Document Management

/Document Management

Our BMI Imaging Systems Blog, Document Management articles are designed to provide you with useful information for project planning. Whether you’re starting a new project or are in the middle of one right now, our thought pieces will give you some tips to make your project successful.

The Wild And Wacky World Of Indexing

“Indexing? What indexing?”

You’ve decided to peek at the grim underbelly of the document management world, where brave souls venture forth … and occasionally don’t return. But where do these explorers go, and what are they looking for?

The elusive perfect indexing specification!

Indexing can be pretty confusing. It seems so easy at first, just naming files as they 
should be named. If you have folders, name (index) them by what’s on the folder. If you have stapled or paper-clipped files, name them by whatever’s on the first page of the file! If you have microfiche sheets, name them by the microfiche title strip!!

What’s so hard about 
that, BMI??

I’m glad you asked.

1. Native Knowledge

You have “native knowledge” of your files, and the content (actual data) of those files. What seems an obvious way to name a document to you could be extremely difficult for someone that doesn’t have a solid understanding of your records. Imagine that you have a bunch of patient charts, and you decided to name a file by Patient Name and Date of Birth (DOB). And those two index points (or “fields”) should be on the first page of every patient chart. Easy enough, right?

Ok, so we scan the patient chart into a digital format and are about to index the file. We’re looking at the first page within the chart.

Patient Name: check. (Easy peasy)

Date of Birth: check!

But wait!! Is that another date on the first page? Which one is Date of Birth?

Can you hear the sounds of something grinding to a halt?

What happens next is a string of emails and/or phone calls to ask what you want to do, and you don’t know because you can’t see the file, and so on and so forth. This back and forth to solve an indexing question may only take a couple of minutes, or a string of ten emails. Even when this one instance is resolved, it’s really only the first glimpse into the world of 

2. Exceptions

Exceptions are relatively common. Pretty ironic, right? An exception is an instance of an index point that doesn’t match the criteria that’s been described by the owner of the files. Or in English:

What we see doesn’t match what you told us we’d see.


  • You have student transcripts on microfilm rolls and want the Student Name, Date of Birth, Social Security Number, and Student ID of each student captured.
  • You’ve told us that all four fields are on the first page of a student’s file.
  • A student file is identified by a big red “S” stamped on its first page.

As we go through the first roll of microfilm, we see the “S” stamped on images, and we start keying the fields you’ve requested. All’s well, but as we move through the roll, about 50 student files in, we stop. We’ve found the big “S” stamp, easy enough. There’s a Student Name, Date of Birth, and Social Security Number, but no Student ID. EXCEPTION!

Further along we find another file that has Date of Birth, Social Security Number, Student ID, but two Student Names!! It looks like the person changed their name senior year. Which name should we use? EXCEPTION!

At the end of the roll, we find the big “S” stamp, but the first page is some kind of cover letter. Should we move on? Should we consider these images as part of the previous file? EXCEPTION!

In each of the above three examples, an exception occurred that would cause us to pause and clarify with you about how you’d like the exceptions resolved. This is time-consuming, costly, and throws the project into stall mode.

But how’s this problem solved? Contingency plans, my friend. In the student transcript example, a contingency to alleviate the exceptions would be: “if one of the four fields is not found, replace that field with an ‘NA.’” You may not be able to plan a contingency for 
every exception, but as many as can be identified and resolved prior to the project starting saves loads of time later on.

Solved. Done. Success.

3. Do You Really Want That?

This is a bit more philosophical than the other two reasons that indexing can be difficult, but important anyway. What it comes down to is knowing what will be considered useful and complete once the project is done.

If you work at a building department with thousands of permits on microfiche, a microfiche title might have a Permit Number, Street Number, Street Name, Project Name, Notes, Year, and more. If you ask to just “index the Permit Number,” it 
could be useful, but all that other information wouldn’t be captured. Once all of your microfiche are in digital form, like a PDF file or in a content database, is the Permit Number all you need? Will it be the single field you’ll use to find these records later on? If not, you may need to dig a little deeper and identify other fields that need to be captured.

On the flip side, if you wanted to capture 
all the information on the microfiche title, you could be creating an overload of information. Sure, it’s on the title currently, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily useful. We’ve seen many a case where title fields were added over the years and the current staff doesn’t know what half of the information means. If you don’t slice off some fat from the title info, you could be creating a mess that doesn’t help anybody.

