What is Document Imaging? Why is it Important?

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Written By Haisam Abdel Malak

About: Haissam is a digital software product manager with 15 years of expertise in developing enterprise content management solutions. His core capabilities encompass digital transformation, document management, records management, business process automation, and collaboration.

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Document imaging is critical for enterprises that need to digitize paper files and documents, as well as retain and store digitally converted documents. Organizations waste a lot of time dealing with paper documents, which is why they should think about document imaging solutions to save digital documents and make them simpler to retrieve, with the ultimate objective of running their businesses more effectively.

Document imaging is the process of converting paper documents and files into digital images through a scanning process for electronic storage and retrieval. It is considered the most basic method for converting papers to digital with advanced technologies such as OCR and annotations for faster information retrieval and collaboration.

In the past, file imaging was done manually by scanning paper documents one by one. But now it has been made much more efficient with the help of software that automates the process.

There are many reasons to use document imaging, but some of the most common include reducing paper clutter, improving security, and making information easier to find and share.

It only takes one catastrophe to recognize the value of a document. Converting paper files to electronic format using desktop scanners can assist you in maintaining, preserving, and archiving your most critical documents.

Imaging document simply means taking a snapshot of the paper document on the day it was captured, converting it to a digital image, then compressing and storing the image into computerized storage and does not account for any subsequent modifications.

What is the use of document imaging?

Document imaging is used for converting paper documents into digital files. It helps in reducing costs related to paper storage, increase efficiency, enhance security, and improve information access. It also makes it easier for us to share, edit, manage, and collaborate on documents.

Saving electronic images using desktop scanners eliminates the need for a warehouse and allows users to more easily access the stored documents by pulling up the stored record in the archive.

What is Document Imaging Process?

The document imaging process includes document scanning, image compression and decompression, mass storage devices, and indexing or retrieval software. Each of these steps is essential to be able to manage complete flow of converting paper-based documents into digital in the most optimal way with high accuracy.

  1. Desktop Scanners: Devices that convert a paper to a digital format. Before deleting the paper file, it is critical to ensure that the digital copy is of the highest possible quality. it is important to note that at this stage the text in the image is human-readable but not machine-readable.
  2. Image compression/decompression: To make the most of the available digital storage space, images of documents should be compressed to lower sizes without sacrificing quality.
  3. Mass storage devices: The process should address where and how digital records will be preserved for future access and archiving.
  4. Indexing software: This sort of software will index the digital document, allowing users to search for text inside the image. When you convert a paper document to digital, the text inside the image is not recognized by computers by default, which is why sophisticated technologies like OCR are required.
  5. Destruction of paper documents: After being scanned, the majority of the original documents may be destroyed and recycled, helping to conserve the environment. It is also necessary to ensure that the original document is no longer required for any legal, governmental, or industrial responsibilities.

What is Document Imaging Software?

Document imaging software is a computer program that converts paper documents to images, indexes them, and stores them in a central repository. It typically includes capabilities such as OCR to extract text from images, annotation tools for collaboration or commenting, imaging processing, and indexing tools to make it easier to locate documents.

Electronic imaging processing capabilities are an essential component of any good electronic document management system.

If you want to digitize your documents and have complete control over them, it is recommended that you invest in a document management system that includes file imaging capabilities as well as other features that will help you manage your electronic documents throughout their lifecycle.

I strongly advise reading the below two articles that will give you an extensive idea about DMS.

What is Document Management System? The Complete Guide (theecmconsultant.com)

7 Best OCR Software of 2022 (Free and PAID) (theecmconsultant.com)

Is Document Imaging accurate?

The document imaging process can be accurate and rely on a number of factors. The quality of the document is one of the most critical factors. The imaging accuracy will increase as its quality does. The quality of the scanners and the settings utilized with them are a key component also.

Why should document imaging be used?

Document imaging should be used to decrease storage space for paper files and documents, improve access to information, enhance information security, enable disaster recovery, boost employee’s collaboration, and improve compliance with regulations. These can help organizations to significantly save time and money in their day-to-day operations.

Let’s check the benefits of imaging and scanning documents in detail:

1- Reduced storage space

One of the most important benefits of document imaging is the reduction in storage space.

Converting paper documents to digital reduces the demand for physical storage space in your offices to keep these papers, freeing up office space that can be used to produce more income for your business.

Paper documents take up a lot of storage space, while digitized ones are saved on electronic devices or cloud storage, which are less expensive for storage, processing, backup, and disaster recovery.

Did you know that maintaining your documents on paper costs 80% more than keeping them on electronic counterparts?

2- Easier access to documents

When documents are digitized, they become easier to find and processed. Searching for information is expensive and time-consuming for employees, but with proper management and digitization, the time spent seeking critical data may be substantially reduced.

file imaging simplifies access throughout your company. Documents will be easy to find without having to go through piles of paper and can be processed easier for more analysis.

3- Enhanced information security

Electronic imaging enhances document security for your organization. Access and distribution of digital records are easily monitored and tracked. Most of the well-known systems available provide the full capabilities to track each operation made on the document.

Furthermore, document access control may be managed in a reasonably simple manner. Administrators may control who has access to which scanned documents, who can download attachments, who can delete and change documents, and so on.

4- Audit compliance

Depending on their industry, almost all major corporations are required to follow various laws and regulations.

Personal information should be kept for a certain length of time, and financial reports should be reviewed on a regular basis. Documents should not be discarded until they have been thoroughly vetted.

This process will facilitate your company’s compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.

5- Boost collaboration

Did you know that 55% of employees spend more than an hour replicating the work of others?

The majority of your employees spend a significant amount of time collaborating on documents as part of their daily tasks. Digitized papers make the process easier and increase productivity.

Scanned documents are easier to manage, share, and collaborate on which will increase your team productivity and satisfaction.

6- Disaster recovery

Another important benefit is the ability to recover documents in case of disasters.

Paper documents are particularly vulnerable to fires, floods, and other natural disasters. document imaging and scanning can help your business recover faster in the event of a tragedy. Organizations often backup their digital images on tapes and hard disks, which are then stored in a secure location.

Check out the article below for a detailed list of the advantages of document digitization.

What is Document Digitization? Why Is It Important? (theecmconsultant.com)

Problems to Avoid in Document Imaging

As previously demonstrated, file imaging may give several benefits to enterprises when done correctly. However, I will discuss with you, based on my own experience, the problems that you may encounter and how to prevent them.

There are two negative issues related to document scanning that can have an impact on the result of digital images. The first consideration is image quality; ensure that the image quality is appropriate to your company. Second, in order to improve the process, you need to train your employees to me familiar with the scanning process.

Other considerations might include:

  • Reduce or remove text highlighting in paper documents. Text highlighting may have an impact on the outcome of the digital document imaging process.
  • Ensure that your business is using high-quality scanners with various settings to maximize the output digital image. Scanner selection should be based on volume as well as criteria such as the sorts of documents to be scanned.
  • Before executing everything at once, do a quick test on a small batch of papers. You won’t believe how many clients had to retake their scans because they discovered later in the process that the image quality was unacceptable.
  • If you are working with a large number of paper documents, you must verify that your system is capable of batch scanning and direct digital document import.

Do you have a common problem concerning digital document imaging and scanning? Share them with me in the comments below.

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