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Outsource to Imaging Service Companies or Complete In-House?

Document imaging has become an overwhelmingly superior option compared to paper-based management, and few larger organizations would opt for the latter. The question is not actually whether to go for document imaging or not, but whether to do it in-house or get it done by a document-imaging service provider.

The following explains the issues involved in a little more detail.

Why Opt for Document Imaging at All?

Document imaging can transform paper documents into digital ones. Digital content enables:

  • Instant retrieval of the content whenever you need it (unlike paper documents, which have to be retrieved from the recesses of file rooms).
  • Worldwide accessibility over an Internet connection (thus facilitating management of global business operations).
  • Greater security and confidentiality (because access to digital content can be restricted through permissions and passwords).
  • Lower-cost document management (by eliminating filing cabinets and freeing up file room space needed for storing paper documents, most of which can be shredded once the digital image is available).

With speedier and worldwide access to information, it becomes possible to streamline workflows, leading to higher business volumes and lower per unit costs.

Outsource or Complete In-House?

Entrusting the work to document-imaging service companies is the better option if:

  • Volumes of document imaging work is small, as in the case of smaller companies.
  • The work involves specialized kinds of imaging, such as blueprints and x-rays, requiring specialized equipment and expertise.
  • You prefer to avail the expertise of specialists to obtain consistently good quality images from paper documents of varying quality.

The desktop scanners that almost any business can afford are a poor option for business document imaging work, typically involving varied types of documents. As you move up to production-level scanners, the costs and expertise requirements tend to increase substantially.

Document Imaging Services

Document-imaging service companies are specialists with both the latest equipment and software, as well as acquired expertise in handling varied kinds of document-imaging tasks. With these facilities and expertise, they can provide document-imaging services at costs lower than what you would incur for doing it in-house.

The service companies can attend to special requirements like computer-output microfilm for archived documents and content-management services as a hosted service (on their Web servers). The latter option could free your staff from the hassles of document management and allow them to focus on using the content for business expansion.

These document-imaging service companies might offer to do the work at your premises, using their own or your document-imaging facilities. This can be a good option when you’d like to avail their specialist expertise, instead of training up your own staff.


Entrusting your document imaging and related work to specialist document-imaging service companies can be a better option in some cases. Most service companies have the latest tools to do the work, leading to better quality and probably even lower costs. They also have staff experienced in handling varied kinds of document-imaging work.

For specialized kinds of document imaging work, such as computer-output microfilm or scanning engineering drawings and blueprints, the volume might be too small in-house to buy needed expensive equipment. Document-imaging service companies have such specialist facilities.

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