For years, I have been hearing this from everyone around me. Business and IT organizations saw the predictions that faxing would die (almost instantly when email gained popularity) and most companies did not invest in a dying technology. Why would they? A few years ago, in the early 2000s, I worked for a corporate Fortune 50 IT organization that was not investing in the technology despite the fact that most of the internal business and field facing teams were dependent on faxes to run day-to-day operations. Leadership, however, heard faxing and thought why would we invest in faxing when we can spend our IT dollars on new, emerging technologies?
Through conversations with various business units, I found different teams were either standing up their own ‘mini’ fax servers or trying to meet their faxing needs by sharing older servers. Others were asking for a solution, but to no avail. Faxing was a pain point for many, one that would not just go away.
I quickly saw the need for an enterprise solution. What if we could build a solution that everyone could use, without bearing the full implementation costs and taking on all the risk for a technology that was not only going away, but also one that was unfamiliar? Born was my project… an enterprise fax solution. After getting commitment from leadership, I embarked on a new journey, a journey that took me across all facets of solution implementation as well as innovation in what others considered a dying technology.
My goal was to build a scalable solution that could initially meet the needs of a few, lower volume internal business units and could grow to handle millions of faxes per week. Not only did I meet this goal, but surpassed it with flying colors! I designed a solution that has scaled to handle unexpected volumes of faxes, I challenged vendors to provide the foundational networks to lead the Fax over IP industry using T.38 protocols, all while having hard cost savings within the first 5 years (and repeated yearly savings).
As boring, old or extinct as a technology may seem, there is always value in peeling away some of the layers to see the opportunities. You never know where you might find a better, less expensive or more innovative way to do something.
Faxing will still be around for a while, primarily in the Pharmacy and Legal industries, at least until regulations are updated. Not only is it still used as a main form of document transmission, it is used by many systems as a backup solution – if the online, electronic method fails, systems will switch over to faxing to get the document(s) delivered. Fax technology within any organization can be brought to current technology standards without having to invest millions of dollars. Every implementation is somewhat unique (i.e., number of lines to consolidate, age of infrastructure, etc.), however most organizations, if not all, should realize cost savings within five years.
If you are interested in learning more, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.