Leverage Service Relationships To Win ECM Installs
This VAR’s service bureau
relationship with Blackwell’s Book Services leads to a long-term
document management project.
Scan-It, Inc. is a VAR that offers two distinct, but complementary services. Since its inception six years ago, the Oregon-based company functions as a service bureau, providing document conversion services, and as an imaging systems consultant. “The combination of the service bureau and ECM [enterprise content management] expertise works well for us,” explains Russ Cogar, president of Scan-It. It is this mix of services and ECM skills that led to a successful document management project for the VAR.
The employees of Scan-It have a long-standing relationship with Blackwell’s Book Services (BBS), a company that supplies books and bibliographic materials to more than 15,000 libraries in 120 countries. Prior to founding Scan-It, Cogar and several key members of his team were employed with another VAR that provided services to BBS. Cogar and team left that company due to an acquisition. Cogar then formed Scan-It, which now generates annual revenue in excess of $1 million.
Originally, BBS used a microfiche system to store AP (accounts payable) and customer order information. This was no small task, considering the AP department receives 1,500 invoices per month, and the customer order department receives 2,000 to 3,000 orders per week. Problems with the microfiche system were plentiful. Information was hard to find and retrieval times were long. The microfiche files had to be reproduced for each BBS location. It was estimated the accounting department wasted 2,000 hours per year looking for microfiche information.
In 1999, BBS purchased a stand-alone document management system through Cogar’s previous employer. It was a small system that used an optical jukebox for data storage, but it was a huge step forward for BBS. When Cogar formed Scan-It, BBS sought him out and contracted with his company to provide document conversion services to be used in conjunction with the imaging system.
BBS established several key goals for the project, including reducing document retrieval time and eliminating wasted effort. The company wanted a nonproprietary system that could scale with the business’ growth, would interface with the existing imaging system for document migration, and would work with multiple business locations. BBS also wanted a system that would provide fax and e-mail capabilities within the application and could store images in a standard format viewable by vendors with no special software.
“We responded quickly with a demonstration of DocuWare’s document management system and a Canon scanner,” explains Cogar. Shortly after the demo, BBS awarded the contract to Scan-It. As in any competitive situation, cost was a big factor. However, Cogar attributes the win to the high level of satisfaction and trust the VAR had earned from past projects with BBS.
Earn Recurring Revenue With Document Management
The complete DocuWare system consists of two Canon DR-5020 scanners, a DocuWare system license, COLD/READ, INTERNET-SERVER, ISIS Pro, AUTOINDEX, and CDMAKER software modules. The Canon scanners are desktop units that provide automatic or manual feeding of documents. After scanning, documents are automatically stored in the DocuWare file cabinet (database) using the COLD/READ module. INTERNET-SERVER provides access over the Web to the entire company. ISIS Pro provides the common interface between the applications and scanners. AUTOINDEX adds information to the file cabinet from an external data source such as an accounting database, reducing both the number of keystrokes and the chances of input errors. CDMAKER provides the capability to store file cabinets on CD or DVD, reducing disk storage requirements. Cogar estimates the total software cost of the DocuWare project to be in the range of $60,000 to $75,000 to date. In addition, Scan-It is earning ongoing revenue from annual support contract renewals. Cogar says the next step in the project may be to grant BBS’ customers access to the DocuWare system via the Web. Cogar uses this success story to springboard Scan-It into other accounts. “A win of this size gives Scan-It instant credibility,” says Cogar.