Document scanning helps businesses run more efficiently by conserving space, consolidating data and improving the way employees search for and retrieve information. The result is increased productivity, cost control and secured data.

If your company has thousands of documents to be converted, however, mismanaging document scanning can result in wasted resources and exposed data. Avoid potential pitfalls by considering the following four mistakes—and taking the proper steps to prevent them.

  1. Not Thinking Through Your Labeling System

If your employees can’t find documents quickly and effortlessly, it means they’re spending excess time that is taking away from more important tasks. A digital document management system is only useful if it helps stakeholders, decision makers, and employees find essential information without delays.

A chaotic system can have damaging effects on your business, including on customer relations. Financial institutions experienced this first-hand during the 2008 housing crisis and bank employees said poorly organized data made them ill-equipped to assist their customers.

Failure to locate critical information can result in more than lost productivity and customers. If your company becomes involved in a lawsuit, for example, and is unable to retrieve documents when ordered, it can be subject to added expense and litigation.  

Putting careful thought into planning how you will label and archive your documents can save valuable time in the long-term and prevent complications from arising. Labeling is unique to each company, dependent on its specific criteria and needs. Although scanning software allows you to enter numerous fields, the most essential label to consider is the unique identifier, which can be a social security number, account number, employee number or any identifier that makes it easy for employees and stakeholders to find essential documents.

  1. Keeping Your Records On-Site

Storing documents in the same building where you do business may seem logical, but unless your company is equipped to manage the myriad of security protocols, you’re setting yourself up for problems. If your business is in the process of scanning and digitizing records, an off-site storage partner for paper records can save space and protect original documents.  

Firms specializing in records and information management have advanced electronic data security features and updated surveillance systems to adequately prevent data from being stolen. Their facilities offer media and underground vaults and are PRISM Privacy+ Certified—which means they meet strict objectives to preserve information privacy. These storage vaults are climate controlled to preserve the integrity of the documents and are equipped with fire suppression technology in the event of natural disasters.

Even with off-site storage, your records information management partner should be able to retrieve your data on demand, quickly and securely, so there is no inconvenience or interruption to your business at any time.

  1. Running Scanning Processes In-House

Working with a document scanning firm is more cost-effective than scanning years’ worth of documents in-house, especially if you’re using outdated equipment. Consider that you’d have to invest in costly scanning equipment and regular maintenance of that equipment. Additionally, in-house scanning processes require you to hire or train employees on how to use the equipment and how to categorize and store scanned documents, when they could be spending their time in on more productive endeavors.

If someone is manually keying in documents without the benefit of using updated scanning software or the services of a document scanning partner, human error also becomes a factor. Mistakes can result in lost and mislabeled documents, and unsecured files can expose your company to potential security risks.

If you do all your scanning and storing in the same building, you’re also using—and paying for—valuable real estate that could be used more productively.

  1. Not Properly Vetting Your Document Scanning Provider

Not all document scanning service providers are the same. The firm you choose should be a partner, guiding you throughout the entire lifecycle of your scanning needs. They should offer a wide array of services, including security, storage, retention and destruction schedules and assistance with maintaining government compliance.  

How do you know if the provider you want to hire is reliable? A company’s affiliations can tell you a lot about the provider’s dedication to high industry standards.

For example, the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID) offers NAID AAA certification. Companies receiving this designation must meet rigorous requirements to maintain compliance and data security.

Companies who become corporate members of the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) demonstrate an added level of commitment to privacy issues by participating in training and conferences and networking with other professionals committed to maintaining ethical practices.

Before signing an agreement, look for these types of accreditations and affiliations, and make sure to ask plenty of questions about the provider’s services, practices and protocols.

Document Scanning: Setting Up for Success

Document scanning can help your business become more productive and give it a competitive edge. Scanning a large volume of records can be daunting for any business, especially if your company doesn’t have the experience or resources.

Before embarking on your digital transformation journey, take time to plan and understand the numerous factors involved. Avoiding these common document scanning mistakes can help set your business up for success.

To learn more, listen to our on-demand webcast “How to get Records Management on the Automation Bandwagon.”

BJ Johnson is a Senior Solutions Specialist with Access Information Management® where he works in Sales and Marketing. He is an ARMA NJ board member and has worked in the information management industry for over 17 years. He works with organizations to implement solutions that improve business processes, compliance and security.