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Jumping on the Paperless Bandwagon? Do it the Right Way
“Paperless” has been de rigueur for several years now. However, even with the presence of computer tablets, e-readers, and smartphones, the amount of paper that continues to be generated is staggering. The average office worker goes through 10,000 sheets of paper a year. That’s enough to make the most technophobic person shake his head in disbelief.
The fact of the matter is that with all of the technology available to us, more and more paper is being consumed. Not only is it bad for the environment but it’s also costly to business. According to Resource Information Systems Inc. (RISI), US companies will spend about $8 million a year managing paper. On a micro level, your business could literally be throwing money away due to paper consumption. There are numerous costs associated with:
- purchasing copy and printer paper
- labor for managing and retrieving documents
- resources necessary for storing files
- resources necessary for storing files
This doesn’t take into consideration the costs associated with looking for and/or replacing misplaced or lost documents. Nor does it factor in the costs associated with failure to produce records in a timely manner to meet regulatory or auditing requirements.
Many businesses come to the realization that a “paperless” solution is the most effective way of managing their records after experiencing either a loss of revenue or significant disruption in business processes. Fortunately, a more proactive approach to going paperless can help your organization to the benefits of better organization, compliance and an overall improved bottom line.
Understanding the Digital Conversion Process
Converting your paper records to an electronic format not only makes good economic sense for your business, but it can also vastly improve your business processes. However, it’s important to have the right plan in place before you attempt to convert your documents. While scanning equipment has recently become very affordable, without the right expertise and procedures, you may waste an inordinate amount of time.
Scanning is actually just one piece of a digital conversion process. Prior to the actual scanning phase it’s necessary to do some advance legwork which includes:
- assigning a database to which your electronic information will be stored and managed
- deciding which format digital information must reside to meet legal and regulatory requirements
- properly cataloging and indexing your files so they can be found and accessed electronically
- preparing documents for the scanning phase (removing paper clips, staples, sticky notes, etc.)
This “advance” process can be quite time consuming and overwhelming. Not only does it require input from the key stakeholders within your organization but also a thorough understanding of the required information technology tools. It’s no wonder that many businesses will invest in cheap technology to go paperless yet quickly find out they’re in over their heads.
Scanning documents in a way that ensures a complete capture of business data requires complete attention to detail. Just because a document can be run through a scanner without being “eaten” doesn’t necessarily mean that all of the information within that document has been captured. Individual pages within a document may need to be adjusted or rescanned. Additionally, if requiring keyword search capabilities within a document, optical character resolution software will need to be applied to ensure search-ability. In short, even the scanning portion of a conversion project can be extremely time consuming.
The Advantage of an Outsourced Solution
Rather than undertaking your paperless project internally, it may be more cost effective to outsource it to an expert document imaging provider. With dedicated resources and expert professionals, the right resource can help you convert your documents and files to an electronic format efficiently without internal disruptions to your organization. Further, they can also provide you with document management and image hosting solutions that allow for secure and compliant electronic storage
Records Management Center provides businesses throughout Augusta, Evans, Thomson, and Martinez, GA, and Aiken, SC and the Central Savannah River Area with professional document imaging solutions. To find out how we can help your business, please contact us by phone or fill in the form on the page.