Archive for the ‘Document Capture’ Category

Document Management Software With Document Capture Combined

Monday, April 18th, 2011

steve-in-white-1Decisions in any business are based on organizational knowledge. In today’s business environment, this knowledge rests not only with some top executives of an organization, but also with the databases and documents that an enterprise maintains. It’s the speed and accuracy with which information can be retrieved that the success of a business largely depends. Digital document management has made it possible to create and store information, and organize it for easy retrieval.

There are generally two types of documents that any organization handles, one that is produced by the organization and second, received from the outside. Most of this documentation in the form of financial statements and monthly or yearly reports come in handy for analysts to formulate future goals and assess current status of the business. Critical information is also received from the outside in the form of invoices, suggestions from clients or customers, letters of complaint and so on. This data comes in several formats, both electronic and paper.

Document capture forms an important part of recording every piece of information received by your organization. If you do not convert paper documents to digital format, it cannot be included in your analysis. This can be of great importance when making critical business decisions. Though scanning a document converts it into an image, it’s of no value without the corresponding metadata which makes it searchable and retrievable. Document management software provides a unique solution to this problem, as every data from a paper document can be captured and stored on the computer.

Document capture can be defined as a process that converts paper information into electronic format, which can then be processed and stored using various technologies. Some important components of the document capture process are:

Scanning or document capture: When a document is scanned it produces an image on the screen of the computer which can be stored on the computer like any other file. Several factors must be considered when choosing a scanner depending on requirement and average number of documents likely to be processed every day. For instance, size, quality of paper, volume is some factors that you must keep in mind. Scanners are extremely handy and can process a variety of documents, from business cards to engineering drawings.

Automatic document feeder: Optimum use of document management software can be made only if you have automatic document feeder. This device feeds paper automatically into the scanner and speeds up the process significantly. The device is quite useful for processing bulk documents such as invoices and forms.

Speed and accuracy: Speed with which documents are processed by document management software decides the quality of the document. Ideally, a standard sized scanner can process anywhere between 6 to 200 pages per minute. However, considering optimal performance, a processing speed of 20-30 pages per minute should suffice for everyday use.

Image cleanup: Most scanners come with enhanced technology to apply cleanup techniques to increase accuracy of data. Contrast adjustment, noise removal, rebuilding broken characters and cropping borders are some of the cleanup techniques used in scanners. This helps in capturing all the information in the original document without compromising on its accuracy.

Data extraction: As in the case of paper documents, digital document management too requires extraction, storage and appropriate indexing of useful information. Document management software normally has an indexing system which organizes documents in form that can be easily searched and retrieved when needed. As such, accurate extraction and storage of information is one of the most important features of any document capture solution.

A digital document management system must perform various tasks to make the scanned data readable and useful for the organization. As each type of document needs to be processed in a different manner, the document management software must be customizable to meet these requirements. New technology has provided a great tool in the form of document management systems to maximize productivity and increase profitability, and is one of the best investments that you can make for your business.

Steve Breault “DocMeister”

Document Management Software Goes Mainstream

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Steve Breault

Document management refers to the means by which organizations plan, create, organize, control and share information. Businesses today revolve around several types of documents such as charts, memos, reports, orders and spreadsheets. And effective management of these documents is imperative to ensure that your business stays on track. Records are not just the structured data maintained in the databases, but also include other type of files such as presentations, invoices, pamphlets, information brochures, forms, and so on.

Document management software is a computer program that helps in effective management of all type of documents for easy retrieval and storage. It is particularly designed to systematically store data through automatic data capture. Such software is of tremendous help when your business requires maintenance of records in different file formats such as PDF, text, image, sound clips, and so on.

There are several types of document management software available in the market and you would like to choose the one that best suits your organization’s needs. Knowing exactly what type of records and data are required to be maintained for your business is essential for you to select the right software. For instance, what records or documents are you planning to upload on the document management software? Will these be active records maintained by your organization or archival data? How often will you be accessing this data? At what levels will the data be shared? These are some of the questions that need to be answered while choosing and purchasing document management software.

You must also understand what the software does before purchasing. Automatic data capture, forms recognition, PDF creation, version control and document imaging features are some of the functions you must check. For example, you may like to save all the incoming invoices in a database format. The forms recognition feature of document management software helps capture all the required fields on an invoice and save it in a database format on your computer system. Also, same can be saved as an image file by simply scanning and saving using automatic data capture.

Though cost of software and your budget is an important factor, with a little bit of research you will definitely come across affordable options available in the market. Most companies have different versions of the same software so you can choose the one that fits your requirements. For example, if you own a small business, you may require a more affordable version which fulfills minimum requirements for your specific business. Also, some companies allow you to upgrade to a higher version of the software as your business grows and requirements increase.

