Solutions Making a Difference for Dealers

The box is dead, the solution lives. That’s sort of become the mantra of today’s document imaging reseller and we do mean sort of because box selling hasn’t completely disappeared from the document imaging dealer’s playbook. It’s still a necessary evil.

What isn’t evil, but completely necessary, is the software that complements the box. You can’t turn around at an industry conference or a dealer meeting product showcase these days without bumping into an OEM-developed solution or one of the many third-party solutions on the market. Whether it’s document management, ECM, security, workflow, or something else altogether there’s plenty of solutions dotting the document imaging landscape.

Recognizing it’s impossible to name drop every solution on the market in a 2,500-word article, we contacted 10 dealerships across the country to discuss the OEM and third-party solutions that are making a difference for their customers. Understand this isn’t a scientific survey, just a look at the solutions resonating with customers of these 10 different dealerships.

David Scibetta

David Scibetta

The OEM Solutions

Copier Fax Business Technologies in Buffalo, NY has been extremely successful with its Documentelligence solutions strategy, a strategy that shifts the conversation from the box to the solution. Although the dealership has numerous solutions to choose from, David Scibetta, executive VP and CIO, is an unabashed advocate of OEM-developed solutions.

“I love stuff made by the manufacturer for the manufacturer’s machines because it’s always better. It’s like what Apple does—they make their own software to work with their own hardware and that’s what makes them wonderful.”

One of those OEM solutions that Copier Fax Business Technologies is doing well with is Konica Minolta’s Dispatcher Phoenix, a product that’s been out for a while and plugs into an organization’s existing workflow. It’s been extremely popular in the legal market.

“They can browse directly into a folder structure, name a file, place it exactly where it needs to go, even convert it to a searchable PDF or PDF/A, and they’re not uprooting anything they’re currently doing,” says Scibetta. “They’re just enhancing their current process.”

JD Sullivan

JD Sullivan

At Image Matters in Knoxville, TN the OEM solution of choice is Xerox CentreWare Web, a remote management tool.

“That’s been a game changer for us,” says JD Sullivan, co-owner. “It does all the traditional things, collects meter information and provides service alerts—we’ve all had that before—but what this allows us to do is completely manage fleets.”

The software can remotely initiate software updates and firmware upgrades for customers with machines in multiple locations.

“We use it as a differentiator for multi-location customers,” states Sullivan. “We have a chain with 19 locations. Their biggest problem is implementing new document management workflows and would have to send a person to all 19 locations to manage their entire fleet. CentreWare allows us to proactively not only monitor, but proactively improve the features and functions across somebody’s entire fleet.”

For DPOE in Elk Grove Village, IL, Sharp’s OSA and Follow Me Print has been a hit with customers.

Chip Miceli

Chip Miceli

“This gets a customer’s attention because they can go online and access it from any printer or copier in the building,” says Chip Miceli, President.

TGI Office Automation in New York, NY is bundling its Lanier devices with Lanier’s GlobalScan primarily because it’s easy to deploy and manage large fleets of several hundred machines with scanning, and in some cases, managing fleets with different scanning needs.

“We typically lead with our Lanier product in GEM accounts, and in those cases we package it with GlobalScan,” reports Brian Sampietro, CIO. “With GlobalScan you can push out multiple profiles to individual units and still measure them centrally. This gives us good visibility and transparency into [the customer’s] scanning process. And it’s secure. For hospitals and government institutions looking for secure transmission of documents over the network, and because everything is encrypted, they love the product for its ease of deployment and can rest assured that everything is secure and manageable.”

Repeat Business Systems in Albany, NY has done well with Ricoh’s mobile printing apps; however, Repeat President Dawn Abbuhl often hears something odd when she asks customers and prospects about mobile printing.

Dawn Abbuhl

Dawn Abbuhl

“I visit accounts every week and I’m sure other brands offer mobile printing, but nobody seems to be using it,” she says. “Whenever I visit a customer I ask, ‘How does mobile printing work here?’ And they go, ‘You can do that?’”

Loffler in Bloomington, MN, sells Canon and Konica Minolta; however, they usually lead with Canon. Loffler’s solutions focus, not surprisingly, is centered on Canon’s Uniflow, particularly its Advanced Capture Module.

