5 Reasons To Outsource Your Scanning

It’s tempting. Just buy a scanner, hire extra staff and start rolling right? For small scanning jobs, that might be totally fine. However, for most digitisation tasks, it’s more than simply scanning some documents – it’s capturing important data that may be of legally significant or have historical value. Attempting an in-house solution can be not only frustrating and costly, but also very risky.

Digitising experts Micro Image report that around 27% of their new digitisation projects come from clients who have attempted an in-house digitisation project. The clients’ top reasons for aborting the in-house attempt and looking for an outsourced solution are:

– ‘Didn’t understand how big the job was’ (it’s very difficult to estimate the time it will take)

– ‘Lack of appropriate resources’ (hiring temporary staff that don’t stay for the whole project)

– ‘Inefficient equipment’ (using a scanning device that needs to be used by other staff)

– ‘No quality control’ (disorganised processes, missed and poorly scanned pages)

– ‘Spiralling costs’ (time investment and staff costs over a long period)

Here, the team at Micro Image give you five more good reasons to outsource your scanning. From missed pages to unusable data, we show you why calling in the professionals from the beginning might pay off in the end.

1. Unproven Processes

The digitisation of your organisation’s records isn’t simply a matter of scanning all your documents and adding them to your current computer filing system. You will need to scope the project properly before you commence. You need to consider the processes for naming, organising and storing the data once it has been converted to digital files. Will the filename be automatically captured during the scanning process, or manually entered post-capture? Do you have a system to cross-check the file names against a database to ensure all files have been successfully scanned and uploaded? What additional metadata might be helpful to search records efficiently? Do you need low-res derivatives? Would a check-sum help to ensure files aren’t compromised on transfer? Sound complicated? Not for a digitisation specialist.

Knowing the intimacies of record management systems across a range of industries, digitisation specialists offer custom processes. If you’re attempting a mass digitisation project and you or your staff members have no prior experience of document conversion, you might end up with a digital archive that can’t be accessed easily, or has files that are incorrectly indexed, has poor quality scans or is just a mass of data that isn’t optimised to ensure the best value to your organisation.

Outsourcing to an expert who is experienced in digital records management at the planning stage of the project will help to accurately determine what processes should be applied for your specific needs. They will design the process end-to-end and estimate the time and cost involved.

2. Time-consuming Turnarounds

If you have a large volume of records or files to convert, the task ahead may be bigger than you first considered. Before a digitisation project even begins, there is a range of tasks to consider and understand. Converting a file from analogue to digital is just one step in the process.

Some of the steps to consider are:

  • Managing your project budget
  • Defining the purpose of the digitisation – end-use options and legacy factors
  • Choosing what to prioritise
  • Moving large amounts of documents within OH&S regulations
  • Preparation of the original materials (removing binders, staples and other prep can take twice as long as the actual scanning)
  • Procurement, hire and maintenance of specialist equipment
  • Allocation of project managers and personnel
  • Training and quality assurance across the project
  • Creating and applying metadata
  • Reinstatement, storage or destruction of original files
  • Transfer and storage of digital assets

This isn’t an exhaustive list of what is involved in large scale digitisation projects, so unless you have a plan in place that factors in these steps, outsourcing might be an ideal solution. Remember that professional and accredited digitisation providers have access to the best technology and an experienced team that is trained to digitise at very high speeds and at the highest quality. Leading digitisation companies also use automated software for data capture and processing, significantly reducing the need for manual indexing and other costly data entry.

3. Costly Care Factor

For the inexperienced, there can be a higher risk of data loss simply through human error. Successful digitisation projects depend on careful preparation, special handling, meticulous processes and dedicated quality control. If you’ve allocated staff members to this task that usually work elsewhere in your organisation, they may not understand the consequences of improperly processed documents. They also may not have a high level of accountability when it comes to the significance of the documents at hand. Because their care factor will be lower than that of an outsourced provider who prides themselves on best practice, document loss may be inevitable.

Staff errors are costly indeed. A recent report by Verizon found that “small” instances of data loss (around 100 lost or compromised records) cost businesses an average of $18,120 to $35,730 per incident. Lost or misplaced documents also have a knock-on effect. According to data from PwC and the Radicati Group, some employees spend up to two hours a day looking for misplaced information on lost documents.

4. Insecure Transfer

Even the most straightforward digitisation of information could do you more harm than good if it isn’t kept secure during the process. Company data, especially files that contain personal information are highly valuable. There is the security and confidentiality of the physical files to manage in your workspace, and then the security of the big data you are creating post-digitisation. Large scale digitisation projects can be particularly vulnerable to data leakage for the following reasons:

  • Physical files are not secured when not attended or are scanned in a shared space
  • Files are not properly secured or labelled during transportation
  • Software systems absorbing the data are not properly protected
  • Reliable cloud or drive back-ups are not in place
  • Highly sensitive legal or financial information is not electronically encrypted
  • Final digitised files are not securely destroyed
  • Physical files are not returned to their original storage area

Given you have a legal responsibility to keep your company information safe, ensuring digital security and reliable data transfer and back-up is critical. Large digitisation projects may mean you need additional secure digital storage capacity, either a hosted or onsite server, or cloud storage. Organising and transferring the data into this location will also require a pre-determined process and potentially a custom data transfer solution that is secure. Experienced digitisation providers know how to create digitisation and integration solutions that are secure, seamless and minimise the risk of data loss and breaches.

5. Expensive real estate

Taking on a big digitisation project requires an investment of funds and the room to do it. Today, every square metre of office real estate is expensive so it may not be practical to set up a major transformation within your existing premises. Give the amount of room needed for the preparation of thousands of documents and surface areas required for commercial scanning equipment, consider if you have this space available.

Externally rented premises may also not be completely secure, so consider who has access to the space you are using for the project. Remember, you won’t just need space for the documents, but also the staff handling the project. Consider also the disruption to your current operations. Comparatively, certified digitisation businesses have invested in secure premises and large processing facilities to accommodate millions of documents.

If you think in-house digitisation will be cheaper in the long run, think again. The space and equipment needed and related staff costs for in-house projects usually mean an outsourced project will be far more cost-effective, with less risk and less stress.

Trust Micro Image

Whether you want a chat about planning your digitisation project, a completely outsourced digitisation solution or need assistance with an aspect of your current project, Micro Image can help. To find out more, contact us or call us on 1300 530 577.

Let us create a custom solution to suit your exact needs.

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