Document imaging solutions offer real profit potential for resellers, if you know how to support as well as sell document imaging. Inexperienced vendors go into a prospect looking to sell just hardware, not a solution. They convince the organization they need the latest and greatest document imaging solutions, but they don’t bother to work with the customer to help them integrate their scanners and multifunction printers into their enterprise systems, nor do they assist with workflow strategies, or provide the support needed to maximize ROI from their imaging hardware purchase. There is no added value. To maximize the return from document imaging solutions, scanners and multifunction printers have to be incorporated into the organization in a way that cuts costs and promotes productivity.
According to a document imaging study conducted by UBM TechWeb, 84 percent of companies adopt document imaging solutions to improve overall efficiency; 78 percent are looking to decrease the costs associated with paper-driven processes; and 78 percent are seeking to eliminate incidents where documents are lost or misfiled. Other reasons cited for using document imaging include the ability to more easily distribute documents throughout the enterprise (70 percent); improved customer service (55 percent); to develop a more efficient document backup and recovery system (52 percent); and to reduce future staffing costs (30 percent).
In all these cases, just replacing existing paper processes with scanned documents won’t solve the problem. Document imaging solutions have to be incorporated into established business processes, and that means designing an end-to-end solution for customers.
Here are some of the steps to consider when developing document imaging solutions for clients:
1. Assess the customer’s needs
When first engaging with the customer, start by assessing their specific document imaging needs. What are they hoping to accomplish with document imaging solutions?
- Are they seeking easier access to business documents?
- Are they trying to save cost and time by streamlining business processes?
- Are they trying to increase employee productivity?
- Are they seeing a better means of sharing documents, both inside and outside of the enterprise?
- Are they concerned with compliance with government regulations and eDiscovery requirements?
- Are they seeking a better means of securing and storing sensitive information?
Helping them prioritize their objectives and understand the possibilities offered by document imaging solutions will make it easier to determine how to maximize ROI and incorporate document imaging into existing business processes.
2. Help the client incorporate imaging into their workflow
As part of the assessment and planning process, determine how adding document scanning will affect existing workflow systems. What protocols need to be changed or added? How could process changes affect staff productivity and where are there gaps in the process? What additional training will be required? How is the customer going to gauge ROI?
Addressing these kinds of questions will help define the specific hardware requirements, and outline the potential applications and limitations in advance. It also will invite managers from various departments to participate, which will give you a better perspective of goals and objectives, and objections, from various parts of the organization.
3. Assist with imaging and archival integration
Once you have an understanding of the workflow requirements, talk to IT about the technical requirements. How are the document imaging systems going to be integrated into the enterprise infrastructure? What about document storage and retrieval? Document sharing? Scanner access and monitoring?
This is also an excellent time to discuss imaging security. Many organizations adopt document imaging systems specifically to create electronic backups of sensitive paperwork. The idea is that electronic data is easier to protect from loss or theft, and you can create secure backup copies that are stored on tape in a vault or stored in the cloud for protection against theft, fire, or flood. Also determine if there are any regulatory requirements affecting decisions about data archiving?
4. Choose the right hardware
Now that you have worked closely with the client to outline their specific requirements, workflow strategies, and systems integration needs, you are ready to select the right document imaging solutions.
Since you have already walked through all the relevant details with the customer, the hardware choice should almost be a formality at this point. You will have had an opportunity to discuss hardware options with the client in advance, and recommend the right-sized document imaging solutions for the application.
You also will have been able to talk about integration, data storage, and other issues. Rather than selling just one or two scanners, you are able to recommend an entire end-to-end solution. And you can build in the cost of a support contracts, and make suggestions for future purchase as their needs grow.
5. Provide training
Once the system is in place, be sure to offer training to employees. You want to make sure they understand how to operate the equipment, what to look for if something fails, and when to call for service.
And work with the IT staff to configure and install the document imaging systems, including configuration and data storage. Depending on the nature of your contract, you might also consider offering cloud storage and other support as part of the service.
These are just some of the basic steps to consider when developing customized document imaging solutions for clients. There may be other elements you want to include, such as maintenance, but however your approach, try to be more than just a vendor; try to be a partner to make document imaging pay off for all involved.