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Often, the terms scanning and digitizing are used interchangeably. However, each process is different and has its own unique benefits for turning paper documents into digital files. Here we will explain what scanning and digitizing are and what their benefits.

Defining Scanning and Digitizing and Their Differences

Also known as document imagining, scanning is a process where a document is scanned to produce an image of a file that is then converted to a digital file. This file is not editable.

Digitizing is a process where the document is scanned to create a digital document. However, unlike a document that is simply scanned, a digitized document is editable because additional tools are used during the scan process to allow the digital file to be manipulated instead of it remaining a static image.

Businessman in document management concept. Analyze online document database. and digital file storage systems.

Document Scanning Benefits

There are multiple benefits to scanning documents instead of holding on to paper documents. The main benefits include:

  • Improved workflows. Scanning documents can improve workflows because it makes it possible to remotely access digital files. Instead of having to physically file/re-file paper documents in a file cabinet scanned documents can be stored using a document management system (DMS) software. This improves the efficiency of organizing, sharing and collaborating documents.
  • Cost-savings. Time is money. With less time needed to access needed documents, more time is freed up for other purposes. By going paperless, less storage space is needed to accommodate storing files in file cabinets. Instead, freed up spaces can be used for activities that generate more revenue.
  • Simplifies Security. Paper documents are at a higher risk of being lost or stolen. Scanning documents helps make documents more secure by keeping track of files, backing them up automatically and storing backups at an off-site location.

Advantages of Digitizing Documents

Digitizing documents is an extension of scanning that makes digital documents more usable by using special software, like automated retention tracking and optical character recognition (OCR).

  • OCR. Optical character recognition software is used to convert scanned text into machine-encoded text. The document can then be edited and manipulated.
  • Document redaction systems. Digital redaction can be used during document digitization to protect sensitive information that may be on the document. It is a more secure process than redacting information on paper documents with a pen or marker.
  • Automatic retention tracking. Some files, like medical or financial records, need to be safely stored for longer periods of time according to law. An automated retention tracking system helps simplify record retention and helps organizations avoid penalties or fines for noncompliance.

Depending on your business needs, you may rely on both scanning and digitizing documents. A Managed Print Services professional can help you understand your options for scanning and digitizing documents. Give one of our UBS reps a call to learn more!


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