Log in

ISM Article

Understanding end users: An opportunity for dealers

6 Jun, 2007 By: Janelle Julien imageSource

Understanding end users: An opportunity for dealers

Dealers can position themselves above the competition by becoming more
educated on solutions in scanning and document management in relation to
enterprise content management (ECM).  ECM is the method used to capture, manage,
store, preserve and deliver information, content and documents related to
organizational proceses. ECM strategies allow the management of an
organization's unstructured information, wherever that information exists.

The ability to access the correct version of a document or record is
important, but organizations must plan beyond this point. Content must be
managed so that it is used to achieve business goals. Central to this strategy
are the tools and technologies of ECM, which manage the complete lifecycle of
content from creation to disposal. Decision makers must match the technology
tools to address their business needs. Technology can enable streamlined
management of content;  this  is  where the dealer can aid in the decision

> The Document MGMT Service Provider (DMSP) Industry

Document management technology helps organizations manage the creation,
revision, approval, and consumption of electronic documents. It provides key
features such as library services, document profiling, searching,
check-in/check-out, version control, revision history, and document security.
Records are content of long-term business value, which can be managed according
to a retention schedule that determines how long a record is kept based on
either outside regulations or internal business practices. As the de facto
standard for business communication, email must be classified, stored, and
destroyed consistent with business standards—just as any other document or
record.  Web content management technology addresses the content creation,
review, approval, and publishing processes of Web-based content. Key features
include creation and authoring tools or integrations, input and presentation
template design and management, content re-use management, and dynamic
publishing capabilities.

The “channel” describes the resellers, distributors, integrators,
consultants, and service companies that bridge the gap between end users and
suppliers. As such, the channel is critical to the development, delivery, and
implementation of document, content, and records management solutions. However,
successful service companies often provide more than scanning and micrographic
services. They also provide products that are typically associated with a VAR or
a system integrator. Louella Fernandes, principal analyst at Quocirca, a leading
primary research and analysis company, says, “The channel needs to be more
proactive in the document management space. Just being responsive to customers'
perceived needs is no longer good enough – typically, the customer just doesn’t
have the knowledge of specific document management areas to make their case
specific enough.”  The channel needs to educate the market, use case scenarios 
to paint pictures for the customers, and provide innovative approaches to the
future of print/scan and document management.

Dealers can capitalize on an end user’s need for document management by
delivering products and services tailored as an ECM solution. According to the
2007 AIIM Scanning and Capture Technologies Industry Watch research,
participants were asked to identify which products or services represent 10% or
more of total revenues. The most popular choices were professional services
(73%), DM/CM software (64%), and scanning services (51%). This is where the
offerings of service companies vs. those offered by VARs vary. For example, the
top three offerings from service companies are scanning services (94%), DM/CM
software (64%), and professional services (59%). For VARs, the top three
offerings are DM/CM software (89%), scanning HW (78%), and professional services
(76%). These results also reflect the  need for all companies in the channel to
move “upstream” in their offerings as the core technology elements in the
industry commoditize.

Traditional industries with significant document   challenges  include 
healthcare,  banking and insurance, and manufacturing. State and local
governments also represent an important market. Records Management (RM) and 
archiving are  an important priority with six critical application areas: RM/archiving,
document control, information capture, AP, customer service, and  claims 

> Driving Efficiency & Productivity

There has been promising growth in the DMSP industry over the past few years,
especially with the numbers of scanning units sold at the departmental and
workgroup levels. Given the volume of backfile conversation work done by service
companies, a large volume of the scanning done by service companies is done on
mid- and high-volume production scanners.

The 2007 AIIM Scanning and Capture Technologies research indicates that
service companies show evidence of the impact of distributed capture, with 11%
of the average scanning volume done on workgroup and departmental scanners.
Another 4% of the scanning done by service companies is done on multifunction
devices (e.g., printers and copiers that double as scanners). Service companies
are far more centralized in their scanning operations than typical end users
are. Even within service companies, 39% of the scanning is done in locations
that could be described as decentralized or distributed (e.g., workgroups, field
offices, by individuals, and via home offices). “Although end users view risk
reduction and compliance arguments relative to scanning and capture as
important, they clearly see these technologies through the prism of efficiency
and productivity,” said John Mancini, president of AIIM. While risk reduction
and compliance are often used as wedges to get executive level visibility for
these technologies (e.g., SOX, HIPAA) it will ultimately be sold based on
efficiency and productivity arguments.

“It is very difficult to make the business case for any kind of solution
based solely on compliance or business continuity concerns—many organizations
simply don’t think it applies to them and choose to take their chances with the
“negative lottery,” said Mancini. “Even an organization that says all the right
things about records, compliance, and governance will often still be more
inclined to spend money on things related to efficiency rather than worry about
things that they think may never happen.”

Fortunately, end user concern about efficiency and productivity is good news
for capture solution providers, because the ROI experience with capture and
scanning technologies is good relative to other IT investments. End users are
usually able to get a rapid return from driving paper out of their processes
through capture, and the ROI increases as the technologies are pushed into key

> Making the Connection

How can the channel improve the effectiveness of their marketing efforts to
potential end users? AIIM research indicates that those seeking to sell scanning
and capture solutions need to develop a marketing strategy that focuses on web
visibility and key user publications. An integrated strategy focused on raising
the effectiveness of individual company websites, positioning the website with
search engines, and a focus on generating good and specific case studies and
pitching them to leading magazines will likely generate results.

“Vendors need to listen to their customers carefully,” said Steve Kass,
president of ChannelMarketPartners, an ECM consultancy.  This involves asking
probing questions that will provide insight into the real needs of the users or
a discovery process. By understanding the end user's goals and objectives, you
will be able to assess their current capabilities, budget, and commitment to
change. “As a vendor, you are solving a problem, providing a solution, removing
an area of pain, or providing a platform for future growth and profit.” 

Bill Brikiatis, Director of Media and Analyst Relations at eCopy, believes 
office equipment dealers  can better understand the needs of end users in the
area of document management and scanning by working closely with independent
software companies that focus on this fast-growing, profitable market segment.
Software solution providers  can   offer   training  and   marketing resources
to help dealers to both sell and support software solutions. “Software 
providers  can  provide an important benefit by working closely with dealers to
help them better partner IT, so that they will be an ally and not an adversary
in building the relationship with the customer,” said Brikiatis.  Collaborating
in customer success, will ultimately win their trust and business. Once an
innovative channel provides a more complete picture of the use of documents
within the organization (neither pushing the "paperless office" nor the idea of
carrying out as much printing as possible), the MFP combined with a print
management solution can create a "sticky" customer who will continue to spend
operating expenditure (opex) money with the channel partner.  “This can be
turned into recurring revenue through the use of leasing, subscription services,
and value added extra services,” said Fernandes.

Lastly, develop relationships that convey your interest in collaborating in
customer success. Always customize your presentation, demos, and proposals to
the end user’s situation. Ultimately, this will win their trust and business.

WebinarCase Studies and White PapersSand Exchange Blog

imageSource Magazine Quick Links
Upcoming Events
ITEX Expo & Conference
©2015 Questex, LLC. All rights reserved
Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited
Please send any technical comments or questions to our webmaster