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Why not paper?

6 Feb, 2007 By: Eric Stavola, Witt Company imageSource

Why not paper?

Sitting at my desk I am amazed at the amount of information that is available
at my fingertips. From the Internet to my digital TV recorder, I can control
information, making it "on demand" at my disposal. Knowing that over 80 percent
of all information is still being stored in those manila folders and file
cabinets we had all become accustomed to, I can understand why the copier world
is in a document management frenzy.

While we have all seen the evolution of our industry coming to pass,  very
few dealers have truly taken control over the situation. Why? Lack of
questioning? Lack of resources? Lack of knowledge? Take your pick of any,  all
or a combination.  The only thing I know for sure is that selling a document
management system takes skill, determination, and a process. In the hopes of
providing some value to aid in your success in the document management field,
let’s take a brief look at some  resources and knowledge of the DM sale.

Clearly Define Why Not Paper

We have all heard of the mythical "paperless office" of the future and the
advantages of a paperless system, but whether or not you can  clearly explain
"why not paper?" when asked by a potential client, the answer can mean the
difference between a solutions revenue generator or just a box sale. Be prepared
with answers to "why not?" with simple, yet concise responses.  Here are reasons
for "why not paper? that lead to successful document management:

  • It’s hard and timely  to index

  • Time consuming to work with

  • Lacks document security

  • Is difficult to track through a work process

  • Can be destroyed, misplaced, or torn

  • Requires large physical storage facilities

  • Requires large peripheral product costs: paper clips, staples

Introduce Your Clients to "Why?"

Once you’ve explained the "why not?" clearly,  any good IT person must be
able to back up their "why not" statement with "why?"

Tactical (hard dollar) savings examples:

  • Staff reduction or avoidance

  • Reduced operating costs

  • Space savings

Productivity (soft dollar) savings examples:

Salary _ % savings _ staff = productivity value

  • Accessing data from various locations anytime

  • Directing information to right people

  • Streamlining processes

  • Improving the quality of work

  • Improving records control and security

Strategic Benefits examples:

  • Competitive advantage and new revenue opportunities

  • Faster in bringing new products to market

  • Provides new sales and service opportunities


When talking with your clientele, develop an understanding of their current document usage and paper flow. Address:

  • How long is the records retention period?

  • How long do the records remain active?

  • What is the frequency of retrieval? In the first 30 days? In the first six months? In the first year?

  • Is there an on-going historic or legal requirement?

  • Will the system be effective without converting existing files?


Once implemented, a document management system could, and likely will, have a
significant impact on end users within the corporate structure. It is critical
that you understand the process and the overall potential impact it may have on
the many users and departments of a company.  There are important elements to be
aware of.   These include:

  • Reorganization needs

  • Revision to job roles

  • New responsibility

  • Dept organization

  • Document Management Process Needs

  • Staff reduction

  • Training

  • Documentation

Remember that it is essential to have a contingency plan for loss or disaster
when implementing a document management system. Think of contingency planning as
risk management for a known threat.   A proper  plan will describe how the
organization will deal with potential risks and include processes and procedures
that will ensure the continuation of essential functions during and after a
disaster.  Contingency planning is not only profitable, it can also be used to
solidify customer relations for a dealership by showing customers that you care.


Prior to any engagement, Statement of Work (SOW) or proof of concept, it is
critical to clearly outline the description of the work environment in a
requirements document. This document will be a detailed description of features
required; document volumes and retrieval patterns; current computing environment
and technical requirements; security requirements; and support and maintenance
requirements. Please note that this is different then a network survey or SOW.


Throughout any document management sale, there will probably be a number of
different presentations made to different corporate levels; from the CEO, CTO
and CIO through middle management and to end users. Customize presentations for
each level utilizing bullet points and summaries for high level executives and
department specific information for end users. Any formal presentation should

  • Visuals such as flip charts and color handouts
    or electronic presentations using color graphics and charts.

  • An explanation of the findings of the research,
    the process, improvements to be made, the solution selected, and ROI.(remember your cost benefit model).

  • As you utilize new terminology and digest the document management sale, keep
    in mind that it takes time and effort, so keep taking one step at a time to
    reach that finish line.

Eric Stavola is an area sales manager and a former network solutions manager
for Kyocera Mita,  as well as a network service director for a dealership. 
Contact him at 619.823.5395 or Eric_Stavola@kyoceramita.com.

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