Document imaging is alive and well! Contemporary wisdom is to head right for digital copy (“Day forward”), but this requires development and time; there is usually a multi-step process (aka “Phased Implementation”) that gives you the desired result, and starts the digital archive.
This is not a panacea for all situations. If the documents need frequent retrieval, and you want to reclaim the storage and/or not pay a storage company to hold the boxes, then it very well may pay to scan and index your documents. This is especially true if the documents need to be kept for many years, like workman’s compensation records, health records, and more. Your business and legal teams will have an understanding of retention and destruction schedules.
First, how big is the project? Estimate the number of documents to be scanned, so you can estimate time, digital storage at 200 or 300 dpi, and time to index (either at time of scan or post-scan). The minimum amount of meta data (indexing) needs to be determined, so you don’t “over index”. And don’t forget to put together a project plan and team to do the work. You will also need to have a post-scan destruction schedule for the original paper, and a retrieval mechanism that is secure.
For a small number of documents, say under 5-10,000, this can be accomplished using existing staff (they know the information best) with a part-time scanning schedule like 1-2 hours per day. It can also be done on weekends, assembling a small team to do your presort and scan.
Larger projects may require a dedicated team for a period of time, then moving to a regular scanning schedule until a digital solution (electronic record) is found. You may even be able to shred the paper shortly after a scan and verification.
Scanners come in a variety of sizes and feed rates. The prices have come down substantially in recent years, and many come with software that can do a simple index of your documents. Today’s scanners even do barcodes, so you can identify documents as you scan or use them as separator sheets between records. Even a home office can get a small scanner for under $500 that can greatly reduce the number of file cabinets needed to hold records. Coupled with the low cost of storage (you can buy terabytes for under $100) scanning is readily available for small and medium size businesses, or even home use (scan all those old family pictures, before they fade or become lost to time (who is that in the picture??).
In conclusion, scanning is still alive and well, and has a place in many organizations as a legitimate means to increase efficiency, reclaim storage space, and improve or eliminate paper based business processes! It is definitely worthwhile!
Feel free to contact us at CMKING.com, we will be happy to suggest the best way to scan and store your important documents.
Content Specialists like me frequently recommend moving large amounts of data from legacy systems to new systems, sometimes based in the Cloud, for cost-savings and updating/modernization. Some of my clients even change entire data frameworks just to enable “mobility” (Tablet and Phone) features, integral to new systems yet expensive to build-on to legacy systems.
One of the unspoken dangers of migration is the loss of data location values, or links. Each new system builds on a new architecture, with new data locations, tags, and meta data. This is wonderful for new information streaming into the new system, but a dangerous pitfall for older data, notes, and files that become “orphaned” in the new system. Most of the time the data remains, but the existing “pointers” are focused on the old location! Imagine if you move to a new home and all your mail continues to be routed to your old address!
If it is a relatively small amount of data, this is not a major disaster, and can be fixed on an “as you go” basis, by the user or an admin. The pitfall of this Is years later, when doing a recovery from an old backup or a revival of old cases – the problem resurfaces! If no one remembers what to do – Now you have a crisis, and spend time and money fixing something that you thought you already dealt with.
If you are fortunate enough to have someone like me on your project (or at least in your contacts) the problem can be solved with some basic but essential software, most of which is readily available, and can monitor your links for broken links and possible “404 – page not found” errors. These make even the most calm users shake their fists and pick up the phone to tech support, since they are “stuck” until the problem is resolved.
To recap, missing links occur when migrating, during routine backup/restore operations, and even when putting more storage on-line. If you are finding a lot of orphan links, give me a call.
Experienced Technology Professionals have an acronym for moving content from one system to another called “GIGO” (translation: Garbage In, Garbage Out).
When we rush into a cloud implementation, with clear goals of monetary savings, faster time to production/delivery, and increased efficiencies, we need to remember that what we move to the cloud is as important as how we utilize it effectively.
The concept is that un-scrubbed data is guaranteed to be full of “ROT” (Redundant, Obsolete, or Trivial information). You can classify this as the garbage I was referring to in my opening sentence. It is always best to fix this information BEFORE you move it to cloud storage. ROT will not fix itself. It needs classification and attributes like ownership, retention and destruction dates. If you do the “heavy lifting” of identifying your ROT prior to the migration, you get to manage it before it mystically grows to hundreds of Gigabytes or more. You may even find quick solutions to eliminate ROT creation and create less ROT as the organizations data store grows.
Neglecting the abundance of older and unclassified information in a migration to the cloud would mean that “someone else”, at a later date, would inherit the wretched project of determining what information is classifiable and should be retained, and what to do with the rest.
Imagine if you move to a new home, and you pack up your clothes closet without checking to see if some of the items don’t need to move (don’t fit, never worn, stained, dated, ugly, etc.). You are paying to move and re-hang garments that could be donated or tossed. If you are moving to get more closet space, this can be awkward. Data can be like clothes, and we all know how easy it is to order up some additional disk for all our content (like an infinitely expandable closet)!
Before you move all those items to your cloud storage, consider how bringing in a consultant can eliminate ROT, streamline your cloud migration, and save you money up-front, as you move items with policies, classification, and retention and destruction schedules. I can help you create less mayhem in your cloud migration.
The Cloud juggernaut continues to grow (along with invitations to Webinars, Cloud conferences, meetings, and more) as more companies and government agencies see the clear benefits of outsourcing their Data centers and computing operations.
I am a clear proponent of the cloud, and more importantly, a proponent of sound practices when migrating to a Cloud-based Data center. It is important that you retain technical staff to manage the cloud implementation – people on your team/payroll who will oversee and manage your Cloud services, and ensure that you get the best value from the migration to the cloud. This may cut into your savings, yet it can prevent major cost overruns when you have retained staff through the transition to handle unknown issues and build standard procedures (onboarding, help desk, application management).
The primary reason to migrate to the Cloud is to save money. This is done by outsourcing your data center and its operations to a cloud services provider. If it will not save you hard dollars, and you have increased complexity and oversight concerns, don’t rush into the Cloud. Saving money can also be reducing headcount or staff dedicated to mundane server maintenance, upgrades, and patches. You need to break out those numbers, as well as the real estate reclaimed or eliminated when the Data center “goes away”.
IF the answer to all the concerns is “It’s in the Cloud”, you have been overcome by the dark side of Cloud computing. Just like an airplane dodging the thunderheads on a stormy flight path, your mission is to avoid turbulence and deliver without excessive delay! Your organization deserves a premium implementation when you migrate to the cloud – Get the right people in to manage your transition and the forecast will be Sunny and Bright.