The Evolution of ScanSnap: Celebrating Our 20th Anniversary

I’ve been a huge fan of document scanners ever since I saw one for the first-time way back in the late 1980s at a computer swap meet.  As I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, I purchased one that day and have been scanning ever since.  I didn’t know it at the time, but document scanning would become a huge part of my life.  Back then, professional document scanners were large, expensive, and complex. They were great for document imaging but required an elaborate solution that was typically implemented by a system integrator. The cost and complexity of these systems limited the reach of the technology.  For consumers, flatbed scanners were also prevalent.  However, they were geared for photo scanning and didn’t do a great job archiving documents.  We identified this gap early on, realizing that there was a need to reduce paper clutter and bring document scanning to the masses.  Enter ScanSnap, we launched our first model in 2001.  I was part of the product team that brought it to market. Twenty years, six product generations, and 6 million units later, ScanSnap has certainly delivered on its mission. People all across the globe having been using ScanSnap to reduce their paper clutter, organize their information, and communicate more effectively.

Although we have a wide variety of scanner models that serve different customer segments and use cases, I simply enjoy working with ScanSnap the most. It’s not that those other models aren’t great, they are. For instance, our fi-Series professional scanners lead the enterprise scanner market with the best paper handling, image quality and reliability. Simply put: I love ScanSnap the most because of the joy it brings to our customers.  ScanSnap is a product that’s easier to understand when you see it in action.  I’ve witnessed thousands of “transformations” at trade shows where someone will pass by and then stop out of curiosity.  After a quick demonstration, the lights go on.  “This is exactly what I need!” and “Wow, those automatic features do everything!” or “All I have to do is load my documents and then press a button and that’s it!” 

As the years have gone by, we gained a cult following at shows like Mac World and CES. Our power users would visit our trade show booths, say hello, and then stick around demonstrating the scanners to attendees themselves!  I hear lots of: “You’ve got to buy this scanner!”, “It’s changed my life, let me show you!”, “ScanSnap is so easy to use!”, and “I got rid of all my storage boxes of paper and can now actually find the information when I need it!” And it’s not just tradeshows, I’m always amazed when I see ScanSnap on TV! It’s been seen on shows including Duck Dynasty, Blue Bloods, and Ice Road Truckers.  Stephen King also wrote about it in one of his books, Dr. Sleep! The joy that ScanSnap brings to people comes out in so many ways. With the advent of social media and eCommerce consumer reviews, that passion continues online.

Being part of a product team that creates this amazing level of passion and loyalty is very satisfying.  We’ve continuously challenged our engineers to make ScanSnap better with each new generation and they’ve continued to amaze us and our customers too. Our latest models, the iX1400 and iX1600 are the best models ever. The maintain and enhance all of the qualities that our customers love and also add new features and even higher levels of performance.

Today, there are a lot of personal document scanners in the market that ScanSnap created, but none of them have come close to reaching the same level of success and customer satisfaction that ScanSnap has and continues to achieve.  I wonder what the next twenty years will hold for ScanSnap. Regardless of our next scanning innovation, one thing is for sure, our customers will love it.  Give it a try, you might find out that you'll love it too.