“It’s kind of a third party solution, but kind of not,” explains Jeff King, Chief Technology Officer, who notes that UniFlow was originally developed by NTware, a company 70 percent owned by Canon Europe. “We can overlay that product both into a Canon technology environment, but also an HP. It’s an agnostic product in the sense that we can put it onto virtually any product in the world.”

Uniflow is the leading manufacturer-developed solution for Loffler in terms of placements, with legal and education environments being the most prominent verticals benefitting from it.

“Uniflow is probably the single best piece of technology I’ve run across in terms of everything it can do from a single platform,” stresses King. “It’s been phenomenal for us and our clients.”

Dave Mueller

Dave Mueller

Dave Mueller, vice president of sales, Southern Region, for Modern Office Methods (MOM) in Cincinnati, OH, is another fan of Canon’s UniFlow, as are MOM’s customers.

“It was a slow start for them and difficult to understand, but like anything, once you understand it, you get some real traction with it,” states Mueller. “Once the reps see all the different modules, such as the CRT module and print tracking module, and the different things they can accomplish in an organization, it’s much easier for them to get their head around it.”

Third Party Solutions

The third party solution making an impact with Copier Fax Business Technologies’ customers is LincWare’s LincDoc, an application for intelligently filling out forms and collecting digital signatures on a mobile device such as an iPad.

“We can take a form, and we don’t care what form it is, and create a completely smart and intelligent interface that asks questions one at a time on the iPad,” explains Scibetta. “As you respond to each question it poses the next question only if it’s relevant. For example, on blood donation trucks, they used to have a form on a clipboard where you’d write in your driver’s license number, name, and sex. One of the next questions was ‘Are you pregnant?’ With this solution after it asks if you’re male or female it does not ask if you’re pregnant if you’re male. We offer this to organizations that have sales people on the road collecting contracts or service people who need to fill out service forms and get signatures. It’s a great solution and a big part of our Documentelligence [strategy].”

For Image Matters in Knoxville, TN, the third-party solution that’s working well for them is PrintFleet.

“We real-time manage every unit in the field and part of our MPS program is completely designed around real-time meter reads and real-time toner support,” says Sullivan. “PrintFleet has strong evaluative tools that allow us to push fleet management and provide large MPS clients with [data] when we have our quarterly meetings.”

Somewhat surprisingly, the one third-party solution that was mentioned most often by dealers was PaperCut.

“Lawyers like it because they can use it for billing,” states DPOE’s Miceli. “We’re in the process of installing a big account with many users that need to track [and ensure] the security of their prints and scans. It has a lot of versatility.”

Brian Sampietro

Brian Sampietro

TGI’s customers are also benefitting from PaperCut.

“It’s a complete print management package for small and large organizations,” adds Sampietro. “It’s priced to sell, it has great features, it’s easy to deploy, and customers love the fact that they get the reporting that proves they’re actually saving money and securing their documents, and controlling the way their employees are able to use the equipment. It runs on Lexmark, Toshiba, Lanier, Ricoh, Konica Minolta, Xerox, HP, Sharp, you name it. From an independent dealer perspective, it’s a win-win for everybody.”

Another dealership enjoying success with PaperCut is The Pollock Company in Augusta, GA.

“It is a popular solution because it can address many business needs and can be used in any vertical market,” says Michael Sommers, senior VP and general manager. “It can meet a business’s need for cost recovery and usage accountability.  It also addresses the need for device security with its ‘follow-me’ secure printing feature and centralized device and user management.”

Michael Sommers

Michael Sommers

The Pollock Company’s customers also like AutoStore, a solution now marketed by Nuance.

“It’s a versatile middle-ware product that can easily integrate into any customer’s environment,” states Sommers. “AutoStore allows customers to use our MFP products to streamline the way documents enter their workflow. We can tie directly into a customer’s existing back office systems and provide a customizable level of automation to their once manual paper processes.”

Add Repeat Business Systems to the roster of Nuance AutoStore fans.

“It’s brand agnostic and we can sell it to virtually everyone,” adds Abbuhl. “Every vertical is different—legal, insurance—but they can all use this.”

There’s always an exception to the rule, and one successful dealership that places less emphasis on OEM-developed solutions and more on third-party solutions is Fraser-AIS in West Reading, PA, a Sharp and Canon dealer.

Melissa Confalone

Melissa Confalone

“Most of the solutions we provide are third-party solutions centered on cost accounting, secure printing, and follow-me printing,” reports Melissa Confalone, general sales manager.

