Document imaging technology has been on the market for more than 20 years now. However, most experts believe the imaging market, especially for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), still offers a ton of opportunity. That’s because the technology is not only becoming more vital to stay competitive, but it’s also becoming more accessible.
Following are four reasons that this is the year for you to start selling document imaging solutions:
This is clearly the hottest buzzphrase in the technology market today. Basically, it is defined as “the application of digital technologies to fundamentally impact all aspects of business and society.” Well, guess what. Document imaging systems have been in the digital transformation business for years. The fact that everyone else is now finally jumping on board is great news for the industry. Basically, if a business wants to go through a digital transformation, one of the first things it needs to do is to convert its paper to digital data, and imaging is a key enabler.
Tipping point in cloud adoption:
We’ve been hearing about the cloud ad nauseum for several years now, but admittedly there is good reason for that. According to an article in Forbes, “[s]urveys now show that more than half of all enterprises consider cloud to be an essential part of their business models and they are willing to devote 50% or more of their IT budgets to cloud....” Because of the sensitive nature of the documents often stored in ECM systems, as well as bandwidth issues when capturing images, document imaging has been slower than a lot of markets to transition to the cloud. But over the past couple years, that has been changing. Especially for SMBs, because of the lower start-up costs and maintenance issues, ECM in the cloud is becoming ever more popular, as end users’ fears are alleviated due to a history of secure implementations. Capture over the cloud is also starting to show up on the market and will likely also increase in adoption over the next few years.
More value for your buck:
Document scanners continue to produce higher performance for less money. Image processing and throughput features continue to improve as new models are introduced to replace similarly priced models in vendors’ lineups. MFP (multi-functional peripherals) vendors also continue to improve their products’ scanning functionality in areas like throughput, image quality, ease of use, and access to software applications. Cloud options have made the initial investment in document imaging software more affordable as well.
Better automated recognition:
As long as expectations are managed, there is a ton of good software available for automatically extracting data from document images. This includes structured forms like tax forms, surveys, and applications, as well as semi-/variably structured forms like invoices. Auto-classification can be used on batches of documents like medical records and mortgage files to sort out document types, which can drastically reduce prep times. It’s important to remember, however, that none of this stuff works at 100%, and some quality assurance and exception processing is required. Automated recognition is designed to reduce labor—not to eliminate it.
Document imaging has clearly crossed the chasm from something used only in high-volume, back-office implementations to something that can be utilized in many applications throughout an organization. Its benefits in combination with technologies like records management, automated workflow, automated data capture, and integration with line-of-business systems have been proven out in thousands of use cases worldwide. It has reached the point where document imaging can be viewed not so much as a competitive advantage, but something your customers have to have to keep up. The imaging implementation is really table stakes. It’s what you do with the images that still provides the differentiation!