Tuesday, May 26, 2009

To Buy or Not to Buy: That is the Question

By Mark Brousseau

Every executive knows the importance of investing in the future. Laurel Sanders of Optical Image Technology (lsanders@docfinity.com) says that choosing the right investments at the right time is critical to competing effectively.

"In recent years, it’s become clearer to business executives that digital storage, access, and management provide tremendous gains, but they also require an initial outlay," Sanders says. "These days, tighter budgets, decreased revenue, and fewer staff resources make it harder to invest."

EDM and workflow purchases remain steady, but factors driving purchases have changed, Sanders notes. To win new clients, vendors must prove strong ROI and demonstrate how companies can do more with less.

In good economic times, Sanders says management watches the bottom line, but focuses on company ideals. Typical questions include:

How will EDM/workflow advance my business?
How can we gain a competitive advantage?
Will customer service and loyalty improve?
Will it boost our bottom line?

In tough economic times, Sanders says the focus changes:

What is the total cost of ownership?
Are there hidden costs?
Can we afford to maintain it?
How long will it take to achieve ROI?

EDM and workflow eliminate significant costs, letting companies handle more work without additional staff. They automate data collection, document file access, facilitate and expedite work distribution. As staff matriculate, work is absorbed easily by remaining employees.

"Integration with legacy systems, line-of-business applications, and telecommunications increases ROI, typically delivering results within a year—sometimes even months," Sanders notes. "Cost avoidance is considerable, boosting financial performance. Delaying EDM/workflow purchases makes it tougher to compete now, and positions a company poorly to handle growth cost-effectively as the economy rebounds."

EDM and workflow are a wise investment, Sanders concludes. They streamline HR expenses, re-use data cost-efficiently enterprise-wide, and reduce paper, postage, shipping, and storage. ROI is certain. "Moreover, when the economy recovers, the right tools will be in place to reach corporate goals," she says.

What do you think? Post your comments below.

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