What is document imaging?
Whether your office is trying to reduce paper storage or make workflow more efficient, document imaging is a great solution.
Document imaging involves scanning paper documents into an electronic format to provide an organization with online management of their documents and can replace or reduce paper storage. A document imaging technician will turn your paper document into a searchable PDF, JPEG or TIFF image using document imaging software.
Advantages of document imaging
Online storage of documents allows better workflow because it simplifies the retrieval and sharing of documents. Once the paper documents are imaged, optical character recognition (OCR) software is used to turn it into a machine-readable text. Depending on your needs, the document can be indexed using all of the text or metadata. Metadata describes other data and can include the date the document was created, who created it and other descriptive factors.
Document imaging is great for large organizations, industries that have a lot of paper documents, multiple locations and remote workers. It allows quick and easy access to needed information.
Different industries use document imaging for industry-specific needs. Attorneys use document imaging to manage discovery during litigation which is much faster and efficient allowing them to manage their time better. It can be used as part of the ediscovery process as well.
Those working in oil and gas use it to manage land titles, well leases, long-term storage of documents and more.
In large companies and government agencies, document imaging allows you to streamline business processes allowing employees to find documents quickly. Unless outsourced, converting a large company to a digital office can be time consuming in the beginning, but the convenience and time savings gained in workflow makes it worth it.
When it comes down to it, no matter the industry, the benefits are increased productivity, reduced time filing and finding paper, more storage space because you don’t need those large filing cabinets, reduced instances of losing documents, better data security, compliance with industry or Federal regulations and efficiency.
The Paperless Office Idea
Document imaging and the idea of a paperless office have been around a long time. Advances in technology has changed it but the concept remains the same. The University of Wisconsin even wrote a paper, “Document Imaging: A Step Toward a Paperless Office.”
A study from Pricewaterhouse Coopers is often quoted by document management companies which was conducted in 1998. It stated that the average organization:
· Makes 19 copies of each document
· Spends $20 in labor to file each document
· Spends $120 in labor searching for each misfiled document
· Loses 1 out of every 20 documents
· Spends 25 hours recreating each lost document
· Spends 400 hours per year searching for lost files
It makes a sound argument to convert to digital. Even if the amount of paper has most likely declined in the average office since that study was conducted 20 years ago, most offices are still not paperless. However, there are a lot of costs with maintaining paper files: paper, ink, filing folders, labels, filing cabinets and the cost of space whether it is in a building the company owns or leases or in a storage facility. There is also the cost of time to locate, file and retrieve documents as well as the cost to replace lost or misplaced documents.
The Week covered the topic in an article in 2015 showing the struggle we all face when it comes to changing workflow and processes citing a 2012 study showing the average American uses the paper equivalent of five 40-foot-tall trees each year.
However, the article also references a 2010 Pew survey that concluded that 60 percent of Americans think that by 2050, paper newspapers, paper money and letters sent via paper mail will cease to exist which may point to a shift in mindset which may lead to a shift in consumption.
Falcon can help you transition to a digital office
Whether you don’t have document imaging software, or if you have a large amount of paper documents, using a vendor can be cost-efficient. Our expert technicians will sort through and organize your documents, ensure a high-quality image and maximize OCR so you get the information you need to help your organization with workflow and document management.