Document Imaging Solutions Are Numerous. What Exactly Do They Do?
Document imaging solutions are becoming increasingly popular as a content-capture method. Keeping the content on the original paper documents can lead to inefficiencies and lower quality decisions (because relevant decision-support information is not easily available).
A good document imaging solution would copy the content on the paper document to digital media, making it retrievable in seconds from one’s own workstation. Content on digital media can also be made available on the Web, making it possible for the staff of a global corporation to access it from anywhere with an Internet connection.
Those enterprises that try to persist with paper-based content management are quite likely to lose their ability to compete in the market. Paper-based systems are slow and comparatively expensive, and lead to poor productivity. They are also comparatively insecure and subject to easy damage from the elements.
It’s in this context that document-imaging solutions are becoming the standard practice among enterprises.
What Is a Document Imaging Solution?
A document imaging solution seeks to overcome the poor mobility and other problems associated with paper documents. Document imaging makes a digital copy of the paper document that can be stored in a central server, making them accessible to all authorized persons, wherever they are located in the world.
The above is the core strategy. We will now look at some practical issues involved in adopting this strategy.
Firstly, graphic images of text documents are in a format that does not allow machines like computers to read the text. As a result, it’s not possible to edit or work with the digital text document.
To overcome this problem, character recognition solutions have been developed. Technologies like Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR) can convert the text characters into ASCII or similar formats to make them machine-readable.
Document imaging solutions invariably come with OCR or other character recognition tools.
Another practical issue relates to the quality of the image. Problems like lack of contrast in the paper document (blue ink characters in a bluish background, for example) and distorted characters in the image from folds in the paper can cause the text characters in the image to become illegible.
Document imaging software includes sophisticated features that can recognize and correct these quality problems. For example, it will sense the lack of contrast and automatically make necessary adjustments to produce the effects of increased contrast.
Document Imaging Solutions Can Be Distributed Solutions
In the case of enterprises with geographically spread out offices, document imaging systems can include distributed capture of the enterprise content being generated all across its offices.
Paper documents are imaged at the points of origin and the digital content is sent to a central server. The content now becomes available to all decision makers and information seekers wherever they are located.
Access to the digital content, however, will be restricted to authorized persons through the use of access permissions and password protection. Different persons can be given access to different content.
Their ability to work with the documents can also be controlled through the grant of selective read/write permissions. Some persons might be allowed only to read the documents. Others can also write and make changes to the document.
Document imaging solutions can thus become workflow solutions, by allowing people at different locations to collaborate in business processes.
Document imaging solutions overcome the many serious constraints of paper documents. They can lead to speedier business processes, distributed access to the enterprise content, better security (through restricted access to the content), and other business benefits.