What should you do when you’re starting a digitization project?

Ask a lot of questions.

Evaluating a scanning company and its services can be overwhelming, especially because you’re likely not an expert in digitization. But that’s fine, because in this article we give you another five questions to ask when you’re researching a potential partner. 

And if you haven’t read the other two articles in this series, read those and find out the other question to ask: 

5 Vetting Questions For A Document Scanning Service 

5 More Vetting Questions For A Document Scanning Service

#11 – Can you do samples before I have to commit?

When you’re evaluating a partner for your scanning project, it’s vital to ask if they can provide samples of your materials and records before proceeding with the project. Samples are essential for understanding not only the quality the scanning partner can deliver, which is a critical aspect of any project, but also their working process and communication style. Viewing your actual files in a digital format via samples, instead of cookie-cutter demos, is key. It gives you a clear idea of what to expect as you plan to move your project forward, considering the suggestions and recommendations your scanning partner provides.

Free sample sign on chalkboard with crumpled blue paper balls around it

Samples hold more value than just a glimpse into the final product; they provide a tangible measure of your prospective scanning service partner. These samples offer insights into their professional conduct, how well they communicate, and their capacity to give valuable advice and input. You get the chance to decide if they genuinely have your best interests at heart or if they’re purely pushing their own objectives, disregarding your individual requirements and specs.

#12 – What kind of customer support do you provide?

You want to understand how responsive they are to your inquiries, questions, and requests for help. Try to find out if support is available not only during the project but before also after it. It’s important to understand when that support is accessible, how easy it is to connect with the support team, and what the process entails. 

Grasping the process can be crucial because if you’re going to call or email and then get shuffled through five different transfers, that’s a vastly different scenario compared to reaching out and immediately getting hold of someone who can help you, or connect you to the right person quickly.

Customer support woman on a headset

Most people think about customer support in terms of using the actual product or end result after the project, but it’s equally significant during the project as well. Customer support can tie into logistics, transportation, shipping and tracking, requesting materials while they’re out of your possession, and other unforeseeable concerns that can pop up along the way. So, ensure that you have easy access to customer support and you know whom to reach out to, as early as possible.

#13 – Do you use subcontractors?

Most scanning companies utilize subcontractors. If they run operations appropriately, they shouldn’t have any issue addressing this topic. Instead, they’d proudly discuss how they collaborate with partner subcontractors to streamline projects and increase efficiency, subsequently keeping costs down. If you sense any hesitancy or receive seemingly ambiguous responses, this could be a red flag.

Cartoon images of a person working with subcontractors

We certainly can’t speak for everyone, but at BMI our subcontractors are long-term partners that undergo thorough vetting. Their security measures are regularly reviewed to comply with our standards. During our SOC 2 Type II audit, our auditors scrutinize our relationship with subcontractors, ensuring that data and image processing or other collaborative efforts are managed sufficiently. This guarantees that your data remains secure and confidential. 

It’s crucial to understand that most companies rely on subcontractors to reduce costs, which can ultimately decrease the overall price for you. However, this is a question worth asking when you’re evaluating and researching companies. Always keep in mind that while you can request to exclude subcontractors from your project, your overall price may consequently increase due to the reduced scalability that subcontractors typically provide.

#14 – Do you have a Disaster Recovery Plan?

A disaster recovery plan is a strategy that your scanning company partners should have in place in case of unforeseen circumstances. This plan is meant to counteract the effects of various types of disasters like earthquakes, floods, and other events that can cause a stoppage of work or destruction of the company’s ability to execute their tasks. It’s valuable to ask, “What happens to your records in the event of an accident?” Not only should this address the physical records, but the digital ones as well.

If you’re hosting with a company, will you still have access to your data in the event of a disaster? Is your data hosted at a single location or is it hosted at multiple sites, also known as co-location?

Disaster Recovery Plan folder in a filing cabinet

Another critical question to consider is, “If there is a disaster, how long will it take until the scanning company is back up and running?” This time frame will depend on the type of disaster or larger issue. It could take hours, days, weeks, or even months to be fully operational, but you need to know that there is a plan in place and a process to get things back up on track.

Most of the time, when you’re undergoing the digitization of your records, these documents are essential and might be the only copy of certain records. Therefore, you want assurance that they’re protected. In the case of an accident or disaster, you want to be confident that there’s a way to recover them, or at least get the operations back up and running again.

#15 – What kind of insurance do you have, in case something happens?

Insurance is an interesting subject, and opinions on the right amount of coverage can vary wildly. However, you should definitely ask your potential scanning partners about their insurance coverage. You might want to ask if they have insurance that covers damage or loss of documents during the digitization process, and what it entails. 

Insurance policy document

It’s essential to know when the coverage begins. Does it start when the contract is signed? Or does it commence when the materials actually arrive at the scanning facility to begin the project? Who’s responsible for shipping and its associated coverage? If there’s any hosting involved – is there adequate coverage and insurance for cybersecurity risks? 

Remember, while most scanning companies will have insurance, their coverage can vary significantly. You always have the option to insure your own records, and we highly recommend this option, regardless of the scanning company’s existing coverage.

Next Steps

Reach out to us today! Click the “Get Your Quote” button below, fill out the form, and we’ll quickly reply to you to discuss your project.

Further Reading

5 Vetting Questions For A Document Scanning Service
How do you choose who you’ll work with for your document scanning project? In this article we’ll give you five vetting questions that should get you started on the right foot.

5 More Vetting Questions For A Document Scanning Service
In this article we continue with the next batch of five vetting questions you should ask when looking for a document scanning service, including project timelines and a provider’s experience.

Striking The Balance Between Efficiency & Security In Digitization Projects
Explore the advantages of efficiency and security in digitization projects, how they intersect, and strategies to balance them when you decide to digitize.