How Long Does It Take?

This week’s blog offers up some bite-sized realities for the professional’s /office manager’s consideration:

Average time expended in daily information search*:
Office worker: ………………. 58.5 minutes
Mid-level executive: ………… 32.5 minutes
Snr. Exec/Professional: …… 32.5 minutes

How does your info search experience compare with these Canadian business office findings?

How does the math look for your operations, i.e. compensation per minute X minutes consumed?

Digitizing office and personal files for instant recall of information as needed, has to be one of the truly “smart” office decisions for success in today’s marketplace.

What do you think?

Silos – vital information not accessible!

Many of us serve as volunteers in charitable, non-profit or religious organizations, sometimes in a board responsibility, others in executive or clerical functions. How often have you found that urgently needed information is locked away in the computer of another volunteer or colleague, sometimes at his or her home or even at their cottage!

The point is that a significant volume of the documentation in non-profit organizations often does not get into the central file repository. This is especially true in regard to paper archives … past board decisions; studies, reviews and opinions considered by previous executives and boards; etc.

Many for-profit organizations also fall into this costly and potentially dangerous situation. Just think of all the valuable knowledge and context that is currently hidden (lost!) in boxes of paper archives … information that could better inform and guide many current day board and executive decisions.

Consider this as a plea for decision makers in such organizations, to start your new project to digitize all important documents, with a low-cost electronic document management system to find and retrieve any needed information in a few seconds! This transformation will enable everyone with permission-based access rights, to get the information they need to do their tasks with excellence and vastly improved organizational efficiency!

It will also reduce, if not eliminate, the silos!

How Digitizing Can Help Reduce Your Printing Costs!

One of the great ways to reduce the number of pages printed unnecessarily … and save a few more trees in the bargain … is to digitize documents.

What often happens is that when we need a hard copy of a document, our real requirement is for just one or a few pages, not the whole document! So start by digitizing any hard copy information that you want to keep for future reference or duplication.
In the typical North American business office it is estimated that the average document is copied 19 times! Frequently the copied sheets are tossed into the waste bin or shredder after the desired information is extracted. When you think about it, this is really a horrendous cost: a burden that our society need not be incurring, and one which our national and global ecology cannot afford indefinitely!

So let’s think about it next time we decide to print copies of a document … first, look through the digital file (or, better still, use a word search engine e.g. Adobe) to locate the precise sentences, paragraphs, dates or numbers that we need to find … and then print out just those pages!

It just may be that we experience a nice encouraging inner personal boost, knowing that we’ve just done something practical and measurable to preserve and improve the world we live in!

Commercial Benefits of Document Scanning

This week’s blog offers a real-life insight into the valuable commercial benefits of document scanning.

Real measurable savings from professionally executed document scanning & indexing can be illustrated in actual results identified during 2008/2009. The starting situation for this company was simple: a large office that should have been available for productive work was unusable, congested with filing cabinets!

Fast-forward a few months: now you’re seeing a functional business office with two employees productively operating at individual workstations!

The Former Files? Everything in those filing cabinets had been scanned, indexed, OCR’d and saved to two DVD disks! The customer conducted their own internal verification, confirmed total accuracy and accessibility of the scanned information, verified the indexing to be exactly as required, then shredded dozens of boxes of documents that were now no longer needed to be retained!

The Situation Today? ALL the scanned information is available 24/7 with permission-based access! No more expense for paper archive storage! No more expenses for retrieval of needed documents – usually urgently needed and at premium cost to retrieve! To date more than 25 successful scanning and indexing projects have been completed for this customer to their total satisfaction!

The Magic of OCR … Really?

July 22, 2013

Yes. Really!

You’ve probably heard about “the Magic of Compounding” … the mantra that every good financial counsellor will continuously repeat to his or her clients. In the world of document management, relating to the retention, recall and eventual retirement of paper-based information, there is a magic bullet of sorts: OCR – Optical Character Recognition.

In its most simplistic sense, OCR will enable you to find a word or number existing anywhere in a document that has been digitized and appropriately indexed. Indexing refers to the electronic attachment of a unique identifier – e.g. name, date, number – to a digitized document. The document is then put through the OCR process which will enable future instant access (usually in less than a minute) to the exact information you are looking for. Compare this to the hours or days that can be spent searching for a piece of needed information, apply an hourly rate to the time spent, and you begin to get an idea of the immense costs that are currently being paid out to employees just for the locating and retrieving of information!

There is a wide spectrum of ways in which information can be retrieved and used by coupling the OCR resource with various types of document management software and systems; and the positive productivity and profit results of these improvements can be literally spectacular in almost any kind of business, non-profit, public sector or government operation.

What is especially appealing, is that today’s document management systems and software no longer push you into financial nose-bleed territory! Our research in this field since 2009 has turned up a credible range of excellent low-priced (almost “cheap”!) EDM Systems that can now bring excellent information management benefits at very affordable prices, and often with amazingly quick return on investment.

The Magic of OCR? Oh yes! It’s quite real!

Huge Savings with OCR Document Scanning

Backfile Conversion – does it matter?

The dollars and cents of document scanning and digitization

First thing … define what it means! Backfiles are an “IT name” for infrequently used or archived paper documents which have to be available years after they were first created. Typically they exist in file boxes or cabinets stored on or offsite and are generally a pain to locate and access. It can often take hours, days or even weeks to find the document you need.

Next thing to note: backfiles are costly. The expense of search and recovery and return to repository can be quite significant. A small business storing 25 filing cabinets and 20 file boxes, will pay out over $19,500 in storage costs over a 7 year period.

Then there’s the expense of offsite storage: placing just 10 file boxes per year in offsite storage for 7 years can cost over $3,000; add to this the $4,000 cost of catastrophic loss prevention, e.g. fireproof cabinets rated to withstand 2 hours of “burn”.

Total “hard cost” expense for these 70 backfile boxes will amount to nearly $27,000 over seven years. By contrast, a properly executed backfile conversion program can totally eliminate this expense and, as well, deliver nearly $13,000 net savings during that same period!

There are also great additional savings that are released by recovering needed business information in less than 60 seconds, instead of minutes, hours or even days. The net value of these “soft” savings in the above small business example, is estimated between $47,000 and $95,000!

So yes: backfile conversion does matter … to the efficiency and the profitability of your organization!

Note: the examples quoted above are taken from original research conducted among businesses and non-profit organizations in 2009 in Ottawa, Canada by the author.

Backfile Document Scanning – Ottawa

Welcome to Our Site – Happy Canada Day!

Today, July 1st 2013, Canada Day, is an important milestone for our 4 year-old document scanning Ottawa-based business. Jennifer and I see the past four years as our time of “proving the concept” … initiating, honing and refining our hands-on process for delivering 100% guaranteed scanning jobs. We quickly learnt that while speed of delivery is important, it is even more critically important for the customer to know for certain that every word and symbol on every page in their box of documents is safely and accurately scanned, indexed and perfectly recoverable on the final DVD or preferred deliverable.

The warmth and genuineness of our Clients’ responses since mid-2008 has been both special and encouraging: and we would be pleased if you take a look at some of their comments the Testimonials section of our new website.

We are very happy to announce the transformation and expansion of our website which is being re-launched this month. Our goal continues to be very singular: we will continue to provide the highest levels of accuracy and positive responsiveness to the document scanning needs of our customers … businesses, non-profit organizations and governments in Ottawa, Ontario and beyond.

Finally, for now, we hope to be sharing useful information about scanning and document management, on this blog site from time to time in the future.

Happy Canada Day!

Robert & Jennifer