Why to Digitize Your Paper Documents & How to Do It

11 May 2022

What does it mean to digitize your paper documents?

Digitize means to convert hardcopy originals into an electronic file format that can be saved, edited, and shared. Often, digitizing documents includes storage in an electronic document management system (DMS) which only permits access to documents by authorized users.

Converting hardcopy to digital requires some type of scanning device is required. Today, many scanners are one feature of a multifunction device, although you can still find single-function scanners.

Often, metadata, or tags that help to identify and organize the content by keyword, can be attached to files for faster retrieval. In specific industries like legal, documents are saved with standardized data indicating the time and date the page was scanned into the DMS, called Bates stamping.

Why digitize your paper documents?

With the sudden shift toward remote working and hybrid workplaces, digital documents are essential to ensure information access and sharing.

There are practical benefits too. Digitizing hardcopy originals can have a significant impact, especially for larger, enterprise organizations.

Enhances user productivity. Once scanned and entered into the DMS, digital documents can be searched and found quickly for immediate retrieval. No more manually thumbing through piles of paper looking for the needle in the haystack.

Simplify filing. Companies can devise indexing and naming schema to match their unique workflows to make scanned documents easily identifiable.

Consistency for compliance. Rules can be implemented to determine information governance policies like user access permissions, archival and destruction periods, and versioning after documents are edited or updated.

How to digitize paper documents

The simple answer is to use a scanner. The speed, size, and capacity of which should be a function of the size of your organization and the volume of paper documents. Here are some popular scanning solutions:

Desktop Scanners

Best suited to low volumes, high resolution desktop scanners are available in a number of sizes but are generally too slow for large volume scanning. Extensive use could get tedious.
Scanners designed specifically to capture both sides of insurance cards and driver licenses are popular in medical offices and government agencies.

Mobile Device Apps

Don’t own a scanner or have only occasional need for one? Transform your smartphone or tablet into a mobile scanner by downloading one of many commercially available scanning apps like Adobe Scan or PhotoScan by Google.

Mobile phones are a good way to capture sensitive documents like photographs and originals that cannot be put into a scanner.

Multifunction Printer

Most Multifunction Printer today are equipped with high-speed, high-resolution, high-page-capacity document scanners. Many offer the ability to capture both sides of two-sided originals in a single pass for greater efficiency in scan-intensive environments.

And most Multifunction Printer in a corporate setting are networked, making them perfect entry points for scanning hardcopy documents into a DMS. Some can even be used “touchless” via mobile app.

Document Imaging Services

Larger organizations with high volumes of paper documents and hundreds of users need to standardize workflows so that all documents are entered into the system consistently and without error.

To accomplish that, many businesses today are engaging third party scanning service providers to digitize their documents – as well as process, route, store, and shred the original hardcopies – using rules-based workflows that ensure the speed, security, and compliance of documents as they circulate through an organization.

We offer scanning services like this. For clients looking for a scanning partner, we can digitize sensitive, confidential documents or everyday documents to reduce the burden on staff, allowing them to focus on more customer-centric activities.

Can a partner help you digitize your paper documents?

Is using a third party scanning service provider right for you? It’s easy to find out.

If your business is paper-intensive, scanning can take a lot of time. Multiple people inputting documents into a DMS using their own “best practices” instead of standardized rules-based processes can result in errors, lost documents, and compliance issues.

This is where a third party service may be of assistance to consolidate and automate business processes like mail delivery, claims processing, accounts receivable/accounts payable workflows, and more.

Source : RICOH USA.