Scanning, Imaging and Capturing

Document management is a broad term for the standardization of information in order to efficiently organize data via electronic system.  Document management is compatible with a variety of information sources.   This includes images, emails, faxes, digital signatures, computer files, electronic forms, and maps just to name a few.  A document management system can convert, standardize and archive these information sources into a user-friendly, integrated system.

You’ll often hear the terms “imaging”, “capturing”, and “scanning” used so frequently that it’s as if they’re interchangeable.  Truthfully, these terms describe very different document management processes.  Your business’ unique needs determine which solution to use, and that choice is the foundation for a successful system.  So what are document imaging, capturing and scanning, how are they used individually and how are each different?  Here we’ll discuss these terms, and based on your businesses needs, which would be the best option.

Document scanning and document imaging are techniques used to convert a variety of formats into electronic files that are viewable online.  Scanning and imaging are basic processes of creating an electronic image of a document such as a PDF, or image file like a JPEG or TIF.  These methods are good for converting low volume.  For example, a stack of paperwork that needs to be electronically stored is suitable to scan/image and archive away.  Whether you will need to reference it in the future, or are simply converting it for digital archive purposes, it’s converted and stored.  Scanning and imaging are good techniques if you’re interested in a slow transition towards less dependence on paper in day to day operations.

When it comes to scanning and imaging there are differences in each file type.  It ultimately comes down to the length of the document and if there are images included.  A TIF or JPEG file decompresses the document so it doesn’t take up too much space.  These file types makes the most sense for longer documents and those that include images.  PDF files are best if the document originated from a word processing program, like Word.  This will create a better quality, more readable electronic image.

Document scanning and imaging are the means of converting a file.  These are great techniques for smaller document quantities.  However, document capture takes scanning and imaging to another level by helping you move from basic digital file storage to an electronic document management system.  The reason capture is important to the bigger picture is because it facilitates standardization of large quantities of information.  It establishes a method for scanning, capturing, processing and archiving documents.  Document capture also provides more flexibility for accessing and distributing electronic files.  Workflow and other automation capabilities, as well as opportunities to expand into multiple storage locations are just some of the benefits to using a capture solution.

When initiated correctly, these processes all have the unique ability to organize and archive information.  A company that simply wants to convert and save an electronic copy may find imaging and scanning is an ample solution.  For organizations that want to operate day-to-day from electronic files, capture is likely the best technique.  This is especially true since it offers a segway into more powerful system options. Deciding on the proper solution really comes down to how much you have and what you plan on doing with the electronic files.  For more information on determining the best solution for your company, contact ILM today.

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