By now, most business leaders understand the need for digital transformation, but for some industries, change has been a long time coming. The ongoing pandemic has highlighted many of these preexisting challenges, placing traditional businesses under enormous pressure to innovate as quickly as possible.
While most companies are now using digital documents, many have yet to implement digital technologies across all of their operations. Others, particularly established organizations, still have huge archives of printed records or scanned copies of them. These companies are missing out on the many benefits of digitization.
What is digitization?
Digitization is the process of converting analog content into digital form. That might not mean much by itself, hence it’s important to understand how it works and why it’s important.
When migrating from printed to digital records, there are several key steps involved. First, the documents need to be scanned into a computer, at which point they’ll be stored as images, which provide little benefit by themselves beyond making it easier to back them up. Afterward, optical character recognition (OCR) software reads the scanned text and makes it editable and searchable.
To maximize the use of your scanned and digitized documents, it’s often necessary to turn all the unstructured data into a structured format for easier search and archiving. Furthermore, digitized documents need to be manually reviewed to ensure no inconsistencies or errors remain from the digitization process. This is especially important when digitizing medical or legal records.
Digitizing large archives of legacy records is a laborious task, hence it’s important to migrate to digital documents as soon as possible.
Reasons to digitize documents
1. Instant search
Searching through printed records is a time-consuming and inefficient process, no matter how well-organized your filing system is. Simply scanning printed documents doesn’t make this any easier either, since the text content isn’t searchable unless it has been converted from an image format. Also, records lacking metadata might be harder to search for, especially if you have a very large number of documents.
Properly cleaned, enriched, and formatted digital documents are instantly searchable, even if you have thousands of them. For example, law firms often have to search through huge archives of printed or scanned documents, which can take hours. If all those documents are properly digitized, they can completely eliminate that extra overhead. The same applies in other industries.
The ability to instantly search through your records is an enormous benefit. It reduces staffing costs, helps you resolve problems faster, and it’s far less susceptible to human error. All these factors combine to enable a better experience for customers and employees alike.
2. Easier collaboration
Digital documents can work wonders for collaboration and communication. Combined with the power of cloud-based platforms, multiple people can work on the same documents at the same time — something that’s simply not possible if you’re relying on printed content.
Take Google Docs, for example. Multiple users can simultaneously review, edit, or post comments, depending on their permissions, regardless of their location. This enables seamless collaboration and communication by negating the need to exchange printed documents or send documents via email and other platforms. Instead, all documents exist in the cloud, where it’s readily accessible to everyone who needs them.
3. Improved security
Finally, digitization provides greatly improved security. For example, you can encrypt documents so they’re completely inaccessible to any unauthorized individual. You can also protect your accounts using multifactor authentication, which combines things like passwords and one-time access tokens to add an extra layer of security.
It’s also much easier to ensure business continuity with digital documents. You can back them up anywhere, on any device, and in a wide variety of different formats. By contrast, printed documents need to be physically copied and protected, and ensuring those copies are always kept up to date is all but impossible to achieve at scale.
Cut down on storage costs and paper waste by digitizing your documents with the help of a managed print services provider like Complete Document Solutions. Our digital document solutions can improve your company’s workflow and free up areas taken up by large filing cabinets. Request your quote today.