Document imaging specialists have specialized skill sets, and despite rumors of the paperless office, there are still 3 trillion documents being printed each day. Putting these two things together means that there are plenty of profitable opportunities in the market for document imaging services.
There are two types of resellers that should have a leg up on their competition when finding these opportunities:
- Those selling data-driven line-of-business systems in areas such as ERP, accounting, CRM, and operations management
- Those selling MFPs and managed print services (MPS)
Complementing Your Data-Driven Systems
When asked about opportunities in the document imaging market, the CTO at a large document imaging software vendor replied that if you look for a customer’s structured data, there will be unstructured data around it that also must be managed. In fact, it has been estimated that typical businesses have four times as much unstructured data as structured data. Because that unstructured data will often manifest itself in the form of paper, document imaging services represent a great way to enhance line-of-business applications such as ERP, CRM, accounting, and practice management.
Many document imaging software packages will offer pre-built integrations with line-of-business systems. It’s probably worth checking if there are any existing partnerships between your line-of-business ISV and document imaging ISVs. APIs and Web services can also typically be used to make connections. Features such as database lookups and the ability to view images from within line-of-business systems can help make document imaging more attractive.
There is a reason that leading MFP vendors such as Lexmark, Ricoh, and Xerox have recently been making acquisitions to increase their document imaging services. It’s because they view document imaging as an important next-generation MPS feature. After all, if you’re selling MFPs, where do you look after you’ve addressed all your customers’ paper output?
The next natural step is addressing the combination of paper input and workflow and helping customers manage documents before they reach the printer. According to the Paper Wars 2014 AIIM study, 35 percent of scanned documents are unchanged from their “born-digital” format. Also, 59 percent of the invoices that show up digitally at organizations end up being printed—with 13 percent of those eventually scanned to be made electronic again. So, there are some obvious inefficiencies that can be addressed.
Although document imaging services may reduce your print income in some areas, replacing document management software can potentially be more difficult than replacing printing hardware. And document imaging services aren’t free either; because they can improve your customers’ processes and bring significant value to your customers, charging a premium for this can be justified. The bottom line is that by improving the ROI on your services, you can improve your own ROI by selling more products and services to the same customers.