Document Management in the Cloud6 Feb, 2013 By: Thomas Schneck, DocuWare imageSource
Significant advantages for your customers
SaaS drastically reduces the maintenance and costs needed to run a solution: from an online document management provider’s website, you can get started in minutes – no hardware or installation required for the initial set up or for any upgrades in the future. Welcomed news to your customer’s IT and finance department!
Cloud solutions are typically offered for a monthly, moderate charge - typically under $ 1000 per month for a mid-sized company. This means your customers can start benefiting from document management without any upfront investment. Sometimes a SaaS provider will offer a trial period which reduces your customer’s risks even further.
Many benefits for you as a reseller
Online solutions also offer a variety of advantages to office equipment resellers. Cloud-based document management providers can pre-configure typical use cases – for specific functions of an organization (e.g. Accounts Payable process) or for industries (e.g. education or manufacturing). Having a library of pre-defined use cases available makes it much easier for your account executives to demo document management to the specific needs and expectations of your customers.
SaaS based solutions are also typically very scalable – not only from a functionality but also from a pricing standpoint. This allows for a lot of flexibility in the sales process. Depending on the specific sales engagement, the cloud solution can be tailored to be a differentiator in an MPS offering or to be embedded within a hardware proposal. It also can be priced to be included in a hardware sale as a seeding strategy for later upgrade and expansion sales.
Still ample opportunity for professional services
Although online solutions are pre-installed, they are a great platform to generate professional services revenues. Like on-premise solutions, cloud-based document management needs to be planned and configured to the specific needs of a customer regarding workflows, storage structures, access rights, and application integrations. In addition, there is a constant demand for training of users.
A word about compensation
Selling cloud-based solutions requires a bit of re-thinking regarding the compensation for the sales team. Due to the monthly pay-as-you-go model, there is no large purchase order at the close of a sale. Rather the close of the sale is the beginning of a long annuity stream.
In order to provide an instant gratification to a successful sales person, you could consider a closing bonus based on the margin or revenues of a 12-month pay period. A 12-month period is also typically the minimum commitment by a customer for a SaaS solution. In general, document management solutions are extremely “sticky” – driven by IRS and other compliance rules - which make for very long and stable revenue streams.
How It Works
Paper documents, email, files and any of your company’s electronic forms can be managed easily online. Even more sophisticated tasks such as document workflows, version management and image-enabling of existing applications are possible. Your documents are then available at anytime from anywhere via PC, Smartphone or tablet while the information is well-organized and safely stored.
To scan paper documents to the cloud, the online document management solution provides an app that integrates scanners connected to the PC. A second app monitors any designated file folder on a PC or server and automatically moves new files from there to the cloud file cabinet. Optionally, network scanners and multifunction devices which scan directly to an ftp directory can also connect to specially configured ftp addresses (provided by the document management solution,) eliminating the need for a designated folder or even a PC.
For email, a client app typically integrates the document management system seamlessly into, for example, Microsoft Outlook. Email can then be directly stored out of Outlook (manually or automatically) and retrieved there later as well.
Other apps allow storage of documents from other Windows-based applications or to transfer index information out of these programs to the online document management system.