Many organizations are looking to make the transition from hard copy files to digital images. There are a lot of benefits to making this transition, even if it’s only for a portion of your files. Digitizing (scanning) can help you create an organized filing system, faster searching, easier file sharing, and fully text-searchable documents. Scanning projects even free up office space that may be currently overrun with bulky, unnecessary filing cabinets.
Regardless of why you decide to digitize, there’s no reason for the process to feel overwhelming or confusing. If you’re not familiar with the scanning process, this list of questions should help. Determining your answers for each question will help streamline the process for both you and your digital imaging partner.
What are you imaging?
Type of Documents
The very first step to organizing an imaging project is to determine exactly what it is you’d like to digitize. The records you want to scan may typically include case files, sales receipts, employee files, or account contracts. However, clients are not limited to legal and letter-sized documents, as digitization is also available for things such as maps, blueprints, sticky notes, business cards, and artwork. Our services also encompass converting microfiche to digital, searchable files; as well as converting microfilm to digital, searchable files. The options here really are endless.
Number of Documents
Another important aspect to consider is the size of your imaging project. Are there thousands of boxes full of records to be scanned, or simply a handful of files? Maybe even just one single box? This will make a difference when determining a realistic turnaround time for your documents. However, regardless of size, our services can help you get on the right track.
In the digital imaging process, files and documents are indexed (or tagged with metadata) according to predetermined categories. Popular indexing categories include client names, employee names, identification numbers, dates, topics, and document type. For example, a client looking to digitize employee records may want the files searchable (“indexed”) by name, or employee identification number, or maybe even both! Our digitization experts can include as many index categories as you deem necessary to make sure you can find what you need, when you need it.
What do you want file output to look like?
Depending on your company’s needs, the type of file output best suited for your project may vary. After scanning and imaging, it may be best to export your files as a PDF, JPEG, or even a TIFF file. How you want them delivered is also important. You’ll need to choose between flash drives, external hard drives, CDs/DVDs, or something like SFTP. Determining what will best work for your situation is an essential step in project management.
How do you want to access the files?
In most situations, employees need constant access to client files, contracts, and other important documents. With our scanning services, you will no longer need to waste time searching through filing cabinets to find the document you are looking for. Instead, it will only take a simple search of your computer or storage software. Imaging makes sure your documents are available to your employees anytime, anywhere.
If you are looking for a more instant and organized way to keep all of your digitized files in one place, you may want to consider an enterprise content management software program, such as iCOR™ by M-Files®. With this service, our clients have immediate access to all of their files on a secure, metadata-driven platform. iCOR™ not only stores your records, but also promotes internal employee collaboration by making it easy to share documents, assign tasks, edit files, and revise a document in real-time.
Need a document from your imaging project while it is in the vendor’s possession and in the scanning process? No problem! A reputable scanning vendor will provide on-demand scanning options, where you’ll be able to request specific files and receive the images via email or another secure transmission method. If the physical copy is needed, most vendors will have a courier department to deliver the files or boxes to you securely.
What should you do with records after they have been digitized?
After your files have been scanned and converted to digital files, you must decide what to do with the remaining hard copy records. This decision is most often based upon the type of files in the project, and whether or not your company needs to keep a hard copy on hand. In some situations, legislation and standards require that the original files be kept in a secure location. If this is the case, our record storage services may be the best option.
However, if keeping the original files are not required for your project, a document destruction method must be decided upon. Since most projects include documents with personally identifiable information (PII) of clients or employees, federal and state legislation requires that they must be disposed of in a secure manner. After we have scanned the documents, and you have had the opportunity to audit the digital images, we can immediately send your files to our shredding facility. Alternatively, our document destruction services also offer on-site shredding options in order to help you comply with your company’s regulations. With our NAID certified shredding services, we are sure to meet all legal requirements and take the hassle off of your hands.
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