While this is an important first step, there is a lot more to consider before you can roll up your sleeves to tackle an imaging project. Based on our experience with thousands of document imaging projects, this checklist will ensure that you have all the important parts in place before you get them started.
- Do you have the right imaging team? Qualified knowledge workers are an essential part of the imaging process. Your team should have a good understanding of both your business and records management best practices.It is also important to have a strong project management lead to coordinate the efforts of the imaging team.
- Is the team available to follow the project through to completion? Depending on the scope of the project, completion can take months or years. Your team members may struggle to keep up with project schedules when they have to balance regular tasks in addition to the imaging project. If you have any concerns about this, consider bringing in an experienced external team to carry out the project.
- Have you reserved enough space? Your imaging project needs enough dedicated disk space that can be used for as long as the process takes. Average needs are about 200 square feet per person, including space for a workstation, carts, file space area, and scanning equipment.
- Is your scanning equipment up to the task? You should check that your scanners can handle larger documents that you plan to convert. Scan speed is another feature to check. Are the scanners able to process the volumes required and help you meet your project schedules?
- Do you have the right scanning software? Scanning software plays a huge role in the success of any imaging project. Some of the things to look for in software are:
- How much of the process is being automated?
- Does it make indexing and distribution easier?
- Can it handle pictures? Improvement, data identification and advanced processing without manual input?
- Are your policies and procedures for scanning documents clearly documented? To use images as official records, a manual of guidelines and procedures is required that describes the details of the scanning process. For reasons of compliance and verifiability, the manual answers the all-important question: “How did we do it?”. It should provide instructions on how to handle non-paper media such as DVDs or USB drives and large-format documents.
- Is the team adequately trained in this process? The Guidelines and Procedures Handbook is the foundation for training your imaging team. When employees clearly understand how to handle standard and non-standard documents, costly delays, inaccuracies, and inconsistencies in the scanning process are avoided.
- Can you follow the chain of document storage? Most organizations use some form of tracking software to ensure that records retention can be tracked throughout the scanning process.
- How do you make records available for use? In most imaging projects, employees need access to recordings at some point during the process. There are several steps you can take to keep recordings available throughout the project – or at least to minimize downtime. Careful project management and regular employee communication are essential for this.
- Does your team know exactly what to do with the physical documents after the scan? The Policies and Procedures Guide should specify how to handle each category of document after scanning to avoid confusion and delays.
As with any major project, document imaging requires careful review and planning. Advantages of imaging are time well spent.