In today’s remote and hybrid work environment, paper records can be an obstacle to an organization’s success. Manual, paper-based processes tend to be error-prone, inefficient, and labor-intensive. Therefore, digital transformation of processes has become a requirement to survive in today’s technology-driven environment.

Seeing the need for digitization through the lens of records management is one thing, however, getting support and buy-in for a digitization transformation from executives and others within the organization is another.

Clarify the Business Need for Document Digitization

Before beginning a scanning and digitization project, it’s important to identify the goal of the project. What is the business need you are trying to solve through digitization? For some organizations, it may be related to improving a business process, while others may be looking to digitization for archival or compliance purposes.

The business you identify will help you determine if the project was successful or not based on a simple question, “did we achieve our goal?” Being able to check this box will help you prove your return on investment for digitization to executives and key decision-makers in the end.

Gain Buy-In from Executives/Key Decision Makers

Getting approval to move forward with your digitization project is often easier said than done. Executives sometimes focus too much on the cost of a project and scrutinize every cent. It’s up to you to help them understand the benefits of digitization— not just for records management but for the entire organization.

A digitization project can benefit the whole organization in terms of:

  • Cost savings – Digitization reduces the labor costs of locating physical documents and storage costs.
  • Improved Productivity – Employees can locate important documents faster and from any location.
  • Compliance – Digital processes ensure a proper chain of custody.

During a recent webinar, Susan Gleason, Sr. Information Governance Manager at Withers Worldwide, recommended you “find your champions within your organization.” These are the people who, regardless of title, want to see the project move forward and understand its importance. Enlisting the help of your champions will go a long way toward the success of your digitization efforts.

Evaluate Options: Outsource or In-House?

Should you tackle your organization’s digitization efforts in-house or outsource them? Or maybe a bit of both? To answer this question, here are a few things you can consider:

  • Labor Availability and Cost- Do your employees have the extra time necessary to take on a digitization project in-house, and if so, how much would be spent on labor costs?
  • Employee Training- How much training will your organization need to invest in to implement a digital-first process?
  • Storage and Real Estate Needs- Is there office space available to dedicate to scanning? If the paper copies are required to be kept after digitizing, where will they be stored?
  • Risk to the Organization- If the documents you’re digitizing contain sensitive information, how do you ensure that information remains protected throughout the process?

Lastly, is the document digitization process you plan to set in place scalable for the future?

A study by AIIM revealed that organizations expect the amount of information entering their organization to continue to grow, with over 60% of that data being unstructured. As a result, 79% of organizations realize they must transition to a document digitization to thrive.

The “All or Nothing” Approach to Scanning Isn’t Practical

A large digitization project can easily become out of budget and take a long time to complete, even with executives and key decision-makers on board. This hurdle may seem impossible to get over, and often completely derails the project. However, the “all or nothing” approach isn’t practical. Chances are, you’ll run into the same hurdle again in the future and those files still won’t be digitized.

During an analysis of Access’ historical operations and projects, we discovered that approximately 80% of the images we digitize for clients are never retrieved after they’ve been scanned.

Why put so much emphasis on the need to scan everything when most documents are never looked at again? As an alternative to the “all or nothing” approach, Access Unify ™ | Active File Service allows you to scan only what you need when you need it.


By determining a clear business need, evaluating the hard and soft costs, and staying away from the “all or nothing” mindset, you’ll be able to gain approval from key decision-makers for your scanning or digitization project.

For more ideas on how to implement document digitization within your organization and gain buy-in for your RIM/IG initiatives, watch From the Box and Beyond: Managing your information is not one size fits all.

Learn More Tips on Gaining Buy-In for Your RIM Initiatives!