Planning a document scanning project? Need advice on where to get started? Then read on…
An electronic document management system can bring huge benefits to your business. Done properly it can save time (with better access to information), save space (less paper stored around the office) and save money (operational efficiency).
Obviously one of the key elements in any electronic document system is the conversion of paper documents into an electronic format so that they can be made available electronically to users of the application.
So what’s the most effective way to get all your documents scanned and into the system? Depending on the size of the project and the approach you take it could either have huge benfits or turn into a white elephant and cost a fortune.
To help you avoid creating that white elephant we’re sharing a series of posts that will help you get your electronic document management system off the ground.
Let’s get going with steps on how to ensure you’re document scanning project is successful.
Step 1. Assess your documents
The first thing you need to do, which if done properly will save you loads of time and money, is to asses all your documents and decide which documents actually need to be scanned.
Your goal is simple, identify duplicate documents, documents that can be destroyed and documents that have low operational value.
Here’s how to approach the assessment:
Start by looking at your document in the context of your records retention schedule. This is the cornerstone of your records and information management strategy and will help you identify and prioritize the documents you need to scan. If you need it, here’s a guide to getting started with your records retention schedule.
Identify documents that will add to operational efficiency. Over time documents are accessed less frequently and therefore there may be little benefit in making them digital. Keep in mind that you can always scan these documents later using a scan-on-demand system.
Identify duplicate documents and remove them from the batch of documents to be scanned. It takes a little bit of time to sort through files and folders to identify duplicates, however the time and expense saved in later is well worth the investment up front.
Use the opportunity to update your records retention schedule and destroy any documents that you no longer need to keep for compliance, legal or operational reasons. Don’t become a paper hoarder!
Configure your document management system before you start scanning based on operational requirements and your records retention schedule. You don’t want to get off on the wrong foot by scanning images to a shared drive. This completely defeats the purpose.
2. Outsource or in-house?
This is possibly your biggest decisions. Do you outsource the project or keep it in-house? How do you decide?
Here are some of the main considerations:
The volume of paper that needs to be scanned
The sensitivity of the information in the documents
The physical condition of the documents to be scanned
Once you’ve got a clear picture on these factors, you’ll be able to work on your project costing. These will include things like what you’ll need in terms of people, how much space you need for the operation, what your capital outlay will be and your time constraints.
All of these factors will play a role in your decision making process. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed it may be useful to engage a partner to help you develop and project plan and provide cost models for internal and outsourced options.
This is the first in a series of blogs on planning an electronic document management implementation. Look for the next post on managing the scanning process, coming soon!