Why invest in a document imaging system? Document imaging
evolved because 90% of corporate information resides on paper.
Document imaging is the process of converting paper documents
into electronic documents that are exact replicas of their paper
counterparts. They are then indexed, stored and retrieved from
the company's computer network or the Internet. Document imaging
systems are finding a warm welcome in many organizations because
they make significant improvements in operational efficiency
with little organizational change. In a business climate, where
organizations are seeking ways to cut costs and increase
productivity, document imaging systems are providing the most
dramatic impact on office production since the copy machine
replaced carbon paper.
There is an unrecognized cost to every
organization to operate and maintain a paper-based filing system
One industry that has analyzed this overhead cost extensively is
the healthcare industry, particularly physicians' offices. We
have all seen the racks of patient records located behind the
receptionist's desk in a physician's office. These offices have
a predictable number of chart pulls daily, determined by the
number of patients seen, the number of billings, the number of
laboratory reports filed and the number of outside inquires.
Study after study reveals that in a highly organized patient
record system, with a dedicated person pulling and filing
patient records, it takes six minutes on average to pull and
re-file a chart.
apply the same efficiencies to organizations outside the
healthcare industry, we begin to realize the cost of maintaining
a paper-based filing system. It is common to find organizations
that pull a file every time a check comes in, or an invoice is
received and paid. Every time important paper documents are
received from outside the company, or produced within the
company, they eventually are filed. This occurs with accounting
records, job files, personnel records, human resource records
and so on. There is often an ebb and flow of several office
personnel trafficking through out a paper-based filing system to
retrieve and return documents.
The following analysis calculates the actual
overhead cost associated with a paper-based filing system
Assume that you either receive or generate 100 important paper
documents that are filed daily. 100 x 6 minutes each to file =
600 minutes daily / 60 minutes per hour = 10 hours x $15 per
hour (including S.S. and benefits) = $150 per day x 260 days a
year = $39,000 per year. In this example, we used 100 important
documents to be filed and retrieved in a highly efficient filing
system. It is easy to estimate the maintenance cost of your
paper filing system: estimate how many times your organization
files or retrieves a document and then use the 6 minute per
document pull analysis just described.
The problem of lost and missing documents
The above analysis ignores the fact that in a paper-based filing
system, documents often cannot be found. According to a study by
Cooper and Lybrand, "7.5% of all documents get lost and 3% of
the remainder are misfiled." This suggests that one out of every
ten documents is a problem (sitting on someone's desk, being
removed form the office, etc.) and takes longer to retrieve.
This dramatically increases the costs involved in paper filing
In addition, paper-based filing systems allow paper documents to
reside in only one place at a time. Therefore, office personnel
generally make their own copies. According to Cooper and
Lybrand, "The average document gets copied 19 times, and of
course, many of these copies also get filed."
The problem of storing paper files
There is also a cost associated with storing documents both on
and off-site. Our system allows you to store 21,000 documents on
a $1.00 CD or 1,333,000 documents on a 40 GB external hard drive
costing approximately $250. A simple comparison tells the story;
compare the one time charge of $250 for storing these documents
on an external hard drive to the annual cost of maintaining 148
file cabinet drawers.
A document imaging system provides your workforce with immediate
access to information Finding and retrieving a document using a
document imaging system is incomparably faster than the same
process with a paper-based system. With our system, personnel
can search for documents from their desktop PC by simply
clicking on a "Search" icon. Within a split second of search
execution, every document that contains the specified keywords
will appear on the computer screen. To re-file the documents,
simply click the "Close" button and the document is re-filed
instantly. An imaging system quite simply eliminates the wasted
man hours spent filing, searching, retrieving and re-filing
paper documents. The amount of time saved is enormous and gives
a business the option of either re-allocating an employee's time
to more productive tasks, or reducing the size of its workforce.
In many organizations, several people need access to the same
document. When a file is removed from the filing cabinet, work
is interrupted for anyone else needing access to that file. The
result is what the manufacturing industry would call "work
stoppage," slowing production and increasing costs. It also
elevates the frustration level among personnel.
This problem is eliminated with our document imaging system.
Because multiple users can access electronic PDF documents at
one time, information tends to flow more freely using our
system. The benefit is straightforward: immediate access to
documents results in higher office efficiency.
Likewise, office personnel can spend a significant amount of
time returning telephone calls and playing phone tag when
attending to the daily phone tasks that require information from
a file. A document imaging system offers instant access to the
file from any networked PC, allowing personnel to handle
incoming calls immediately, thereby eliminating recalls and
phone tag. This saves time, cuts costs, improves office
efficiency, and increases customer satisfaction. The ability of
a document imaging system to cut expenses and increase
productivity is simply unparalleled by any other cost reduction
Electronic documents can be copied and stored off-site,
protecting records in the event of a disaster
The moment a disaster strikes, whether a fire, flood, tornado or
other dangerous event, is only the beginning of disruptions that
can last weeks to years. Gartner Research recently released a
chilling statistic: two out of five enterprises that experience
a disaster go out of business within five years. A crisis is not
the time for planning. The absence of adequate planning hampers
recovery efforts, and can result in enterprises requiring
significantly greater time to recover - if they are able to
recover at all.
One of the inherent benefits of an electronic document is that a
copy can easily be made and stored off-site. Although
enterprises routinely back-up their servers, the problem that
90% of an organization's knowledge resides in paper remains. The
advantage of a document imaging system is that it converts these
paper documents into electronic documents capable of being
copied and stored off-site.
The benefit of document imaging for disaster recovery was never
more apparent than in the aftermath of Sept. 11th. Since then,
companies recovering from the catastrophe have been trying to
piece together the millions of documents contained in lost
files. One company, Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield, has since
relocated to facilities in New York and Pennsylvania. According
to Ann Mottola, Assistant Vice-President of Customer Service
Technology, "Empire has a comprehensive digital imaging system
that has grown over the years to encompass nearly all the
insurance carrier's paperwork. When disaster struck, Empire's
mirrored facilities in Harrisburg, PA, Middletown, NY and
Yorktown Heights, NY were up and running within hours."
One would hope that a disaster never strikes their organization,
but if it does, the return on investment of a document imaging
system is not measured in dollars and cents. It is measured in
peace of mind; knowing that your organization will not become
one of the statistics mentioned by Gartner Research.