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What is Archive Scanning & Why Does Your Business Need It?

Despite the push towards digitization, most businesses still receive paper documents.

Storing and retrieving paper documents can be a major headache.

That’s why more businesses are deploying archive-scanning solutions.

This article explains what an archive scanning solution is and why businesses need them.

Challenges with paper documents

The percentage of documents received as paper varies across industries.  According to a survey conducted by the Association for Intelligent Information Management (AIIM) in 2020, 44 percent of organizations reported that less than 10 percent of their incoming documents were in paper format, while 25 percent reported that 50 percent or more of their incoming documents were in paper format.

No matter the volume, paper documents create several challenges for businesses, including:

  • High administrative costs. The cost of printing, distributing, and storing paper documents can be significant.  In most cases, the bigger the company, the higher the costs.
  • Poor collaboration. Paper documents make it difficult for internal and external stakeholders to collaborate, especially when stakeholders work remotely or in different locations.
  • Risk of compliance issues or data breaches. It’s easy for paper documents to become lost, stolen, or damaged, compromising the security of sensitive information.
  • Environmental impact. Producing and disposing of paper documents takes a heavy toll on the environment.  Paper-related consumables such as printer toner make matters worse.

But physical storage and retrieval is one of the biggest challenges associated with paper documents.

Storing and retrieving paper documents takes a lot of time, money, and space, and creates risk.

What is archive scanning?

Archive scanning solutions offer businesses of all sizes an alternative to physical storage.

Archive scanning is the process of converting paper documents into digital files that can be stored, retrieved, and accessed electronically.  Archive scanning has become increasingly popular in recent years as businesses digitize more of their back-office processes and adapt to remote working.

How to do archive scanning

There are several steps involved in archive scanning.

  1. Collection. Paper documents must be collected from the mail or other sources.
  2. Preparation. To ensure the highest quality images, paperclips, staples, and other items that could interfere with the scanning process must be removed from the documents.
  3. Scanning. Paper documents are converted to an electronic format using a scanner.  Some scanners can digitize high volumes of comingled documents at a high rate of speed.
  4. Processing. The metadata required for indexing and retrieval is captured,
  5. Archival. Digital files are electronically stored in a repository or document management system.  Authorized users can instantly retrieve archived documents at any time.

These steps reduce the time, cost, and risk associated with storing and retrieving documents.

Importance of archive scanning

Archive scanning solutions deliver significant benefits to businesses of all sizes.

  • Increased staff efficiency. Every business wants to do more with less these days.  In a paper-based environment, staff wastes lots of time shuffling, filing, and retrieving documents.  The inefficiencies grow with a business.  Digitizing documents instantly puts information at the fingertips of authorized users, without the need to sift through file cabinets or cardboard boxes.  The time that staff saves with an archive scanning solution is time that they can spend on fulfilling higher-value activities such as analyzing data or collaborating with stakeholders.
  • No physical storage. The cost of physically storing and retrieving paper documents can be significant, especially for businesses in metropolitan areas where the cost of office space is high.  It’s also not uncommon for paper documents to be lost, misfiled, stolen, or damaged.  Digitally storing documents in a central repository eliminates the need for physical storage, freeing up valuable space and making information instantly available to authorized users.
  • Streamlined compliance and security. Safeguarding sensitive information can be difficult.  But digitizing documents with an archive scanning solution helps businesses restrict access by user or role, enforce separation of duties, ensure chain of custody, track actions taken on a document, and instantly see the status of documents.  Electronic documents also can be encrypted, password protected, and stored in a central repository for disaster recovery.

These are some of the reasons that more businesses are deploying archive scanning solutions.

Get started with archive scanning

There are several technologies that are crucial for archive scanning.

  • Production scanners convert paper documents into electronic format at high speeds. Some scanners process multiple types of documents comingled. Others digitally batch documents and capture the metadata required for indexing and retrieving documents during scanning.
  • Robotic Process Automation (RPA) connects archive scanning solutions with document management systems, repositories, and other downstream systems without programming.
  • Cloud technology enables businesses to centrally store electronic documents and make information instantly available to authorized users at any time, from any location.  

These technologies automate the process of capturing and storing documents.

Automate document storage

Storing and retrieving documents can be inefficient, costly, and risky for businesses of any size.  Archive scanning solutions convert contracts and other paper documents into electronic format to streamline processes, enhance customer service and mitigate the risk of compliance and fraud issues.

If you’re ready to learn more about archive scanning, consult one of our experts today.

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