Tip 7: It's always about the Money!
Sooner or later, it always comes down to pricing! Not only is there quite a bit of variability in terms of what features are included in a vendor’s base software, but cost structures vary considerably as well. Here are a few recommendations:
√ Beware of complicated pricing that is hard to understand. There is no shortage of “sneaky variable costs” that can get slipped in. User-based pricing, add-on modules, those secondary OEM components (like a capture system) “they” forgot to mention or additional license charges for High Availability systems are just a few examples. The more of these types of charges, the harder it becomes to plan your expansion costs and the greater your risk of busting the budget.
√ Look for entry level options. Chances are your initial implementation may be limited to a small user department that doesn’t require every feature an imaging system has to offer. If you ask for everything up-front, a vendor will be more than willing to sell it to you in advance of your needs which may ultimately result in pricing yourself out of the project! Ask what start-up options are available which may be an exact fit for your initial requirements.
√ Scale down your project scope. While it is important to understand enterprise needs, start with a manageable project that can deliver business value and validate the technology with your users. This will also help contain your start-up costs. Installation and training services are an important cost consideration but understand that you do not have a firm price quote until a final “Scope of Work” has been prepared. Clarifying scope is perhaps the single biggest thing you can do to influence and control the cost of your initial project regardless of what product is selected.
√ Understand the benefits to be gained. More often than not, project costs are clearly defined but not success criteria. Remember there are two inputs to an ROI calculation; you can’t ignore the Return and consider only the Investment. Of course expenses matter, but so does understanding what it costs to operate the way you are today. There’s a good chance that money will not be spent on problems that are viewed as insignificant.
Understanding the business value of document imaging for your company is an important step. If possible, identify some measurable areas that can validate results to confirm the justification of your project.
Some final thoughts:
Document imaging is really no different from other IT technologies that reach across an entire enterprise. It’s just that benefits such as improved efficiency, better management control and reduced exposures to audit compliance or disaster incidents are typically not line items you can find in a budget which complicates the business case.
At the same time, a lot of effort is spent (probably too much) on researching product capabilities at the expense of understanding the true business value of the solution. Perhaps it is because document imaging has the potential to impact so many areas across an organization.
The recommendations in this white paper can be applied to any significant project. You should always understand how things work before you go product shopping. You should always concentrate on what problems are being solved instead of what the technology can do. You should always prioritize the “must haves” over the “nice to haves”. And your initial project should always be small enough to be easily managed but significant enough to validate the benefits of the technology.
Real Vision Software, Inc, with over twenty years experience in helping solve business problems, is here to assist companies with every phase of their content management / document imaging projects.
Getting yourself organized will make your document imaging evaluation much easier. You don’t have to be an expert (or pay for one) to ask the questions suggested in this paper which will get you started down the right path. Our trained CDIA’s can help. Give us a call and let’s get started with your project!