Paper records – any company that has been in business long enough has accumulated these documents. Depending on the industry in question, these documents can take up a filing cabinet, a room, or even a few floors of commercial real estate (it happens). The question facing these organizations for the past few years has been whether to scan those documents and convert them into a digital format. Provided organizations commit to using high-quality imaging and indexing processes, there are many potential advantages to storing content digitally.
Accessibility of information
Digital documents, stored in centralized management systems, are much easier to find data within, provided companies scan them in searchable formats, rather than as flat images. This improved accessibility is one of the major upsides of digitization, according to The Houston Chronicle. Instead of wasting time and effort looking through physical files, employees can instead call up the necessary records immediately, based on a quick text search. And by improving employee efficiency, digitization also helps employers save on labor costs.
To take full advantage of document digitization, businesses must make sure they use the right imaging process. If companies simply scan their documents as images, it can remain difficult for employees to find the content they’re looking for. This is why businesses should employ imaging and indexing software with optical character recognition (OCR), which enables users to search for text within documents.
Organizations keeping lots of paper records may be wasting a great deal of space with filing cabinets, or dedicating whole rooms in their headquarters to paper archives. Business real estate expenses are significant, so keeping physical copies of documents around may be hurting organizations’ bottom lines. Turning a previous storage room into office space or a server room can be an immediate upgrade.
It’s important for company leaders to determine which documents they are required by law to keep as hard copies. The Houston Chronicle recommended speaking with an attorney about the legal status of each type of document. Then, it’s time to digitize all physical documentation, either as an ongoing process or in one concerted project. Finally, all records that don’t have to be retained can be securely shredded.
Transparency and security of data
Paper documents’ lack of data visibility is becoming a major liability. Since it’s difficult to search through piles of paper, companies may have a hard time determining which documents should receive elevated levels of security. Information Age warned that the current era of data protection legislation has increased the urgency of placing content into an easily accessible format. When companies don’t know exactly what data they are holding or where it’s kept, they may fall out of compliance with laws such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This EU statute affects organizations around the world, as it’s based on where customers are located, rather than businesses’ physical locations.
No Need to Delay
Companies that deal with paper records should assess the benefits they’ll reap from converting those documents. Whether these organizations have large archives of documents, are constantly generating new documents or both, they could see significant upsides in beginning the imaging and indexing process now. Modern conversion techniques incorporating OCR will create accessible, convenient and transparent archives.