Fraser-AIS has a sister company that initially began creating its own scanning software 15 years ago, which is one of the reasons the dealership tends to favor vendor-agnostic third-party solutions. Fraser has plenty of home-grown solutions knowledge and early realized that what they could develop themselves was usually more creative and customizable than out of the box [OEM] solutions.

“We were ahead of the curve in providing workflow solutions before [the OEMs] got into the game,” explains Confalone. “When they started coming out with the solutions to package along with the hardware we felt we were past them with our knowledge. We were selling solutions a long time ago and ever since then, because we were always looking for the best solution, we didn’t want to get pigeon holed into the manufacturer’s solution.”

Equitrac and PaperCut represent Fraser’s most popular third-party solutions and are integrated on both the Canon and Sharp products Fraser sells. Another popular program with Fraser’s customers is Nuance Autostore, which the dealership recently placed in a major healthcare organization. Scanning solutions are also doing well along with document management solutions such as Intact. “With Sharp OSA the ability to plug right into InfoDynamics’ Intact has been big for us,” says Confalone.

Steve Knutson

Steve Knutson

Marco in St. Cloud, MN is one of the country’s larger dealers and has been successfully selling software on the copier and IT sides of its business for years. Looking at solutions from an IT perspective, Steve Knutson, CTO, reports that Microsoft Office 365 is changing how customers are looking at where they’re putting their applications with an Exchange server.

“We’re seeing a lot of movement for Microsoft Office 365 and are seeing a shift in people using cloud or hosted applications,” states Knutson who isn’t surprised by this shift.

It’s impossible to discuss solutions without referencing document management. At Marco, the document management application of choice is M-Files. Marco also has a MS SharePoint practice and a content management practice, and M-Files is ideal for both applications.

“It handles the documents with an easy-to-use interface, plus for us we’ve taken more of a business analyst approach to it versus here’s something that can store documents based on metadata and going through the technical terms,” explains Knutson. “It’s more about how can I get an ROI by using this software, what can I eliminate, what steps can I take out of my business processes, and what can I streamline and make more efficient?”

He adds that ever since Marco has been selling document management, it’s less about the software and more about the business process and the implementation.

Knutson also identified PaperCut as a solution that’s making a difference for Marco’s customers, particularly those in higher education.

While Uniflow represents Loffler’s strategic solution, it’s starting to make some inroads with PaperCut now that it has recently been approved for the Canon and Konica Minolta platforms.

Jeff King

Jeff King

“PaperCut is coming up quickly, although we still do quite a bit of work with eCopy,” reports King. “PaperCut had done a good job of being agnostic, servicing a wide variety of manufacturers. We use eCopy mostly in conjunction with Canon products, primarily with legacy clients.”

Nuance Autostore is another solution that Loffler likes. “We were early adopters of that product,” observes King.

While MOM carries three different OEM lines, Mueller says the dealership leans more toward third party software because it lets them better leverage their resources. “We can put one product across all three lines,” says Mueller.

Content Central, a document management program from Ademero sits squarely at the head of MOM’s third-party solution class. “They do a nice job of support and have enhanced the product quite a bit over the years and clients are happy with it,” reports Mueller. “We’re trying to do better at getting it into verticals, but it’s customizable for any type of client. It’s also been a good addition if they already have something. One of the big objections is they already have an accounting tool that has some type of scanning feature, but this can enhance what they’re doing easily. We’ve done well with the service industry, HVAC and people who have service and sales reps in the field.”

Mueller likes Content Central’s capture point software, which is useful for clients who need to scan invoices or other types of documents.

“It will OCR search it and send it to the right area in your document management system, and it can kick it into a workflow from there. It does the content management and workflow and does it easily. It’s nice to see that out of one product. Usually we have to go to another product to get the capture but we can get it all from Content Central.”

MOM also does well with Nuance’s eCopy and Equitrac, and lately has seen PaperCut coming on strong.

“You can scale into PaperCut a little better,” says Mueller. “They have a print-only module that’s inexpensive. Equitrac is a little prohibitive when using multiple print servers because they charge you per server. The PaperCut model is not priced the same way. It depends on how the client’s network is set up, which one is a better value for the client. Equitrac does a lot more than Papercut, but most people don’t use all its reports.”

Scott Cullen
About the Author
Scott Cullen has been writing about the office technology industry since 1986. He can be reached at