Going Paperless with a Document Imaging Solution
How a document imaging solution can make your life easier
Using a document imaging solution to digitise company documents and records is becoming more popular. While there are many benefits to document imaging that no doubt play a large part in the shift to digital documents there is another reason that is coming to the fore.
As digital technology becomes further intertwined with our daily lives and our reliance on new technologies grows, so too does the demand for expanded uses of digital technology. Thus, the demand for digital documents has seen an increase and the rise of paperless or at least low paper use offices is on the increase.
Using a Document Imaging Solution
There are four basic stages of digitising documents. These are as follows:
- Indexing or Tagging
- Archive or Destroy
Before any documents can be scanned they need to be properly prepared. Files need to have paperclips, staples, and similar bindings removed. Duplicates and materials that do not belong (according to your file retention guidelines) should also be removed.
Other steps that may be necessary depending on your needs include photocopying of documents that are fragile, have non-standard sizes, are printed on heavier papers or board, and clippings that may be glued or taped to paper.
The above actions should be taken to smooth the process of scanning your documents and will lead to better results.
Indexing or Tagging Documents
Scanned documents have little value unless they can be searched for. Thus, it is important to add metadata to scanned documents. Depending on your needs, there may be a wide variety of categories, tags, and keywords used. These will also differ depending on the type of documents being indexed. It is, therefore, important to discuss in detail your needs with your document imaging company.
Archive or Destroy Documents
Once all your documents and records have been successfully scanned you will have to decide what to do with your paper documents. You have a few options:
- Store your documents in-house
- Archive your documents at an offsite document storage facility
- Destroy your documents through a secure document shredding company
The first option may seem like a good idea. However, it will take up valuable office space, which is costly, requires a certain amount of maintenance to keep in good order and may, in fact, leave you non-compliant with legislation governing where records are kept, as some records may be required to be held offsite for security purposes.
The second option may seem like one that adds extra expense, but when you calculate the costs and risks associated with in-house storage versus secure offsite document storage you will no doubt realise that peace of mind is worth paying for and in fact, you may even discover the costs are lower than you think.
The third option will form part of either option one or two, as you are unlikely to be able to destroy all your documents and records due to compliance requirements. Destroying documents that no longer need to be retained using a secure document shredding solution will reduce your storage costs whether you opt for in-house or offsite storage.
Once your documents have been digitised, retrieving them becomes easy. Part of implementing a Document Imaging Solution is setting up an access portal. This portal allows you and your employees to access documents and records through a browser with a minimum of effort. Better still access can be controlled allowing only authorised personnel to access documents.
Retrieving archived paper documents, while not quite as swift, is nonetheless not difficult as your offsite storage provider can deliver them as needed.
Summary of Benefits
Some of the Benefits of Document Imaging:
- A wide variety of document sizes can be digitised
- Provides quick, secure web-based access
- Strict access control and secure communication links
- Smart indexing makes searching for documents easy and fast reducing time wastage
- Digital documents can easily be duplicated and stored across multiple sites
- Physical documents can be destroyed according to retention schedules and digital copies will remain.
Iron Mountain offers a wide range of Document Imaging Solutions and scanning options… These solutions include:
- Bulk Back-Scanning – bulk conversion of existing records to digital form
- Off-Site Imaging – All imaging takes place at one of Iron Mountain’s bureau facilities.
- On-Site Imaging – An outsourced solution on your premises, either managed or operated by your staff, or Iron Mountain’s imaging specialists.
- Image-On-Demand (IOD) – Not all records need to be scanned and stored electronically in advance. For records that are seldom retrieved, IOD offers a cost-effective solution, where you only pay for highly selective scanning, as required.
- Image Hosting – All scanned images are stored off-site at a highly secure facility accessible only to authenticated staff via the web.
Contact Iron Mountain today for more information.