MFPs: Get the Most Out of Them28 Mar, 2006 By: John Mancini imageSource
MFPs: Get the Most Out of Them
A topic that has consistently
surfaced at industry events I have spoken at around the country has been the
impact that networked-attached MFP devices will have on the traditional document
imaging/document management market.
A recent article by noted industry analyst Harvey Spencer captured the reality
of what I think is the current state of this issue: “Despite containing the
capability for scanning into document management systems, few copiers have been
used for this purpose. Most scanning is for email or fax distribution, but as
business increasingly includes both electronic and paper originated documents,
scanning and handling paper electronically will become essential to a company’s
A recent AIIM Industry Watch study reinforces this point. Nearly 60 percent of
end users report that network-attached MFPs are used for scanning in their
organizations. Among large companies (those with 1,000 employees or more), the
percentage rises to 68 percent. As Spencer notes, most of this scanning is
unfortunately being done for simple email or fax distribution.
The reason this is important to copier dealers is that moving end users “up” the
application curve from ad hoc document distribution into true document
management is critical to increasing margins.
Without a refocusing on services and integration, copier dealers and
distributors will compete for “document” business solely on the basis of
increasingly squeezed hardware margins and consumables—already a losing
proposition in the copier business.
So what are the keys for those in the copier channel that are looking to access
emerging opportunities in document scanning and capture? Two keys come to mind:
1. Be smart about the basics
Copier dealers must ask themselves:
• Why are end users looking at document management solutions?
• What are the basic building blocks of a document management solution?
• How do end users go about implementing a solution?
AIIM provides an education roadmap to dealers looking to understand this market.
The AIIM ERM (Electronic Records Management) and ECM (Enterprise Content
Management) certificate programs provide such a roadmap. Dealers and
distributors can become ERM and ECM practitioners, specialists and masters and
use this designation to gain credibility among potential clients.
Information on the program can be found at http://www.aiim.org/education/certificate.asp.
The program is available online and through both public and private
2. Understand how documents are used within an organization
Successful players in the document channel need to understand not only the
technology for managing documents, but the context in which documents are
managed (i.e., the business process). This means that those who will be
successful in the document channel in the future will be those with vertical
knowledge and focus.
The opportunity is there. There are nearly 170,000 business organizations in the
U.S. with between 100 and 1,000 employees, very few of whom to date have
implemented a document management solution.
The technologies have matured both on the copier side and on the document
software side to the point that there is no reason for network-attached copiers
and printers not to be a major form of document capture in the years ahead.
Copier dealers are ideally positioned to take advantage of this migration.