1. Imaging Guide: How to Plan Your Document Conversion
Moving to an electronic records system? It can provide tremendous value to any organization, but it has to be planned and executed perfectly if you are to fully realize this value. The conversion process is filled with challenges, and getting the right resources in place before, during and after is critical. If it isn’t done right, your vital information and business operations can be adversely affected.
This guide outlines some of the steps you’ll need to take in order to successfully plan and execute your document conversion. Because the resources and expertise needed for conversion are generally beyond the capacity of most businesses, the information provided here is also intended to give you the knowledge you need to evaluate and select the right records management partner to help you with your conversion.
We’ll look in-depth at:
- Document assessments
- Outsourcing vs. in-house
- Workflow and indexing
- Auditing scanned images
- After the scan
To find out how to plan your document conversion, you can download the full white paper here.
2. Executing A Successful Imaging Project: Real-World Records Management
How TAB Helped the University of Toronto Image a Collection
What are the 3 things you need when imaging your critical records? Accessibility, security and integrity.
For the Division of University Advancement at the University of Toronto, these were top of mind when they began the search for a digitization vendor.
1.0 A Business-Critical Collection
They needed to convert all of the official hard-copy fundraising records from the previous University Campaign: confidential, business-critical information, 7 years of business and planning documents, budgets, project documents, proposals, communications pieces—in short, ALL documents associated with this groundbreaking campaign.
2.0 What To Look For In A Vendor
Ursula Shail, Associate Director, Records, Facilities and Services, knew from past experience what they needed in a vendor. They needed someone who could:
- Digitize these records in a secure environment, providing total transparency throughout the entire process
- Meet the requirements to provide readable documents in colo r, and address the issues of artwork, transparencies, and print materials
- Deliver requested records within 24 hours
- Work in a tight time frame (3 weeks)
They went with TAB because, as Shail notes, TAB was the only vendor with a process and facility that provided the security, data integrity, and sound understanding of the vision.
Pricing figured in the selection, too: they had wanted to capture the full project without spending an arm and a leg, and TAB’s pricing was accurate and reasonable.
As Shail puts it, “The way TAB laid out process, pricing, and communication from the start showed they understood the project. They did an analysis of a sample file, which gave them a realistic sense of what was involved. We knew we would have access to an online tool so we could see into the process throughout, including scheduled project updates. Plus, their core business function is records management, which shows they understand the complexities of records, not just scanning processes and technologies. For all these reasons, TAB won the business. We had confidence in them.”
3.0 The Process
TAB has extensive experience moving and imaging files, and over time we have developed a process that ensures project success.
As a best practice, TAB won’t take any content off-site unless we know exactly what is in the collection. So this project started off with the team importing the University of Toronto’s existing file list into TAB FusionRMS. We then created, from the existing files, pre-printed separator sheets with a file name and bar code and scanned them into the FusionRMS system. So in essence we did an inventory of the files before they even left the premises, which allowed us to identify any exceptions.
3.2 Moving To TAB Site
Once the inventory was complete, the files were moved to our secure imaging site. All the files were imaged over a period of 3 weeks. As files were scanned, the existing naming convention of the filing system was applied to the metadata then uploaded to the FusionRMS system, which provided online access of the content for the university.
3.3 Transparency And Communication
At the end of every day, TAB provided the University of Toronto with an FTP and FusionRMS upload of the completed files so that they knew what they had and where it was and could then put that information into their system.
All scanned images were also uploaded into FusionRMS in real time and the University of Toronto could track this through the web portal.
This meant that, at any time, the University of Toronto had real-time visibility of the project at the file level.
TAB’s process and technology also allowed any authorized person from the University of Toronto to escalate the standard retrieval protocol (24 hours) and we could pull a file, scan it and send it in 90 minutes.
4.0 Positive Outcomes
Not only did TAB complete the project on time and on budget, scanning every record in the collection in 3 weeks, but because of the imaging process, we produced a better inventory list than the University of Toronto had previously.
