Following are five things to consider before undertaking a document imaging conversion process:
E-forms: That’s right: The goal of any document imaging process is to reduce dependence on paper—so why not start at the beginning and try to eliminate paper before it’s printed? PDF, and, more recently, HTML5 forms represent an avenue for accomplishing this. Not all forms are readily convertible, but if an organization that is publishing forms has control over the people completing them, such as in an HR situation, there is certainly a possibility.
Volume: How many documents will a user be scanning per day on average, as well as during peak periods? This will help determine the type of scanner that is needed. Most scanners are rated based on pages per minute and also have a recommended maximum daily volume (commonly called a duty cycle). A user wants enough scanner to handle their peak volumes, as well as some room to grow if there is a chance of volume increases in the future.
Types of document: Are the user’s documents fairly uniform, or are they mixed in terms of size, thickness, and quality? Uniform documents are less taxing and will require less prep work and post-scanning adjustments. Certain scanners have feeding mechanisms especially designed to deal better with documents of mixed sizes and thicknesses. As far as quality of print goes, image processing technology, applied after scanning, can be used in order to improve the quality of images—even to the point where images can be produced that are easier to read than the paper copy. Most scanners include some image processing, and third-party software is also available for this purpose.
Distributed or centralized: Traditionally, documents were collected in one place before being scanned (centralized capture). Over the past 10 years, however, the proliferation of broadband Internet, more inexpensive quality scanners, and the ability to scan with MFPs has made scanning at multiple locations where documents are often received (distributed capture) a viable option. There are a lot of factors to consider, like how much can be saved on document shipping costs, how much control a user wants over their process, and what type of administration they prefer. There are pluses and minuses to both paradigms, but making the correct decision can result in huge benefits both financially and in quality of service.
What do you need to capture?: Most times, at least some data need to be captured along with a document image. Automating the capture of these data can greatly simplify a document conversion process. There are many avenues that can be taken in order to do this, from simply capturing a bar code to applying OCR/ICR (and even artificial intelligence) in order to capture multiple fields on a form and even make sense of words in a paragraph format. Like with e-forms, the level of capture software required will often depend on how much control a user has in the creation of their forms—as a well-designed form can greatly simplify a capture process. It’s good to keep in mind that automated capture can also be utilized in order to efficiently expand the amount of data being processed, which can benefit big data initiatives.
These are five important items to consider as an organization plans a document imaging implementation. And while they occur at the beginning of the imaging process, their effect can be felt all the way through to the end. So, while many people’s tendency might be to start at the beginning, in a document imaging implementation, a user probably wants to think their process all the way through before deciding on the specifics of the conversion process. To provide your customer with a configuration onsite use the Ingram Micro Document Imaging event app for instant guidance; www.IMconfigure.com