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Don’t Neglect Distributed Capture in Sales Pitch “If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door.”

7 Jan, 2008 By: John Mancini imageSource

Don’t Neglect Distributed Capture in Sales Pitch “If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door.”

One of the hottest areas in document capture these days is distributed
capture.  For those unfamiliar with the term, the definition I usually use is
this:  A scanning environment in which paper documents are scanned or faxed
locally and sent to a centralized target location (indexing can be done either
locally or centrally).

At AIIM, we recently probed user understanding of the benefits and challenges
associated with distributed capture, and the results point to a real opportunity
for the copier dealers/distributors looking to move into document solution
selling.  If you haven’t positioned these benefits in your value equation, now
is the time to “build a door” in your business to these opportunities.

Nearly 500 end user organizations participated in the survey (For a complete
copy of the survey, please go to

. The survey is free
to download; only registration on the site is required).

The savings resulting from simply reducing shipping and copying costs are
often cited when justifying distributed capture investments. But experienced
users paint a far more compelling reason for investing in distributed capture.
The two most popular responses to the benefits issue were: 1) improve efficiency
(faster access to content) and 2) automate processes (streamlining processes.)
Potential investors in distributed capture should heed this lesson. There are
great benefits to be realized from such an investment that go far beyond the
elimination of paper and associated shipping, and go to the core or business
efficiency and productivity. In fact, the third most popular answer - ranked
higher than “reduced shipping and copying costs” - was increased information
security, which also points to a far more strategic positioning of benefits.

When asked to identify the processes in which distributed capture is used,
Finance and Administration was a clear front-runner, with 59% of those who are
utilizing Distributed Scanning and Capture are doing so in Finance and
Administration. Organizations seeking to have immediate impact on process
efficiency and productivity (i.e. streamlining processes) will often target
“cost of doing business” processes such as payroll and shipping, which was
clearly the case among the survey participants.

There are a number of specific processes within Finance and Administration
that are popular candidates for automation through the application of
Distributed Scanning and Capture technologies. At the top of the list, as one
might imagine, are invoice processing, document routing and approval, expense
reports, billing and shipping consolidation & purchase requisitions.

Survey participants provided insight into targeted applications within the
process areas outside of Finance and Administration as well. In the HR  arena,
the most popular processes in terms of Distributed Scanning and Capture
utilization are those related to new hires & personnel actions. In sales and
marketing, the bias shown in Finance & Administration toward
transaction-intensive processes is also shown. Order processing tops the list of
Distributed Scanning and Capture applications followed closely by new account
processing. Within Product Management, the most popular process target is
Product enhancement requests.

The reason this is all such a huge opportunity for copier dealers and
distributors is that end users clearly see a central role for multi-function
devices in addressing these issues. Network-attached MFDs (defined in the survey
as “network-attached devices that copy, print, and scan”) are an important part
of the Distributed Scanning and Capture equation. 60% of end users identify MFDs
as “important” or “very important” to their programs. This is followed fairly
closely by departmental scanners.

Let me close with another “opportunity” quote, this one from Thomas Edison: 
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and
looks like work.”  There is plenty of opportunity for those in the copier
channel in meeting the distributed capture needs of end users; get on with it
and let us (AIIM) know how we can help.

John F. Mancini is President of AIIM (www.aiim.org), the leading education
and research organization for the document management community.  For details on
AIIM’s training programs for copier companies, see

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