document scanning services from Pro-Doc

Could your business benefit from document scanning?

Professional document scanning advice from Pro-Doc, the document management specialists

We’ve all been there; searching for an important piece of information that you know is hiding somewhere in an old document, only to end up spending hours searching through filing cabinets for an elusive folder that you’re certain you filed in the right place…. Or it might be that you know which information you need but can’t remember which of your vast collection of documents it stored in. It’s frustrating, time-consuming situations such as these which can be easily solved with the use of a document scanning service.

When carried out correctly a document scanning service has the potential to bring significant benefits to your business; helping you save time, streamline your systems and cut costs.

What does documents scanning mean?

Put simply document scanning (sometimes also known as document imaging) is the process of capturing a digital image of a paper document. This digital image can then be converted into a searchable, electronic image. In addition, digital images can also be processed using OCR (optical character recognition) software which turns these digital images into text documents which can be searched for keywords.

What’s does the document scanning process involve?

The term ‘document scanning’ is used to describe the entire scanning process, including scanning and then capturing the image using OCR software to identify words, before the digital file is stored securely, ready to be retrieved as and when it’s required. The document scanning process includes four main stages: input, identification, storage and retrieval.

Secure document storage and retrieval

Once paper documents have been scanned and digitized, it’s important they are stored safely and efficiently: this can be in an off-site storage/archive facility or the paper documents can be destroyed using a confidential waste disposal service and in line with data protection regulations.

Storage of the resulting digital documents must also be secure and efficient and it’s important to take into account how regularly the documents will need to be accessed as part of your business’s workflow.

Retrieval is the term used to describe the process of searching for the digital files, or specific information within a file, that you need. Once the information has been found, it can be delivered to your team in the most appropriate format for them.

The benefits of document scanning

Document scanning proves invaluable for the majority of businesses because it streamlines processes, workflows, storage and retrieval. Rather than hours wasted whilst spent searching for paper documents, document management is transformed into a simple and highly efficient process.

If you would like to find out more about how our document scanning services could help you save time and money we’d love to talk through the range of options available. Our services are suitable for business and organisations of all shapes and sizes so why not get in touch to find out more?

 

Documents and their evolution

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A document is a written, drawn, presented or recorded representation of thoughts. Originating from the Latin Documentum meaning lesson – the verb doceō means to teach, and is pronounced similarly, in the past it was usually used as a term for a written proof used as evidence.

Traditionally, the medium of a document was paper and the information was applied to it as ink, either by hand to make a hand-written document or by a mechanical process such as a printing press or, more recently, a laser printer.

Through time, documents have also been written with ink on papyrus, starting in ancient Egypt or parchment; scratched as runes or carved on stone using a sharp apparatus, such as the Tablets of Stone described in the bible; stamped or cut into clay and then baked to make clay tablets in the Sumerian and other Mesopotamian civilisations.

The paper, papyrus or parchment might be rolled up as a scroll or cut into sheets and bound into a book. Today short documents might also consist of sheets of paper stapled together.

In the computer age, a document is usually used to describe a primarily textual file, along with its structure and design, such as fonts, colours and additional images.

The modern term ‘document’ can no longer be defined by its transmission medium (such as paper), following the existence of electronic documents. ‘Documentation’ has more meanings than a written or drawn presentation of thoughts.

Modern electronic means that storing and displaying of documents is more efficient. Typically using the Portable Document Format PDF storage methods include:

  • Desktop computer
  • Laptop
  • Tablet PC
  • PDA
  • Smart phones
  • Dedicated e-book device
  • Digital audio players
  • The Cloud

PDM can vastly improve your systems by offering an instantly accessible and searchable storage facility for documents in a secure environment. This can be any and or all the methods above.

To discuss moving forward call 01274 883459

Email andy@pro-doc.co.uk

 

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Document Archive Storage

Storing and retrieving hard copies of documents can prove to be problematic for many companies, offsite storage is an expensive operation and storing onsite occupies large amounts of valuable office space. In both scenarios searching for documents is time consuming.