TAB also provided the University of Toronto with a SharePoint®-ready solution. As Shail says, “they did it without us having to ask, and we didn’t really know how much we needed it. As we’ve started to move to a SharePoint environment, TAB provided us with this digital collection, along with metadata, properties and structured inventory in a ‘plug and play’ format, and our IT director was ecstatic.”
When the project was done, TAB stored the physical copies at a secure location for six months before they were to be destroyed, returning the files that were required for archives.
5. The Right Imaging Experience
As Shail and her department did not have as positive an experience with another vendor on a previous project, they were relieved that the TAB project went so smoothly, finishing on time and on budget.
What made it a great experience for Shail and her team was the communication. As she puts it, “During the process, issues were identified on the spot, and we worked together to find solutions. Because, let’s face it, a lot of things come up in scanning hard copy, and this was much better than getting a report at the end of the week from the vendor and them saying, here, look into this list of issues.’ Working with TAB on this project was a great experience and this process has set the bar for future digitization projects.”
If you would like to find out more about this project, or talk to TAB about how we can help with your imaging project, please get in touch.
3. Best of the Blog: Even Prince Charles Needs Records Management Help!
Our most popular blog to date looks at the records management challenges faced by the Prince and his quest to find someone to help him!
Read the full post here.
4. Increase Filing Efficiency With Our Conversion Services
The way you store and access your records can have a significant positive impact on your organization. By making strategic changes to your filing system and practices, you can improve access to information, facilitate employee collaboration, reduce risk and lower costs.
The process starts by understanding what records you currently have and how you use the information they contain. We will take an inventory of your current records collections, so you know what exists and what you are missing.
The outcome of this process is the creation of a database of your current files. During a conversion, we will apply bar codes to a tracking system so you know where a file is. Bar code tracking also allows you to create an audit trail of who has a file or had it in the past.
There are many types of file conversion processes that we put in place depending on your exact requirements and objectives, including:
Document Level Conversion
We can take a jumbled collection of documents and standardize the way it is organized. During a document level conversion, our staff will audit and arrange file contents to ensure that all the necessary documents are present and grouped together in a consistent format. Those that are missing are identified and duplicates are eliminated. This ensures that you will have all the information you need with complete and compliant files.
File Folder Conversion
Making conversions at the folder-level is an excellent way to make your information more efficient. With over 60 years of experience with paper records, we can help you design and implement a highly efficient paper filing system. This can start with a switch to a color-coded, numeric system, which can reduce retrieval time by up to 40%, or converting your files from top-tab to side-tab for significant physical filing space savings.
Consolidating File Collections
Our experts can work with you to merge different file systems into one standardized system. This will give your organization faster access, more control and better security when it comes to your files.
Imaging and Document Conversions
File conversions are a great starting point for organizing your documents, but converting your physical records into electronic form can go a long way towards streamlining your information retrieval processes.
At TAB, we offer the following paper-to-electronic conversion services:
- Day-Forward: We work with you to implement the right workflows and technologies so you can go from a paper-based process to an electronic format.
- Back File: We scan your existing paper records into electronic form.
- Scan-on-Demand: We store your current records offsite at TAB, and scan and send them to you in electronic form as you request them.
With any of our electronic conversion services TAB will:
- Perform quality assurance on all the images and related index data.
- Implement an electronic data retrieval system to ensure that the images can be viewed right away.
- Re-file the original physical records.
We also will provide your staff with the proper training and support they need to transition to the new system.
To learn more about our conversion services, please contact us today and speak with one of our representatives.
5. What Your Colleagues Are Downloading
Want to know what your colleagues are reading? Here are some of our popular downloads.
Tips for Managing Paper and Electronic Records in the Hybrid Environment
Applied as part of a comprehensive records management solution, the techniques and tools discussed here can help your organization thrive in both the paper and electronic worlds, bringing the two together in one value-add for your organization’s business.
Get it here.
Electronic Folder Structures Needs Assessment
This tool tells you how to design and name electronic folders so your organization can comply with laws and find information faster and more reliably. The assessment addresses four key areas:
- Records Management Program Support
- Structural Design
- Content Identification
- Maintenance and Use
Get it here.