Storing and managing documents is often the Achilles’ heel for most businesses. Space constraints lead to files being improperly cared for and protected. Lack of time increases the chance of important records being misfiled and misplaced. And hiring additional staff to administer proper document management processes is costly. As a result, more businesses are turning to solutions that decrease the dependence on paper. Because access to information is integral to everything from customer service to your internal operations, a transition to a paperless solution should adhere to several key steps.
Identifying what needs to be scanned
A document scanning solution alleviates the costs of storing and managing hardcopy records internally. Instead of having files scattered amongst cabinets and boxes throughout your office, electronic documents are stored on a server and can be quickly accessed with the click of a mouse. Files can be retrieved and shared remotely facilitating more efficient workflow. But it’s not necessarily necessary or wise to scan your whole hardcopy document inventory.
Some documents are created—and need to be kept for several years to meet legal retention requirements—but will never be accessed except in an audit scenario. In order to keep your scanning costs down, you won’t want to convert these documents to electronic images. A more cost-efficient solution is to store any inactive files off-site in a facility where you know they will be preserved, protected and properly managed during their retention lifecycle. A commercial records centre provides barcode tracking for archival documents and the ability to have files quickly retrieved and delivered, either by hand or electronically, to support audit processes. A carton of documents can be stored off-site for several years for significantly less than the cost of scanning each page contained within that box.
Sorting and indexing
Once your active documents have been identified, you’ll want to make sure that they are properly sorted and indexed prior to be scanned. This is a time-consuming and accuracy driven process that ensures that no information is lost during the digital conversion process. Companies converting to paperless systems often find, once they’ve begun the process, that it is beyond their area of expertise. Some businesses hire temporary staff to do the job, although this is risky in and of itself due to privacy concerns.
Sorting, indexing and scanning confidential material is best handled by a professional document scanning company. You’ll want to look for a vendor with screened imaging technicians who can offer:
- scanning of wide variety of formats
- digital file encryption
- Optical Character Recognition capture
- image hosting options
In addition to identifying a supplier who can assess your specific requirements, it’s also important to choose one with a trusted reputation and experience providing customized solutions within your community.
Ensuring ongoing document management support
Going paperless is not necessarily a “one and done” activity. You’re going to have ongoing document management needs that need to be addressed as your business workflow requirements change. Procedures and systems will need to be put into place to ensure that any newly created hardcopy information is properly imaged and transferred into your preferred repository. All digital information will also need to be properly protected and preserved for maximum data recovery capability.
Docu-Dépôt provides document scanning and information management solutions to businesses throughout Montréal and Québec. To find out more, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.
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