Before rushing into buying a document imaging and scanning system, your customers should figure out exactly what their needs are: the volume, types and sizes of the documents that will have to be digitized and stored, who will be responsible for managing them and other operational issues. They also should give careful consideration to security: who will be able to access the documents, what types they’ll be able to access and how you’ll be able to manage these access privileges.
Overlooking factors like these beforehand could result in the wrong purchase, not to mention inefficiencies later on. As their trusted IT partner, you can play an important role in helping them assess which document management solutions are best suited to their business processes and technology infrastructure.
Once the purchase and implementation is complete, here are some best practices you can recommend to help them maximize document-management efficiency:
1) A key advantage of desktop scanning is that it enables easy indexing of scanned documents. But it’s important to be smart about naming and indexing. Establish rules that will make sense to end users and naming conventions that match how the documents will be used—by document function, department or type. For vacation requests, for example, the assigned names could follow the format “vacrequest-username-datereceived.” In this case, the user name and date received information would be pulled directly from the system.
2) Scan at a high enough resolution to maximize documents’ long-term value. While scanning at a higher resolution requires more storage space, it ensures readability in the future. It’s also important to use file formats and compression techniques that are nonproprietary, conform to industry standards and won’t become obsolete over time.
3) Color can make a difference too. If documents contain text that’s highlighted in certain areas, a black-and-white scan may turn the highlighted areas black, rendering them unreadable. Using grayscale, on the other hand, should leave them legible and also requires less storage space than a full color scan.
4) Using dual monitors for document imaging is more efficient. Users can work on an email on one monitor and pull up a record on the second one, without having to minimize or move items on one monitor screen—or print documents in order to refer to them.
5) An effective approach for searching for “lost” documents is to incorporate optical character recognition (OCR), which converts scanned documents to text files. That way, if a document is indexed improperly for any reason, the OCR can conduct text searches for keywords within the document.
6) Finally, customers should fully leverage document imaging in as many of their business processes as possible—and eliminate the physical storage and printing documents whenever they can. This not only helps save physical space and printing expenses (the cost of paper, ink, etc.) but also results in greater ROI over time.