Document scanning or off-site document storage - Which is right for you?
April 30, 2011
When we receive enquiries from organisations looking into document scanning, a simple question often reveals whether document scanning is going to be a cost effective solution to their problem - the question is:
What’s prompted you to look into scanning?
If the response is along the lines of….
we’re out of space, or
we’re moving office and don’t want to take the paper with us
we just want to get rid of paper
…then scanning is generally not the most cost effective solution. It might satisfy the objective of getting rid of paper but not necessarily in the most economical way.
If space is the problem, off-site storage is usually the fastest and lowest cost solution.
As a rule of thumb, records can be stored off-site for 10-15 years for the equivalent cost of scanning those same documents. With most records only needing to be retained for 7 years, its clear that off-site storage will be a lower cost alternative to document scanning.
Document scanning comes into its own:
- for very long retention periods
- when immediate access is required - for instance in a customer service centre to satisfy a caller when on the initial phone call
- when distributed, concurrent or very frequent access is required
- to integrate legacy paper records into a new electronic document management system
- to provide redundancy for originals
Notice that none of these characteristics relates to space. If document storage space is the primary problem, more often than not off-site storage will be the answer.
It’s not always as simple as 100% document storage or 100% document scanning. If a small percentage of documents require immediate access - such as signed application forms or banking authority documents - a hybrid solution of document scanning combined with off-site storage could be the best solution. Or if it’s acceptable to wait for documents for between 15 minutes and 1 hour, off-site storage combined with retrieval and scan-on-demand might be the answer.
FileSaver is an archiving services firm providing document scanning and off-site document storage services. We have extensive experience in assisting clients with large scale document scanning projects, off-site document storage, as well as hybrid scanning and storage solutions tailored to each client’s requirements.
If your organisation is considering document scanning as a solution to its document storage and access needs, contact us for expert advice and a free, no-obligation consultation as to the relative merits and costs of document scanning versus off-site storage, and consideration of possible hybrid solutions.