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Decision math is something business managers use every day. There’s nothing like cold, hard, inarguable math to help decision-makers who are faced with multiple solutions. Decision math lets you analyze and compare the costs associated with each solution, and choose accordingly. Straightforward, right? But it can be trickier than it seems, especially when comparing in-house processes versus outsourcing. When it comes to highly complex processes like document imaging, the equation factors are far-ranging.

First, take a look at your resources:

  • Office space – Do you have sufficient room for the imaging equipment, the personnel, and the workflow? Or will you need to spend money on extra space?
  • Materials – Do you already have scanners, servers, and software license subscriptions, or will you have to procure those?
  • Labor – Do you have trained personnel you can deploy for a major imaging project, or will you need to hire and train additional staff? If it’s the latter, what is the current labor market?
  • Time – Do you have an unlimited time horizon for your imaging project, or is there a need to complete it sooner rather than later?

If there are resources lacking in any area, calculate the costs of eliminating the deficiencies. Add those costs up.

Then consider your utilization. Is this a quarterly archiving project? A project to convert a warehouse of old documents? A high-volume every-work-day process? And what is the likelihood of relatively quick equipment and software obsolescence?

Continuous full-time utilization is, of course, the most cost-efficient. Idle resources cost money. Most imaging projects, however, are infrequent.

And finally, your mission. Unless you’re in the document business, your business mission is something other than piles of paper. Distractions slow down achievement. What does it cost your business to lose focus, even temporarily?

So… is it a good decision to pay for everything above — additional space, increased head count, expensive equipment and software licenses, and loss of focus – for an infrequent project?

That’s a rhetorical question, of course. Every enterprise is different, and each one has its own unique volume of documents for imaging. But for the great majority of businesses, outsourcing your document imaging is always the right answer.

 

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