it is now more important than ever before.

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