Are you drowning in paper documents? If your answer is yes, you’re not alone. In fact, most organizations still see the elusive “paperless office” as a pipe dream in the absence of an effective print strategy that leverages the proper blend of hardcopy and digital documents. The good news is that scanning technology is now extremely user friendly and you’ve probably already got what it takes to get started with your multifunction printer.

There are several quick hit opportunities scanning can provide to most businesses. Here are six benefits that tend to be very popular because they provide measureable ROI and streamline traditional paper intensive workflows.

  1. Space Reduction – By archiving your documents in a digital format, you stand to gain valuable floor space that could be used for more meaningful purposes. A recent study showed that a single DVD can store up to 30 filing cabinets full of paper documents. Of course you may not be archiving your documents on a DVD, but it sure makes you think about the benefits of scanning to your desktop, an on-premise server or the cloud doesn’t it?
  2. Cost Savings – Every page that comes out of your multifunctional device or printer costs you money. Yes, it may only be a few pennies at a time but what about the cost of handling that document, filing that document and the cost if you can’t find that document? With very few exceptions (and there are some), scanning information to a digital format will save you time and money across the entire document life cycle. Scanning more and printing less is always part of a Managed Print program.
  3. Process Automation – Newer scanning devices feature OCR technology or Optical Character Recognition – this means the scanner can automatically convert the text on a document into an editable format. This avoids rekeying data and  can automatically make intelligent decisions based on the scanned document to support a business process or application. For example, application forms can be scanned and sorted automatically; payment information or an approval of some sort can automatically complete a task that would have traditionally required a manual step.
  4. Easier Distribution – New scan to email functionality allows the user to preprogram email addresses by group or recipient profile and then send the scanned files at the touch of a single button. Preset destinations ensure accuracy and peace of mind that your digital documents went where you wanted. That’s right, the days of confusing keystrokes associated with scanning and sending a document are gone.
  5. Simplified Access – Once your documents are scanned to a digital format, you can choose what you want to do with them – all at the touch of a button. You can send them to your desktop, place them in folders on your network drive or place them directly into your document management system. Once these files are in a digital format, knowledgeable workers can source them and share them quite easily producing better business decisions.
  6. Security Protection – Are the filing cabinets in your office protected? If they store confidential information like employee records or financial information, scanned documents can provide you with an immense opportunity to avoid information getting into the wrong hands. Using a simple permission based document management system, you can restrict who has access to scanned files to mitigate risk.

Scanning continues to gain rapid momentum as people realize they may already have the technology they need to get started with their office MFP. Once people start scanning instead of printing, most realize how easy it is and wonder why they wrestled with cumbersome paper-based workflows in the past.