Page 6: Information handling: providing the solutions
The elements of an Information Management System.
- Peripherals - black and white and colour copiers, laser and bubble jet printers, scanners and faxes.
- Networks - servers, PC's, cabling, firewalls etc.
- Document management - software which supports the products and offers users the ability to scan, file and retrieve documents whilst saving valuable storage space.
As a major provider of these solutions Canon has played a significant role in helping a range of business and non-business organisations to develop better Information Management Systems. It has also developed a tailored suite of ICT solutions for the education market. These are designed to keep costs down and minimise teachers' administration time, therefore allowing them to concentrate on their real job.
The aim is to equip educational establishments with a business level, ICT infrastructure that not only meets the organisation's own needs but also contributes to producing the workforce of the future. With such a system, schools are able to enhance their students' ability to learn, practise and hone their information management skills. For example, with the right infrastructure in place, students could access the school's website remotely from home to help with their homework. This site could even contain lesson notes to assist parents/carers in supporting the learning experience.
Many schools operate within severe budgetary constraints.
One solution therefore is to lease rather than purchase outright. Buying outright ties up resources that could better be used for other educational purposes, thus using a significant portion of the head-teacher's equipment budget. Increasingly schools recognise leasing as the best solution for hiring hardware such as computers and other essential equipment like copiers.
Schools are relatively large organisations, and as such are able to benefit from economies of scale, including technical economies. Technical economies stem from using more sophisticated techniques to reduce costs. Proactively developing an Information Management System based on the latest peripherals, document management systems and voice data is a good example of using technical economies of scale for better financial management.
Economies of scale are the advantages of doing something on a large rather than a small scale. Economies of scale lower the unit cost of production. For example, producing 1,000 high quality copies of a school prospectus on a modern dedicated in-house copier, is much cheaper (per copy) than ordering 100 copies of the prospectus from a local printer.