When selling document imaging services, there are areas of expertise that a document imaging VAR should have at his fingertips? Sure, knowing the specs of the imaging hardware is important, and being able to talk features, functions, speeds and feeds will help you sell scanners, assuming the customer is ready to buy. But the document imaging VAR should be more than just a salesperson; you are a consultant helping to solve a business problem. That’s why you should consider how document imaging fits into a client’s operation.
To promote value, document imaging VARs need to demonstrate how document scanning and enterprise content management (ECM) can work to save customers time, resources and money. Here are a few document imaging statistics to demonstrate some of the areas of potential savings:
- It costs $20, on average, in labor to file a paper document.
- It costs $120 in staff time to find a misfiled document or $220 to re-create it.
- Companies lose one out of every 20 documents, spending at least 25 hours to reproduce it.
- Professionals spend 5-15 percent of their time reading information, and 50 percent of their time locating material.
- The average employee spends 400 hours searching for paper documents.
- 80 percent of data within an enterprise is unstructured, and it’s growing at 200 percent each year.
- Companies see a 30 percent productivity increase with simple workflow-enabled document management.
- Effective business process management (BPM) can lower operating costs and time by 50 percent.
You get the idea. The document imaging VAR can increase his overall sales by identifying within a customer’s organization that can be improved by digitizing business-critical documents and implementing paperless processes. If you tackle the overall process rather than the need for specific products you open the door to a much broader engagement beyond selling just document imaging.
So what are the key elements that the document imaging VAR needs to master? Here are just four of them:
Improving process workflow – Document imaging is just one step in an overall document management strategy. For organizations with well-established paper processes, making a transition to a paperless process will not be easy. As a document imaging VAR, you should be prepared to help them design an end-to-end paperless workflow.
Chances are that the customer already has some paperless processes in place. Work with them to understand their business goals and inventory existing paperless processes, then ascertain how document imaging can expand what they already have in place. Don’t expect the customer to reinvent their operations to accommodate paperless processes. Instead, see if you can demonstrate how document imaging can be used to extend existing procedures, at the same time it justifies the expense of adding document imaging in savings of time and money.
Once you have identified business processes that will benefit from document imaging, you can take an inventory of existing systems and help them map out a new, more efficient paperless workflow. If you plan accordingly, the initial document imaging sale could lead to the sale of additional data storage and enterprise resources down the road.
ECM integration – If you consider document imaging as part of ECM, then integrating with existing content management strategies is essential. The whole purpose of ECM is to deliver content in a business context to inform better business decisions. Capturing and organizing content, including scanned documents, is an important part of delivering business intelligence, especially if the customer is using big data.
Integrating document management into ECM systems makes it possible to capture unstructured data to share and analyze. Whether the ECM processes are part of business intelligence, part of a big data initiative, or part of data archiving system for governance or compliance, the document imaging VAR should be able to provide the means to seamlessly convert paper into ECM data.
Cataloging and archiving business-critical documents – As part of ECM, you need a strategy to organize and file digitized content so it can be safely archived and readily retrieved. You can work with vendors who provide content archiving solutions, or you may have to be prepared to step in and provide your own expertise.
As part a consulting engagement, the document imaging VAR should be prepared to assist with cataloging strategies, showing the customer how to organize and store and retrieve documents using filing strategies, Meta tags, digital identifiers, and other techniques.
Data storage strategies – In addition to document conversion, data storage is going to be a consideration. It pays for the document imaging VAR to be prepared to recommend various data storage strategies, including both enterprise and cloud-based storage solutions.
For some archiving applications, enterprise storage may be adequate. It will depend on the volume and nature of the content to be archived. If you need more elastic storage options then cloud storage offers greater flexibility. You might also have to advise on different kinds of storage for different applications. For example, if scanned documents are going to be part of big data analytics, then you need to be prepared to use the right type of data storage to ensure high availability and compatibility, such as direct-attached storage (DAS), network attached storage (NAS), or object-storage in the cloud.
There are other aspects of ECM and document management that the document imaging VAR should master, depending on the types of clients you are targeting. For example, if you are working with clients in financial services, healthcare, or other highly regulated industries, consider brushing up on HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley, FINRA, and other regulations regarding data archiving.
However you approach it, as a document imaging VAR you need to highlight the greater value customers will gain from digitizing paper processes. If you can not only demonstrate that added value but help them design and implement those paperless processes you will have an opportunity to recommend additional software and hardware as you solidify that customer relationship.