IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Kick Off a Digital Transformation with Desktop Scanners

SMBs have cost-effective options to help reduce workplace clutter and improve office efficiency. By James E. Gaskin

HOW ADDICTED ARE WE TO PAPER? The average U.S. office worker uses approximately 10,000 sheets of the stuff each year. It gets worse: About 45 percent of office paper becomes trash the same day it is created, and even though the U.S. has just 5 percent of the world’s population, it consumes nearly 30 percent of the world’s paper.

It should hardly come as a surprise, then, that an alarming number of small and medium-size business managers break out in hives when channel pros utter the words “paperless office.”

How to overcome that objection when selling document management solutions? Start by avoiding those meaningless words. Tell clients and prospects that your solution will cut down clutter, reduce waste, and decrease time spent digging around file cabinets looking for lost documents. Digitizing documents, in other words, will trim the cost of consumables and improve company productivity.

Government agencies are already cashing in on that opportunity. For instance, California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Franchise Tax Board, and Department of Health Care Services made the leap to digital documents and are saving millions of dollars a month as a result.

Improved security is another benefit of digitization. Paper files that have little protection against malicious insiders are much safer when scanned and loaded onto encrypted disks.

Going digital takes scanners and optical character recognition (OCR) software though, preferably of a business-grade caliber. Here’s a look at some options in both categories worth considering.

When MFPs Are Not Enough

It’s great that the $99 multifunction printer (MFP) your customer bought on sale included a scanner, but most businesses require a more robust solution to take full advantage of document management.

The best option for many SMBs is a sheet-fed unit that scans both sides of 25 or more pieces of paper in one quick pass, like the Alaris S2050 (opening image, above) from Kodak Alaris Inc., in Rochester, N.Y. The base model of the S2000 series boasts performance numbers higher than most of its competitors. For example, the automatic document feeder (ADF) will scan both sides of 50 sheets each minute.

Other members of the S2000 series may process pages faster, by the way, but none match the performance of the Kodak i3500 we tested just over a year ago. That beast holds 300 sheets and can zip through almost two pages a second (110 per minute).

The off-white and black colored S2050 looks lightweight but weighs more than you’d expect. The solid chassis keeps papers straight, and we never experienced a skewed page during our testing. It’s rated for up to 5,000 scanned pages per day, so get ready to load the 80-page ADF 63 times.

About the Author

James E. Gaskin's picture

JAMES E. GASKIN is a ChannelPro contributing editor and former reseller based in Dallas.

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