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Why VARs Should Enter the Document Imaging Market in 2016

December 21, 2017

Why VARs Should Enter the Document Imaging Market in 2016

Document imaging has never been more popular. According to Harvey Spencer Associates, the worldwide market for document-capture software reached $3 billion for the first time in 2014 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 7% through 2019, hitting $4 billion by that point. (Capture software is used to convert paper documents to electronic images and data.) When you factor in trends like increasing adoption in the small to medium-sized businesses (SMB) space, reduced barriers to entry such as cloud options and lower prices, and an increasing desire by businesses of all sizes to speed up their paper processes to match the speed of electronic transactions, it’s easy to see why value-added resellers (VARs) should consider entering (or increasing their current efforts) in the document imaging market in 2016.

Let’s take a look at some of these factors individually:

  • Increasing adoption in the SMB space: There is no question that most large banks, insurance companies, and federal government agencies have already adopted some sort of document imaging technology. After all, these were the original targets for the technology due to their high volumes of paper used in mission-critical processes. And, while these large organizations continue to be a good market for document imaging technology as they look to refresh their systems and automate additional processes, the SMB is where most of the greenfield territory is. By most estimates, the vast majority of the SMB is either not using or is underserved by document imaging technology.

  • Improved accessibility: One reason that the SMB has been underserved by imaging to date is that it’s historically been too expensive. However, several factors have come together to change this dynamic:

    • Falling prices: Basically, the speed and functionality that 20 years ago was available only in $30,000-plus document scanners can now be had for a few thousand dollars. MFPs have also become a viable on-ramp for scanning documents. Entry-level software prices have continued to drop as more functionality, such as OCR, automated data capture, and workflow, which were once available only as expensive add-ons, are included as part of standard document imaging packages.

    • Cloud availability: Document capture is still almost always installed on a PC, but functionality like document management, workflow, and even data capture is now available on the cloud, which is an attractive option for many SMBs. The cloud offers advantages like outsourced support and maintenance, as well as monthly pricing models and reduced up-front investment, which gives SMBs the assurance that they can cut their losses less painfully if an implementation doesn’t work out.

    • Ease of use: More than 20 years of market experience has taught imaging-hardware and -software vendors a few things about end-user interaction with their technology. Many scanners and MFPs now feature button-scanning capabilities to enable users to launch complex document capture workflows with a single step. Automated data capture, which used to typically require a lot of custom scripting, coding, and configuration, can now often be set up through learn-by-example and point-and-click interfaces. This not only makes the software easier for the end user to take on, but easier to set up for a VAR.

  • Need to keep pace with the speed of electronic transactions: There is no question that in today’s e-commerce-driven market, end users are accustomed to quick turnarounds. However, when paper is introduced into a transactional process, without document imaging, this turnaround time can be drastically affected. For a long time, many organizations figured they could just wait for paper to go away, but more than 20 years after we first started talking about the potential for the “paperless office,” it still hasn’t arrived. Businesses are starting to realize that paperless is a myth. As a result, they are now looking for technology to expedite the processing of the paper they realize they are going to be receiving for quite some time.