Believe it or not, document imaging solutions offer substantial sales growth potential for resellers, especially when you consider that document imaging is never sold as a standalone solution. To be effective, document imaging solutions are typically included as part of a larger infrastructure strategy. The solution supports other parts of the client’s operations such as document archiving, security, compliance, or market analytics. Understanding how document imaging fits into the customer’s overall business strategy will reveal more of an opportunity to cross-sell and upsell document imaging solutions.
If you consider document imaging as a subset of enterprise content management (ECM) then you can see the sales potential. ECM is a growth market. The Radicati Group predicts that ECM market revenue will grow from $5.1 billion in 2013 to $9.3 billion by 2017.
According to the Gartner Magic Quadrant report on the ECM market, content management will be personalized by 2016, and by 2017 about half of all business content will be non-text which means companies will invest more in analytics as part of content management. In its analysis, Gartner weighed document imaging at 15 percent alongside other aspects of ECM such as document management (20 percent), web content management (5 percent), records management, (10 percent), social content (15 percent), content workflow (20 percent), and extended components (15 percent). All these elements of ECM are interdependent, and document imaging solutions continues to fuel other components of ECM.
Mobile Data Capture Presents New Opportunities
Mobile image capture, which should be considered part of Gartner’s “extended components” listed above, is clearly a growth area and one that IT is wrestling to control. Today’s workers are mobile, using laptops, tablets, and smartphones to increase productivity. Bring-your-own-device policies are becoming commonplace, and data captured and generated using handheld devices are becoming increasingly important to business processes. (Consider the flood of mobile banking applications and remote deposit using check images.)
Images captured in the field are becoming more critical to operations, such as inventory management and even medical records. These images have to be managed and processed as part of document imaging capture.
Mobile imaging presents a new market opportunity for VARs. In addition to integrating mobile data into the image processing workflow, mobile devices have to be managed as an extension of the enterprise, including integration, authentication, and security. And images have to be logged and processed to be auditable as part of a regulatory paper trail. All these new elements and processes will require VAR support as an extension of document imaging solutions.
Document Imaging Moves to the Cloud
The cloud is becoming a vital and elastic extension to the enterprise, including as a means to store more data and expedite workflows as part of image capture. IT departments are expanding their cloud budgets, and 38 percent are breaking out their cloud separately from their enterprise budgets to handle special projects. Overall, cloud resource spending is predicted to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 36 percent, reaching $19.5 billion by 2016.
This means more opportunities for creative VARs who can find ways to tap cloud dollars to pay for document imaging solutions. Image capture will increasingly be used to store and share business-critical documents and images as part of workflow. Furthermore, document imaging solutions will support common standards such as HTML5 and TWAIN, making it easier to share captured images across applications and between environments.
And those images will have to be secured for storage in public, private, and hybrid cloud environments. Cloud-based image capture applications are going to increasingly become part of the document imaging mix and open up new opportunities to sell cloud-based services.
Big Data Will Drive Document Imaging Demand
Data captured using document imaging solutions will become a more critical part of business analytics. Hadoop is capable of handling multiple data types including both structured data and unstructured data such as text and images. Scanned documents are being used as part of big data analytics, no matter whether the content is converted using optical character recognition or as an image.
Big data is a booming market. IDC research anticipates that the market for big data sales and technology will grow at a 27 percent CAGR, reaching $32.4 billion by 2017. That’s six times the growth rate of the information and communications technology market.
Document imaging and image capture will plan an increasingly important role in big data as organizations look to bring new sources of data into big data analytics. If you are eyeing big data technology as a new potential source of revenue, consider that document imaging solutions and cloud technology dovetail nicely with big data analytics.
When you think of document imaging solutions an extension of other enterprise resources, then the growth potential is really only limited by your imagination. Paper processes will continue to be part of operations and there will always be a need to convert paper into a digital-friendly format. Clearly the market for enterprise resources will continue to grow, and so will demand for document imaging solutions.