So, what will be useful? That’s what you have to answer.


Getting your indexing right can be tough, we won’t sugarcoat it. But you want to do as much as possible to nail it down right so that you have an effective way of finding your records once they’re digitized. There’s not much that’s more demoralizing than wrapping up a digital conversion project, only to realize that you can’t even find your records and you’d be better off having not done the project at all. This is the exact opposite of how we’d want you to feel.

So, before leaping off the digital conversion cliff, take some time to really figure out the most effective and efficient way to access your records once they’re digitized, utilizing the ideas we’ve presented in this article. And if you need some help along the way, give us a buzz.

Further Reading

Here is our take on getting your scanning project off on the right foot:
How Do I Start A Microfilm Conversion Project?

And here are some ideas for you that (we think) will make your project a success:
5 Ways To Ensure A Successful Microfilm Scanning Project

2018-11-16T10:01:23+00:00November 5th, 2018|Document Management|

JIIMA, Japan Document Management Association

JIIMA Spends Time at BMI

BMI Imaging was happy to have the Japan Image and Information Management Association (JIIMA) visit our California document scanning and document management service bureau as part of their Silicon Valley Tech Tour.

Document Scanning Solutions

Document Scanning Solutions

JIIMA spent six days in the San Francisco Bay Area, visiting various technology organizations (including ABBYY, Fujitsu and Adobe). We were honored to spend two hours with JIIMA.

Our meeting included a history of BMI and a facility tour that included security parameters in place to handle highly confidential client records. We demonstrated our document processing operations, microfilm conversion areas, indexing and quality assurance mechanisms and an on-site vault to store confidential client records. We also highlighted a uniquely developed process control system that we term Unify that offers a high-level dashboard of our entire service bureau workflow.

2018-11-26T13:37:46+00:00November 19th, 2015|Document Management|

Moving to Cloud-Based Document Management

A Focus on Security

A number of reasons (both financial and strategic) are driving companies to online document management services from trusted vendors such as BMI Imaging. This shift away from traditional in-house approaches is well underway with more than 70% of organizations actively Document Hosting and Document Managementplanning or implementing cloud technologies today (according to InformationWeek April 2015 survey).

In the first of our 3-part “Moving to the Cloud” blog series, we focus on document hosting solutions, the core of cloud-based document management, and its key underlying requirement – security.

Security: The Number One Concern when it comes to Cloud-Based Document Management

Whether you’re a new company or an established organization, your customers’ trust is your number one asset. That’s why your move to the cloud-based document management requires a secure foundation that protects customer data and your business reputation.

In the InformationWeek survey mentioned above, almost 90% of respondents are very or moderately concerned about cloud-based security. Specifically, 45% of IT organizations are concerned about general security and 41% of IT organizations are worried about data loss / leakage.

5 Steps to a Secure, Cloud-Based Document Management Foundation

There are five steps that you should consider to minimize your risk when moving to cloud-based document management systems.

Step 1: Partner with a Trusted Cloud-Based Document Management Provider

Moving to cloud-based document management is not only about technology, but also about updating and integrating with key business processes already in place. BMI Imaging provides over 50 years of know-how, with more than 2,000 customers (commercial and government). We have developed over 400 unique image and data management tools and process control routines. In addition, we offer dedicated project management staff for personalized attention to your needs.

Step 2: Review Critical Vendor Infrastructure

It is important to review the vendor infrastructure. Example questions include: Is there 24/7/365 monitoring of all IT operations? What about redundancy protection? Is it N+2 (or better) for all critical systems? Is 2N+2 electrical power redundancy in place? Where are the local and remote (Disaster Recovery / Continuity) locations?

Step 3: Investigate Industry Certifications and Compliance

Does the cloud-based document management vendor undertake regular and rigorous SSAE-16 Type II/SAS 70 audits, with zero exceptions? Is PCI DSS compliance in place Existing Federal FISMA compliance with NIST 800-53 moderate baseline controls?

