Document Imaging Systems Capture All Kinds of Content
The basic function of a document imaging systems is to capture content. It can even replace data entry under certain conditions.
For example, instead of transcribing all the details from a supplier invoice through data entry, a document imaging system can scan the invoice and use forms processing software with zonal-OCR technology to recognize the values in the different fields of the invoice, such as item specs, rate, quantity, and amount. This would be a far speedier process compared to manual data entry.
The above is an example of capturing structured data to be used by your functional applications.
Most of the content generated by enterprises consist of unstructured content. For example, you would be receiving a great deal of paper-based correspondence, e-mails, brochures, reference manuals, and so on. All of these constitute to content that can provide decision-making support or action-facilitating information.
If paper-based content were kept in the same form, it would be difficult to make this content available across the enterprise. You might have to courier the original paper document (which you might do for litigation) or send a photocopy or fax it (you might go for these alternatives to send document copies to other offices).
Photocopies and faxes also end up as paper documents, suffering from all the disadvantages of paper. These disadvantages include not only transmission problems but also such things as costs of handling and storage, comparatively poor security, and confidentiality.
Document imaging systems transform the content on paper to digital media, which can be indexed and made retrievable extremely fast. As a result, not only do you avoid the filing-clerk salaries to retrieve documents from the file room every time a request is received, but you also enhance the very quality of the retrieval process. Users can sit at their workstations and retrieve the digital documents from the computer repositories.
The file room itself might be downsized and moved to a less expensive location. For example, you could shred all those paper documents that have been imaged and archived (and are not required to be kept for legal purposes). This means less numbers of filing cabinets and file-room space. Because documents can be retrieved from the archive when needed, these remaining paper documents need not be kept at the office premises, and can be moved elsewhere.
The content captured by document-imaging systems can also be accessed from anywhere with an Internet connection. All it needs is an extranet that provides access using Internet protocols but does it under strict security controls. Unlike the public Internet, only authorized persons will be able to access content under a corporate extranet.
The digital content is also safe from such physical dangers as humidity, damage from frequent handling, loss during the frequent transits, copying by unauthorized persons when documents are left unattended, and so on. Copies of digital content can be made on removable media such as CD/DVD and stored in a separate location.
Digital imaging systems thus play a very significant role in document management software, in addition to capturing all kinds of content.
Document imaging systems copy the content on paper document to digital media, making them available for fast retrieval and worldwide access. They also provide greater security and safety from common dangers such as loss during frequent handling and transit. By backing up the digital content, it’s possible to reconstruct the original content in case it’s lost in some disaster.