In last week’s blog post we introduced some of the hidden cost factors that can drive up the cost of your document imaging project.
As we saw, you need to pay close attention to several things: the state of your current collection, the handoff process to the imaging team, and the process of applying naming conventions and metadata. To avoid extra costs in these areas you can conduct a thorough audit and purge of your collection, and provide the scanning team with an electronic manifest containing detailed information about the collection.
In part two of our post, we explore three additional cost factors to plan for.
4. The “Level” of Imaging and Preparation
Not all scanning jobs are equal. When scanning a collection, organizations adopt one of three approaches, depending on the level of detail required in the index. When choosing the best approach, be sure to consider budget and the current and future needs of your users. Too little detail can render your digitized collection useless, while too much detail can drive up costs unnecessarily.
- File level: This is the least detailed level of scanning, in which the entire contents of a file are scanned as a single image. This is typically a PDF document with Optical Character Recognition designed to streamline access to a document or data without the need to drill down to a more granular level of indexing. This level is typically employed when scanning legacy files, archived files or infrequently accessed records.
- Divider/Partition level: This is a more detailed level of scanning, in which each section of a file (broken up by dividers) is scanned as a single document. Each document within a file is organized, imaged and indexed under one of the partition categories. Consequently, each file is separated by virtual dividers, allowing for expedited access to information without going to the time and expense of indexing at the document level.
- Document level: This is the most detailed level, in which every document is scanned into a separate PDF. Here, various data points for each PDF need to be considered. When making decisions on the data points to be captured, it is important to remember that each additional data point will increase the time to process a document or file, which will affect the project timeline and cost, as well as the required industry knowledge of the person prepping the file.
5. Quality Assurance
You want to ensure that your scanned images are as accurate as possible, but accuracy requires time, which equals money. Typically, imaging providers will conduct QA on the scanned images to achieve a target percentage of accuracy, such as 95, 98, or 99.5 percent. Depending on the level of accuracy required, the provider may adjust the percentage of images that undergo a manual review or comparison to the original paper copies. The best approach and target accuracy will depend on the nature of the collection and the business process you are supporting. Legacy documents tend not to need the highest percentage of accuracy, whereas current, mission-critical documents should undergo a stringent QA process. As with everything, the more time required, the more expensive the QA will be, so be sure to consider which level is most appropriate in your situation.
6. File Reassembly
For documents that will be retained after the scan, you will need to think about how you want them reassembled. The following common approaches to reassembly are listed in ascending order of costs.
- Loose: all documents placed loose into the correct file, but not re-assembled or put in the same order they arrived
- Pinned: all documents replaced and pinned together to allow for a review if needed, but files won’t be reassembled exactly as they arrived
- Full Rebuild: the file is put back together exactly as it arrived
If you plan to access the paper copies regularly, or if you expect that they may be audited, you will want to go with either pinned or a full rebuild.
For more information about the overlooked cost factors, download our guide: Budgeting Your Imaging Project: Six Overlooked Cost Factors
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