While many documents spend their lives as electronic content, most organizations still use a great deal of paper in their daily operations.
A document imaging system supports this method of recordkeeping by converting paper documents to digital images that are stored in an electronic repository.
Here are seven important document imaging capabilities that every office needs.
1. On-Demand and High-Volume Capture
The most robust document imaging systems allow for the creation of a customizable folder structure where all documents can be stored and easily accessed.
Document imaging software should give users the ability to import documents in various ways, from scanning single sheets to batches of documents. Leading document scanning systems also include mobile capture options that enable users to import photos taken with their smartphones or tablets directly into the repository.
Users in different departments and geographic locations should also have the ability to scan documents into the same repository, regardless of the capture tool used.
2. Full-Text Search and OCR
A key reason for implementing document imaging software is to gain instant access to critical information. To be able to search for specific keywords or passages inside a document, the document imaging system must have a built-in master index of searchable text—which is generated using optical character recognition (OCR).
Aside from full-text search, a trusted and proven document imaging system will provide different ways to search for information, such as:
- Document name, path or creator
- Associated metadata
- Documents within a particular folder
- Pre-configured searches
Document imaging systems allow for a variety of search options.
Robust document imaging systems use metadata to index documents stored throughout the repository.
Metadata—or data about data—is often generated through templates and fields that can be applied to a wide range of document types. It contains information, such as account number, customer name and expiration date, that makes documents throughout the repository easy to identify.
For example, when a reference number has been applied to a purchase order as metadata, some document imaging systems allow users to instantly find the invoice, payment source and all other archived documents that are related to the purchase order.
Custom metadata templates and fields can be assigned to different document types.
High-performance document imaging systems have the ability to apply access and feature rights to different documents and folders. For example, granular security rights:
- Make it possible for only authorized individuals to view particular content or perform certain functions within the system
- Ensure regulatory compliance with HIPAA, SEC and other recordkeeping standards
- Simplify repository audits by displaying every user interaction with archived documents
In addition, some ECM systems allow users to track who made changes to documents stored in the repository and find out when the changes were made.
The ability to annotate documents is a crucial feature of document imaging systems, as it allows users to collaborate on the creation and modification of documents stored across the enterprise.
Quality document imaging systems provide a host of annotation methods, such as:
- Sticky notes
- Photos or images
- Black- and white-out redactions
- Text boxes
For security purposes, leading document imaging systems make persistent redactions to OCR text so that unauthorized users will not have access to sensitive information.
In addition, annotations can be used as bookmarks, making it easy for users to find the desired section of a long document.
Annotations can make collaboration easier.
Robust document imaging software retains multiple versions of the same document using version control. Users can easily see all of the revisions that have been made to a document over the course of its history, including changes to:
- Document text
- Image pages
- Electronic document
In addition, if the user makes an inaccurate or invalid change to a document, it is easy to revert to an older version of the document.
7. Document Linking
It is important for document imaging systems to link related documents together—so that organizations can find relevant information in a timely manner.
For example, every invoice has a corresponding purchase order and proof of payment. Leading document imaging system allows users to easily cross-reference one document with another related document—even if the two files are stored in different folders of the repository.
Links make accessing related documents possible with one click.
Selecting a document imaging system
To learn more about the important features to look for in a document imaging system, contact us for the free ebook: “Document Management: The Buyer’s Handbook.”
For additional information, contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Joanna Slusarz, Laserfiche