Records Management Blog | Practical Records Management

Unlocking the Paper Shackles from your Information

Posted by Tom Doyle on Tue, Mar 23, 2010 @ 04:04 PM
  • How many times have you needed to access an important file or reproduce a form to support a customer inquiry?
  • Have you ever gone to the file cabinet or Archive to access a transaction, only to find the document is missing?
  • How about producing a proof of delivery ticket, so you can collect an open receivable?

If you're like most business organizations, the answers to these and many other document management questions are: Everyday, Yes, and Often.

So why then are you still filing paper documents?

Accessing information critical to the success of any business should be as easy as doing a google search.  It is, if you scan. Imagine the efficiency gained, not to mention the improvement in customer service, if you could respond to customer inquiries while actually on the phone with the customer. Document Scanning provides more value than just ease of use though. Imaging allows for collaboration, can provide compliance with industry regulations, increases the level of document security and can help to easily manage the life cycle of all business information.

Using scanning technology to create workflows driven by the presence of rules in a business process reduces the reliance on a human element from getting things done efficiently. A manager or director, whose approval is required for a process to move forward, can approve the necessary documents electronically instead of having to have the paper in front of her. If that person is out sick or on vacation, the documents can be routed to other managers to move the process along efficiently.

In many instances companies who have been successful changing the culture from paper to electronic images, have enlisted the help of an expert. Outsourced scanning services companies, also known as Service bureaus, have the experience and infrastructure, through the use of high speed scanning equipment and specialized software, to complete jobs quickly and return image files to a secure system where end users who have the proper security rights can access the information.

Today's business environment demands that organizations react quickly and efficiently to support their customer base. Capturing, sharing, storing and securing business critical information electronically, while reducing the reliance on one dimensional paper documents, enhances this requirement.

Tags: Paperless Office, Document Management, Document Scanning, Document Imaging

OnBase 9.2 Released by Hyland Software

Posted by Michael Thomas on Thu, Mar 11, 2010 @ 06:27 PM

OnBase 9.2 has been released by Hyland Software, and there are many new features that will continue to deliver value to clients looking for Enterprise Content Management solutions, as well as those who have already invested in the OnBase ECM Platform. 

Continuing to build on the customer focused approach that has provided Hyland Software and the OnBase product with such a loyal customer following, OnBase 9.2 offers clients significant capability enhancements including a new User Interface Experience (Unity), Workflow Integrations for Blackberry, and a new Offline Client that will expand the ability to use OnBase in remote locations without network or internet connections. 

OnBase Authorized Solution ProviderAs an OnBase Certified Solution Provider, Shoreline Records Management is proud to increase the value that we bring to our clients Enterprise Content Management initiatives with the release of OnBase 9.2. "I think some of the features in OnBase 9.2 will continue to truly differentiate OnBase from other ECM Vendors." Said Thomas J. Olivieri, Chief Technology Officer for Shoreline. "For Example, the Mobile Workflow for Blackberry shows a great commitment to delivering the solutions that customers are requesting. I'm glad that we've been able to work with such a customer-focused partner." 

Prospective Clients Interested in Learning more about OnBase should visit ShorelineRecordsManagement.com or Hyland.com, and existing clients should contact Account Manager. Also, be sure to check out Hyland Software's new Blog at Blog.Hyland.com.

Tags: ECM, Paperless Office, OnBase

Need Temporary Scanning Help? Why it's better to Outsource.

Posted by Michael Thomas on Thu, Mar 11, 2010 @ 03:56 PM

 

If you've started the process of scanning documents and files and you're feeling like it may be an impossible task, you're not alone. Countless companies have gone down the road of using their own, existing personnel to help scan paper documents to digital images, only to realize that the task is more cumbersome than initially anticipated. The first place to turn is often to think that you need to employ temporary scanning help, but often outsourced file scanning is an even better option.

Temporary Scanning Help -If you choose to employ temporary scanning help, you're subjected to paying an hourly rate that may or may not be tied to performance. It will be in the best interest of your scanning temp to take as long as possible to scan your files, which may be the complete opposite of what you need from a business perspective.

Outsourced Scanning Service - When you use an outsourced scanning service, you will be contracting for a price per image, not a price per hour. This put the responsibility on the outsourced scanning service provider to capture your documents more quickly. The result is improved turnaround and faster access, which means more value from your scanning investment.

Temporary Scanning Help -Temporary Scanning Help is not accountable for their work. If your scanning temp doesn't do a quality job and ensure that your content is captured accurately, you won't be able to find your files when you need them later on. Even worse, that scanning temp has already moved on, and is no longer available to correct their mistakes.

Outsourced Scanning Service - Outsourced Scanning Services will enable you to leverage  the benefit of experience and process control, ensuring quality right from the start. In addition, if there are issues with the quality of the scanning work, you'll be able to contact the outsourced scanning partner to help provide resolution because they will want to ensure positive customer relationships.

There are no magic wands when it comes to scanning paper documents to digital images. It takes focus and attention to detail to ensure that a user will retrieve a meaningful image when they make a request or query. In the end, it is usually best to trust this responsibility to a team of trained professionals than a group of temporary scanning resources.

