Document imaging is a great way to complement your existing reseller practice. Whether you specialize in selling and servicing printers and MFPs, sell data-driven line-of-business or ERP/accounting systems, or are a Microsoft-focused consultant, adding document imaging hardware and software to your portfolio can help you increase your margins. Depending on where you are starting, here are five strategies a VAR can employ to drive higher margins with document imaging solutions:
- Evolve from a hardware to a solutions reseller: If you are selling printing/copying/MFP devices, you know that everyone is trying to print less. There are a number of reasons for this, including reducing printing costs, becoming more environmentally friendly, and taking advantage of electronic workflows. By adding document imaging to your portfolio, instead of focusing on the message of printing less, you will be able to profit from it. Because document imaging solutions typically include hardware, software, and professional services, you will likely be earning better margins than you would be on hardware-only sales. To top things off, if you’re selling printers, you have an easy in for discovering your customers’ paper-intensive processes—the ones that would benefit the most from document imaging. In many cases, the hardware you are selling will even offer scanning capabilities.
- Introduce imaging to complement a data-driven application: If you sell ERP, accounting, HR, practice management, or some other type of system driven by data, chances are there is paper associated with it. In HR, an obvious place to start is with personnel forms, accounting systems, invoices, and with ERP system reports. Offering an avenue for imaging this paper and integrating it with your customers’ data-driven system is a great way to expand your footprint and increase your margins. Many developers of data-driven software applications offer pre-written integrations to document imaging applications because they realize what a great benefit it can be to their customers.
- Increase the value of your SharePoint consulting services: Specialized SharePoint consultants, such as those with expertise in document imaging and ECM, can often command twice as much per hour as general SharePoint consultants. Also, because SharePoint doesn’t contain much native imaging capability, an imaging specialist can further increase margins by offering hardware and software in areas such as scanning and automated workflow that can be used to build specific document-management centric solutions on the SharePoint platform. Contract management, HR onboarding, and invoice processing are just a few applications that can be addressed by SharePoint and a few third-party tools.
- Blend multiple elements together to create an imaging solution: We’ve talked about combining imaging with elements such as third-party software and SharePoint to create a full-blown solution, but even within a document imaging solution itself, there are several components that can be blended together to increase margins. These include hardware (scanners and MFPs), software, service and maintenance contracts, and professional services (including conversion services)—each of which offers margins in its own right, but combined can create a nice return. And if you factor in end-users’ increasing desire for hosted software and storage, document imaging can produce good margins at the time of a sale, as well as a strong recurring revenue stream for the future.
- Sell advanced capture and workflow: If you are going to sell imaging, it makes sense to offer the two elements of the technology that typically produce that most clear-cut return on investment (ROI) for end-users, and, therefore, enable resellers to command the best margins. Advanced capture involves applying OCR and other automated recognition technologies to images for tasks such as document classification and data extraction. The ROI is typically in labor savings, which is something end-users are willing to invest in. Workflow involves automatically routing images to the correct people for tasks such as approval or customer service. It helps reduce turnaround times and can lead to more efficient transaction processes that offer multiple financial benefits for the user.
The bottom line is that document imaging is probably a great complement to something you are already doing and, as a result, will help you increase your margins while often selling to the same customers.