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From File Folders to the Worldwide Web: Scanners are Moving Into Mainstream Business

15 Jul, 2003 By: Pamela Doyle imageSource

From File Folders to the Worldwide Web: Scanners are Moving Into Mainstream Business

Corporate America is
an information overload. Corporations of all sizes and in all industries are
experiencing an information explosion. This is caused by the imbalance within an
organization to create data versus their ability to manage the data effectively.
As a result, corporations often make critical decisions and implement business
operations without the relevant facts.

Additionally, we are
living in a time when there is a worldwide economic slow-down. All of our
organizations are being mandated by executive management to cut costs,
accelerate business processes and in many cases to reduce logistical
requirements such as storage space. Our nation and the world have been rocked by
corporate improprieties. Governments worldwide are mandating organizations to be
more forth coming with their business and financial information to demonstrate
they are in regulatory compliance.

Enterprise Content
Management (ECM), including the document imaging technologies, helps
organizations more effectively manage their information and it helps cut costs
associated with bringing their products and services to market. Additionally,
ECM helps organizations accelerate their business processes, to be more
forth-coming with their business and financial information and protects their
data ensuring business continuity.

The Association of
Information and Image Management (AIIM International) defines ECM as both
product and strategy. From a product perspective, ECM encompasses the tools and
technology that enable an organization to "capture, manage, store, preserve
and deliver content throughout the enterprise." From a strategy
perspective, ECM is being able to "formulate a plan to manage all
information whether structured or unstructured."

Information exists
in numerous formats. There are electronic documents (word processing,
spreadsheets, presentations, graphics), e-mail, voice, video, and of course,
paper. It is estimated that 80 percent of all information is still retained on
paper. Managing information has always been a challenge. Rapid development of
the Internet has only exasperated that challenge. Studies indicate that the
Internet has become the dominant means for information access and delivery, and
intranets are reported to be the fastest growing segment of the web. Companies
of all sizes recognize the Internet/Intranet as the best method for their
employees and customers to have access to their organization's information,
which often includes content from paper-based documents.

This move toward the
Internet/Intranet is fueling the need to quickly convert paper-based information
into online content. The Internet/Intranet has also become the vehicle for
document distribution. Many organizations are also using this vehicle to mirror
their data off-site to ensure business continuity. Other organizations are
deploying lower end scanners to their field, remote or home offices in order to
capture the documents at the point of origin. The Internet/Intranet is then the
vehicle used to transmit those documents to corporate to be processed. Benefits
of this type of deployment include the security of the documents because they
are not at a single central location and the dramatic reduction in courier
service costs to send the documents to corporate.

Improved Scanning
Solutions In the past, scanners were typically sold to a select market with
little concentration on the general business population. There were limited
distribution channels with a primary focus on the insurance, healthcare and
banking industries. Today, new technologies make scanners easier to use and more
affordable with new introductions and an increased focus on workgroup and
departmental scanner applications. Office equipment dealers are perfectly suited
to offer scanners and are only recently realizing the benefits of adding
scanners to their offering. I believe we should capitalize on these trends and
broaden the adoption of this technology as it does help organizations to solve
real world business issues. Taking advantage of these trends will results in
success for the customer, dealers and vendor.

According to Susan
Moyse, Industry Consultant for InfoTrends Research Group, Inc., workgroup and
departmental segments of the document imaging market are positioned to meet the
needs of a broad base of users. "Packed with the features found in many
high end devices, such as duplexing, image processing, and even double feed
detection, these devices are robust, reliable, and user friendly," said
Moyse. "Vendors are also adding software bundles and multiple interface
options. The usability and appealing price points of these scanners are more
compelling than ever before."

The rise in
workgroup class (up to 20 ppm) devices has been especially notable over the past
five years. According to InfoTrends, the segment has grown from 15 percent of
the entire document scanner market in 1997 to 41 percent of unit shipments in
2002. The departmental segment has been a core segment of document scanning as
well. At least half of all document scanners sold before 1999 were departmental
class machines. Since then, the departmental segment (20 to 40 ppm) has
gradually given way to workgroup models, but still represents a third of total
market shipments. Margins of 20 to 30 percent are standard, with manufacturers
offering very competitive distribution and reseller programs.

Distributed scanning
implementations continue to be a key driver for sales of workgroup and
departmental scanner models. The biggest opportunity for these devices will be
the yet untapped corporate office market. Success in general business
environments will require these scanners to integrate easily with typical office
functions, including standard filing systems and applications such as e-mail. In
addition, there will be greater needs for network connectivity than those
typically found in the traditional document imaging arena. Vendors are offering
dealers increased opportunities for service revenues with profits from service
contracts/renewals and training/technical support.

These trends are
forcing the adoption of the document imaging technologies. Many years ago I made
myself a promise to never state "this was the year for imaging." I
will not renege on that promise but I will say I believe "this is the time
for imaging."

Pamela Doyle is the
Director and IPG Spokesperson for Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Inc. For
more information on scanners and scanner technology, visit www.fcpa.fujitsu.com,
www.aiim.org or www.comptia.org.

Workgroup and Departmental Scanners to Customers Seven Reasons For Offering
Scanners 1. Scanners provide increased storage options for companies, often
saving documents both exactly as they appeared and in a common format. 2.
Scanners are ideal for companies with branch offices and a central or corporate
location. Branch offices can save thousands on postage each year simple by
scanning reports, recording and sending them via the Internet for storage. 3.
Vendors are offering margins of 20 to 30 percent, technical support, training,
and revenues on service contracts/renewals. 4. Scanning technologies have yet to
become commonplace in the office equipment arena. Dealers can impress clients
with their scanner knowledge and commitment to supplying their needs. 5. Storage
applications, software customization and integration opportunities keep
dealerships with IT departments busy and give salespeople the opportunity to
cater to existing and build new relationships. 6. There are now tools available
that allow dealers to track and charge for scan clicks. OMD Corp.'s Vision
software and eCopy's product are a few examples. 7. Contrary to popular belief,
scanning applications do not hinder click counts. In fact, according to Lou
Slewetsky, President of Industry Analysts, during the active lifecycle of a
document, electronic documents are printed out three to four times more than
hard copy documents. This results in an increase in print volume up to 300

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