Records are the most important entity while conducting any type of business. It’s evidence that a transaction has taken place in your company on a particular time and date. These may be required for making important decisions, during an audit, risk analysis and many other critical operations involving your business. To be reliable and authentic, records in any format must be correctly created, controlled and saved for easy retrieval when needed. Document management software provides a robust, affordable solution for maintaining records.

Manual systems probably worked great in the past. However, with the world moving at a fast pace your business needs to keep up with the times. Everything today from banking to education has moved online. Most people today find transactions such as online payment of bills and filling up of forms for a magazine subscription very convenient. At some point you may be faced with a situation where your competitors are succeeding simply because they have a better document management plan.

Installing document management software is an essential part of your business and extremely necessary if you want to stay in the competition. Sooner or later your clients would start demanding faster processing of their transactions. As a result you will require an automated system to take care of creating and maintaining records, while you look after the needs of your clients. Effective implementation of your document management plan is the best way to help your business grow and stay ahead of the competition.

Steve Breault “DocMeister”

Document Management Software Saves the Environment

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Steve Breault

Information in any form is the lifeline of any organization, be it in the form of a database or detailed reports. No organization, whether private or government, can run successfully without a robust document management system. Electronic document management generally involves adding and maintaining electronic records in the form of database, reports, scanned documents, and so on. Document management software helps integrate all type of data on one platform and ensures that it is accessible at every level of an organization.

If you have been thinking of establishing a paperless office, then installing document management software is one of the best ways to start. Apart from automatic data capture and easy retrieval of documents, a document managements system also helps save the environment by reducing the consumption of paper. It is pertinent to note that the amount of paper consumed all over the world has increased by nearly 400 percent in the past 40 years. More than 35 percent of total trees cut every year are used for making paper for different purposes.

The statistics for United States alone are quite alarming. For instance, an average American employee is estimated to use about one sheet of paper every minute. Also, United States is the world’s largest producer as well as consumer of paper, with Japan running close behind. Paper has historically been the ideal medium to store all types of data including reports, memos, to-do lists, bills, policies, and so on. Though introduction of computerized systems was expected to see a fall in use of paper, the results were exactly opposite. This was because, with electronic data storage, came the ‘necessity’ of printing the data for distribution purposes or for backup.

Document management system is not merely saving information on a computerized system, but integrating it in a way that reduces requirement of printing information on paper. For instance, you may have to disseminate information such as new rules or company policies on regular basis. This would require you to take several prints for each employee or department of your organization. However, by simple use of document management software the same can easily be done electronically, saving millions of sheets of paper every year.

Similarly, routine tasks such as handing out memos and to-do lists can be easily done electronically instead of using paper. Also, you need not take a print every time you need to show a rough copy of a report for approval. Same can be sent electronically and final print taken when it has been accepted by your superior.

There are many such ways in which document management software can be used to reduce consumption of paper in your office. For instance, using automatic data capture, documents such as bills, invoices, brochures, and so on, can be simply scanned and stored in a digital format. These can now be accessed by anyone who needs them, thus saving loads of paper otherwise required to make copies of these documents. Since now the documents have been saved on a computerized system, you need not ask for a copy in case the original is lost.

Going paperless for your office may be just a good business decision for you; however, it is also the best way in which you can reduce use of paper documents in the office. Studies have shown that a cut of just about 10% of paper by businesses around the world can prevent emission of 1.6 million tons of greenhouse gases, which is equal to taking off more than 250,000 vehicles off the road. Imagine, a simple activity of reducing paper consumption in your office can really have a huge impact on saving the environment.

Steve Breault “DocMeister”

Archiving Documents Saves Time and Money

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

Steve Breault

Technology has completely transformed the world today, so much that any business can be run from any corner of the world. Ability to communicate at all times using the internet and any handheld device has completely changed the way world interacts today. With ever-changing technology and scores of new gadgets being introduced every year, where do you think the world would be a decade from now? Probably much more advanced, with even more sophisticated hardware and software to manage everything, right from educations systems and businesses to government organizations. Considering this, where does your business stand? Is it up for the competition?

If you have been thinking about revamping the way your business is managed, then installing a document management system is a great way to start. The best part about starting reorganizing your office this way is that you get to do away with all the paper in your office. Along with this you also get rid of bulky filing cabinets and folders, thus emptying a large amount of space to carry out the next step of reorganizing your office.

Document management system is a great method of archiving documents for future use. You may have several documents lying around apart from those used on daily basis. These may be in the form of brochures, policies, user manuals, and so on, which can be easily digitized using data capture solutions. Data capture essentially includes digital imaging, wherein your documents are scanned and saved as a .tif, .pdf, image only or text format. The system does not save the documents just anywhere, but at a location on the hard disk specified by the user. A document imaging and management software saves all your records in a concise and easy to retrieve manner.

