Justifying Document Imaging Services
Quantitative vs. Qualitative Criteria
Justification for document scanning or document imaging services may involve many factors; some are easy to quantify in dollars and others that can only be quantified through educated projections.
The easiest justification is where digital records are mandated or paper volume is so huge that there are literally no alternatives.
Reassignment of experienced clerical support and personnel who manage file rooms can be a clear financial justification.
Direct costs include the cost of cabinets, filing folders, floor space, heat, light, cleaning, copying, warehousing, etc.
JP Morgan Treasury Services estimates that, on average, to file and maintain 500,000 pieces of paper, companies spend an estimated $250,000 in workflow management, another $115,000 to research lost files and approximately $150,000 in storage and disposal costs.
Document Imaging Cost Savings
Exposure that can be large, but hard to quantify
Somewhat more ambiguous are related costs that might include the cost of recreating vital documents, higher audit expense, pressure to respond to governmental inquiries and situations where large amounts of manpower are needed for one-time research.
More commonly, concern about missing documents demands that documents will be available when needed. If supporting documentation is not available for litigation, proof of ownership and intellectual property, tax filings, etc. the penalties can be onerous. Continuity of business operations in case of a disaster might not be possible.
Documents that were misfiled or lost prior to scanning will obviously not be found, but once captured, there is never a need to physically remove and refile an item. Since the information is then subject to usual network backup procedures, there is almost no chance for lost documents.
Improved and Efficient Customer Service
When measuring document imaging ROI, there are two aspects to improved customer service; Immediate responses to inquiries differentiates the top-tier customers, but there are also direct cost savings in the time needed to search for paper documents, refile them, return telephone calls, write letters or e-mails, copy or fax information. If supervisors or managers have to become involved because of delayed responses or lost data, their time should be added to operating costs.
Since every document imaging project is somewhat different, we suggest that you create a simple spreadsheet itemizing those elements and costs that are pertinent to measuring your document imaging ROI.
Some of our customers’ savings are described in our page on client experiences.