Advice from the experts

Advice from the experts

By Alicia Camphuisen

There are always lessons a company learns from its experiences that can help others make the transition to an imaging system.

"Evaluate a number of scanners," was the first piece of advice from Ross Cooper, manager of business transformation systems at National Mutual. As National Mutual had to scan 15,000 pages per day across three sites in Melbourne, Sydney and Wellington, taking time to evaluate the range of options was vital to assure the company it had made an informed scanner purchase.

Mr Cooper added that straightforward steps like separating the documents into batches assisted the imaging process.

Throughput was better when the documents were separated according to physical attributes, such as size and thickness.

Ian Dawson, pre-sales support engineer at imaging solution vendor ACA Pacific, suggested potential users look at the scanner and its application as "hand in glove", as the application must suit the user's requirements now and in the future.

As well as technical considerations, Mr Cooper found that National Mutual also benefited from giving thought to more uniform personnel concerns. This includes training issues, such as ensuring staff can not only use the scanning system, but also know something about its maintenance.

As for the eternal outsourcing dilemma, it is a decision that must be left to the individual organisation. There are benefits of jumping either way: scanning in house gives you more control and for regular jobs may be more economical, while outsourcing to a bureau may be cheaper for one-off data capture jobs. It comes down to a bottom line rationalisation, and Mr Dawson suggested taking a flexible"hybrid model" that brings together many components.

Following this notion, an organisation may outsource huge backlogs, and then undertake day-to-day imaging in house.

Beyond the daily task of capturing documents for archiving, there is also the longer term situation to consider. Ben Tosetto, manager of Australian Microfilm Services, advocated looking 10 or more years down the track to gain a more whole idea of whether it is wiser to scan to CD or to a non-digital medium because of backward-compatibility issues.

Mr Tosetto said that in the United States he had heard reports of increased wariness toward CDs as a long term archiving medium as "the data on CDs in the States is corrupting faster". He added that as tainted data cannot always be detected if it resides in a rarely accessed file it may be too late to prevent losing the records to corruption.

This is not say that Mr Tosetto is against digital storage - "people have nothing to gain by putting all their eggs in one basket", but for quick access he believed it was ideal.

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