Getting In the Game: An Introduction to Common Applications29 Aug, 2005 By: Jeff Clark imageSource
Getting In the Game: An Introduction to Common Applications
Finding additional revenue
streams can be a never-ending search experienced by nearly every dealer
Selling document management solutions seems like an obvious choice for added
income, considering it has grown from a $500 million industry in 1998 to more
than $8.2 billion today. Additionally, an estimated 70 percent of companies have
yet to even implement a document management strategy. The opportunity is
obviously there, but where do you start?
Type “document management software” in your favorite search engine and see how
many returns you get. It’s truly a jungle out there with over 600 document
management packages and providers, each with their own little nuances and
There’s content management solutions (CMS), electronic document management
systems (EDMS), enterprise record management (ERM), enterprise resource planning
(ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), and integrated information
management systems (IIMS) – just to name a few. In fact, you could spend month’s
just learning acronyms.
Finding the “perfect” solution can feel like searching for a needle in a
haystack; however, by asking yourself a few questions you can narrow the search
to solutions that are tailored to your business.
What to Look For
Here’s an executive summary of what to look for in a document management
1. Select a well-established company that utilizes open-architecture platforms.
2. Resell solutions that you would feel comfortable integrating into your own
3. Look for scalability—solutions that can grow with your customers.
For the most part, document management systems can be broken down into three
categories: enterprise, departmental and low-end.
Enterprise solutions are just what they sound like, high-volume applications
that require a sophisticated level of integration and support. Typically, these
types of software packages are geared toward the Fortune 500 companies that
require detailed document indexing, control and flexible onsite/offsite
Departmental applications are becoming more and more popular. There are numerous
reasons for this. Functionality and capabilities are up, pricing is down, and
companies would rather approach this ‘ideological” change in the way they manage
or process their information slowly versus diving in headfirst. This type of
product generally integrates into small to mid-sized companies (according to
AIIM, this is the next group of companies to embrace the technology).
Departmental solutions offer flexible indexing and retrieval and do not require
a high-level of integration and support.
Low-end solutions are typically retail applications that can be integrated by
the customer themselves or even a sales rep with limited document management
knowledge. Several hardware manufacturers bundle these types of applications
with low-end MFPs or scanning devices. These are great solutions for small
offices or departments looking for basic indexing capabilities and do not want
to invest resources into a robust document management solution. The main issue
with these products is the limited migration path to other solutions once the
customer has outgrown their current installation.
Now that we have some guidelines let’s look at a few of the applications
themselves. We’ll start with some of the solutions offered by hardware
manufacturers. Obviously we cannot cover every manufacturer, so we’ll
concentrate on the big three: Canon, Ricoh and Konica-Minolta.
Canon offers a high-end departmental solution called imageWARE. This package is
actually a suite of applications that range from document indexing and
retrieval, to production-level image capture and document publishing. Customers
requiring document archiving and retrieval capabilities can utilize the document
manager software to act as a local repository for documents.
The manufacturer that seems to have the most solutions for document capture,
indexing and workflow is Ricoh. The first solution is Document Mall, which is
actually an off-site repository that can index documents sent from a variety of
sources and publish them online. The advantage for office equipment dealers is
the limited installation and support required for this type of integration. The
downside is that documents are held off-site, which can be a tough sell.
Ricoh also offers the e-Cabinet series, which are external hard drives that can
integrate into an existing server environment. These devices are relatively easy
to install and can accept documents from a variety of Ricoh copiers, scanner and
fax devices, as well as from PCs.
Ricoh also offers a product called Goby Capture, which is a result of its
partnership with Doculex. This application serves two purposes: document storage
and document routing. Using Goby Capture, customers can initiate the document
archiving process and deliver documents directly from a Ricoh MFP to e-Cabinet,
Document Mall, WebSearch and a host of other document management systems.
Doculex also offers its own proprietary archiving system that works as a
high-end departmental solution.
The last MFP vendor that we’ll look at is Konica Minolta, which offers two
archiving applications—PageScope Pro and DocuBreeze. PageScope Pro is more of a
traditional document archiving solution that integrates with bizhub devices to
on-ramp documents for storage and retrieval. A unique twist to PageScope is that
it will set-up individual FTP sites on a client PC and transfer documents from
the MFP directly into the client’s filing system.
Konica Minolta also offers an application called DocuBreeze. This system is more
of an automated departmental document management and workflow solution, by
enabling users to manage the entire document lifecycle from creation to storage.
Documentum, recently acquired by EMC, is one of the biggest players in the
industry. Its ApplicationXtender content management platform offers unified
enterprise document management, Web content management, digital asset
management, and fixed content management. This is a true enterprise level
solution that requires a sophisticated level of integration and support.
Westbrook Technologies offers a variety of solutions, one of which is the robust
enterprise solution called Fortis. Fortis can integrate with either a SQL or
Oracle database and is built on Microsoft’s Open Database Architecture. This
system provides robust document indexing and can be accessed either internally
from a client PC or externally via a Web portal.
FileNet offers the P8 Platform, which enables a host of management solutions,
including business processing, email indexing, and image and records management.
It’s built on a XML framework, which offers maximum scalability and seamless
management throughout the enterprise.
OnBase from Hyland software combines a suite of applications which integrate
production-level document imaging, document management and records management.
An interesting spin on this software is the ability to either host the system on
a local network or off-site via Hyland’s remote servers. As with Ricoh’s
Document Mall, the latter requires less support; however, it may prove difficult
to convince customers to store documents off-site.
Laserfiche is one of the most common applications on the market. It is resold by
various hardware manufacturers and independent resellers. Its strength lies in
the public sector, specifically with municipalities. Laserfiche uses one of the
most powerful OCR packages on the market to index and retrieve documents.
Digitech offers a variety of products, but it made its name on the capture side
of the business. It provides in-house solutions as well as online applications.
Digitech offers a very flexible support program, which allows you to either take
customer support in-house, or have their national support team do it for you.
With over 20 years in the industry, Docuware is an established industry veteran
that offers systems that are easy to integrate, use and support. Its product is
modular in design and includes many functions that are sold as options on
The primary application in the low-end category is PaperPort Pro by Scansoft.
This application is bundled with several MFPs and can be purchased at a majority
of retail superstores.
This solution requires little installation know-how and on-going support.
Customers can drag-and-drop files into the system and set-up simple archiving
rules. If you are working with a small account needing an upgrade over their
current Windows filing system, then I would point them in the direction of
Staples to pick up a copy.
Once again, this article is not intended to recommend a specific package or
solution, my goal here is to provide you with an overview of some of the
solutions on the market and get you thinking about some of the options out
So what’s the next step? You must also become familiar with the sales cycle,
industry terminology, vertical market opportunities, competition, and much more.
One course that may prove valuable is DocuStrategies, a program developed and
taught by independent office equipment dealers who have successfully made the
transition from hardware-only providers to total solution integrators. This
two-day course will provide you with the groundwork necessary to formulate and
execute a solutions selling strategy.
Jeff Clark has held various direct and dealer sales positions with Ricoh,
Muratec, IKON, Samsung, and Lanier. He currently serves as the president of Digi-File
Imaging, a Dallas-based electronic document management systems integrator. Jeff
can be reached at email@example.com.