When considering digital imaging for document management purposes, one of the most difficult tasks is determining the amount of documents needing conversion. If you don’t know the number of pages you have, there are some easy to use, online calculators that will provide a good estimate. As a quick example, if you have 100,000 pages it equates to storage needs of 10 filing cabinets. With document conversion you could easily gain access to those 100,000 pages online through the Internet, with 7 CD’s or one DVD. This allows everyone in your office access to digital information that was once on a single sheet of paper.
Companies that decide to use document management systems have the freedom to decide how many of their documents they need digitized. Some people want document scanning performed on only new or active files; this is known as the “day forward” approach. Others prefer the “back file” method where all documents dating back several years, or to their company’s origin is to be digitized. Knowing how much you have is essential to determining the level of comfort you feel in digitizing everything, or only what files are active within your company.
Data capture is the easy part of the process. The most intricate step is determining how to index the files based on your company’s needs. Indexing is the process of identifying key elements or fields about a document that will make search and retrieval easiest. Most document management companies would like their customers to have in place internal databases to manage their information. However, some will help clients determine how to best configure their databases for ease of use. All indexing is customized based on the client and their requirements. During the initial process, many document management companies want to understand the internal database structure. This is so they can set up the process consistent to their database and have it entered precisely to match. Various indexing formats are used such as data streams, XML, comma delimited files, Excel, and many others.
To get the most out of data capture and digital imaging, your company must have clearly defined goals. If you’ve determined that data capture will work well for your company, you must know how you plan to use it. Digitizing of documents is simple, but knowing how you plan to proceed once obtaining the captured data will ensure you use your time most efficiently.