How to plan a successful document imaging project – part 1

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Planning a document imaging project is not easy. Not only do you have to work out a million little details, but the stakes are often quite high. Based on our clients’ past experiences and feedback from colleagues, we estimate that somewhere around 50 percent of document imaging projects fail to meet their objectives. Considering how much time and money you will invest in a document imaging project, you do not want your project to become one of those statistics.

The key to success is to start with a comprehensive plan for your imaging project. But how do you create one? What should be included in the plan?

This four-part blog series will give you answers. It incorporates the knowledge we have attained through countless successful document imaging projects. We will outline the key sections to include in your plan and offers tips for how complete each section.

Why all the fuss about an imaging plan?

Following this best-practice approach will:

  • ensure that you consider all the key components of a project
  • avoid scope issues and cost-overruns
  • significantly increase your odds of a successful outcome.

Blueprint for success

At a minimum, your plan should include the following sections.

  1. Overview and Objectives
  2. Current Situation
  3. Resource Plan
  4. Project Design
  5. Scanning Design
  6. Post-scan Document Processing
  7. Change Management
  8. Project Review
  9. Budget

Most of the issues you need to address will fall into one of these sections. With this outline at hand, we will now explore how to create the plan, section by section.

Overview and Objectives

In this section you want to clearly answer the question, “Why are we doing this?”

Many imaging projects fail, or fail to get off the ground, because the objectives weren’t well understood by the project team or key stakeholders. By articulating all the reasons for undertaking the project, it becomes easier to secure funding and to obtain participation and support from colleagues and end users.

Keeping in mind the various reasons you are scanning, you should crystallize your objectives in a statement along the following lines:

“Our objective for the document imaging program is to accelerate the processing of [claims, cases / etc.] by making digital images available to all authorized staff within 24 hours of documents arriving in our department. By also imaging our existing records collection, we will reduce our storage footprint, freeing up significant space to be redeployed for other activities.”

Current Situation

In the course of planning the project, you will need to take a thorough assessment of the current situation, which includes the business context and drivers, the documents to be scanned, and the business processes that the documents are supporting.

The findings in this section will have a direct influence on the design of the scanning project. By including your findings here, you help key stakeholders see the rationale behind the approach you are taking.

You will want to consider the situation from the standpoint of the business itself, including key drivers, departments involved, current processes, information flows and compliance requirements.

You should also include a summary of the documents to be scanned. How many collections, files and documents are involved? How are they organized? What retention requirements are the paper copies subject to?

In our next post, we will continue our look at the essential elements of your document indexing plan, including, resources, project design and budget. Read it here »

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