Correct implementation in 10 steps
Digitization = efficiency and success
Digitization or digital transformation of your paper documents is the prerequisite for efficiency and the success of your company. The need for digitization is now an important aspect for everyone.
As the whole world becomes more “digital”, more and more companies, especially SMEs, need a “push” to get started. Because many are already horrified at the mere thought of devoting themselves to the topic or dealing with it.
In the current article, we will show you that the transition from paper documents to digital documents is much easier than it seems in your nightmares. Follow our advice it will pay off for your business.
To a certain extent, the analogue archive is still a necessity even today. However, 99% of the time there is no need to work with it.
On the contrary, printed paper is an anachronism that is maintained either out of habit or purely technically because certain documents must be preserved in the form in which they were made out, such as deeds or contracts. But these can also be scanned in order to work with their respective content on the computer.
The actual trip to the archive, the search on shelves or filing cabinets, the removal of the document, working with it and bringing it back and arranging it again in the archive. Just describing and reading this process takes a lot of time. Calling up the digital archive, on the other hand, takes a few clicks and nothing more.
Before we get into the benefits, let's answer the following question:
Why is it important not to lag behind when it comes to digitization?
10 advantages of digitizing paper documents:
Flexible working, no matter where you are
Optimization of all workflows
Digital receipt and dispatch
Reducing costs in all areas
Simplified handling of deadlines
Faster internal and external communication
Integration in office software
Search content using keywords
Saving working hours
Long-term archiving in PDF/A format
Consider it an investment in a new machine!
Be sure to avoid this error
While large companies have long appointed digitization officers who deal with the topic of converting analog documents full-time, small and medium-sized companies usually lack human resources, especially since appropriate professional qualifications are required.
However, this is a common mistake and leads to bad investments, because many manufacturers take advantage of this ignorance.
Interim conclusion 1 / 3
You don't need an IT specialist or a trained librarian!
All you really need is
Sometimes the hardware is often already there, has more potential than before and can be used immediately.
By the way, there is a special article on the subject of "digital invoice processing", which reported on the advantages of digitization or digital invoice processing:
Click here for the guide
What does the digitization of documents mean in detail?
Put very simply, it is the process of replacing a physical document, in the sense of paper, with a digital format.
Most people should be familiar with the process, at least in a rudimentary way. A document is scanned or photographed, for which scanners are usually used. However, it depends on the respective interface. A document can also be digitized using a cell phone camera.
For many companies, the change from paper and folders to electronic formats is one of the most important and also significant measures in the digitization process.
Video "Automatically archive paper documents from the scanner"In PaperOffice you have all the tools you need to digitize your documents.
With PaperOffice, all you have to do is scan your document with your scanner (PaperOffice works with everyone), and PaperOffice creates a digital version.
On the topic "Automated archiving of paper documents" there is a video on YouTube which explains this process in an understandable way:
How to scan paper documents
Scan documents are added via the integrated scanner module ScanConnect, which, among other things, enables document capture from all scanners, multifunction devices, mobile apps and also large copiers, such as the company Konica Minolta, Develop, Canon, Xerox and others.
Automatic versioning for existing documents is taken into account, and the method of scanning thanks to the separator pages is supported for mass scans of document stacks and then subdivision into individual documents.
If you scan a lot of documents, PaperOffice is particularly useful because it recognizes separator sheets and separates the documents for archiving. A great feature that is particularly useful if your company regularly works with complex format documents is that PaperOffice uses an AI to recognize the content on your documents, such as: totals, document types, dates, contact details, etc.
OCR or how are paper documents made searchable?
Now the text on a document should not only be readable, but also be available in such a way that you can easily search for a snippet of text.
Filing fully automatically and without manual effort.
As soon as documents are inserted into PaperOffice, PIA takes care of everything that is otherwise holding you up.
- Analyze and break down into so-called block chains using the integrated "computer vision"
- Recognize text using OCR text recognition and compare it with dictionaries using PaperOffice SmartSpell
- Index and catalog visually and by keyword for the integrated PaperOffice search engine
No matter what and no matter from which scanner source!
This means that PIA provides you with your own powerful search engine for all your information, which can search and find text-based like classic search engines such as Google, but can also do the whole thing visually, i.e. compare and recognize a document visually can.
PaperOffice will automatically recognize all documents that have been taught in by PIA from this point in time, which in turn can trigger automatic rules and filing masks.
Can document storage and recognition be automated?
In order to automatically store your documents and receipts, the document is first taught in PaperOffice. The filing masks in PaperOffice take care of the indexing and filing location.
As soon as a taught-in document template has been recognized, a storage mask is automatically triggered, which is responsible for the automated keywording and the storage location.
Storage masks can not only be triggered automatically by taught-in document templates - they can also be selected manually in the PIA dialog.
