Any company that has been in business for at least a few years can attest to the sheer volume of resources that quickly become involved in document storage. We save everything because we never know what we’ll need, for example, a document from five years ago for a court case or the details of an order filled last month for an especially large client. As the business world becomes more and more digitized, information scanning solutions have swooped in to facilitate even this once-dreaded process. The following handful of tips is to facilitate your implementation of the process:
- Familiarize Yourself with All Your File Types
If your information scanning solutions are taking place in a large office or business, then multiple people must have access to it. With so many different media and file types available, you must make sure that your chosen document scanning company has scanners capable of converting each type of media that you have stored your information in. Make sure you know and communicate which records are stored as paper, digital images and microfilm for example. You should also document how many different document types such as: job applications, accounts payable invoices and customer contracts that you want to convert and store. Finally, you will have to document who will need to have access to the converted records.
- Define Your Scanning Goals – Long Term or Short Term
Most businesses eventually chose both a short-term and long-term scanning solution because of the overall cost-savings, increased efficiency and elimination of file storage rooms. The long-term solution, which is more commonly known as back file scanning, should take second place in most cases. You need to focus on getting the files that are in constant and immediate use stored digitally for expediency, because the long-term option can take months. Active files need to be up-and-running as soon as possible to avoid hitches in your business, so that you front end users don’t have to wait. What day forward files are these? Documents such as loan applications, patient records, employee records, etc – it depends specifically on what your organization does, but they all fall into the same class of consistently relevant utility.
It is also important to note that the world is changing / has changed. In today’s world, you can often avoid scanning current documents altogether as most now start as digital files. Many companies now receive all or at least the vast majority of inbound documents via email attachments. They then print them to route them and then scan them again to preserve them. A document management system can be configured to automatically process these documents as electronic files that never need to be scanned, because they are never printed. They can also be indexed and routed automatically using these tools and stored as a .CSV (comma separated value) file or in a document management system like CASNET’s Cloud-based eSAFE.
3. Scanning at the Right Resolution
Quality over speed is the name of the game when it comes to document scanning. This means taking the time to scan at a higher resolution, so that the conversion process does not destroy the original information content. Granted, higher resolution means you need more bytes of storage space – but it’s worth it. There’s no sense in saving pennies, but lose access to the data. Make sure the information scanning solutions you choose possess the ability to check the integrity of each document as it goes in and comes out digitized. You can go too far as well. Making file too large will slow down your business processes and consume extra disk space without delivering any incremental value. A resolution of 300 dpi (dots per inch) is a good rule of thumb for most business documents.
- The Storage Phase is Important
In the interests of disaster recovery and business continuity, make sure you have multiple storage locations. One of the advantages of converting paper documents to digital files is the ease of backing up the digital files versus the cost of copying and storing paper duplicates. The cost of space is less of an issue now that your files have been digitized, consider virtual redundancy as a way of keeping multiple copies. Make sure that the electronic database is searchable and accessible to all relevant managers and staff in your organization. Document Management systems provide additional features and functionality that are worth evaluating when you have a lot of documents, a lot of people who need to access them or when access control of the documents is imperative.
- Making Use of the Short-Term Scanning Option
Now that your active documents are digitized, it’s time to employ a digital workflow and place the active documents immediately into circulation. Microsoft SharePoint and most document management systems can be used to facilitate and improve your routing processes. The long-term stuff can be done later, as mentioned, without suffering any downtime and losing business as a result. Information scanning solutions, ultimately, are meant to save you money – not cost you business. For more information about improving your efficiency and document storage, contact CASNET at 1-800-882-7500 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.