Transitioning towards paperless or paper-lite operations can present a variety of challenges for organizations, including potential out-of-pocket costs, scope creep, and aligning the organization around digitization initiatives.
To make your efforts count, you’ll need to be firm on certain considerations like selecting the best technology, putting in place strict policies and procedures around compliance and information governance, and being able to identify scalable solutions that fit your organization’s budget.
In this blog post, we take a deep dive into three critical success factors, so you can ensure your digitization results are consistent with expectations of compliance regulations and organizational goals – from start to finish!
1. Create a Digitization Plan
Having a plan in place before launching your scanning and digitization initiative is vital for success. Outlining your plan for which documents should be archived, digitized, or switched to digital-first formats will help control costs, scope creep, and ensure that all stakeholders are aligned on the same goals.
“Too often [with Access clients],” Greg Grospitch noted during a recent webinar, “We see a handful of different departments from organizations that are all on the digitization bandwagon but nobody can agree on who gets to make the decision about what’s going to get done.”
Keep in mind that digitization isn’t just about scanning every single physical record you can— a hybrid approach is by far the most effective. Archiving inactive documents, digitizing active records, and switching to digital-first formats will create a more efficient workflow. By embracing digital processes and tools, businesses can reduce costs while gaining valuable insights into their workflow and operations.
That said, don’t spend too much time in the planning phase. As General Patton said, “’A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed at some indefinite time in the future.”
Once you have your plan, you can search for a partner with the capabilities to support your organization.
2. Find the Right Partner
Finding a trustworthy partner in records management is essential for managing the digitization process in a legally compliant way.
It’s important to look at a potential records management partner’s scanning and digitization capabilities. For instance, your partner should be able to securely scan and digitize physical records into digital formats, including PDFs, TIFFs, JPEGs, etc., at a high enough resolution so that no information is lost while also applying the appropriate metadata as they’re entered into a secure repository.
As you’re exploring different vendor options, it’s important not to judge them solely on price. “There are so many variables in a scanning or conversion project that it’s really difficult to do apples to apples,” Grospitch said, “I would encourage you to find someone who is bought into the reason you’re doing it and can help guide you along the way.”
Another quality to look for in a partner is having a holistic experience across the information lifecycle. While your current focus may be on digitization efforts, those priorities might shift over time.
For additional guidance on finding a records management partner, read our eBook, From Vendor to Partner: 36 questions you must ask your information management provider.
From Vendor to Partner: How the Right Records and Information Management Provider Can Transform Your Program
How can you determine if a prospective vendor is your organization’s perfect match? Start by asking the right questions. In this eBook, we’ve compiled 38 questions within seven critical areas to help you thoroughly vet potential partners.
3. Ensure Security and Compliance
For decades, the standard has been to just retain information indefinitely. But between the growing amount of data organizations manage and increasing regulations in regard to privacy and record retention, this is no longer an option.
To ensure security compliance, conduct an audit and gap analysis by identifying what information is stored where and under what conditions. If there are inactive files sitting in a file room that are seldom accessed but must be retained, move them offsite to free up that valuable real estate and ensure they don’t fall into the wrong hands.
If you have physical files that need to be accessed often, they’re a prime candidate for digitizing. Once you’ve scanned those documents, the physical version of it can likely be disposed of. “9 of 10 organizations that we work with opt to destroy the physical copies,” Grospitch said, “While this isn’t always an option, because of regulations and such, when you can, you should as it helps with version control.”
For those files that are somewhere in the middle, Access Unify™ | Active File Services can allow your team to request a file to be scanned and shared in a secure repository.
Finally, files that aren’t in use and don’t need to be retained can likely be safely disposed of according to your internal policies.
If you’re serious about implementing streamlined processes for records management, then start making changes today— from creating a plan to partnering with the right organization—and take advantage of everything digital-first ways of working can offer.
For more information on building or evolving your digitization program, be sure to watch our recent presentation sponsored by ARMA, Unlocking the Value of Document Scanning: Strategies for Successful Digitization.