by Christina Robbins
Sometimes imaging resellers only think about selling hardware, but a simple shift in thinking helps to increase the size of each sale leading to business growth. Rather than simply considering which scanner a customer needs, think about the larger challenge they’re trying to solve. Frequently, you’ll find that pairing enterprise content management (ECM) with your scanning services is a simple, effective upsell that adds value for your customer. Best of all, technology innovations are making it easier than ever to start selling these solutions.
First, the worldwide technology forecast is cloudy. Forrester predicts that global cloud revenues will reach $106 billion in 2016, up 21 percent from 2015. At this point, the rewards of cloud are clear, and more than 35 percent of companies are only considering cloud technologies for projects in 2016. In addition, Nucleus Research explains that the overall financial return for cloud is 2.1 times that available from software, up 24 percent since 2012. Did you know that most cloud ECM options allow you to avoid IT investment, making it simpler for you? Here’s how it works. Manufacturers build and maintain the services, so you skip the expense of hardware and software installations. Also, the manufacturer is responsible for uptime and reliability, so you don’t pay for on-call IT staff to support systems.
Mike James, CEO of Fireproof Records Center, focuses his business strategy around ECM. As the steward of a company that is more than 100 years old, he wants to make sure he plans for company longevity in the digital age. Fireproof saw an increase in opportunity when they started offering cloud-based ECM. They now place the cloud service at the center of their business model and also offer scanning and other services as add-ons. “Paper storage and document destruction are still paramount, but we lead with ImageSilo,” said James. “We were able to double the amount of information our customers store. We can even provide a hybrid system, so customers can store older paper records at the warehouse and scan current paper documents for management with ImageSilo. Any way the customer wants to do it, we have great solutions.”
Do you employ people to sort documents prior to scanning or have staff who hand-key index values after scanning? Did you know this is one of the most costly parts of every scanning job, and it may be unnecessary? The average knowledge worker makes close to $20 per hour, so most businesses are highly motivated to automate manual process steps, which brings us to our second major technology trend: artificial intelligence.
Artificial intelligence is making scanning software smarter in two ways. First, AI-enabled scanning applications can automatically sort documents into categories, which means you don’t have to pay someone to manually put paper documents into project piles before scanning. Second, these applications can automatically extract index values, so you no longer pay people to hand-key information.
How does this work for a real imaging VAR? MuniMetriX partnered with an ECM manufacturer in 2001, and over the years, have grown their product offerings as the marketplace has changed. For example, they offered cloud-based ECM years before the rest of the market began offering cloud options, giving them an opportunity to establish a strong reputation as a cloud provider. They are excited to see their opportunity expand even more with artificial intelligence. In fact, they’ve already closed a deal with one of the world’s largest software companies to help them sort and classify hundreds of thousands of license contracts using AI. Their customer has improved efficiency and uses fewer staff to handle the workload. They securely access contract details immediately from virtually any device anywhere in the world. As a result, MuniMetriX has become a trusted source for technology solutions to meet their needs. “PaperVision Forms Magic has streamlined our client’s information management services. Sorting through documents prior to scanning is no longer required, and the system automatically extracts all the data needed. As a result, business moves faster and more effectively,” explained Rector.
How might a focus on selling solutions rather than simply hardware change your opportunities? It’s time to find out, as cloud services and artificial intelligence are making it easier for you to offer complete solutions to your customers.
 Columbus, Louis. (Jan 24,2015) “Roundup of Cloud Computing Forecasts and Estimates.” Forbes. Retrieved from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/louiscolumbus/2015/01/24/roundup-of-cloud-computing-forecasts-and-market-estimates-2015/#280fe438740c
 Wettemann, Rebecca. (April 2016). “Cloud Delivers 2.1 Times More ROI.” Nucleus Research.
 Simply Hired, 2016.