Step 4: Ensure Offline Security

Don’t forget about security of the physical facilities. Is there any public access to the facilities? Do 100% of vetted personnel have to be securely signed in and escorted at all times? What about multi-factor identification, including biometric and multi-level security zones? Are there digital cameras installed to monitor secure areas 24/7? Is there a physically separate caged environment within the secure data center?

Step 5: Secure End-User and Administrative Access

Are there simple administration and user selection and access rights? Is SSL encryption and IP lock security in place? Can you access the full audit trail and report on any document accessed?

The five steps above are a good foundation for ensuring that you minimize any risks associated with your cloud-based document management project. Contact a BMI specialist if you’d like to walk through any specific requirements.


2018-11-29T08:35:14+00:00June 3rd, 2015|Document Management, Security|

Cloud-Based Document Hosting and Management

Cloud-Based Document Hosting: An Alternative to Traditional Approaches

Many companies and organizations are considering a move to the cloud for their document hosting and management requirements. They are driven by a variety of reasons including storage limits on existing equipment / storage facilities, lack of responsiveness when customers increasingly require immediate access to documents and the high cost and limited availability of specialized IT personnel to manage the end-to-end infrastructure.

Cloud Based Document Hosting

With the availability of cloud-based document management and document hosting services, companies are able to provide a much higher level of customer experience without the high-costs of legacy approaches. There are a number of advantages that cloud-based document management provides that enable companies to deliver better services and lower costs.

Data Security
If your data isn’t secure, your business isn’t secure. Cloud-based document hosting services employ specialized professionals who are focused on making sure data is secure both physically and against online threats. This includes on-the-ground security personnel and 24/7 network monitoring, as well as secure, non-descript facilities armed with the latest in biometric systems.

IT / Storage Costs
Online cloud-based document hosting enables you to pay for just what you need. No need to buy additional/spare storage or additional software licenses, set up new infrastructure, or invest in ongoing administration. This eliminates the burden on in-house IT staff and budgets, enabling you to focus on core IT and business initiatives.

Disaster Recovery
If you or your customers can’t access documents when you need them, then your investment in document management is wasted money that actually hurts your customer relationships and future revenue. Cloud-based document hosting provides protection against disasters with secure/automated failover between locations. It’s built into the solution so that you don’t have to worry about document accessibility in the event of an outage or disaster.

Universal Access
Today customers can instantly access general business documents via consumer grade products and they naturally expect the same or better access to their professional documents. Cloud-based document hosting enables customers to access any of their documents, from anywhere and from any device.

Before You Move to a Cloud-Based Document Hosting Solution
Moving to the cloud isn’t just about new technologies or new service providers. Before you make the move, it is important to keep a few things in mind to protect your Document Hosting with the Cloudcustomers, your business reputation and your future prospects:

Trusted Partner: a trusted partner has decades of experience in your industry, as well as dedicated staff who understand how to translate your requirements into the right technical solution.

Extensive Integration: unless you’re a brand new organization, chances are you’ve got years of investment in your current infrastructure and processes. You shouldn’t have to discard that investment or change the way you work to fit the needs of new cloud-based document hosting systems.

Ability to Scale: look for a provider who has the proven technology and processes to convert and manage millions of documents each month as well as automate tracking / logging of activities across systems and personnel.

For more information on how cloud-based document management can help you drive your business, check out our California-based document hosting services.

2018-11-29T08:30:09+00:00May 21st, 2015|Document Management|

Go Paperless with a Document Scanning Solution

Gain Efficiency and Reduce the Risk of Losing Valuable Records

Changing any business process can be difficult, but organizations trying to compete in today’s competitive environment are looking to find cost-saving and efficiency wherever possible. Going paperless with a document scanning solution is a proven method to reduce floor space, shipping costs and the risk of losing valuable records in a disaster (e.g. a fire or flood that destroys the only paper copy).

Go Paperless with Document Scanning

By going paperless and storing your documents electronically, you are now able to leverage today’s advanced digital information technologies to protect your data. For example, you can encrypt sensitive and important data so that only those who are privileged to access the information can do so.

Your employees and customers win too. Research and retrieval are much easier now. The same document can easily be retrieved by multiple users at the same time from a PC, tablet or even smartphone. Technologies like OCR indexing and full-text search enable researchers to use keywords and phrases to find records that might otherwise be impossible to locate in a mountain of physical paper and cabinets.

