What Our Readers Told Us About Document Scanning
Last week, we wrote a post titled Why You Shouldn't Scan Documents. Amazingly, that post garnered more views, more social media comments, and more requests for information than any of our positive posts about Document Scanning. Why did this post resonate so widely? Here's what our readers told us:
Scanning Documents Didn't Make Us More Efficient
- One company told us that they had invested in scanning and IT equipment in order to improve efficiency in their Accounts Payable department. So, now instead of paper invoices that they can't keep track of, they have electronic invoices that they can't find in a disorganized electronic filing system.
- Another company told us that they had hired a firm to scan, then destroy, all of their paper archives, only to find out after the fact that many of the scans were illegible, so they were now worse off than they had been with paper files.
- A government agency told us that scanning incoming tax forms had made more work for them, not less.
Why Did These and So Many Other Scanning Projects Fail?
I think Jan Williams summed it up in one of the comments to that post. "Scanning is just like everything else in life. Do it right the first time or don't do it at all. What you get out of it depends on what you put into it. Checking the quality and having the documents organized and searchable is part of the scanning task. You cannot find unorganized paper documents either. Plan, Do, Check , Act. It really does work!"
Why Does the Paper Alternative Scanning Method Work?
Before we even consider taking a document scanning project, we ask the potential client these two questions:
- How do you work with the paper documents currently?
- How do you think scanning will change that?
Perhaps not surprisingly, organizations for whom document management is not their primary focus have come to view "paperless offices" as the efficiency "magic bullet."
So...kudos to those of us in the industry who have sold our potential clients on the idea of digital documents. But shame on us for not conveying the fact that it takes more than document scanning to convert paper processes into paperless efficiency.
We've found that it takes talking, planning and questioning to ensure that the paperless solution we recommend fits the organization and solves their unique problem. Taking the time at the outset avoids costly mistakes and unhappy customers down the road. The client gets a complete workflow solution, not just a lot of digital documents.
If you're an organization still suffering with inefficiencies after a failed scanning project, or, if you're a company toying with the idea of going paperless, make sure you get the full story about what it takes, BEFORE you embark ongoing paperless!