What Is Document Imaging?

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what is document imaging?

Document imaging is the practice of using equipment like scanners or special cameras to take a picture of information contained in another form (usually paper or microfilm). There are many advantages to converting paper to digital files through the use of document imaging, and also some disadvantages. If you can imagine taking a picture of a piece of paper, this would come very close to the basic premise of document imaging.

why should i use document imaging?

In traditional document imaging applications, there are several compelling reasons to make use of imaging technology.
  • Frequent retrieval – If certain documents will need to be accessed from time to time, it would be costly for these file copies to be retrieved and re-filed in paper form. This is especially true if this type of record is stored offsite at an internal warehouse facility or through a vendor arrangement with a commercial record center. Document imaging provides a way to convert the document to a format that can be accessed through the Internet. This greatly reduces costs and provides greater work efficiency.
  • Enterprise document sharing – Some types of documents need to be viewed by several people at the same time. A good example of this are accounts payable invoices which may require review and approval from multiple departments, or even multiple facility locations. Once an invoice is imaged, it can be viewed by another team leader down the hall or a branch office across the ocean. For enterprise document sharing, imaging is an ideal solution.
  • Document search and retrieval – Documents that are imaged must be accompanied by information that facilitates retrieval. In a paper filing system these would be called finding aids or taxonomies; these could change depending on the filing system used. With imaged documents a process called “indexing” is used to provide descriptive information about the image. This document metadata, (information about the document), can be searched in a database, which can greatly improve information retrieval speed.
  • Special compliance requirements – Even though paper records are considered the best evidence by many jurisdictions, there are situations where compliance issues may require a conversion from paper files to digital images. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard is one example of this. The protection of credit card payment data is difficult in a paper format; however, imaging the information so that it can be encrypted (encoded in a way that requires a key to translate the information), provides an acceptable method of compliance.

should i image all my paper documents?

No. Even though imaging provides more efficient workflow, it is generally not cost effective for older paper documents in storage unless there is a retrieval, enterprise sharing, search or compliance requirement. Archival paper records with a limited retention period and no retrieval activity should remain in their paper format until they are destroyed. While there are still “backfile conversions”, (large projects that convert a paper records archive to digital form), it is difficult to build a business case for these projects without special circumstances. If some these records require document imaging, this can be performed on an ad hoc basis (a process known as “scan on demand”).

should imaging be performed internally or outsourced?

Either method works. Tronitech is pleased to provide both solutions. Imaging documents internally provides more direct control and direct involvement in quality control processes. It also provides a means of maintaining paper onsite until quality control functions can be completed and paper documents are destroyed. Tronitech provides a full-service imaging platform to conduct imaging in house, from Capture, to Support, to VAULTview, our online digital repository.

Outsourcing document imaging reduces overhead investment by shifting work outside the organization. Project work may be quicker and less prone to error when conducted by dedicated imaging workers. Tronitech and its team of resellers will work together with you to determine an ideal solution to your document imaging needs. Please use our contact form to share information with us. Low up-front cost is the key to enhanced imaging revenue. Tronitech’s reseller model anticipates the need to rent software versus buying software and shifting work to a trusted partner like Tronitech as you are building your imaging operation. To become a Tronitech reseller, click here. (link to 8F)