PDM can vastly improve the archive processes by offering an instantly accessible and searchable online storage facility for archived documents.

We can scan your current archive in many formats and continue to manage and add to it as and when required.

Furthermore, the use of OCR technology allows documents to be quickly searched for relevant words and phrases.

Keeping data safe and private is of utmost concern to us. At PDM we have utilised a range of security and encryption techniques to ensure that data and documents are secure.

We are trusted by many organisations, including many well know corporations and PDM’s archive scanning and indexing services are a cost effective, efficient means of document storage and retrieval.

To discuss any requirements, you have please contact 01274 883459 or andy@pro-doc.co.uk

Regulatory Compliance

Regulatory compliance is when a company obeys the laws, rules, and regulations that have been created for that company’s industry, but when you hear “regulatory compliance”, what do you think of? Rules? Annoying paperwork? Repetition? Stress? Expense?

The truth is, good regulatory compliance is of critical importance. How a company’s records are controlled, can make all the difference for the organisation’s welfare and future.

When regulatory compliance is specific to filing and record-keeping, it means that all files, records, and paperwork are documented properly under those rules and regulations.

The benefits to a company from keeping compliant records is huge. It will it help with any legal issues, but the company will also benefit from improved measuring / information standpoint, which can result in reduced product / service liability.

The information in a company’s files can be anything from records of illness and accidents, to how their machinery works, to simple HR paperwork. Generally, these records tend to be things such as payroll and personnel info, contracts, permits, leases, licenses, insurance, and copyrights.

Office administrators and filing clerks should be very well-prepared and trained to ensure compliance when filing. It’s also important that they understand not only the penalties for non-compliance, but the even bigger threat of the damage it can do to a company, even if that company is thriving.

As you might imagine, regulatory compliance varies from industry to industry, but the principle is still the same. Firstly, there are a few practices that record keepers and office clerks should be sure to always abide by, no matter what the industry:

Practice the appropriate legal policies and procedures to ensure a company’s audit ability, because should the situation arise, an audit should be made as smooth as possible by having all records and information in place.

Practice methods that will deliver record information in a quick and convenient way, and keep records documented and filed so that they’re convenient to access and in a format, that’s easy to understand.

Practice maintenance of records, considering legal, regulatory, fiscal, operational, and historical requirements.

From the biggest companies to the smallest, it’s crucial to file correctly and review records to make sure everything is conforming with regulations and laws. Having correct records can help prevent potential liabilities. For example, with HR records for recruitment, employee pay, benefits, policies and procedures, performance reviews, and employee discipline and termination, the correct and compliant records would help greatly in any HR dispute.

PDM put systems in place that not only conform with a company’s obligations and compliance, but make these systems paperless.

PDM are experts in content management for businesses.

To learn more about our services please call 01274 883549 or email andy@pro-doc.co.uk

Does HR really need another Filing Cabinet?

Does HR really need another Filing Cabinet?

In almost every company, the department that requires the utmost security and coordination is Human Resources. Without a proper system in place, HR Departments are lost and unable to work to the best of their abilities.

Human Resources Managers generally deal with any of the following; recruitment, performance management, safety, wellness, benefits, employee motivation, communication, administration, training and probably more. That’s a lot to tackle.

Some Companies have hundreds or even thousands of workers, and combining this with the number of tasks going on each day, can become overwhelming.

Many HR Departments have not realised that there is help available from utilising a document and content management system (DMS). They are missing out on many benefits for their team and for the future of the company including improved productivity, robust data protection, and better communication.

The following are some ways in which DMS can make a huge difference in organisations.

It cuts down on paperwork

When organisations take on new staff, there are contracts to be signed, tax forms that need to be filled out, induction routines and handbooks that must be distributed. They may be wasting vast amounts of paper when an employee starts, not only is physical paperwork a big drain on any budget, it takes a lot of time to fill out forms by hand.

