Benefits of Document Scanning
Document scanning is now an accepted key business requirement for any forward looking organisation and has become so for a variety of different reasons. However, while organisations are very aware of the benefits they are specifically looking for, they are often less clear of the full range of benefits that document scanning can offer.
Normally an organisation’s focus is on one or two areas which are the triggers for a document scanning programme, perhaps focused on accessibility requirements, disaster planning issues or the need for legal compliance in particular areas. However, there are other benefits which accrue at the same time and can make the cost justification even more attractive.
In our view, some of the areas where document scanning can have a very positive impact are outlined below.
Access to the Information
With documents scanned and indexed correctly, you have immediate access to the information - a real plus when customers are now used to find the information they require at the touch of a button. The additional benefit is that a number of employees can be working with the same documents at any given time, which can save time and help to increase productivity.
As individuals or as companies, we now expect a certain standard of customer service from the organisations that we deal with. Having the files available as and when required allows companies to offer this level of customer service - no more searching for the right documents and calling the customer back! The improved response time means your customers will be happier and you customer service personnel will be able to deal with a greater number of customers.
Additional / Extra Space
There is of course the actual physical space which files and filing cabinets take up in the office or elsewhere. Reducing the amount of office space and storage space used for your paper files means that you can use the space that you have more effectively.
Document scanning offers cost savings through both tangible and intangible benefits: the tangible savings come from reducing ongoing storage costs and savings on paper, folders, file boxes etc.; the intangible savings come from elements such as lost time looking for files, improved productivity and improved customer service levels.
Security & Control
Security and confidentiality of information is a high priority for companies, whatever industry they work in. With the information held in digital format, multiple levels of password protection and encryption can be put in place to ensure only the people who should have access to particular documents can view them. At the same time, audit trails can be made available giving details of who has accessed or updated documents.
There are a number of legal requirements which also come into play, particularly in terms of the Data Protection Act where secure storage and speed of information delivery is key. Depending on the type of information, other drivers will include HM Customs and the Inland Revenue as well as FSA and industry regulations.
The unexpected can always happen but making sure that your documents are backed up and held digitally can minimise the potential risk that your organisation faces. Secure online backup in the case of fire, flood etc. with multiple copies including offsite storage makes certain that all eventualities are covered so that, should the worse happen, you can be back up and running within minutes with minimal disruption to your business.
With an increasing trend for employees to work remotely, scanned documents mean that they will still be able to access the files and the information that they require from wherever they are based. This can help facilitate better information sharing between offices as well as increase the productivity of working from home. It also increases general speed of information delivery across an organisation.
And let’s not forget the benefit of reducing the ever increasing use of paper in offices - having a digital record is not only beneficial for all of the benefits outlined above but is also environmental into the bargain.