records awaiting scanning
records awaiting scanning

The capture and imaging of paper records, is an increasingly popular strategy for educational and administrative organizations as well as those offices looking to manage their records electronically.

With accurate and systematic implementation, digitization of records can dramatically improve workflow through access and retrieval of organizational records; while at the same time reduce the need for physical records storage space.

However, digitized records introduce new responsibilities, costs, and challenges not present with the management of paper records.
But then what is Document Imaging?
Document imaging or Digitization is the conversion of paper-based documents to digital images, making them readily accessible, thereby enhancing the business processes and workflows for an organization departments and units

Organization records/ documents that are scanned  are required to be authentic, complete and accessible and relied on as evidence.

1. Authentic:This refers to a situation where the document is required for routine, authorized copying and registration processes
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2. Completeness: This refers to an accurate, legible reproduction of the original, without substantive changes or deletions of content.
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3. Accessibility: This refers to availability and readability by all those with the rights to access it, for as long as the document is required.
4. Reliability: This is related to authenticity. It refers to the acceptability of the document in its content and format of presentation. The former must be proven to be a true representation of the original document.

Careful analysis and planning is essential for the successful development and implementation of an imaging project and ongoing management of information in the system.
Migration is inevitable for any order to be realized in this age
Migration is inevitable for any order to be realized in this age
THINGS WORTH NOTING AS AN ORGANIZATION MIGRATES ITS RECORDS
  1. Scanning is not a substitute for development of good records management practices. The problems caused by poor record and filing systems will not be improved in a digital format and will get worse without a plan.
  2. Scanning should be implemented as part of a larger information management strategy which should be addressed by the organization or departments /unit.
Questions that you need to ask before beginning document imaging and scanning:
  • Is there a need for imaging?
  • Do benefits outweigh the cost?
  • Is imaging a “nice to have” or a “must” system?
  • Will imaging system make the department more efficient and effective to all staff?
  • Does current staff have the time and resources to implement the imaging system?

NEEDS ANALYSIS AND COST ESTIMATION

Before embarking on a digitization program, units/departments need to assess whether digitization is an appropriate solution for their records management needs. In general, digitization is best implemented in cases where quick, simultaneous, and/or distributed access to records is necessary for fulfillment of a department’s responsibilities, or when such access would significantly increase the efficiency of a department’s operations.

PLEASE NOTE THAT:
Digitization is NOT an appropriate solution for reducing storage costs for paper records, as the cost of hardware, software, server space, training, and maintenance of systems can greatly exceed the cost for storing those same records in paper form.
Which Records Are Best to Digitize
Records that have a high reference value and short retention are best to image.
Some of the factors that must be evaluated during the initial needs assessment include:
• Program Purpose:
– Why is the digitization being undertaken?
– Will digitized records be maintained in lieu of or in addition to paper records?
• Business Process Evaluation:
–  How will the digitization program improve the unit/departments business processes or workflow?
• Information Security:
–  Who will have departmental access to images?
–  How will images be secured from unauthorized access?
–  There should be a documented process in place for access to sensitive information.
• Amount and Accumulation:
–  How many records are to be digitized?
–  What is the estimated rate of addition per year to these records?
• File Format:
–  What type of document (textual, photograph, map, etc.) is to be captured and imaged?
–  In what file format will the record be maintained in? (jpg. pdf, tiff/ etc.)
• Records Retention:
–  How long must digitized records be retained?
–  Has the appropriate record series been identified from the organization’s / department’s Records Schedules?
–  No public records should be digitized without a current records schedule in place.
DETERMINING THE COST OF YOUR PROJECT

1. Determine Your Overall Project Requirements
A great place to start is understanding the scope of the project and what will be required. You will need to estimate the following:

Walking the way of Digitization Cost determination
Walking the way of Digitization Cost determination
  • Project duration
  • Number of images to be scanned
  • Number of staff required
  • How many records to be scanned per month
  • Number of records to be scanned
  • Number of images to be scanned per month, Clarity about these numbers will enable you to create a cost framework for the project from start to finish.

2. Scanner Investment

Obviously there are actual scanner costs, both in terms of the equipment purchase and the associated labor required, and these are a significant part of any overall cost assessment.

2.1 Equipment

When considering the cost of equipment, think in terms of:

  • Total hardware costs ((i.e. how many and what type of scanners, bar code scanners, computers, carts, etc. will be required)
  • The cost to maintain the equipment
  • Consumable costs (i.e. bar code sheets, ink, toner, etc.)

2.2 Labor Costs
Aside from equipment costs, there are associated labor costs including:

  • The actual manual scanning process
  • File reassembly and re-filing
  • Preparing the documents for imaging (i.e. pulling out staples, repairing damaged pages, affixing odd size pages to carrier sheets, etc.)
  • Data entry costs
  • Applying multiple quality control steps

3. Management Costs

Don’t forget that any imaging project will require management, and this adds additional personnel cost considerations, including:

  • Project Manager for conversion
  • Various IT resources including database administration, development support, and project management
  • A conversion supervisor

4. Facilities and Utilities Costs

When it comes to calculating imaging project costs, it is easy to overlook the hard facilities and utilities costs. Be sure to include these numbers in your assessment:

  • Price per square foot of dedicated project space
  • Cabling and networking
  • Electrical and utilities usage
  • Etc.

5. Miscellaneous Costs
As expected with all big projects, there are a wide range of miscellaneous costs to consider as well. Some of these include:

  • Additional hardware and consumables required
  • Inventory clerk and labor to print separator sheets (PC’s, servers, network equipment, displays, furniture, etc.)
  • Office consumables (tape, folders, copier  costs, etc.)
  • Labor costs on overtime and/or beyond the established project timeline
  • Attrition costs from staff turnover
  • Unemployment insurance costs
  • HR costs associated with recruiting, managing, firing, promoting
  • Cost of living increases for longer projects
  • Senior Management/Executive time on project

WHEN THINGS GO BEYOND YOUR IN-HOUSE CAPACITY
Obviously, there are significant resources and costs associated with an imaging project beyond just buying a scanner and employing someone to run it. At Kenvision Techniks Ltd, we can help with your imaging project, on-site at your facility. If partnering with a provider makes sense for your organization, then you may consider contacting us on info@kenvisiontechniks.com

One effective way in which you can sort out the Digitization Project issues is by capacity building your staff. We have a training program that we provide to those willing to be champions in their organizations to optimize their capacity to initiate and participate in a digitization program.

ELECTRONIC DOCUMENT & RECORDS MANAGEMENT

DOCUMENT CONTROL CERTIFICATION PROGRAM

Book this program for your staff to get more details and share experiences with other attendees

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