When a DMS is utilised, all documents are kept on the system, new staff can review files on their computers and sign documents electronically. It is easy for employees to review documents, even when they’re on the go via their mobile devices, all without the need to print them out.

All files are in one place

Using DMS, organisations can forget about those endless rows of filing cabinets and save time trying to find documents. Within a DMS, the HR Department can locate documents by the file name, part of the file name, the date it was last modified and even by words and phrases within documents. This means that they can store and easily find documents for all employees, and general company policy information with the click of a button.

It allows the generation of employee files

HR staff can easily create file structures based on each employee. These structures will include their offer letters, contracts, handbooks and all new staff documentation. Along with ongoing paperwork like holiday requests and any correspondence with HR.

When employees leave, their files can stay in the system, which means that it is simple to easily verify their employment.

It’s secure

When paper files are used, they are at risk of being stolen or lost. Email and other software that is susceptible to hacking can be putting the whole organisation at risk. DMS is much more secure than the cloud or paper documents because it comes with multi-layered encryption and user-based access.

This means that if a hacker tries to access HR files, all it would be possible to see is scrambled data that can’t be deciphered. With user-based access, employees at different levels are given varying types of access to the documents. Password controls can be set on certain documents to make sure that sensitive HR information always stays confidential.

There is a workflow

If an organization has a large HR department, or numerous departments that are dealing with new staff, the recruitment process can be managed through a workflow.

In an DMS, workflow is tracked so HR staff always know the up to date scenario on any project. If a manager sends information to HR for clearance to employ someone, HR can review it and then pass it onto payroll, any other relevant administrative staff, and finally back to the manager. All of this can be done within the system and without any of the paperwork.

Within this workflow, the HR department can establish who viewed and modified documents, and receive alerts when they need to work on a project.

Are you ready for DMS?

Want to transform your HR department and your whole organization in general? Then it’s time to sign to speak to PDM.

To get started with DMS, call or email us. We’ll find a solution to meet your business’ needs.

 

 

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Online document management and the paperless office: dream or reality?

There’s no doubt that a paperless office could offer a whole host of advantages and converting to digital file storage is an unbeatable way to reduce inefficiencies in workflows, increase productivity and save on the costs of buying paper and ink. However, although the idea of a paperless office seems like a no-brainer, the majority of businesses still rely on paper.

Not only do most businesses still rely heavily on paper documentation, the annual growth rate for the amount of paper used by an average company is, in fact, growing. Unfortunately there’s no denying that businesses print more than they’ve ever done before so with this in mind, is a paperless office a realistic goal?

The advantages of online document management

A reliance on paper or switching to digital both have pros and cons. Connectivity is one of the many benefits of digitizing paper documents and the ability to access data from anywhere at any time can be particularly liberating. Digitizing documents allows colleagues to connect whether they’re working from home or on a business trip abroad and this, in turn, allows for the seamless integration of contractors or freelancers into the workflow as and when required.

It goes without saying that cutting down on printing will reduce your overheads but it’s also worth considering the often overlooked costs of document storage and disposal. Storing thousands of paper documents can prove to be very expensive indeed, especially if it involves investing in extra space to keep them in. This is one of the main reasons why increasing numbers of companies are choosing to store their files in off-site servers as not only does this take up a fraction of the space, it reduces the cost of destroying sensitive information.

‘Searchability’ is yet another major benefit of going digital. Just imagine being able to search through hundreds of documents for one particular piece of information – all at the touch of a button. This alone is can prove to be the one thing that persuades a company to convert. But if all these benefits are so great, why do so companies still choose to rely on paper?

Secure online document management solutions from Pro-Doc

The risk of losing valuable information is a big concern for many companies and with this in mind it’s understandable that many still find the stability of paperwork reassuring. However there are solutions to this and here at Pro-Doc we provide safe and secure document storage solutions, designed to provide complete peace of mind.

