Everything is suddenly pumpkin-flavored. Halloween decorations are prematurely appearing in stores. Your whole office is sneezing, a large bottle of hand sanitizer has taken up residence on your desk, and you can’t remember whether or not you actually like butternut squash. Yep, it’s fall.
Fall is a time for preparations. Prepare for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and then Christmas. We prepare by getting a flu shot, and we prepare by harvesting crops. These are important. Being unprepared has consequences and, a document scanning project has the same story. By going into a project like this blindly, you run the risk of lots of wasted money and effort, but with a little bit of planning, the road will be a lot smoother. Here’s some things to check off your to-do list before getting started.
1. Choose a vendor
This is one of the most important parts, and a lot of future planning goes into this. At this point, you may not even be sure what all you need. Consider your long-term goals as well as your current requirements and what role your organization will play in this project. Will you only need scanning? Where are the documents being stored? Do you plan on implementing a document management system, or even Enterprise Content Management in the future? If you know you’re preparing for content management, it may be good to find one provider that does both.
2. Review your retention requirements
These can determine what order you need to scan your files in, as well as if some of these documents even need to be digitized at all. If certain documents are set to expire before or shortly after they’re scanned, you might as well just keep them as is.
3. Figure out what to do with paper documents after scanning
Do you shred them? Do you keep them? Feed them to gorillas? Fashion them into thousands of paper cranes and fill your boss’s office with them? Documents are typically kept for at least some period of time after scanning in case something needs to be rescanned for some reason. Your organization may have compliance policies about this that you need to be aware of, but regardless, they’re going to have to go somewhere.
4. Plan an indexing scheme
One of the main objectives of digitizing your paper files is to improve organization and reduce retrieval times. In order for that to work, you need a solid, consistent filing system to make documents easy to find across your department or organization. This needs to be set up before the scanning takes place, so documents can be indexed as they are entered into your electronic system.
The idea of taking steps towards electronic, streamlined processes is exciting, but the value of it may be diluted with improper planning and subpar preparation. Talk to your vendor about any additional steps you may need to take to make your scanning project a success. To learn more about why using less paper in your processes is a good idea, check out our case study below for Southcoast Health System.