Late today, I had to bring my wife to the local Emergency Medical Office in NJ. Nothing bad, just a muscle in spasm.
The medical office had been renovated just about a year ago. Pretty much new everything and even a new copier. No, I didn't get that order. I had visited the same EMO a few months ago for something minor. When I was there, I was handed a paper form and had to fill out information that I guess was related to HIPAA compliance. I was gratified that this office was still using forms, kinda told me that maybe, just maybe, paper is not going away as fast as predicted.
However, today told a different story. After my wife sat down with the receptionist and gave some information, she was handed a "check in" tablet to fill out the rest of the information that was required. The information required was basic, like email address, you agree to pay the bill, and who they can speak to about your condition. In a few minutes the form was completed and you were then directed to pay "x" amount. On the table there was a place to swipe the credit card. Within a few minutes the transaction was complete, and then the last prompt was for a copy of the paper work to be emailed to you. OMG!
I was well..... thoughtless for a moment and then realized that indeed we are in a downward trend for pages that are printed with imaging hardware. The thought also crossed my mind that that I can't be solely focused on imaging hardware anymore.
If I'm going to survive another 5 years to 10 years in the business then I need to ramp up my knowledge for providing workflow solutions. But, that leads to another question. Most of the workflow solutions that we sell are based on scanning paper and getting that data somewhere. I then asked myself, how long would I be in the business of providing workflow solutions for paper? Dang, it seems like a catch 22, is this a no win scenario?
We had a short discussion in the office today about what the future will hold. I have a few of my own ideas, but, would rather focus on a quote from Peter Drucker, "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window."
Putting ink and toner on paper is not going to cease to exist anytime soon, but, the writing is on the wall.
Luckily, I remembered that I'm past my prime (kinda just like paper) and in a few years I won't have to worry about selling systems that put ink or toner on paper.