In conclusion it’s safe to say that the majority of office tasks are much easier and quicker when they’re done digitally. The most realistic approach to the paperless office could be a web-based organisation which works hard to keep its paper use as ‘light’ as possible. This approach gives space for digital systems to correct inefficiencies in paper-centric workflows and systems, whilst avoiding pushing paper out of the picture altogether. At the end of the day, if it’s better and more efficient to do something digitally then go for it, but if not, feel free to stick to pen and paper.

 

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Document management storage advice for legal firms

The challenge of document management for legal firms

Keeping on top of that never-ending mountain of paperwork is something of a headache for most businesses but for legal companies, storing and managing files and paper documents is a real challenge. Document storage has been an issue for the legal community for centuries but thanks to the wide range of services now offered by many firms, managing documents is now more of an issue than ever before. However, having effective document management strategies and systems can make all the difference in terms of security, productivity and profitability so here are a few ideas to help you keep on top of that paperwork mountain:

Carry out a document ‘stock take’

A document management strategy will only work if you know what documentation you already have and this means identifying where everything is stored and how long you need to keep it for. The majority of legal firms we work with keep a wide range of hardcopy and electronic documents alongside client files, such as staff timesheets and personnel records, for example.

It’s important to bear in mind that each different type of document will need to be retained for a specific period and you’ll need to familiarise yourself with each retention period – a spreadsheet can come in handy for keeping track of this.

Get rid of any documents you don’t need

Knowing what to keep and what to get rid of is vital and if you’ve been reluctant in the past to have a good clear out, it’s worth bearing in mind that holding on to documents longer than you need to  can increase your risk of a privacy breach and your liability. The best way to destroy unwanted legal documents in bulk is to use a secure document shredding service – so much quicker than sitting hunched over an office shredder for hours!

Ensure you have a storage plan

The ideal document management storage plan for your business will protect the information you hold, whilst ensuring that it is easily accessible to those who need to use it. Provided you have the right storage solution, your documents (physical and electronic) will be safe from unauthorised access, easy to locate and quick to retrieve.

Using a document storage service such as those offered by us here at Pro-Doc is one of the best ways to counteract the risks and costs posed by storing your paper documents on site. We can scan, store and archive your documentation, allowing you to view and then order your records whenever you need to.

Scanning for secure document storage and accessibility

Document scanning is another highly effective strategy that is designed to allow easy storage and accessibility. Access to scanned documents is only allowed to authorised users and when files are converted into a digital format using Optical Character Recognition, the can be searched by the author, client name, the date created or text within the document.

Contact Pro-Doc for advice and information

At Pro-Doc we offer a range of specialist legal services, including legal copying service, e-discovery services and e-disclosure services. If you would like to find out more, or to discuss your requirements, please don’t hesitate to get in touch for a chat.

 

 

 

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Congratulations to Barton Legal

PDM are delighted to announce our client Barton Legal have been awarded Niche Law Firm at the Yorkshire Legal Awards 2016. Congratulations to Bill, Trish and their team.

http://www.bartonlegal.com/site/news/firm-news/yorkshire-legal-awards

Shredding – is it the best way to destroy data?

There’s no doubt that scanning and document management technology has switched our reliance on paper documents to electronic forms of documentation. However, whilst paper documents are highly susceptible to loss or damage, they can also be used as absolute proof if required. Many businesses find having a collection of paper archive documents to be very comforting and it’s this reassurance that prevents them from making the most of the electronic document management solutions which are available.

Although the paperless office is still some way away, the move towards paperless systems is unstoppable. Even in this age of electronic filing and cloud storage, destroying paper evidence feels very dangerous to many companies and there is a real reluctance to make a complete move towards a digital system.

