Let’s get one thing straight. Paper is still going to be around for quite a long time. That’s good for imaging services companies who convert paper to formats that are easier to search and retrieve. If you don’t offer imaging services right now, let me point out a few things.
- Paper records are still being created at a low single digit growth rate. Digital records are exploding in the “big data” wave that is sweeping the world. If your clients are not pestering you for a solution to issues they face with digital records, you should consider that bad news. It could mean they think you don’t have an answer. Somebody else who can help them will be stepping between you and your client. Their opinion is the one your client will rely on. You need to take steps to develop additional solutions for clients challenged by digital records management.
- You don’t have to go it alone. Sure, you can step out into the world of digital records management and try to catch up. There are a lot of publications, associations, webinars, and educational events that address digital records management. You can hire some very smart IT people to ease you into imaging. You can hire a consulting company to assist you. You can also develop strategic vendor relationships. If your vendors are geared to support new imaging services companies, that is a serious win-win since you need a vendor partnership anyway. Make sure to leverage that relationship then branch out to other sources for additional help when you need it.
- How you define yourself will determine your level of success. We have all been in seminars where a speaker makes the statement, “railroads thought they were in the railroad business instead of the transportation industry”. In theory, railroad owners could have dominated the airline industry if they had defined their role based on consumer needs rather than by their service offering. Are you falling into the same trap? How do you define your business? Are you in the record storage business or the information management industry? You have to do more than change the label – walking the talk requires investing your time, energy and resources to build a response to client demands for digital information management assistance.
If you aren’t involved in digital information management services, investigate it now while you still have some time. Make use of all the resources you can and imagine a different vision of your company – one that defines itself by client needs and not by services offered.