PIA becomes completely autonomous, without any user interaction and for an unlimited number of documents according to the defined storage masks:
- Read out automatically
- Tag fully
- Make searchable
- Add and monitor tasks and workflows that need to be done
- Create new target folder structures
- Save to target folder
- Create thumbnails
- Fill in the required fields yourself
- Link to contacts and optimize for contact search
Compliance with GoBD-compliant digitization and legal regulations
One of the most important aspects when storing documents via a document management system is compliance with legal regulations or the requirements of the GoBD.
The abbreviation GoBD stands for the "Principles for the proper management and storage of books, records and documents in electronic form and for data access".
In particular, due to the audit-proof, highly encrypted document storage directly in a central SQL database PaperOffice meets all requirements for document standards and legal guidelines or the world's highest German standard GOBD.
The term versioning is not a foreign word within a document management system (DMS). The need to use a document management system that has GoBD-compliant version control and audit-proof versioning is clearer than ever before.
Versioning makes all changes traceable
The term versioning can be explained very easily: Overall, it is about the functionality used to record changes to documents or files. Document change can be detected and saved as a shadow copy as a new document version.
Each document change places a "newer" version of the document in a corresponding archive. The logging makes changes transparent and traceable at all times. At this point, the subsequent viewer knows when and by which editor the change to the document was made. This gives you an overview of the entire document lifecycle. Versioning can be done automatically or manually.
In order to ensure revision security, all details of a change to documents and files must be clearly traceable. It must be ensured that only authorized employees can make such a change. But it is just as important to know years later which employees changed what and when.
PaperOffice exceeds all legal requirementsThe development of PaperOffice DMS is GoBD-compliant, so you can use the software without any worries having to make you break a rule. For example, every time someone changes a document, a new version of that document is created. In this way you can track what content the document had at what time.
The right strategy for digitizing:
"Step by step" and "Last in<>First out"
The fact that the digitization of analogue documents has advantages is clearly demonstrated.
But how can the short-term disadvantages be reduced?
The more expensive variant of digitization is to commission a company that specializes in this. Depending on the circumstances, the files and folders from the archive are sent to the company as freight, where they are digitized and sent back again. The format of the data to be digitized was previously determined. But give out important company data? Although all companies that deal with digital archiving assure the highest level of confidentiality, there are no guarantees.
On request, companies can also bring a truck with drum scanners and digitize directly on site, in the parking lot of their own company premises. However, that drives up the bill tremendously. The costly out-of-home service, which can take several days depending on the size of the archive, has to be paid for separately.
Fortunately for all companies, while archives must be archives, the information they contain, whether analogue or digital, does not all have to be available at the same time. This enables companies to digitize archives step by step, according to the logistics principle of last in <> first out. Digitize the most recently received analogue documents first.
The reason is simple
Contemporary documents are usually needed far more than time-distant documents in the daily workflow. So you should digitize these timely documents first, which speeds up the work process thanks to your better availability. In the best case, there is a balance between the effort involved in digitizing (removing the archive, scanning, saving digitally, bringing back the analogue document) and the process acceleration that is now available, since there is no need to go to the archive and you can do all the processes on the computer.
Another positive effect of this approach is that retention periods can be optimally used in order to reduce the analogue archive stock and not to digitize files whose retention periods expire six months later.
It is essential to provide hardware or an easy connection and determine the scope of digitization in-house!
The number of administrative employees in a company or the number of VDU jobs that come into question sometimes vary greatly, so it is impossible to say how many of the employees you should commission with digitization in relation to the size of the company.
At the very least, each employee should have access to a device with a scanner function, preferably a document scanner that allows multiple feeds to be scanned as well as different formats.
The scope of each digitization is just as tricky as the number of people involved in digitization, because with this system, digitization is almost incidental. This can be implemented, for example, in the form that employee Z processes a process in connection with company XYZ. At the same time, this could be the trigger to digitize the entire analog archived file on company XYZ.
However, a long-term business relationship, for example, can manifest itself in a fairly large number of files. Another variant would be to digitize only certain segments of the business relationship, precisely those that are subject to the most frequent processing. For example, invoicing or delivery notes. With the right software, process-accompanying digitization can be implemented without any problems.
The Ultimate 5-Step Guide
We have created the ultimate 5-step guide to going paperless and digitizing your business, detailing each 5 steps and how long it takes:
Build DMS software yourself or open source?
Anyone who, as an entrepreneur or responsible person, wants to make life really difficult for themselves and their employees in terms of digitalization, puts together the software:
A program to collect the data from the scanning process.
An OCR software for text recognition.
A database program.
A search software and so on.
In the end everything ends up in some cloud.
In short: Young people research without rhyme or reason.
Which software suits me?
The software composition of many companies resembles their company history, a structure that has grown slowly. It is so complex that only a few long-time employees understand it.
