Where the Money Lives Series, Part 8: Hardware – It Doesn’t Need to Be So Hard
I’ll start this article with a guilty admission – throughout this whole series, I’ve worked hard to not speak about hardware. The focus has been on service – Software as a Service, hosting services, support services, migration/populations services…and of course, professional (configuration) services. Recognizing that many of you reading this actually sell hardware – MFP’s, scanners and other technology – I guess I’ve been messing with you a little bit. But my intentions have been pure! I wanted you to think beyond the ‘box’.
But alas, there are business opportunities with respect to hardware too. Your clients need your help in this area as the technology is complex and robust. Here is my experience about how scanners and MFP’s participate in Document Management solutions.
There are two key needs companies have that tie directly to scanners and MFPs:
Capture: After system launch, there will still be a need to get paper into the Document Management system. Obvious, yes, but please don’t breeze past this point too quickly. One of the most common mistakes we see companies make when implementing Document Management systems is that they either forget to plan for ‘tomorrow’s paper’, or they vastly underestimate the volume they need to add on a daily/weekly basis (meaning they think an MFP can handle a volume more appropriately suited for a production scanner). These aspects of the solution (the MFP and/or scanners) become ‘pull along’ items in your solution sale. The hardware is necessary to enable the solution to stay current – it’s not a matter of deciding to add it or not – they need it. Money will be made on the sale/leasing of the equipment, but also from maintaining it.
Many MFP Dealers are struggling with how to monetize scans on the device (given no printed page to bill against). This is where a Seat Based Billing program will greatly assist you. Don’t make it about the paper produced, anchor your value to the people you’re serving. The ability for each and every employee to scan and index their own paper documents is a huge value to the company. The system stays current on a daily basis, the right person is tagging the document and information management is understood to be everyone’s responsibility. Also, if you’re subscribing the Document Management software to your client, you’ll rest comfortably knowing the more information going into the solution, the more valuable the solution is to your client. And we all seek to provide great value!
The Whole Document Picture: The second way scanners and MFP’s participate in a Document Management solution is as a component of FULL Document Management. Companies are always looking for trusted vendor relationships – and the more value/oversight a single partner can provide, the better. Office Equipment Dealers and Managed Service companies are perfectly positioned to help their clients manage the flow of ALL documents in the company – paper and electronic. By using print management software with strong security, rules for cost reduction and reporting for insights into printing activities, companies can help their clients ‘see’ both the physical and electronic aspects of their document flow. This will enable you to drive cost out of print, drive print itself down to lower levels as well as show where work process inefficiency or non-compliance lives. Because you have a view of the whole document picture, you can recommend electronic workflow options, ways to share and collaborate on electronic information as well as participate in disaster recovery, mobile work and other strategic discussions. It’s a simple and understandable message to your clients: “We take care of your documents – whatever form they’re in.” Money is made as you assist your clients with their digital transformation from the old ways of doing business into the new way.
Companies used to lead sales engagements with hardware pitches. More often than not these days, the hardware is viewed as an ‘enabling component’ to the bigger solution. Many buyers don’t want to hear about hardware up front. It’s better to focus the discussion on the Document Management system and the change management required to move the company along the digital transformation growth curve. As the solution vision takes hold, you’ll be in a strong position to provide the hardware they need to execute on their plan. And that hardware is another place where the money lives.