Imagine being forced to rifle through filing cabinets in search of an old folder with an important piece of document that you need to resolve a customer enquiry.
Well, finding such information held within a filed paper document can be taxing, frustrating, and no doubt slow you down. However, when you scan your old documents and store them in an electronic database, it can make document management much simpler and more efficient for your business.
What is Document Scanning?
Document scanning, also known as document imaging, is simply defined as the process of capturing a digital image of a paper document (or a microfilm).
“It’s how your paper documents are converted into electronic searchable images, which can greatly help your business process,” Neil McKeever, a document imaging specialists with the UK-based document management and scanning service Kefron , told Small Business Trends in an email response.
The whole process of converting physical documents into digital format also includes scanning and capturing the image using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software. OCR  intelligently recognizes the digital pictures and turns them into text documents to allow keywords search within a document.
“When done correctly, document scanning can change the way your business operates for the better, and save you both time and money,” McKeever added.
Business Benefits of Scanning Documents
According to McKeever, whose stated job is to help small and corporate customers implement and maintain their information management system in the most effective and timely ways, there are a number of reasons document scanning (or imaging) can be valuable for your business.
He explains six key benefits of document scanning for businesses:
1. Document Scanning Saves You Time and Money
With easy access to all your files and documents at the click of a button, you or your staff won’t have to waste time searching through boxes and files in an attempt to locate the document you need. You won’t be paying staff for a task that could take hours when it should be completed in a matter of seconds.
2. Document Scanning Improves Your Customer Service
With document imaging, you can digitize every part of a file and index it with a range of metadata. That means that if you require a specific piece of information — such as an invoice number — you can find it instantly. This is especially useful if you want to meet the needs of your customers as quickly as possible.
3. Document Scanning Reduces Storage Space
By converting all your physical documents to digital files, you’ll no longer need to store them where they are close to hand. They can be boxed up and shipped to secure, dedicated sites, freeing up space in your office for more important things and reducing the costs associated with paper file storage.
4. Document Scanning Improves Security
As you won’t need those paper files on-site, you can keep them in dedicated storage facilities that have outstanding security protocols . You won’t need to worry about security at your office either, as all digital files and backups can be stored remotely on highly secure servers.
5. Document Scanning Allows You to Share and Collaborate
Another great benefit of digital files over paper ones is document sharing. Multiple colleagues can access the same document when required, reducing wasted time once again where paper files must be passed from one department to another.
6. Document Scanning Helps You Meet Compliance Regulations
Finally, you might find that compliance procedures in your industry require you to keep some documents digitally, as well as physically. Putting a secure and efficient document imaging solution in place now can save you time and effort down the line.
Scanning  Photo via Shutterstock