With the rise in remote work, climbing office rents in cities, like Toronto, and stringent records management requirements, organizations are seeking ways to digitally transform their businesses to save time and money while improving access to information. One effective solution is document scanning. This practice, also known as document imaging, uses scanners to convert paper documents into digital files to free up space, reduce expenditures and keep confidential data safe and accessible.

But not all document scanning methods are created equal. From in-house imaging and outsourced bulk scanning to professional scan-on-demand services, there are important factors that organizations must consider when choosing a method for their business.

In-house Scanning Vs. Outsourced Scanning Services

In-house scanning is a viable option for businesses that have few paper files to convert on an ongoing basis; however, most organizations benefit by outsourcing the task to a document scanning service.

While it may seem more affordable from the on-set, in-house document scanning does have certain disadvantages that contribute to greater costs over time:

Scanner Equipment

In-house scanning requires an initial investment of document scanners and image capture and indexing software, plus ongoing maintenance and employee training.


Scanning systems and file storage take up valuable real estate, which is better utilized for business-related activities.

Labour Costs

In-house document scanning requires internal resources, which takes employees away from higher-value work.

Outsourcing Saves Time and Money

By outsourcing document imaging, there are no upfront equipment costs, software or maintenance to worry about. Unneeded paper documents are stored off-site to free up available office space, while employees can focus on revenue-generating tasks instead of digital file creation. External scanning services also maintain business continuity and are an important part of a disaster recovery plan by ensuring access to scanned documents in any circumstance.

Digitization of Paper Documents is Expensive

Bulk scanning services are often viewed as the preferred option for organizations with large scale paperless objectives; however, it’s a time-consuming and labour-intensive undertaking since all physical documents are converted into an electronic format, whether they are needed or not. With an average rate of $250 per bankers’ box, full digitization is a large expense that increases with each filing cabinet.

This is problematic considering the findings from a PRISM International and a Harvard University study, which uncovered that:

  • 90% of records, once filed, are never referred to again,
  • 95% of the references are to records less than three years old,
  • 40% of paperwork is useless and could be eliminated; and
  • 37% of photocopies are unnecessary and result in double-storing of paper records.

If a full review isn’t completed before making a copy of all records, information that is not required for retention purposes is scanned, resulting in higher costs.

Scan-on-demand Document Scanning Services

For organizations wanting to outsource their paper document imaging, on-demand scanning services are a preferred solution. With this method of document management, businesses get near-real-time access to their files on an as-need basis while avoiding the high price of full digitization.

Benefits of On-demand Services


Unlike bulk scanning, which creates an electronic copy of every document, scan-on-demand only digitizes necessary business documents while having quick, digital access to all paper files in off-site storage. Up-front equipment costs, ongoing maintenance and employee training are also not required.

Saves Space

Since documents are kept in off-site storage, office space is available for revenue-generating activities while still having easy access to important information.

Frees-up Employees

Outsourcing digital imaging to a scan-on-demand company frees up employee time to work on higher-value activities. On-site and remote employees also save time by requesting documents from an easy-to-use online portal to securely view digital formats of key physical documents and images within hours.

Increases Efficiency and Productivity

A scan-on-demand service can reduce the time it takes to search and re-file documents.

Security of Information

Unlike an in-house document management system, scan-on-demand services ensure that only authorized employees have access to sensitive documents to improve security, access control and government record-keeping requirements.

Improve Your Document Management with Blue-Pencil’s Secure Scan-on-demand Services

To find out more about using Blue-Pencil’s on-demand document scanning solutions and how they can help your business, get in touch with our team for a free quote based on your information security needs.