Is ‘Scan and Store’ Enough?

by Kevin Craine | 7/14/15

Over the past 30 years Enterprise Content Management systems have evolved from a simple solutions for basic scanning into sophisticated and capable systems for enterprise-wide document automation. And while there are wide variety of document and data capture systems available, many organizations are just now beginning to capture the true value of the technology. Indeed, most stop at the most fundamental phase of simply scanning paper documents and storing them digitally instead.

Winning the Paper War

A scan-and-store approach is at the heart of eliminating paper from paper-intensive operations. This is an important distinction because despite the increasing digitization of business today, many office workers continue to spend a great deal of time pushing paper. And in today’s competitive economic environment, companies that continue to conduct business workflow on paper will struggle to control the inherent costs and inefficiencies. Scanning pages to eliminate paper is a great place to build a competitive advantage and a critical component to bridge the gap between printed and digital media.

New Techniques, New Challenges

Not everyone needs a complete Enterprise-wide ECM system, but is “scan and store” enough? There are benefits to going paperless but new difficulties arise with the new techniques. Indeed, finding document images stored in a server file directory is can be more difficult than finding old-school paper files, especially as the number of related documents continues to grow. And even before documents are digitized, additional labor is required to separate and presort document types, physically scan the pages, and manually enter index keywords. Scan-and-store can reduce reliance on paper, but the limitations of manual processing and the hodge-podge nature of document storage means you may also need to justify a number of labor and productivity issues as a result.

Beyond Scan and Store

Companies often find further benefits by applying more advanced data recognition capabilities via OCR, ICR and barcodes to a scan-and-store process.  Here are some questions to consider as you move forward:

•     Are scanned documents difficult to find?

•     Do you spend unwanted time manually entering index information?

•     Does it require multiple employees to scan and index documents?

•     Is important information buried among the many scans you have stored electronically?

•     Could you gain even more benefits by automating the process further?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it is likely that you will find additional process improvements and further return on investment by moving to “Phase Two.”  


Guest contributor Kevin Craine is the author of the book Designing a Document Strategy and host of the Document Strategy Podcast. He is the managing director of Craine Communications Group. For more information on the The Five Phases of Capture, download the white paper here. For more information visit


Kevin Craine is the managing director of Craine Communications Group. He is writer, podcaster and technology analyst, as well as the author of the book Designing a Document Strategy and a respected authority on document management and process improvement. He was named the No. 1 ECM Influencer to follow on Twitter.