Document management today

Document management and therefore scanners are undoubtedly growing in importance in the office.

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While the much vaunted paperless office may never become a reality, the fact is that organisations of all sizes are now storing documents in electronic formats, all the while looking to reduce costs associated with printing and consumables.

Mobile working, with the associated need for company employees in multiple locations to be able to access electronic versions of documents, means scanning and managing documents in the cloud or on an organisation’s computer server is also growing in importance.

Finally, the cost savings associated with being able to use automatic scanning systems to sort documents – paper invoices are a good example – continue to draw companies to invest in the right equipment.

People have talked about the paperless office for years, yet paper sales continue to increase. Organisations do however realise the importance of having electronic copies of all their documents.

The latest scanners offer the ability to scan searchable pdf. For employees, this means they can search by keyword and find a document in seconds rather than spend hours looking through folders or filing cabinets. Documents can be stored cheaply on a Personal Computer or in the cloud and free up physical space.

The buzz word is definitely the “cloud” and the ability to access your documents on tablets and smartphones anywhere. The latest scanners allow you to scan and store the most popular cloud providers with the touch of one button and you can also scan documents to your smartphone or tablet without the need for a Personal Computer.

Many scanners can be shared among users and allow both Android and iOS devices to scan directly to the device as well as conventional Personal Computers and Macs.

Network scanners are extremely versatile and can be used in nearly any office environment and allow you to transform the document sharing and processing workflows of your organisation.

Personalisation is very important for companies. According to Canon’s Office Insights report, over half of European organisations would like to be able to personalise the functions of the office equipment they use, and two-thirds said they value automatic capturing and processing of scanned documents.

Network scanners allow you to cater to the personalisation needs.

Increased connectivity has been one of the main technological advancements when it comes to scanning and document management recently. The proliferation of cloud services and mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets has transformed the way employees work and connect with customers and internal processes.

More than 30% of employees work more remotely compared to a few years ago, but companies struggle to provide technology that enables them to work seamlessly on the move.

Modern scanners come with Wi-Fi functionality, dedicated mobile capture applications and cloud connectivity; not only providing staff with full access to documents on the go, but also enabling them to feed data into document workflows and process them remotely. This allows staff to be in the office, even when they are not, which is a huge business-wide productivity boost.

In fact more than two-thirds of office workers have stated that Wi-Fi-enabled printers or scanners have improved their productivity.

Network scanning and intelligent capture solutions are enabling organisations to manage paperwork onsite and offsite and then distribute the data to cloud services or back office enterprise resource planning systems.

The scanner generates the image but, be it bundled freeware, capture software like Kofax or an integrated document management system, the software processes, classifies, indexes, validates and exports the images, helping to automate and optimise the document management process – very useful to any company with a paper archive.

Scanners and other document management devices are an integral part of the office, but associated software is what really unlocks their true potential and brings a competitive edge to the business.

For example, digitising documents helps businesses to save storage space and share documents more easily. Software makes sense of that data and feeds it in to essential workflows, streamlining the whole process and making it more accurate.

Intelligent capture software use optical character recognition to recognise and validate the content of paper documents, which allows staff to conveniently search for specific numbers, names or keywords, or directly edit these documents in Word or Excel if necessary.

In addition, staff can share these editable documents with popular cloud services or colleagues for further processing at the touch of a single button – an incredible collaboration boost for both staff and teams. It is no wonder that more than two thirds of companies see document conversion as being valuable to their business.

Associated scanning software helps you optimise your document workflows.

Consider what happens with the data once files are digitised? In which departments or branches of your business is the data being used? What are your specific requirements?

Considering these questions will lead to a discussion about the benefits of document and enterprise content management and link to your actual process routines.

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Barry Daly