It happens to me many times a week. Sitting with friends or family, every now and then they would ask “What business should we get in to?” The answer would all depend on my mood. If I feeling like yakking, I’d throw many ideas back at them (depending upon their background skills, and how much money they want to invest). Sometimes, I just stay quiet.
Of late, an idea has been boiling over… data-vaults. Ever since we started work on our data-center, I have quietly been working in parallel to establish a reliable data-vault in Pakistan. Data-vaulting is sometimes mistaken to the commonly referred phrase as “online-backup”. Online backup happens to be one of a facets of data-vaulting. In its simplest of terms, data-vaulting simply implies a commercial service where data (off-site/backup, etc.) resides. In Pakistan, such a service commercially is not yet offered. Why? I really cannot answer, but I feel the issue may be of privacy, confidence, neutrality, etc. Somehow we feel more secure in zipping our files and uploading them to ancillary Google Mail accounts or with X-Drive and the likes, rather than storing it locally. It is definitely an issue of trust and educating the end-user on the myriad of options available.
I digressed, I want to come back to the business idea. If a commercial data-vaulting service would be available in Pakistan (InshahAllah it will be soon). Then the most logical business to get into is scanning and digital archiving. Before you lose interest and cite that already many such companies exist – then at the risk of boring you further, allow me to highlight some important points:
– Data-scanning & archiving companies do exist – can you name one immediately right on the top of your head? You probably cannot! I can’t either
– Such scanning companies simply do not market or brand themselves
The companies that I do know of, specialize in large scale, and are fixated on the financial sector-
– Small & Medium Businesses – who caters to them?
– Daily scanning service (i.e. pick up say 200 or so sheets, scan them, tag them and return them) – such services are not available
– In-house / in-sourcing – having someone to come in – scan, tag, file and go – such service options again are not available
Most of the time – companies simply require a ‘scan’ that is “tagged” correctly. OCR is really a waste-of-time and money. Today – a huge variety of planetary, flat-bed, book, and paper-feed scanners exist that can make PDFs of scanned images, tagging and emailing very easy – why isn’t someone capitalizing on this?
Each year – in my small company, we have to file away – 1000s of pages, usually between 40-80 box files. I wish I could have this scanned. Why doesn’t someone do this for a price that is low (yet profitable)?
If some company were to set rates like these below – I promise I will be your first customer:
0-10 pages: Rs. 5/page
11-50 pages: Rs 4/page
51-500 pages: Rs. 3/page
500-1000 pages: Rs 2.50/page
1000+ pages Rs. 2/page
This is for scanned file only.
For Tagging & PDF creation – you can add Rs. 1 to the rate. With camera based scanners like say Atiz or other planetary scanners, the scanning process is mere seconds with a high-resolution image thrown out.
The process should be simple, at the end-of the day, we seal everything in a courier bag, which is then transported to the scanning facility. Next day, you scan, tag and upload the file and send the papers back to us. Yes, there will be an additional cost for online storage, but that will be minuscule considering how economical digital storage is.
I can almost guarantee 1,000 pages per day of business just by thinking how much our company and some other small businesses I know can use this.
I hope someone who reads this – would genuinely pursue this idea. If you need any additional help/guidance from the research work I have done on this, by all means contact me.