Thousands of organizations around the world use document imaging every day instead of paper filing systems. Document imaging offers a number of benefits over paper and microfilm systems.
- Fast retrieval - Imaging lets you find documents quickly without leaving your desk. Paper and microfilm are slower because users must go to files and search manually.
- Flexible indexing - Imaging can index documents in several different ways simultaneously. Indexing paper and microfilm in more than one way is awkward, costly and time-consuming.
- Full-text search - Imaging systems can retrieve files by any word or phrase in the document, a capability that is impossible with paper or microfilm.
- No lost files - Imaged documents remain in their folders when being viewed, so none are lost or misplaced. Plus, index template and full-text searches can find documents if they are accidentally moved. Lost documents are expensive and time-consuming to replace.
- Digital Archiving - The risk of loss or damage to paper or electronic records is reduced with a document imaging system. Keeping archival versions of documents in a document imaging system helps protect paper documents from over-handling and keeps electronic documents in a non-proprietary format.
- Share files easily - Imaging makes it easy to share documents electronically with colleagues and clients. Paper documents usually require photocopying to be shared, and microfilm requires conversion to paper.
- Improved security - Imaging can provide better, more flexible control over sensitive documents. Imaging controls security at the folder, document or individual word level for different groups and individuals. In contrast, all paper documents in a filing cabinet or filing room have the same level of security.
- Save space - Imaging will help recover valuable office space that was previously taken up by bulky paper files.
- Disaster recovery - Imaging provides an easy way to back-up documents for offsite storage and disaster recovery. Paper is a bulky and expensive way to back-up records and is vulnerable to fire, flood and theft.
- Save time - Studies show that professionals often lose up to 500 hours a year just looking for documents. Those days are gone. Document imaging offers a better way to manage the records you rely on.
- Save money - Time and space are two of the most costly aspects of doing business in today's world. Electronic Document Imaging can significantly reduce both the time spent searching for documents and the space used to store bulky paper documents.
As document imaging becomes more commonplace, numerous laws have arisen regarding the legality of imaged paper and electronic files. Many government agencies now accept imaged documents as legal records, meaning that the paper originals can be destroyed, given certain conditions.
- Records must be stored in an unalterable format, such as CD or DVD.
- The system has reasonable controls to ensure integrity, accuracy and reliability.
- The system must provide some type of audit trail to prevent and detect unauthorized creation of, addition to, alteration of or deletion of records.
- A complete and accurate transfer of records can be made.
- The system has reasonable controls to prevent and detect deterioration of records.
- There is an indexing system that assists with finding records.
- The system has the ability to print copies of records.
- The system must be able to cross-reference with other record-keeping systems and software.
- The system has documentation on how the software works and how it has been set up.
Our system does meet the above criteria. However, the legality of imaged documents varies depending upon the federal agency, state, county, municipality and department involved. Departments should consult with the governing agency on the specific statutes pertaining to their area.