Electronic Document Storage For SMBs

Electronic document storage system may not lead your company to the paperless office, but it just might save you some money while helping to save the planet.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

July 23, 2009

3 Min Read

Scanners And Scanning Services
OCR requires a high-quality scanner, and companies with a large volume of documents to scan will be especially concerned about scanning speed. Most digital copiers can act as an OCR scanner if they are equipped with a network connection -- basic office color copiers can usually scan documents very quickly and are compatible with most document storage software programs.

Compatibility is a big issue when it comes to scanners. Most desktop scanners have TWAIN software drivers, while most high-speed or high-volume scanners have ISIS drivers. Many OCR software applications won't function optimally with a scanner that uses a TWAIN driver. For use with OCR, a copier or other scanning device should be equipped with a program-compatible ISIS driver to ensure that they function correctly. The cost of a compatible scanner depends mostly on speed, starting at a few hundred dollars and ranging up to several thousand dollars.

Instead of scanning documents yourself, you can also choose to hire a scanning service -- a company that converts paper documents to electronic format. Scanning services are often used to help speed a "back-scan" of all of your company's older documents for storage on the new system. These services can cost anywhere from 2 cents to 20 cents per page.

Whichever option you choose, make sure you consider the costs associated with multiple filing systems operating concurrently -- it may end up being more cost effective in the long run to back-scan all older documents before moving to a document management system.

Don't Miss: bMighty Scanner How-To Center

Making The Switch
Businesses like law firms, accounting companies, insurance providers, and others that have document-heavy business activities can often realize the most significant cost savings using electronic document management. But because the switch procedures and the associated costs can be so overwhelming, many businesses don't consider electronic storage as a realistic option -- even if they know they can save money in the long run. Software, hosting, and scanning equipment can set your small business back tens of thousands of dollars if you decide to back-scan all documents and make the switch all at once.

But you don't have to spend that kind of money to take advantage of document management. You can cut costs dramatically in several ways: You can choose a go-forward approach and only digitize new documents, archiving older documents on paper. And you can make the switch even more gradually by converting only materials that multiple employees need to access.

Though an electronic document storage system isn't nearly as cool as a hover board, it just might be the future of business document storage. And it might just save you some money along the way.

Resource Nation provides how-to purchasing guides, tips for selecting business service providers, and a free quote-comparison service that allows business owners to compare price and service offerings in over 100 categories from credit card processing to payroll services.

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