The majority of original paper documents are destroyed because they are no longer required, with the aim of freeing up document storage space. However, some forms of documentation are the exception to the rule and title deeds, leases and HMRC tax forms, for example, should be kept. Many companies labour under the misconception that these important documents have to be stored in their original paper format but this is definitely not the case. Provided that digital documents are captured and then managed in the correct way, they are equally as valid as their paper originals.
Using an electronic document management system makes sense on a number of levels. Efficient document management means a great deal more than scanning documents and then storing them in a digital format. It offers the capability to capture relevant information from data and to use this data to drive a fully automated electronic process. Of course electronic document management is a great storage solution but it also comes into its own when used as a way to track payments or to streamline and automate the approval of a wide range of legal documents, for example.

One of the most significant benefits of switching to an electronic document management system is that it will create an audit trail that will prove vital in the event of any potential legal challenge. Once operational documents have been captured and then stored in an electronic document management system, they will always be available for retrieval. Provided the provenance of a document is transparent and that its integrity cannot be questioned, then the question of Legal Admissibility will not come into play.

With the issue of Legal Admissibility in mind, it’s important that you make sure the electronic document management system you use will ensure you are on the right side of the law. Before shredding your paperwork archive, you should check whether the scanned documents are exact replicas of the original, if they can be used as reliable evidence and what the legal regulations are around electronic document management in your particular sector. Your electronic document management supplier will be able to answer these questions.

Whilst making the most of the latest developments in document scanning and electronic management, you should also make sure that your business’s internal processes are up to scratch. To ensure the legal admissibility of electronic information, the British Standard BS 1008:20081 should be met. Complying with this code will offer you the reassurance that you are doing as much as possible to meet official document storage requirements. Whether you decide to use a cloud based storage solution or a web portal, using an electronic document management solution is now no longer a luxury, it has become essential for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

Step away from the filing cabinet

If you were asked whether you’d like to be able to share information more easily, free up storage space, improve business productivity and to increase your response time to your customers you’re likely to say yes, aren’t you? These are the kind of things that can give your business the competitive edge and improve your environmental credentials – sounds too good to be true? The answer is that it’s not – provided you rely less on paper and more on electronic document management.

Going ‘paper-free’ has been proven to offer a pretty return on investment: managing paper costs an awful lot of money and when you think about the costs involved in buying paper, printing costs, copying equipment and supplies, paper storage systems and then the price of postage and couriers, it can all start to seem very expensive indeed.

Electronic communication has been around for some time now and the possibility of a paperless office isn’t quite the futuristic idea it once was. However, although the technology now exists to turn the dream of a paperless office into a reality, it doesn’t look like this is about to happen any time soon. On the other hand, it is possible to take a few relatively simple steps towards moving away from your reliance on paper, files, folders and filing cabinets – all of which need space, time and money to manage.

Rather than setting an unrealistic goal of going completely paper-free, it perhaps better to introduce paper-free systems or processes one at a time. For example, you could start by introducing a policy to convert every paper document into digital as soon as it arrives in the office. This can prove to be highly effective – and surprisingly easy to implement – especially if it helps to cut down or even eliminate the amount of internal mail you, and your employees, have to deal with.

If you’d like to start the move towards a paper-free office, it can be helpful by starting with an audit of the types of paper your businesses uses such as contracts, invoices, receipts or personal correspondence, for example. Look at where paper is dragging your business down, any areas where paper is reducing flexibility or taking up too much space in the office. Work out what the biggest problem is and tackle that first – you’ll soon notice the difference.

A whole range of electronic calendars and project management systems are available; these are a cheap and easy way to cut down on paper and that seemingly endless round of documents which seem to be passed from one office department to another. Or why not try putting just a couple of hours a week aside to devote to document scanning and then shredding any paperwork which has recently accumulated, such receipts or the minutes of meetings? A few simple steps such as these really can make all the difference.

Going paper free can seem very daunting and if you feel unsure of your expertise, why not consider consulting a specialist document management company? The benefits are clear and wide-reaching and the sooner you get started on your journey towards a paper-free office, the sooner you’ll start to see a return on your investment.