The better solution is software that carries out all processes from scanning to provision to archiving and at the same time offers interfaces to connect other software. A software with self-explanatory menu navigation that ultimately gives a company's digital documents a home that also meets all requirements in terms of data handling and processing as well as security.
That sounds a bit pathetic?
That's right, but something simple and functioning pathos is better than a torrent of IT technical jargon that makes the employees break out in a sweat.
PaperOffice is perfect for digitizing documents.
The right document
management software solves the analogue-digital problem
DMS stands for document management software and is intended to manage documents, especially digital documents, which includes the conversion from analog to digital. PaperOffice DMS is such software. Its range of functions is just as remarkable as its intuitively designed menu navigation, which only requires minor training. You don't need expensive consultants on site. Well-explained video tutorials on PaperOffice DMS can do this just as well and much cheaper, for free.
Scanning, OCR, archiving with automatic keywording, AI-controlled document merging, integrated search engine, workflow function, encryption with 1024Mbit, direct integration into MS Office, protection against ransomware, automated template creation, stamp function, task and note management.
These are a couple of the most important functions of PaperOffice DMS and as I said, neither you nor your employees have to complete an IT degree.
Where is the best place to save the scan documents?
We recommend our customers to archive the digitized data either in a database located on a NAS device such as Synology or QNAP or on a dedicated server. With your own external (dedicated) PaperOffice server, you get all the advantages of a cloud with perfect data protection and save money and a lot of work every month.
With a PaperOffice server you have all the advantages of a cloud solution with just one huge difference: It is your own dedicated database server and nobody accesses it but you.
Don't want to use a server? No problem.
Why a NAS is ideal for document archiving
A NAS, a network attached storage, in German a storage device with a network connection, as well as the compatible software for PaperOffice DMS and the internal cloud is ready. Absolutely safe from state and non-state curiosity and, thanks to the backup function, also safe from a hard drive crash.
Interim conclusion 3/ 31. Contact a manufacturer with know-how and software that complies with GOBD (and also GDPR)! 2. There is no one suitable DMS software. Every DMS has its justification and ultimately the product has to fit the purpose. 3. Whether it's your own server, PaperOffice dedicated server in the data center of Strato AG in Berlin (Germany) or NAS - save yours NEVER document on third-party cloud storage which a) is not used on a dedicated basis and b) is not located in a safe country c) you cannot export with one click
If you follow the advice and will use a NAS for in-house secure document storage - PaperOffice is not only perfect for this, but is even the only official DMS for the largest NAS manufacturer in the world - QNAP www.qnap.com/PaperOffice:
Finally, we answer a few more frequently asked questions on the subject "The 10 most important advantages of digitizing paper documents":
Which scanner to use for DMS?
To scan bound documents, a sheetfed scanner with at least 300dpi is recommended. The scanner wanted to have a scan-to-fodler function and optional WIA/TWAIN drivers. We have had good experiences with Fujitsu Scansnap, which work very reliably.
What is the best way to archive documents?
Paper documents should generally be scanned in PDF/A format and then saved in a DMS document management software - or directly if the software supports this or automates it, e.g. through monitoring.
Can I throw away original documents?
If you are using decent software that gets regular updates and have a data backup strategy, the answer is YES for non-critical documents. Everything that could legally require the original should also be kept in the original. For example, PaperOffice DMS has the option of storing the original storage location in the document properties.
Benefits justify the effort and costs
Working digitally and bringing old documents into the new age will be the best key investment to save an incredible amount of time, money and nerves in the future.
You need someone who knows
You don't need your own IT specialist to take advantage of all the advantages of digitization.
What you need is the right partner at your side who, thanks to his experience, can implement exactly what you need. Avoid scaremongering and choose test positions instead of fancy PowerPoint presentations without having really tested it.
The hardware is usually already available
Experience has shown that almost every operation, company and company has a large copier that does not use its potential. These devices love mass scans, are tolerant of paperclips and can be the basis for a digital start without a scanner investment.
Cheaper than expected with the right DMS
Avoid cost traps with DMS / ECM systems where you are mercilessly at the mercy of the manufacturers. Do not make any compromises when it comes to your own administration options, such as teaching documents and making settings yourself. If you need help, the manufacturer will be happy to help you, but remain independent.
Digital automation is the future
Procedures will be completely identical in the future, but fully automated.
Invoice coming in? The workflow is triggered and everything goes its defined way.
Search through all 1000 folders? No problem, because you have your own Google!
With the right strategy, the conversion from analogue to digital archives will not be an expensive process. Every entrepreneur must realize that this step has to be taken at some point, better today than tomorrow.
As shown here, with the right tools, change can lead to rapid amortization of investments and significantly reduce the costs and time required for future processes.
The change just has to happen.
The PaperOffice team is happy to share 20 years of experience and protect you from mistakes!