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3 Useful Document Scanner Buying Tips, Plus Scanner or Copier?

Metal background with a blue rectangle and a cut out number 3. 3 Useful tips to buy the right document scanner

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As with any product, organizations can make mistakes when buying their document scanners. Jim Tamo, president of Visioneer, shares three tips to that will help anyone acquire the right device for them.

He also points out that choosing an MFP (copier) over a document scanner isn’t a simple choice. As with all things capture-related, it’s never quite as easy as it looks.

Watch this Two Question Tuesday interview below or scroll down to read a lightly edited transcript.

 You can get in touch with Jim on LinkedIn:

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What obvious mistakes do customers make when purchasing document scanners for office needs?

Yeah, great question. Normally today’s customers are pretty savvy. They’ve got access to Internet and can do a lot of research before they purchase. But scanning technology is always progressing and industry jargon isn’t always very clear to customers.

So I thought of three items I think customers should consider before a purchase.

#1, I’d say brand matters. I’ve been in the industry for 20 years now and I’ve seen some scanner companies come and go. Deciding on a brand that you recognize can help in case there’s questions that come up later about how to best utilize the software that they get or if they need some consumables, like rollers, for example.

#2 would be software. In most cases, software that comes with the scanner is what’s driving the solution, and it’s the reason why the customer’s making that purchase. Customers should know if they’re getting full versions of software, if the software that they’re getting has license fees attached to it that needs to be maintained or renewed. So that’s also a good consideration.

And then the number one most important (but #3 in order here) consideration I think, and this is a newer one, is connectivity. Traditionally scanners have been USB connected. These days manufacturers have several network scanner options. It’s important to clarify on the functionality. Customers need to understand if the network scanner is going to be a standalone network scanner, meaning there’s no PC required, or the scanner just has a network connection but still needs drivers and software installed on the PC somewhere.

That’s an interesting and useful reminder about rollers and the whole idea that you have to actually provision for the life of the of the device. So as I was putting these questions together, I remembered that Visioneer has a Xerox license to manufacture your scanners.

And that got me thinking about MFPs (copiers) versus standalone scanners for distributed lower volume into the market. So what’s the value to a department to opt for single function document scanner over an MFP?

Yeah, being a brand licensing partner of Xerox, we’ve faced this question since 2003 when we signed that agreement with Xerox.

So I guess it’s been 20 years now, but the question does come up because people are thinking, all right, do I propose an MFP to my customer or a scanner or does the customer ask for a scanner or an MFP? There’s some obvious advantages right off, you know, so cost, you know, desktop scanners can be quite inexpensive.

The size and the footprint of the device. Desktop scanners just sit nice and neatly on a desktop. Don’t take too much desktop space up. Scanners have image enhancement features. Now MFPs have come a long way and they do have great images as well. Other things are the software bundle that’s included, like OCR software. MFPs are coming along and have apps that allow you to scan with OCR, but scanners also come with bundled drivers, the TWAIN driver and the ISIS driver, and that’s a big influence on the decision. And I would say it’s actually the main reason is because desktop scanners with their either the TWAIN driver or another specialty scanning driver can seamlessly connect to desktop applications.

When I worked at Xerox, I saw this first-hand when I sold an MFP to a customer. The customers were excited. They wanted to use the network functionality of the scanner that comes on the MFP to scan packing slips right into their desktop application. The problem is, is that desktop application accepted scanned images using only the TWAIN protocol via USB connected scanner.

So with one click within the application you’re able to Import that image, scan those pages to the exact location desired within the application. It’s just very difficult to replace that type of simplicity in the solution with an MFP.

That’s a that’s an incredibly useful reminder that as simple as document imaging and capture is – you know scan a piece of paper – the implementation of it is actually tremendously difficult. And there’s a whole bunch of things to consider.

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Photo credit: Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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