Office document imaging is an essential component of modern office management. The trend had started with photocopying and faxing. Instead of typing out a copy of a document, photocopiers provided quick copy that copied all the details of the original document. Faxing allowed document transmittal at phone communication speeds to distant locations.
The trend has been radically increased by the new trend of document imaging to copy the contents of paper documents into computer content repositories. Unlike photocopiers, this new kind of document imaging creates a digital copy of the original. Digital copies can transform the whole document-management scenario.
How Modern Document Imaging Transforms Content Management
As we noted, modern document imaging software through scanning of paper documents creates a digital copy of the document.
Digital copies can be indexed to make a particular document retrievable in seconds from among millions of documents in the content repository. The document then becomes accessible not only locally but also globally by Web-enabling the content repository.
In addition to making local documents accessible worldwide, digital imaging can also enable distributed capture of content originating at the numerous offices of an enterprise. Paper documents are imaged at points of origin and sent to the central enterprise content repository.
Distributed capture and access to enterprise content makes for a truly global corporation. Workflows can be completed quickly even if the participants are geographically separated by thousands of miles.
How Office Document Imaging Saves on Costs
To understand the full picture, you should visualize a typical paper-based office.
In this office, paper documents, once they’re worked with in the course of business, go to a filing room. The documents are sorted by filing clerks and arranged for filing. The filing clerks then go to the filing cabinets lining the file room and pull out relevant folders and file the sorted documents in these.
When operation personnel needed a particular document, they sent a request to the filing room. A filing clerk then identified the particular folder and particular filing cabinet that contained the document, went to the filing cabinet, pulled out the folder and located the document. Either the whole folder or the requested document was sent to the requester.
When the requester was done working with the document, it was again sent to the filing room, where the document was returned to the same filing cabinet it was occupying earlier.
As you can imagine, the time spent on these activities would be very significant. An army of filing clerks was needed by large enterprises, and their salaries can be very sizable sums. The filing cabinet and prime space for the file room also cost significant amounts.
If there is some way to eliminate paper, the whole of the above exercise can also be eliminated, saving on costs of filing clerks, filing cabinets, and file-room space. And this is exactly what office document imaging seeks to do.
Most paper documents can be shredded once they have been imaged and archived. Only a few paper documents that are required to be retained in paper form for legal purposes need be stored using folders, filing cabinets, and file rooms. In this case, the file room can be located in a separate, lower cost, location. Costs are saved all around while effectiveness is enhanced.
Office document imaging systems make paper documents available online. Online availability means extremely fast access. It also means distributed access from all locations across the enterprise. Shredding most paper documents and eliminating the need for most of the filing cabinets and filing clerks save significant costs.