Sell COLD As Part Of A Complete Document Management System
Integrating other document management technologies with COLD will lead to future sales for VARs.
Business Solutions, February 1998
This transaction involves many different technologies. The invoice is COLD (computer output to laser disk) data, the purchase order is an imaged document, the notification letter written on a word processor is a computer generated file, and the Internet allows access to all of this information from a remote location. Two vendors agree that the biggest trend in COLD software is integration with other technologies. "End users don't care what type of data they are accessing. They just want to see all of it in one viewing area using the same interface," states Scott Buchart, president of OptiTECH. His company, located in State College, PA, has 19 employees and produces document management software, which includes COLD.
COLD Sale Leads To Future Business
Bob McKeon, vice president of marketing at Maximal Systems, says many customers are inquiring about combining COLD with other document management technologies. Maximal Systems is located in Clearwater, FL. The 20-employee company only produces COLD software, but is aware of the customer need for integration. "Combining COLD and imaging, for example, is a natural way for a company to manage its documents," states McKeon. "Customers desire this integration because of the simplicity it offers." Using a toolkit, VARs can integrate Maximal's COLD software with other document management software.
While a completely integrated document management system may be a company's long-term goal, installing COLD technology is a logical first step. According to Buchart, VARs should push the significant return on investment that a company realizes from COLD. "Companies save money by eliminating paper, microfiche, chemicals for developing microfiche, and maintenance of laser printers. The money saved by COLD can usually buy a document imaging system for the company," says Buchart. "VARs should promote linking COLD with other technologies, because they can make more money beyond the initial COLD sale."
Demonstrate Ability To Integrate
When selling COLD technology, both Buchart and McKeon agree that VARs should demonstrate to the customer an ability to integrate technologies. "It would be a big mistake for a VAR to only pitch COLD technology to a customer who might require integration in the future," states McKeon. "Sometimes, customers aren't aware of what is out there. It is important to show the customer how different technologies can be added to COLD."
Even when a customer is clearly a COLD-only prospect, Buchart still spends at least 10% of his demonstration time on integration. "If a company is looking at six different products and I am the only vendor that demonstrates integration, I have an edge on the competition," says Buchart. "You don't need to focus on integration, but you can gain a lot of respect by showing a company you have the ability to combine other technologies with COLD."