We live in transition between paper and digital. Paper is being consumed at a higher rate today than in the past and over 99 percent of information is now created electronically. Therefore document imaging is an essential element of doing business today.
In a business climate where organizations are looking for ways to cut costs and increase productivity, document imaging systems can have a dramatic impact on office performance — and a company’s bottom line.
Reducing the amount of paper used in office workflows seems to be an obvious way to increase efficiency to some, but many are still unclear about where and how to start. At Access, we can assist you with the entire imaging process from start to finish – literally.
The Scanning Process
"Document imaging" is an industry term, so allow us to break down exactly what it is and its benefits.
Document imaging uses state-of-the-art equipment to scan paper documents and transform them into high-quality electronic images. Files of any size and type (medical charts, legal documents, government agency records, photographs) can be digitized and converted to your preferred format (PDF, TIFF, JPEG, PNG, or BMP).
- Document preparation. Documents are prepped to be inventoried, scanned, and sorted by size. Staples and paperclips are removed.
- Scanning and document capture. Documents are converted into digital format using advanced scanners that are high-speed but still handle fragile files with care.
- Image processing. Captured images are processed and automatically edited for compression, sharpening, and overall enhancement.
- Image indexing. Digital images and documents are indexed using automated techniques such as barcode recognition or OCR. These methods make the search process fast and easy. Indexing allows a document to be retrievable in seconds from among millions of files.
- Scanned documents can be stored online on our cloud-based server, onsite on your own server, or we can simply burn the entirety of your documents to CDs, DVDs, a USB drive, or SFTP. After the documents are scanned, we can either shred the hard copies on your behalf or return them to you.
Our team is able to convert your paper records, in bulk, to easily searchable digital records that you will be able to upload to a server or other digital record storage system. The text in the image is human-readable but not machine-readable. Computers will see it as simply a picture and not as words – for a more advanced paper to digital conversion and search features, a document management system may be better for your office needs.
Why Is Document Imaging Important?
Every successful business faces the same issue of trying to maintain an ever-growing mountain of paper. Chances are your filing cabinets are overflowing, office space is becoming limited, and it’s now an overwhelming process to find a specific file in all the hard copy clutter.
If you relate all too well to the scene we just described, it may be time to consider electronic imaging as an alternative means of storing, organizing, and accessing your information. Document scanning allows your staff to focus on productive work duties instead of aimlessly searching for misplaced documents.
Folders and filing systems make it easier to find our documents, and records managers organize, archive and retrieve paperwork information. But the amount of paper keeps growing and the likelihood of misfiled or misplaced documents increases.
Documents, data, and information are vital to any business. If lost, it can have devastating and costly consequences.
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, finding a lost document will cost a company $120 on average. It is also estimated that 7.5% of all company documents are lost completely. To illustrate the impact of these stats, assume your company works with 10,000 documents – an extremely modest figure. That would mean, about 750 of those documents are doomed to be lost, ultimately costing your company around $91,500. Plus, if you had to recreate any lost documents, the time and supplies involved would make that number jump well over the $100,000 mark. Additionally, professionals spend 5-15 percent of their time reading information, but up to 50 percent looking for it – half of a workday.
The costs associated with finding and retrieving documents may seem invisible, but managing paper files is an everyday cost to businesses. Let’s say you have 20 employees, all with access to search and retrieve documents. At 50 percent, the accumulative time spent finding documents is equal to 10 full-time employees. If employees are paid $40K in annual salaries per worker, that’s $400,000 every year in lost productivity using a paper-based filing system – almost half of a million dollars.
Imagine how much more productive your employees would be if they didn’t have to rifle through filing cabinet drawers searching for a document. And imagine how much happier your team would be if they didn’t have to play lost and found with piles of paperwork.
Document imaging eliminates the scavenger hunt for files and increases the speed at which employees locate documents, allowing your team to spend their precious time on much more valuable tasks.
Document imaging also reduces the odds that a document will be misfiled. An old-school filing system can easily cause confusion within the office, but it also leads to poor customer service, miscommunication, and frustration internally. By going paperless, this time could be spent on more useful tasks to bring in more money, rather than wasting it.
Still not convinced document imaging is right for you? These are the five most common reasons our clients became interested in digital documents over paper:
- Multi-location access. Does your business have more than one location? Home-based employees? Staff that travels often or does a bulk of their work outside of typical office hours? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, having a digital archive that is searchable and accessible across platforms would be a game changer. Thanks to remote login access and flexible work solutions, staff members can collaborate and access documents through a secure centralized repository no matter where they are working.
- Increase privacy and security. Information security and privacy issues caused by unsecured paper-based filing systems leave documents vulnerable to unauthorized personnel. Converting paper documents into electronic files and establishing file level permissions ensures secure access to documents. Eliminate the risk that confidential information will fall into the wrong hands.
- Improved disaster recovery and business continuity. Would your business be able to recover if a natural disaster struck and wiped out your entire filing system? Digital preservation will give you peace of mind knowing all of your hard copy documents are scanned and stored to an online and offsite location, should you choose to host your files on our cloud server.
- Adhere to compliance requirements. Scanning documents and storing them in a secure cloud-based server enables organizations to take advantage of software-based security features. Our document scanning experts address business’ individual needs and compliance requirements. Document scanning allows organizations to combat compliance concerns more completely than is possible with hard copy document storage. Boost physical, technical, and administrative safeguards to ensure file confidentiality and availability, as well as to prevent unauthorized or inappropriate disclosure, use, or access.
- Reduction of physical space: Having various file cabinets and boxes can hog a lot of space in your office. Many of our clients were able to reduce their filing footprint in their workspace by digitizing the records they need access to on a daily basis. The need to store paper documents in bulky filing cabinets or offsite becomes eliminated. Use your precious office real estate as more than just a storage room and have unlimited scalability hosting your files online.
Bridge the Gap Between Paper and Digital Records
Bill Gates once said, “How you gather, manage and use information will determine whether you win or lose.” While it may seem cliché, successful businesses are constantly looking for ways to improve efficiencies. Many recognize that it’s time to modernize their offices and rid themselves of out of date, inefficient, and costly paper-based storage systems.
Whether you’re just making the move to digital and the “paperless office” or you have already converted and have been avoiding the time-consuming task of digitizing your archived records, imaging services are a cost-effective and timely solution.
With all of these benefits, the question is no longer “Should your business do it?” but rather how can your company move towards a paperless office and at a reasonable cost?
Our goal is to help you streamline the transition from paper to paperless without all the headaches in between. If you need to access critical documents fast, reduce document storage costs, and demonstrate greater adherence to compliance regulations, it makes sense to consider converting your files into electronic documents and storing them online.
If you are interested in learning more about our imaging and scanning solutions or how we can help you update your archives, request your demonstration from Access Systems to see these great benefits in action.