Imaging software is a subset of ECM (Enterprise Content Management). Essentially, imaging is the methodology of getting paper into the ECM system (as an electronic document). Often, the two are bundled together as one seamless package (or suite). Other times, they are separate.
For instance, when an organization purchases a COTS (Commercial-Off-The-Shelf) ECM system, most of the time, the package includes an imaging component (or module). Common ECM software that includes an imaging module are (partial listing);
- Alchemy (OpenText)
There are some ECM systems that do not provide for an imaging module. Most often, this is the scenario where an organization's IT staff will build their own ECM system. For example, the backend database is SQL or Oracle and the front-end is a website, in order for authorized staff to access the electronic content. Under this, more increasingly common scenario, imaging software needs to be purchased in order to get the paper into an electronic format (e.g. as a TIF or PDF).
When considering the right ECM system for an organization, the actual imaging module (or imaging methodology) is of critical importance. Why? This is because the act of imaging is where considerable labor component exists. Not to mention, the separate requirement for data entry - in order to be able to find the electronically scanned images.
After calculating a ROI (return on investment) many organizations rely upon SoftFile to provide the actual imaging and data entry components. This is because, SoftFile can simply provide imaging for much less than an autonomous approach.
However, if the organization is bent towards the autonomous, do-it-yourself approach, do consider the following. When purchasing an imaging system, before the first page is scanned, 80% of the costs will be for the hardware and software purchases. Conversely 20% of the out of pocket costs will be for applicable maintenance contracts.
Now, after the first page is scanned and everyday forward, 20% of all costs will be for maintenance contracts and the remaining 80% will be on your organizational labor. So, it is critical that your selected imaging system can mitigate labor as much as possible.
In order to mitigate labor costs, your imaging software needs to automate as much as possible. For example, your selected imaging system should be, at a minimum, able to utilize (partial listing);
- Barcode technology
- Including Parent-Child level (sublevel) barcodes
- Full-text OCR (Optical Character Recognition)
- Zonal OCR (template based)
- IMR (Intelligent Mark Recognition)
SoftFile offers ECM consulting. Why not call and benefit from our 23 years of imaging experience.