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Carl Schell

Channel Strategy Session: The Scan Piece of DX Is an Rx for Dealer Growth

It’s not just digital transformation, it’s also scan acceleration

May 22, 2023 7:41:21 AM


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Earlier this year, I walked into Ski Barn—a winter enthusiast’s haven here in North Jersey—to return some seasonal rentals. The store was in turnover mode, meaning that tons of deck and patio furniture were being assembled and arranged just so. While finalizing details with the clerk, I noticed a slew of catalogs on a table in front of the counter. They were all impressively designed and elegantly printed and bound. Even if I was not in the market for new outdoor chairs and such, not to mention the fact that I work in the print industry, I grabbed a couple of books for later inspection.


About a week before the trip to Ski Barn, this article was one of the lead links in The Record’s daily newsletter. Bergen County, the northeastern most county in New Jersey, is home to many intelligent and industrious people. I thought the story of how the Bergen County Clerk’s office has spent a decade digitizing records back to the 1800s captured the spirit of the county and its residents. Plus, I happen to work in the print industry, so of course my mind went haywire as I contemplated the hardware, software, and processes involved with—or how they evolved throughout—this proving ground exercise.


Which had more impact on me? Easy. Digital transformation.



Digital transformation (DX) is nothing new. Even if DX was here long in advance of the COVID-19 pandemic, that singular event pushed its value proposition up the grid of importance. This was no overnight sensation, but the US workforce in the middle of March 2020 went from being centralized (in offices) to dispersed (in homes) basically overnight. Print hit the wall like a Formula 1 car with no tire grip. The damage was extensive. Everyone experienced it.


While there are any number of published definitions of “digital transformation” (Google away!), it is still very much the same as managed print services (MPS) in that it can mean slightly different things to slightly different folks—an “eye of the beholder” situation, to be succinct. Aside from those on-the-nose factors, such as fewer workers and less capital, smaller local companies behave differently than their worldwide enterprise counterparts, and that applies to their DX wants and needs as well.


These catalogs are just two examples of how powerful and persuasive print can still be.


Opportunity is knocking—a rapping that is only getting faster and louder. If you do not supply digital transformation solutions, someone else will. Our 2022 State of the US Channel Survey states that the three biggest barriers preventing dealers from doing more with DX are cost, potentially longer sales cycles, and customers not seeing the value. Some dealers just cannot do digital transformation the same justice as other, larger organizations, but that does not mean they should abstain from even making the attempt. That would just be lazy.


DX is a sprawling topic (like this article, as it’s turning out). But let’s dial it back to a simple premise:


Digital transformation cannot exist without scanning.


Scanning is the starting point, the gateway, the kickoff to a whole workflow, or multiple workflows. As my esteemed colleague and great friend Lee Davis says, “Digitization begins at the point of capture.” So, you need the scan piece, that much is clear. Today’s A3 and A4 MFPs lack the power of standalone scanners (in general), but because 80% of scanning happens on MFPs and that scanner machines in field (MIF) is in decline (both according to Keypoint Intelligence data), the device is not what is important. The entire goal is to simply get stuff into a workflow. Period. Which leads us to this fortune cookie wisdom:


Sell the purpose, not the product.


What we see and what we hear from others is that the four main reasons for scanning are archiving, authorization, sharing, and—wait for it—workflow. And true DX is about exactly that: Workflow. Process. Keeping things organized and running smoothly. Isn’t efficiency and how technology can help improve this critical mission something you could sell to your clients? Scan functions continue to increase in conjunction with digital transformation trends. Workflow to support hybrid and remote workers is evolving by the day, seemingly. But here is the bottom line:


90% of IT decision makers expect to spend more on scan than last year.


That’s based on our research. We are not expecting it to change. This is the way.


Read more of our stories on digital transformation here. Log in to the InfoCenter to view research, reports, and studies on DX and scanning through our Image Scanning Trends and Office CompleteView Advisory Services. If you’re not a subscriber, contact us for more info by clicking here.