Monday, March 3, 2014

Inside Baseball

By John Trimble

Ready or not - here is the arc of how document imaging companies have evolved (or not) and the changes in how they are perceived by potential clients over the last twenty years or so.

First wave – Product First (1990- 2005) - Companies that installed and configured document imaging systems that included honest to god imaging software - not copier companies co-opting the language in an attempt to rebrand copiers as “imaging” – but actual document imaging software were primarily identified with the product they sold. The main focus was the product, be it Hyland OnBase, EMC’s ApplicationXtender, FileNet, Optika or countless others. All the differentiation was on the product and the integrator – reseller – vendor (please pick one descriptor) was typically ancillary to the real or imagined plusses and minuses of the software. Incidentally this is when the term “robust” describing the software’s capabilities was so thoroughly overused that it turned into white noise and went into its death spiral orbit. It will not be missed.

Second Wave – Product and Reseller equally valued (2005 – 2011) - Integrators and resellers who sold and installed high quality imaging systems were now being selected on the dual basis of both product and their own internal abilities, not just the capabilities of the software. Both sides of that equation were now beginning to be scrutinized under the same harsh light and rightfully so. The vendor’s expertise, industry knowledge, resume of installations, PMPs, the amount of certified techs on the software product began to carry as much weight to the prospective client as the product itself.

Third Wave- Reseller Expertise Valued above Product (2011 – Present) - While the product capabilities and sophistication remains critical-critical, it is now perceived as less of a factor than what the reseller – vendor – integrator can do with it to create results through process re-engineering and process improvement. Without question huge differentiations can be made on the products themselves (they are not equal and one does get what one pays for) but the most commonly heard pain point now from clients who have made significant investments in product and services is that they are not getting what they thought they paid for. The cliché of “I bought a great car but have a crappy mechanic” is more and more applicable. Unfortunately the reason is simple: it is very difficult for vendors to have the systems expertise, the ability to share both success stories as well as which missteps to avoid like the plague – all from experience- to fulfill the role of a seasoned trusted advisor. It is increasingly uncommon for resellers to have the internal controls, the Certified Project Managers, the knowledge of all the ramifications and potential of the process changes being discussed and implemented.

Expertise is now the product that clients need even more than any actual product. One is officially worthless without the other. Happily IOS has both. Make us prove that to you.

Go ahead, give us your biggest problem.

With offices in five states, more than 500 installations and document scanning facilities that convert over five million pages a month IOS knows what it takes to solve your document challenges.

Talk with our experts

Share this post