Going paperless can also help facilitate operations workflow, ensuring that no task falls through the cracks. Customers expect more from businesses and introducing workflow to your paperless system streamlines your business processes so that you can improve customer service.

Going paperless with a document scanning solution may appear to be a dramatic step, but with the right partner, it can be achieved. BMI Imaging has been helping organizations (government agencies and private businesses) go paperless with document scanning solutions for decades.

Learn more about going paperless with our document scanning solutions.

Call (408) 736-7444. We are located in Sunnyvale and Sacramento, California.

2018-11-26T13:57:36+00:00November 14th, 2014|Document Management|

Document Management Solutions for Recorders

Join us at NACRC 2014 in Long Beach, California

BMI will be at the National Association of County Recorders, Election Officials and Clerks (NACRC) Annual Conference in Long Beach. The conference will be held from August 22-25th at the Renaissance Long Beach Hotel in Long Beach, California. BMI will be demonstrating document management, document scanning and microfilm conversion solutions for couRTEmagicC_nacrc-logo.jpgnty recorders. Our solutions are designed for vital and official records (OR) and include book scanning, data acquisition and integration with existing applications. We leverage new scanning technologies that include high quality digital images that are text searchable.

The use of the Cloud for land records storage is also top of mind with many of the recorders we talk with. We have SaaS and BMI-hosted solutions that many California county recorders are using today. In fact, we have the #1 microfilm conversion solution for California Government with Digital ReeL. We’ll discuss how our recorder clients are using the Cloud and some of the special considerations for land records.

We will also discuss solutions for legacy land records that must be retained forever, yet currently archived on microfilm and in danger of deterioration. Most of these vital and official records are not accessed often and we have affordable microfilm scanning solutions to help mainstream these records into the larger digital and disaster recovery processes of county land records departments. Stop by BMI’s booth to meet our company and view live product demonstrations.

Learn more about the BMI document management solutions for Land Records.

2018-10-01T13:49:39+00:00August 17th, 2014|Document Management|

Three Document Scanning Pitfalls to Avoid

BMI has been providing document scanning services for government agencies and companies for over 50 years. We regularly help organizations rid themselves of boxes, folders, cabinets and drawers of paper. Over the years, we have seen a full range of best practices and challenges when it comes to document scanning and paperless initiatives. We thought it would be useful to share three of the common pitfalls organizations run into when evaluating document scanning services.

1) Underestimating the Scope of the Document Scanning Project
Paying someone to scan paper records to a digital format? No way. Ok, maybe for a folder or few personal documents, you are right! You can do it yourself. But, when you are looking at scanning boxes or filing cabinets of paper, you’d be surprised at how fast you might be Document Scanning Servicesgetting in over your head. How much do you want to spend on scanning equipment? Who is going to actually perform the document scanning? How much per hour and have you thought how long this is going to take? What about the need to merge documents or properly index them so they can be found once in a digital format? Do we even have internal servers large enough to hold all this information?

2) Not Involving All Stakeholders in the Requirements Phase
Document scanning projects happen all the time. Somebody makes a decision to digitally scan a set of records but does not consider the overall organizational process. Who is accessing the records and how do they prefer to search for the records? Are there retention requirements on these records? How many departments in the organization need access? Is IT involved and do they have the infrastructure ready to handle the new digital data?

3) Failure to Examine All Digital Retrieval Options
We commonly get requests to simply scan paper documents to PDFs and provide the hard drive. Some customers have an existing system they want the documents uploaded to. However, there are many new and innovative document management and access solutions that can save hundreds of man-hours spent retrieving documents. Questions to consider include: What fields do we want to index? Do we want the ability to full-text search records to really unlock retrieval potential? What about record enhancement options for digital documents that are tough to read? Should we consider document hosting as an easy way to store and securely access these records over the web?

Working with a document scanning and document management solutions provider like BMI brings expert document management consultants to your project. Plus, we have internal development tools capable of integrating your digital documents into your existing business processes. In that way, you leverage current investments but also take advantage of modern document retrieval approaches such as image-enablement of applications and document hosting.

Do the job once and do it right by outsourcing your California document scanning requirements.

2018-11-29T08:26:06+00:00June 17th, 2014|Document Management|