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Do You Want More Scanning Opportunities?

25 Sep, 2012 By: HK Bain imageSource

PrinterYou probably know that IT spending is on the rise in 2012, but do you know which technologies are driving the upswing? CompTIA explains that data is exploding and the cloud is calling. These trends represent significant opportunities for savvy Value-added Resellers (VARs) who may be looking to sell more scanning services. The data explosion is not “all” digital, so scanning is a core component for every information management strategy. Your opportunity: make it easier and less expensive for your customers to get started.


Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is a technology that is expected to outpace the overall growth of the software market. When deployed through the cloud, ECM is more attractive to resource-strapped resellers who want to add new products without investing in hardware or new personnel, and it will drive new scanning revenue to your business. Finally, discover the not-so-hidden market expanding strategy that can result in explosive growth for your organization. You can increase your potential customer base by more than forty-four times!

You will find more scanning opportunities when you target everyone with paper, add a simple, complimentary technology to your product offerings, and fill a critical void in a larger market that needs you.

Target Everyone with Paper

Eighty-six percent of businesses are still using paper-based forms to process information. This is great news for you, but you may need to shift your strategy to most effectively reach out to a broader range of potential buyers. Consider complementing your scanning services with a simple desktop scanning application that your customers can use to capture paper documents on-the-fly as they move through their organization. Desktop scanning is the perfect solution for small to medium sized businesses (SMBs) who may not have sufficient document volumes to justify a larger-scale scanning solution. Choose a desktop scanning application that is easy for you to sell and simple for your customers to begin using right away.

Watch out for usage fees! Powerful desktop scanning applications do not have to be expensive (some are less than $600), but you should be aware of this important buyer tip. Many systems start at what looks like a low price, but add incremental fees based on usage. These usage fees have two forms: limits on the number of documents you can scan or limits to the speed (number of pages per minute) of scanner you choose. This scenario actually incentivizes your customers NOT to use the system in order to control costs, which limits the potential benefit to their organization and diminishes your contribution to their success. You don’t have to settle for unpredictable usage expenses in the options you give your customers! Choose a system that offers a single, upfront cost, and encourage your customers to use each license to its fullest extent to maximize financial returns.

As you move from enterprise scanning solutions to embrace desktop options, you’ll open a new range of customers like paper-intensive departments within larger organizations and SMBs who may have been previously scared away by high costs.

The Automatic Up-Sell

So, you’ve sold your scanning opportunity to a new SMB customer, but what are you doing to help them securely manage their new electronic files? “Digitizing documents is not just about saving paper,” said Nucleus Research. In fact, converting paper documents to electronic files is only the first step to boosting an organization’s document management efforts. Combine scanning with ECM to maximize the benefits. ECM systems organize and secure electronic files. They place documents right at your client’s fingertips through simple search functions similar to the web searches employees already know how to do. Nucleus Research found that more than 50% of the benefits from content management projects come from eliminating manual, paper-based processes and automating the flow of information throughout the enterprise.

Many small businesses are not interested in the complexity of installing one more application on their company systems, but they will consider cloud-based options. VARs indicated that they expected cloud-based revenues to increase from 24% to 36% of their overall revenue base in 2012. Your areas of biggest opportunity include accounting and finance, human resources, time-sensitive documents, and project-related or temporary documents that are easily lost.

How does cloud ECM fit? According to analysts at IDC, today’s digital universe is five times the size it was in 2008. Various industry and government regulations, like HIPAA and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) which requires email archival, are driving companies to store, manage, and secure digital information. So, what’s the problem? While digital content is growing, IT budgets for managing storage and infrastructure are down. Businesses need to move away from the cost and complexity of managing their own data storage, and they’re looking for VARs who can help. Cloud ECM helps you leverage this business opportunity by offering your customers a simple, low cost way to store, manage, and secure the electronic information you just created from their paper records. It’s a natural up-sell.

You don’t have to become an expert to add this offering to your product line. With cloud ECM, the manufacturer manages all software, servers, and storage and is responsible for maintaining system availability for your customers. You don’t have to invest in hardware or IT expertise to manage these systems in-house, which saves you time getting started and the considerable costs down the road. You can leave upgrades and maintenance to the manufacturer, allowing you to focus on selling more and managing your business.

For example, Polar Imaging is a reseller based in London, Ontario, Canada who has been selling ECM and cloud ECM technologies since 2002. They had been a small service bureau that provided scanning services, but they were dissatisfied with the intermittent revenue this business model provided. They wanted a product that would be easy to understand and quick to implement into their own business and one that “made sense to customers,” says Steve Todd, Director of Business Development. They chose a cloud ECM option because it did not require them to hire new IT or hardware experts. “The Digitech Systems products are a huge contributor to our growth,” says Steve. “Between 2009 and 2010, ImageSilo® revenue increased 400%. Our sales just took off.”

Find a Bigger Sandbox


Data from analysts at Kollabria indicate that there are about five million ECM desktops around the world, only a portion of which are used for scanning. What if you could increase that potential customer base to more than 220 million?

A simple strategic shift will increase your market opportunity by more than 44 times! What’s the shift? Start marketing to companies who are using Microsoft SharePoint to manage data. SharePoint has grown from a simple document sharing application into an enterprise-wide collaboration platform for many companies. However, Microsoft has not incorporated any technologies to help businesses get their paper-based information into SharePoint. This is a huge opportunity for you!

Kollabria, an analyst firm specializing in SharePoint technologies, said, “Even for the most modern of businesses, ignoring the paper-based business document is a short sighted endeavor in automation. To deploy SharePoint as a platform that connects people with information, leaving out the information found in paper business documents all over the office seems foolish.” Your scanning services, especially when combined with an inexpensive, desktop scanning application, can help more than 220 million users leverage SharePoint to its fullest potential. All you need to do
is grow your sandbox by learning how to market to and speak with SharePoint users.


What more scanning opportunities? Learn to leverage today’s biggest technology trends. As data grows, your opportunity to help customers with desktop scanning also expands, and you can help them better manage their new electronic files by offering cloud ECM systems that require almost no IT training or investment. Finally, start playing in a bigger sandbox. Reach out to SharePoint users who need help getting critical business information stored on paper into their SharePoint libraries. It doesn’t have to be hard or expensive to build your scanning opportunity while also addressing your customer’s needs.

About the Author: HK Bain

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