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“Step into the future!” You may be hearing that phrase frequently if the organization you lead is using paper-based processes. Digitizing your paper documents is a smart move, taking information off the paper and making it accessible, secure and very, very compact. But before you take that step, you’ll probably want to know exactly what goes into the document conversion procedure.

Step 1: Assessment

Before any documents are scanned, a digitization team meets with management to learn about the types of paper documents your organization uses, and the types of information those documents contain, such as:

  • Customer information
  • Contracts and licenses
  • Action status
  • Payment records
  • Corporate records
  • Building and facilities information
  • PII and any other sensitive information

The assessment establishes document conversion priorities – the order in which documents are digitized – and the timeline for the conversion. It also sets up a chain-of-custody protocol, ensuring the confidentiality and security of documents as they go through the conversion process.

Additionally, the assessment gathers information on the metadata and indexing schemes that will be applied during the scanning process.  This is particularly important because it will allow for efficient retrieval of content.

Step 2: Scanning and Metadata Tagging

With the project completely organized, the digitization team begins the scanning process, carefully removing documents from files and scanning them in a high-capacity scanner. OCR scanning software builds searchability into the documents as they are scanned.

Expertly-customized metadata  schemes enhance searchability by adding more identifying information to each document, such as:

  • Date of creation
  • Type of document
  • Document owner (individual, department, etc.) and creator
  • Document lifespan (date when document can be destroyed)

At the end of the scanning process, each batch of digitized documents is run through Optical Character Recognition, allowing for full text search of key letters, words, or phrases.

Step 3: Export to Content Management Platform

The digitized documents now move to an enterprise content management platform which manages access and activity permissions, file organization, security, and records retention policies. With your paper documents now transformed to digital files, your records managers can remove the bulky paper files and space-consuming filing cabinets from your offices, freeing up space for more profitable activities.

The benefits of digital documents:

  • Space-saving, maximizing the workspace and reducing real estate costs
  • Searchable, saving time and improving productivity
  • Secure, controlling access to sensitive information
  • Accessible from multiple locations, keeping in-house and remote workers productive
  • Sustainable, reducing paper consumption and waste

With a clear understanding of the conversion process, you can make a well-informed decision. Your organization will start benefiting from digitization as soon as you take the first step.


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