 

Tags: ECM, Paperless Office, Scanning

Choosing the Best Box for your Docs

Posted by Michael Thomas on Tue, Mar 09, 2010 @ 08:19 AM

When Storing Business Records, pay attention to the type of Storage Box that you're using. There are many options available, but ideally, Documents should be stored in Easy-To-assemble, Double-Walled Storage boxes.

There's nothing quite as frustrating as watching a box of documents fall apart and then having to re-file and sort all of the contents, and a little bit of care in selecting the best record storage container can really go along way. Paige Miracle Box

I'm partial to the Paige Company's Miracle Boxes (Which we sell at Shoreline), but there are othere equally effective storage boxes out there.

Even more important, these boxes are typically less expensive than the standard, single-walled boxes you may get from office supply stores, and will stand the test of time. There's nothing that undermines an effective Records Management Strategy as quickly as using inferior boxes and having them fall apart while in storage or transport, so be sure to take the time and get this right.

UPDATE: For the sake of clarity, I wanted to also add that the Paige Miracle Box offers Double-Walled Construction and is built to stand the test of time. As a Records Management Company, I would strongly recommend the Paige Miracle Box Number 15 for anyone that's looking for or in need of Record Storage Boxes. You'll save yourself from a lot of headaches, not to mention backaches!

Tags: Paperless Office, File Storage, Records Management

Choosing the right DPI for Business Document Scanning

Posted by Michael Thomas on Mon, Mar 08, 2010 @ 01:43 PM

If you choose to Scan and Store Business Documents Electronically, be cautious about the DPI (Dots Per Inch) that you choose to scan the files. There are many reasons to be cautious in selecting the appropriate DPI, including the desired level of clarity, readability, file storage requirements, and the type of image you're capturing.

For most Standard Business Documents, 200 DPI Bitonal (Black and White) should be adequate.

If you choose to Store files at a higher resolution, keep in mind that there are significant impacts to the size of the file. For Example:

A Standard office Document Scanned at 200 DPI, Bitonal as a TIF will be around 41K. The File will be Readable, and should be able to be emailed and downloaded fairly easily. At 300 DPI,  Bitonal, that same file balloons to 62K, which is still relatively small, but may consume much more space as you scan more pages.  Now here is where this gets interesting, if you choose to scan the same file at 150 DPI in Color, the file size increases to 164KB. There are a few reasons for this, most of which require big words like "bilinear interpolation", but the point is that you need to be sure to use the appropriate settings when scanning files to ensure that you use the appropriate amount of storage, and don't create bloated, slow-moving files.

What are your best suggestions for DPI Settings? Be sure to add your input in the comments!

Tags: ECM, Paperless Office, Scanning, Scanners

Three Keys to Going Paperless

Posted by Michael Thomas on Mon, Mar 08, 2010 @ 07:27 AM

go paperlessThe unending effort by business managers and executives to "go paperless" is often looked at as a losing battle. In reality, however, there are at least three things that everyone can do in their daily work to reduce the amount of paper being created and stored in their daily workflow.

1) Consolidate the Inboxes! - There is no more important daily task list of the average professional than checking the number of inboxes that we have. The key to the paperless office, therefore, is to consolidate the number of inboxes that we have. Most of us have seven inboxes before we even give it a moment's thought - Office Email, Personal Email, Office Voicemail, Personal Voicemail, Office Paper Mail, Personal Paper Mail and Office Fax. When we add in the checking of the Personal Calendar and Office Calendar so we don't schedule an after-hours business meeting to conflict with the Kids' Soccer Game, we're already up to Nine different inboxes that we're monitoring on a daily basis.

Before we can even think of going "Paperless," we need to consolidate the number of inboxes. If you currently have More than two email addresses, consolidate. The truth is that most people don't need more than two email addresses, and great tools like Google Voice (from the efficiency-master - Google) can go a long way to helping consolidate the voicemail boxes.

2) Sign up for Online Billing & Banking - It's still amazing how many people don't choose the paperless billing options offered by their utilities and vendors. Not only is there an immediate benefit of being able to reduce the amount of incoming paper, but you'll help save the environment and reduce your risk of identity theft at the same time.

Many people are not aware of the risks associated with Paper Mail, but the numbers tell the story, and the truth is that most identity theft is done by Friends and Neighbors and most originates through paper mail. More information about the hard numbers can be found here: http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2006/01/id_theft_survey.html , but suffice it to say that Online is the safer bet for the ID-minded customer.

3) Scan, Store & Retrieve - Paper is one of the most frequently used of the media types that we deal with on a regular basis, and it happens to be one of the most space consuming, inefficient ones. If legally possible, scanning documents can be a great alternative to maintaining hard copy records.

With the cost of desktop scanners dropping every day, and most offices having networked multi-function devices that allow for quick and easy capture of documents to network drives, scanning documents is both easier and more accessible than ever before. Take caution in the process, however, as relying only on OCR (or Optical Character Recognition) for retrieval is still not foolproof, and you'll likely want to tag your documents with some useful keywords to help you locate them when needed.

 What are your best tips for going paperless? What are the biggest obstacles you've faced? Let us know in the comments!

Tags: Paperless Office, Scanning, Enterprise Search, File Storage, Records Management, Google