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.
Examples of digital file types created by scanning include the ubiquitous Adobe PDF, which essentially creates a snapshot of every page in a document, .tiff, .jpg, and .psd formats used for graphic images, as well as countless other formats for proprietary applications.
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.
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.
And of course, digital documents mean information can never get lost or monopolized by a single user – there is always access to original records for everyone on the team to view, refer to, and work with as needed.
Article: What is a document management system?
Most MFPs 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 MFPs 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.
There was a time (not too long ago) when manufacturers (like Ricoh) offered stand-alone document scanners. Some still do – dedicated high-speed devices intended for scan-intensive environments in finance, healthcare, and insurance. But for most typical corporate environments that also require printing, copying, and faxing capabilities, scanning from an MFP accomplishes the same task without the need for additional hardware.
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. For example:
These document imaging and management services, and others that will follow and deliver through our Intelligent Business Platform (IBP)SM, are available to help businesses transform paper into actionable insights for better decision making and enhanced compliance.