Document imaging can be introduced to reduce the amount of paper stored or used within your office. You can convert your archive back-files and commence to scan newly received documents on-line. You can investigate sending the paper originals to secure off-site storage facilities or destroying them subject to policies and procedures being in place relating to the legal admissibility and evidential weight of information stored electronically.
The introduction of document imaging will involve the utilisation of one or more scanners, together with document management software to both control the scanner and enable you to classify, store and retrieve the documents. An electronic document management system can provide you with capabilities for the multiple referencing of individual documents, the ability to locate an individual or related group of documents based upon these references, version control, document security, audit trails and routing or workflow based upon business rules.
In looking to select the scanner, you will need to take into account considerations such as:
- The average daily volumes of individual document pages
- Whether any of these documents are double-sided (i.e. duplex scanning requirement)
- The size and textures of the paper to be captured
- The need for an ADF (Automatic Document Feeder) tray
- The need for colour capability
- Whether a flatbed would be useful for scanning damaged or fragile documents
- The dpi (dots per inch) resolution you are looking to achieve
In evaluating document management software you should consider:
- The need to automate the scanning and indexing of multiple-document batches
- The flexibility required to implement the file plan for classifying documents
- The ability to capture electronic fax, email, office documents, report print files, web pages etc., as well as scanned images
- Version control requirements
- Security requirements
The implementation of document imaging will also require careful consideration relating to new operating procedures and working practice. Fundamental to this is whether paper is scanned prior to or after processing? For example, once the incoming post is opened, is there the need for administrative staff to visually see and validate the originals of certain documents to check for authenticity of letter-heads or signatures? This could be important to combat potential fraud. You will need to decide what constitutes an individual image document, who will scan which document types, what image quality control checks will be put in place, who has the knowledge to index them and whether there are any approval routines to be incorporated.
Please also see our complementary information resource, The Document Site
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