Many people think of document imaging as scanning documents. And though scanning is certainly part of the process, what a user does with images after they are scanned produces the return on investment. ROIs are often associated with improvements in areas such as document processing and records management. As a result, document imaging should be looked at as an enabling technology—it is typically one component of a system that produces an ROI.
In fact, the entire enterprise content management (ECM) market is gradually moving toward deployment as an enabler rather than a standalone application. In a recent survey by the ECM trade association AIIM, 51 percent of respondents predicted that in five years time, ECM will be an undifferentiated part of the IT infrastructure. In other words, it could be an ideal add-on to what you are already selling.
Where Document Imaging Makes a Good Fit
Let’s take a look at four different types of resellers’ businesses that document imaging can be complementary to:
- ERP/line-of-business software: Chances are if you are selling data-centric software, there are documents associated with it. These could be printed reports from an ERP system, documents such as invoices used in conjunction with an accounting application, or personnel forms related to an HR system. Organizations want to run as much of their businesses as they can through these data-driven systems, but paper is just not conducive to that. Document imaging enables them to digitize paper and tie it into these line-of-business systems. In fact, many data-driven applications have certified integrations with document imaging software that make the combination even a better fit.
- Printer/MFP dealers: It’s no secret that organizations are looking to print less; in fact, the printer industry’s movement toward managed print services encourages this. To counterbalance this trend, MFP hardware vendors have been looking deeper into ECM technologies such as document imaging and workflow. Today’s MFP devices all offer some sort of document scanning functionality—including advanced capabilities such as being able to launch capture workflows from the touchscreen. Yes, if you are a copier/printer/MFP dealer, you are already helping customers manage their paper-centric document processes. Complementing what you are doing with document imaging software and services is a natural next step.
- Microsoft/SharePoint development: SharePoint is Microsoft’s collaboration/lightweight ECM platform. Although it contains some document management functionality, it does not natively offer document imaging. There are a number of third-party software products available for image-enabling SharePoint, and many are made available primarily through resellers. Many users like the fact that they can leverage something they already have—SharePoint—as an image repository and that it further standardizes them on Microsoft. Imaging for file sync and share systems such as Box and Dropbox is not as popular today but offers similar potential in the future.
- Managed services: If you are outsourcing an organization’s business process and/or IT functions, why not add document imaging to the mix? Document scanning has long been offered as a third-party service. With everything from data capture to workflow, to information governance, and to partner portals now being made available in the cloud, the opportunities for outsourced document imaging services are bigger than ever.
Market Acceptance High
The bottom line is that no matter what you are doing for your customers, it probably touches paper. And without document imaging, this paper can never be truly integrated into the electronic systems you deliver. Document imaging systems are less expensive, easier to use, and more widely accepted than ever before. A little expertise in this area can go a long way toward expanding your business. Call your Ingram Micro sales rep to help with these conversations.