If your company is considering document conversion as a way to streamline office procedures and enhance organization, you need to give some thought to how you and your company will use and access the data. Many companies decide to go digital, but haven’t given an ounce of consideration to how they’ll function with everything converted. Digital imaging and document conversion are the first steps in the process. Planning and deciding on how they manage the digital documents once they’re converted is the next phase.
Some companies have systems and databases already in place to handle the conversion, but might need guidance on how to use them more effectively. Larger organizations may already have databases such as Oracle or PeopleSoft to handle the document management workload. Typically the document conversion company will use the client’s existing database or filing system and return the digitized documents in a format that is compatible.
More advanced document conversion companies have document management systems they can provide as part of the service if you don’t have one. They will provide training on how to use the system once documents are digitized and indexed. As a company, you should not only determine how you’ll manage the digital documents, but also define your business rules that will govern the use of the documents. Often the document conversion company can guide you with best practices on how to effectively manage your digital files.
During the early project stages, the document conversion company will work with you to understand what key fields are important to you and ultimately these fields are what you will use to search your collection of documents. Indexing is the process of identifying key elements or fields about a document that will make search and retrieval easiest. The associated indexes can be returned to the client either in their native document management software or other data streams such as XML, comma delimited files, and Excel just to name a few.
Indexing is created to support the retrieval of digital documents. It is advised to work closely with your co-workers, as well as with the document conversion company, to determine the most effective way to make document access and retrieval easy. The bottom line in managing digital documents is streamlining the process. It’s easy to scan paper, but if you don’t know how to find them in a digital system, the conversion will not be worth your while.