Bringing your organization into the paperless environment can be long and challenging road. With many software products and technologies available today, organizations have many choices when it comes to implementing solutions. This guide is intended to educate you on the paperless environment, help you evaluate your needs, and let you make an informed decision when reviewing potential solutions. It will walk you through the steps of analyzing your current needs, and discuss Cloud vs. in-house solutions.
Step 1: Defining Project Goals
The first step in a successful project is to determine your organization’s goals for managing its documents. These goals are typically driven by financial, legal and industry regulations.
Is the goal of this to improve efficiencies (i.e. eliminate the cost of employees manually filing and
searching for documents)?
Is the goal of this project financial (i.e. reduce physical storage space, eliminate off-site storage,
reduce copying/printing expenses)?
Is the goal of this project driven by industry compliancy issues?
Step 2: Defining Business Requirements
Understanding your organizations business requirements for archiving documents is the next step to s successful project. Documents may need to be captured and/or shared across the organization and having a clear idea of your requirements will allow you to make the right decisions as you move forward.
Do documents need to be shared by many people?
Do you need to manage documents in one department, a single office, or a large enterprise?
Do documents need to be shared within a single building or at numerous locations?
Do you need to provide access to these documents to any anyone outside of your organization?
Do documents simply need to be stored so they can be retrieved at later date (i.e. a HR
document or medical record), or do they need to travel through a business process (i.e. an
invoice approval process)?
Are there any special requirements for your project that may impact your decisions?
Do you have a backlog of documents (digital or physical) that need to be archived along with day-
Do users need to individually scan and/or import documents at their desks, or would you like to
centrally scan documents (typically used for higher-volume applications)?
How long do you need to keep these documents (most organizations retain documents for 7
Step 3: Document Analysis
The next step in your project is to get a complete understanding of the types of documents you want to archive. These details will help you determine the size, complexity and cost of ECM you need as well as the most efficient way to archive your documents into the system.
Where do the documents originate from (fax, mail, created internally, etc)?
Do you need to archive both digital (i.e. Word, Excel, PDF) and paper documents?
How many pages and/or documents monthly do I need to archive?
Does that volume increase or decrease throughout the year?
Do the documents consist of standardized forms (i.e. an order form or HR application) or an
unstructured forms (i.e. an invoice, letter or miscellaneous document)?
Step 4: IT Requirements
Your project may have some IT specific requirements that may need be factored into your decision making process. Different organizations have different approaches to IT, usually based on the size of an organization. They range from the “I don’t want to deal with IT” to the “We maintain a full IT department and strictly manage our environment”.
Do you want a fully maintained (a hosted, Cloud) system?
Do you want to main your documents “within the walls” of the organization?
Are there any additional IT specific requirements that need to be considered?
Step 5: Budgeting
Solutions are available for all budgets and pricing can range significantly based on how much you need to archive, how many users will need to access the system, and the features you require. When budgeting for your solution, be sure to include expenses such as installation, training, hardware, and annual software maintenance If you decide to use a hosted (cloud) solution, be sure to budget for items like increased internet bandwidth, a second internet connection (often times maintained as a backup), overage fees for heavy usage, etc. We recommend you select a solution from a provider that offers a complete end-to-end offering (like UIG) so you can minimize hidden costs, avoid headaches from dealing with numerous companies, and keep from dealing off-shore customer service representatives.
Step 6: Selecting a Solution
We recommend that you select a solution that both fits your needs and from a company who you can rely on. Here are some points we try and highlight to clients that are searching for a solution:
Pick a solution from a company that will give you personal attention, from sales thru support.
Pick a solution that can fulfill your current needs and offers the most bang-for-your-buck.
If deciding on a hosted (cloud) solution...
make sure you understand and accept the risk that involves.
consider using a "private cloud" solution. This is a solution where you documents/data
are stored independent from other clients information (like UIG's solution).
Pick a company that doesn't use off-shore resources for customer service or technical support.
Never, ever, pick a solution where you cannot easily retrieve all documents from the system at
once in the event you want to move to another product. Better companies will put this in writing
and will not charge you for doing this.
We invite you to read more about United Imaging Group's offerings. If you would like more information about any of our solutions, our knowledgeable solutions specialists are available to assist you and help you make the right decisions for your project. From simple guidance in selecting the right solution, to a full enterprise-wide imaging and archiving platform, having an experienced partner will be the key to your project's success.