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Handled with care

Retail

Depressed prices and new directions – these have been the characteristics of the document management market in the last few years.

Document management companies have seen increasing pressure from their existing clients to cut prices, but new opportunities have also emerged with more firms realizing the cost-related and other benefits of handing over their document management process to a specialized company.

At the same time, the role of efficient information management – which also includes efficient document management – has become more important than ever, mainly due to the negative effects of the crisis that haven’t spared companies in any segment.

Most document management firms have experienced changes in their clientele. Effective document management is no longer solely something for large multinationals: smaller firms are also starting to outsource their document handling.

“An increasing number of companies are now appreciating the advantages that help them to assure secure and efficient operations,” László Takács, managing director of Iron Mountain Kft told the Budapest Business Journal.

Easy access and security

While the basic clientele of ELO Digital Office Kft has not changed in the last two years, Kristóf Laczkó, the company’s strategic director, said that he has seen a shift from the public to the private sector. “The reason for this is that private investors are the most aware of cost-efficiency,” he told the BBJ. “They want to achieve profitable operations, even with less resource.”

But there has also been a notable change in demand, Laczkó said. “Earlier, clients favored software with the most possible functions. Today, they go for user-friendliness, simple management and the least possible administrative intervention,” he summed up.

Iron Mountain’s Takács agrees. “There is a clear demand from clients for easy and quick access to information,” he said.

Also, more clients are looking for value-added services. In addition to efficiency, they value security and online accessibility. “The latter is provided free of charge with the help of our Iron Mountain Connect system,” Takács added.

Diána Uhrin-Szalay from Rhenus Office System Hungary Kft told the BBJ that although its client base has remained unchanged in the last few years, customers seem wary of long commitment periods and sign short-term contracts instead. The main driver behind this seems to be that clients are price sensitive, “although they can not reach significant savings with shorter-term contracts,” she explained.

Bernadett Apró from DocuTár Kft has also spotted this trend. “Companies, mainly multinationals, sign a three-year contract, and when it expires, they announce new tenders.” Many companies still consider price the main factor, but Apró draws attention to a potentially harmful consequence. “If document management companies are forced into a bidding war, they will likely do the job underpriced, but this jeopardizes the quality of work,” she told the BBJ.

Online, offline

Before the crisis, most firms looked for document storage services, but today efficiency has become the key word. Thus digitalizing and organizing existing documents are among the most popular services.

Uhrin-Szalay from Rhenus Office System Hungary Kft confirms this. “By digitalizing its documents, a company can save significant money, which it previously spent on physical document storage services,” she said.

Demands are quite varied at DocuTár Kft. According to Apró, companies with strict storing policies look for storage services – security and IT standards are essential to them. On the other hand, there is still big demand for organizing documents, mainly at firms where little attention has been paid to this in the last few years. In addition, the number of companies going for document destruction services has also been on the rise, she said.

Document management companies asked by the BBJ agreed that competition is strong on the market. “With the number of serious market players continuously decreasing, competition is increasing. Only those firms that can serve varying client demands and adapt to the various policies its clients have can stay in business,” Apró said.

Uhrin-Szalay from Rhenus Office swears by the strong centralization within the company. “High quality, a full range of services and leaving out subcontractors” are the keys to survival, she said.

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