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  • Writer's pictureJack Arnston

It's Hard to be the Underdog among Powerhouses

Well it’s that time of year again, March Madness. The weekend following the first round of the playoffs when our brackets look like a total shamble. And this year, with unprecedented upsets like number one Virginia losing to UMBC, Loyola-Chicago upsetting a number three and number six seed to advance to the Sweet 16 and perennial power houses like Michigan State and last year’s champion North Carolina going down in the second round.

In the Document Management industry there are perennial powerhouses along with underdog companies that offer solutions for all types of organizations. The powerhouses pay large sums of money to occupy a space upon the Magic Quadrant and market their solutions, while the underdogs focus their efforts on providing similar solutions, at much lower cost, while working under the radar and away from the limelight. There have been many times that I feel like the underdog, partnered with the likes of FileBound and PSIGEN software. Providing sound and affordable document management and workflow solutions for mid-tire organizations. Working hard and succeeding even though we do not have the big names behind us.

In an ironic way, I believe that this makes us a better company. We need to continually evangelize about our solutions and the benefits they bring. We need to provide a list of happy and successful clients who can testify that our solutions are every bit of what we promise they will be. And we need to deliver above-average support for our solutions, as it feels like there is always someone looking over our backs and watching our every move.

I am often reminded when I see the Sprint commercials on television, where Paul proclaims that it is 2018 and Sprint’s reliability is now within one percent of Verizon but saves you 50 percent on the cost of your service, that the document management arena, it is the same way. We provide the same quality software and solutions at a fraction of the cost. In fact, our solutions have continually improved to the point where we offer better service on many fronts, including Cloud processing and connectivity.

So why is it so hard to be the underdog? Well, it is mostly because people are unwilling to take a chance when there is a perceived better, albeit more expensive solution available. Back in the 80’s and 90’s we would hear the phrase that IT Managers were never fired for deploying IBM. Not to knock IBM, but the truth is that they were more expensive, longer to implement and took much more effort to maintain. Then a shift occurred and IT Professionals found more affordable and flexible solutions with client server applications and moved away from Big Blue. New companies emerged, and IBM ultimately reinvented themselves into a more consultative company.

I believe that the same thing is beginning to occur within the document management space. The Documentum and Oracles of the world do not possess the same clout that they once did. What was once perceived as second tier solutions such as FileBound and PSIGEN are beginning to gain acceptance. But it is still a struggle. Maybe, however, that is a good thing because it makes us work harder. It pushes us to prove that our solutions are just as good or better. And in the end, it has forced us to be the best that we can be.

Jack Arnston is a Principal at The Priton Group. He can be reached at

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