Once upon a time, a document imaging specialist may have been thought of as someone who scans paper documents and converts them into document images. But the truth of the matter is, a successful document imaging implementation has always been about more than just scanning. After all, the old saying goes, “If you take a paper problem and scan the paper without improving the process, all you are doing is creating a digital problem.”
Now more than ever, document imaging specialists must focus on how the technology can be used to improve their customers’ processes. These functions could be accounts payable, human resources, contract management, or countless other processes that are historically paper-intensive. Imaging can be used to make them more efficient and more secure—and that should be the selling point. A truly successful document imaging specialist in today’s market is selling horizontal or vertical solutions that incorporate document imaging, not leading with the technology.
Some tips for staying competitive in document imaging market:
- Stay on top of the technology: Document imaging hardware and software continues to improve. Be aware of the latest and greatest products on the market, including faster and less expensive hardware, software with more standard features out of the box, improved automated recognition rates, mobile interfaces, and cloud options. Often, customers will just want to know you have all these capabilities in your toolbox in case they want to incorporate such features in the future.
- Develop a vertical or horizontal speciality: Automated workflow is one of the keys to document imaging success. Many organizations, especially those in the same market, have similar workflows for similar processes. These could be claims in insurance, patient records in healthcare, or customer onboarding in financial services. Cross-industry processes include invoice processing in accounts payable and employee onboarding in HR. Developing repeatable solutions to address these areas will not only provide great points of reference for marketing, but will also enable you to run your imaging practice more efficiently.
- Integrate with third-party software: Piggy-backing on the last point, there are tremendous benefits that can be gained by integrating with third-party line-of-business software systems in areas such as A/P, HR, loan origination, and EHR. This not only increases the efficiency of the implementation for end-users, but also provides a reseller with a targeted and defined market to go after. The recent trend of ISVs releasing RestFUL APIs is making these types of integrations easier.
- Sell ROI: Don’t sell the technology, sell the payback. Document imaging offers efficiency gains in many areas, including workflows, information governance, customer service, and physical storage. Factoring together all these elements should enable an implementation not only to pay for itself, but also to enable your customers to come out ahead in the long term. Sell these financial benefits.
Some Outsourcing Advice
These areas of focus can be applied to on-site imaging implementations as well as to outsourcing projects. One of the keys to succeeding to today’s document outsourcing market is not to get caught up in price wars. Cut-rate outsourcing services will offer document conversion for as little as a nickel per page. But, this is typically only for basic document scanning and doesn’t include any indexing, advanced data capture, or workflow services—all areas where you can differentiate yourself. Once again, when offering document outsourcing, sell benefits such as the ROI, the ability to meet service level agreements, and compliance with industry-specific regulations. That’s how you differentiate yourself in today’s rapidly evolving document imaging market.