Suppose you look around your office and feel overwhelmed by the number of paper documents in storage (or piles). The thought of converting all this information into a digital format can feel impossible! But with the high cost of office space to store this paper and the time employees waste looking for information, taking on a bulk document imaging project is very worthwhile.
But where does one start? Before exploring the best way to scan documents, manage digital files and index critical data, let’s review the main benefits of document imaging and why it’s a smart business practice for any organization.
Why Convert Paper Documents into Digital Documents?
Document scanning and digitization provide businesses with numerous benefits beyond eliminating excess paper in the workplace. This process:
- Improves access to data: Digital documents are more manageable to organize and categorize, making them easier to search and access, even when employees work in different locations.
- Improves searchability: Optical character recognition (OCR) technology converts paper documents into dynamic digital formats that can be edited, searched and indexed for better access to information.
- Enhances collaboration: With more employees working remotely or in hybrid capacities, document scanning and digitization allow data to be shared, viewed and edited in real-time by multiple people, bolstering collaboration and improving workflow efficiency.
- Saves space: Digitized documents eliminate the need for costly storage space, allowing businesses to use valuable real estate for revenue-generating activities.
- Cuts costs: In addition to reducing the need for storage space, scanning documents saves money in other areas by reducing the cost of paper, ink and other storage supplies.
- Increases security: Storing paper records in a storage locker or file room makes sensitive information vulnerable to theft or unauthorized access by malicious individuals. Digital files, however, can be password-protected, keeping critical data secure.
- Supports business continuity: Paper records are also vulnerable to damage from natural disasters, such as floods and fires, and other emergencies, which can result in information loss. Document scanning and digitization ensure information can be backed up, recovered and restored, reducing the threat of natural disaster and record destruction.
- Protects the environment: Transitioning to a more digital workplace lessens the need for paper and printing supplies, helping businesses become more sustainable and achieve environmental objectives.
- Ensures compliance: Document scanning and digitization help organizations ensure compliance with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) by protecting records from falling into the wrong hands and helping businesses manage document retention periods.
What Is a Typical Document Scanning Process?
If your company wants to transform into a more digital workplace, document scanning and digitization can facilitate this transition. When implementing a document scanning process for your business, there are six main considerations:
1. Paper Document Preparation
Before converting paper documents into digital files, it’s important to prepare documents by removing staples, paper clips and sticky notes. You’ll need to organize and sort files, as well, to increase efficiency. This necessary process can be very time-consuming for organizations with extensive paperless objectives or those that have large volumes of older documents to convert into electronic files.
2. Document Scanning Equipment
Having the right equipment is essential when taking on a large-scale scan project. When selecting a scanner, it’s important to consider the types of documents and pages you’ll be turning into digital files and choose a scanner with the speed, volume and resolution you require. You must also decide where to house the scanner in your workplace, which can be challenging in smaller offices.
3. Document Scanning Software
In addition to buying scanning equipment, you will also need scanning software for your business. Not all image capture software is created equal – you’ll need to select the software with the features you need, whether that’s bulk scanning capabilities for multiple documents, optical character recognition (OCR) technology, index fields, image editing, specific digital file formats and more. The end-use of your scanned files will help you determine which document imaging software best suits your needs.
4. Scanning Paper Documents
An important consideration of any document imaging project is who will be responsible for scanning physical documents. Administrative or support staff may take on this task in smaller offices. At the same time, larger organizations may require a dedicated document management department. Scanning and indexing a large volume of bulk documents is very time-consuming and may not be the best use of internal resources.
5. Quality Control of Scanned Documents
Just like you must prepare paper files for scanning, time must be allotted for quality control. For a digitization project to succeed, all digital images must be checked for accuracy and completeness and ensure that all scanned images are high quality. This also includes deleting blank pages and checking that no pages were accidentally skipped in the scanning process.
6. Records Management of Scanned Documents
Digital documents need to be properly stored and backed up to ensure easier access and long-term preservation. When implementing a scanning process for your company, you’ll need a document management system to manage digital files, access important documents and keep scanned data safe from unauthorized access, security breaches and loss.
What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Document Scanning Service?
Outsourcing imaging to a third-party service can provide organizations with several benefits:
1. Document Scanning Expertise and Equipment
Document scanning services have state-of-the-art equipment and software to quickly and accurately bulk scan documents, which can be difficult and time-consuming for a company to acquire and learn.
2. Document Scanning Efficiency
Document scanning providers can scan, extract information and file digital documents quickly and easily, freeing up time, resources and office space for more important revenue-generating activities.
3. Document Management Expertise
Document scanning services are better equipped with the tools and expertise organizations need to manage their digital information and ensure it is easily accessible, compliant and secure.
4. Cost Savings
Hiring a third-party service provider can be more cost-effective than purchasing, training staff and maintaining the scan equipment and image capture software to complete a bulk document scanning project in-house.
Transform Paper Documents into Digital Files with Blue-Pencil’s Scanning Services
At Blue-Pencil, we handle your entire scanning project from start to finish. This includes prepping paper documents, imaging, indexing and formatting stored files. We can also upload digital records to an electronic document management system, enabling your team to access documents to optimize business processes, whether working in the office or off-site.
No job is too big or small. We offer secure and collaborative imaging services, including back-file, day-forward and scan-on-demand scanning services, depending on your needs. Our team can also help you select a flexible scanning program that will save money and streamline processes to save valuable time.
When your digitization project is complete, Blue-Pencil can return the scanned paper documents to your workplace or securely store them in our long-term storage facility if your office is short on space. Additionally, we can manage retention periods and securely destroy unwanted documents for you when authorization is given.