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The Document Outsourcing Industry

Industry Overview
Analysts project that the document outsourcing market will continue to grow over the next five years, but at a much slower rate than originally anticipated by the industry. This lower growth rate is due to a slowdown in economic activity, a focus on reduced costs, and the maturation of the market (many contracts are in their third contract period). 2001 revenues of $28.8 billion will grow to approximately $35 billion in 2006, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.1%.

CAP Ventures believes that an opportunity for higher growth exists, but it is related to higher value-added services around document and content management that are just beginning to be effectively marketed.

Opportunities for Document Outsourcing Service Providers

By providing value-added services, the outsourcing provider can help the customer introduce new technology and new efficiencies to their environment, but success requires planning. For every type of service introduced, the outsourcing provider takes on the responsibility of becoming the expert. This requires a commitment to ongoing training and education, internally and for the customer, as well as a commitment to keep the technology current.

For document outsourcing service providers, the opportunities for building the business come in several categories:

  • Customer Care     
  • E-Enablement     
  • Preparation Services     
  • Distribution Enhancement

Customer Care

Customer Care covers those opportunities to support customer activities that surround their interaction with the outsourcing provider. It includes all of the services that support better integration with the customers’ business processes, such as 24 x 7 access offered through a Web interface. Specifically, outsourcing providers should consider:

  • Online document management services     
  • Job-submission from the desktop to automatically route jobs to internal and/or external facilities     
  • Services to allow remote workers and “road warriors” to personalize and proof documents online     
  • Online job tracking that provides job status online with total visibility into the entire print supply chain     
  • Online customer support in the form of FAQs (frequently asked questions) or other educational materials     
  • Direct capture of Web-based requests for documents and provision of fulfillment services


Providing support for enabling electronic bill presentment or presentment and payment is a potentially lucrative value-added service. Adding these services internally can be problematic for customers since it involves not only manipulating and reformatting legacy data, but also the addition of a Web-based infrastructure to the enterprise. An outsourcer who builds the infrastructure can leverage it to offer services that aid in customer acquisition and provide greater opportunities for customer retention.

The services an outsourcing provider should consider include:

  • Bill presentment     
  • Bill payment     
  • Reconciliation

These are only some of the services that an outsourcer might provide. Part of the challenge is to build a viable pricing model for these services, for the initial implementation and for the ongoing service and maintenance.

Preparation Services

Services that allow a customer to personalize and mass customize their existing prints, as well as services that provide a greater level of design detail, add color, and streamline presentment, can provide additional revenue opportunities.

Distribution Enhancement

Development of document strategies is a common service offering, but development of mail strategies has not yet developed the same cache. An innovative outsourcing provider could do very well by providing mail strategies that help customers make the best use of the emerging mail standards, including use of the variety of XML-based technologies and PlanetCode technology.


Today’s astute Document Outsourcing service provider should be able to offer a variety of solutions for the creation and distribution of documents. Whether it is Web-enabling the information management process or offering color, the potential revenue is only limited by the time and effort that an outsourcer is willing to invest.

The challenge for outsourcers is to balance their investment in education, software, and hardware with the revenue potential to ensure that once they offer a service, they can continue to maintain the service levels and maintain customer satisfaction.

The preceding is an excerpt from CAP Ventures’ Document Outsourcing Forecast. For more information, please contact Alison Hipp at , ext. 126.



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