This is the most affordable and cost-effective method of maintaining records today. Imagine a situation where you need some important data for your report and your subordinates or colleagues are not able to find it in the filing cabinet. Archiving documents using data capture solutions helps retrieve data by using simple keywords or fields used while saving the records. For instance, you can easily search for data using serial number, invoice number, order number or any other such information that you have. It is the easiest method of managing records and saving precious time.

Even if you have switched to a computerized system, data capture solutions can be used for archiving documents such as old paper files. This way you can easily reduce the hassle of storing older records in paper format by simply converting them into digital files. It will also be easier for you to look for old reports or other information by searching it on your computer rather than going through loads of old data on paper files. In fact, such a system guarantees that you would definitely find the information if it has been stored correctly, where with a physical storage system you can never really be sure whether the record even exists.

A document management system also helps streamline the workflow of documentation and retain consistency while archiving documents. For instance, in paper records, different people may write the same field or detail in different ways, even if there is a set format for the same. This is not possible in a document management system as there are set fields and ways in which records can be entered. Apart from this, often such systems are installed for centralized use, where any employee can access the records from anywhere in the office. This again saves time in finding and taking a file from one office to the other, where reports and updates can be easily sent electronically.

Installing a document management system is the best business strategy that you can implement to improve the way your office functions. Imagine the amount of time saved, which can now be utilized in concentrating on business goals and objectives rather than looking for information. A document management solution can really help improve your services, reduce administrative burden and increase productivity. It is the best way of using technology to your advantage and creating more opportunities for your business to grow.

Document Management Made Easy

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Steve Breault

Document management has come a long way, from maintaining paper files to computer based documentation to automated data capture. The reason why automatic data capture has gained importance in recent times is the large amount of data that needs to be maintained on daily basis. Both large and small businesses and organizations receive thousands of documents everyday in the form of bills, receipts, order forms, and so on. It is becoming increasingly difficult to keep a record of all the data that comes in, leading to loss of important information and consequently loss of precious time.

Data is one of the most important entities for any organization, be it government or a business. Everything from records of employees to transactions involving millions of dollars is dependent on efficient accounting. Also, hundreds and thousands of entries are laboriously made by typing on the keyboard, increasing the scope for errors. Considering this, one lapse in manual entry can have very serious consequences, emphasizing the need for automatic data capture system. A system in the form of document management software not only helps in maintaining data but also in retrieving it at the right time.
A simple issue like not being able to maintain a database correctly can be a big hindrance to expanding your business. For instance, it may not be possible for you to provide your services to more than a certain number of customers at a time simply because you don’t have a system to maintain those many records, orders and transactions. In such cases, software with the facility of automatic data capture can be a great tool to take your business to a new level.

The automatic data capture feature of document management software helps add records directly from the documents, without any manual intervention. It uses technologies such as bar codes, optical character recognition, smart cards and so on to record data for future use. For instance, a data imaging software scans and captures relevant information from a paper document and records it in a folder selected by the user. Basically anything that your office maintains in the forms of paper documents has the potential to be captured and maintained on a digital format.

Some benefits of document management software include:

Increased efficiency: Document management software is truly a time saver. The automatic data capture feature can save several hours otherwise spent in typing out data from paper documents. This also tremendously reduces the likelihood of errors and again the time spent in correcting them. As there is very less manual work involved, your employees can concentrate on the business objectives rather than putting their efforts on document management.

Increased ROI: As every document is saved digitally, document management system helps streamline the process of maintaining database. It also reduces the need for paper and consequently space required for their storage. These can have significant impact on investments made just for security and storage of such paper documents. Also, there is noticeable decrease in the amount of hours spent in searching and retrieval of documents, thus saving hours of business time.

Access control: Document management software can be setup in a way that it can only be accessed by authorized personnel, thus reducing the chances of loss of information. The data can also be shared on need-to-know basis.

Streamlined workflow: One important feature that matters most to organizations is consistency in processing. For instance, you may have certain document naming conventions or particular folders where each type of document is saved. There is always a chance of error when this is entered manually. However, once you have set this on document management software, you need not worry about whether the document will be saved in the correct folder or not, as everything is automated.

As you conduct meetings from time to time to monitor weekly or monthly progress and increase efficiency, you may have come across document management as a recurrent issue presented by your managers and other employees. There may be several problems ranging from accidental loss of data to hours spent in documenting records. Document management software is a great tool to automate your office and significantly reduce the time spent in manual documentation. It is one of the best means by which you can look to expand your business and help it grow exponentially.

Steve Breault “DocMeister”