If your organization houses dozens, hundreds, or thousands of records in physical form, you might have considered going digital versus maintaining the physical records yourself. Digitally converting microfiche, microfilm, and paper-based documents into an electronic format is a way to safeguard your important materials and provide you with quick and easy access when you need them.

Let’s take a look at the advantages of digitization and how they  can benefit your organization.

The Advantages Of Digitization

Your organization faces constant threats to physical documents including theft, disaster, human error, lost records, and more. Here are some reasons to consider digitizing microfilm, microfiche, and other physical documents for your organization.

Save money

Managing physical documents is costly. You’ll spend time and resources on recurring record management versus the one-time cost of digitization that could reduce overhead and effort in the future . Consider:

  • The amount of time an employee spends locating records, scanning them, sorting and exporting images or text, and returning the document to its correct location. 

Compare that to how much an employee is making an hour, and you’ll understand the true cost of maintaining physical records. Many organizations employ a full-time clerk to manage their physical records.

  • How much each record is worth. 

If a record is lost, destroyed, damaged or stolen, what financial impact does that have on your organization? You might have to scramble to replace the record, or spend time finding it. Worse, the record may be irreplaceable, which could cost your organization even more.

  • The cost of losing sensitive and confidential information. 

According to the 2018 Cost of a Data Breach Study by Ponemon, the average cost of each stolen or lost record that contains confidential or sensitive information is $148 – an increase of 4.8% year-over-year. Even if you only have a few physical documents with important information on them, losing them can cost you thousands of dollars. Is keeping them only in physical form worth the risk?

A generic price for microfiche scanning is $1/sheet. Factor in the financial cost of employee time and the effort to recover from a disaster that affects physical records and the cost savings are clear.

Increase efficiency

Dealing with physical documents slows down your team. Maybe the time it takes to process a records request for your organization averages around 30 minutes, since your employee has to physically move from records storage to the scanner, provide the records to a customer, and then back to records storage. 

And that’s only if it’s easy to find the record in the first place. If it’s been misfiled or lost, you can see how the time it takes to look for a record increases quickly.

Plus, doing everything by hand makes the process prone to human error. Your delivery is only as fast and accurate as your employee is.

If your machinery fails you – you have a paper jam or your scanner decides it’s not in the mood to work – you’re stuck and have to find a way to adapt, causing more wasted effort.

By choosing digital solutions for your microfilm, you could cut down the record retrieval process to around 5 minutes. Everything is stored in an easy-to-find place. Accessing each file is instantaneous. You free up your employees to do more important things than managing tedious physical archives.

Ward off the risk of natural disasters & document theft

Disaster can strike at any time. Fires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, burst pipes, structural collapse, or theft could leave your organization in a world of pain. Without a backup of your most important documents, your organization is vulnerable to permanent record damage and loss.

In 2018, there was more than $91 billion in economic losses due to natural disasters, the National Centers for Environmental Information reports. Add to that  the threat of burglars or insider theft that could strike your organization, no matter how many security measures you put in place. The risks of physical document damage or theft can be extremely costly.

Even a slight temperature change at your organization can damage records over time. Document scanning means that even if something happens to your physical records, you’ll have a backup in place so you restart normal business processes right away.

Modernize your organization

Using technology and processes to bring your records into the digital age is a benefit to your employees and your clients. Benefits of modernizing legacy systems like physical record storage include:

  1. You save time and money.
  2. Your staff becomes more productive and improves business processes. 
  3. You can improve customer satisfaction with faster service.
  4. Modernizing records with digitization complements other technology efforts at your organization.

Dealing with lost or misfiled records is frustrating for employees and customers. Outdated systems can decrease sentiment for your organization inside and outside of your organization.

Plus, physical equipment like scanners could become out-of-date quickly. You’ll experience higher costs replacing the equipment you use, as opposed to digitally converting your records with a provider with professional equipment and tested processes in place.

Save space

Physical space for your business is a valuable commodity. Office space can cost anywhere from a couple of dollars per square foot to rent to more than $6 per square foot, according to MarketWatch. When you’re maintaining physical records, you’ll need room for the records, plus a scanner and space for your employees to scan.

You’ll also have to make sure that space is temperature-controlled and has security measures in place. Those costs could add up quickly.

The wrong use of space could lead to disorganization and slowed retrieval processes, which then affects your accuracy and efficiency. Digitizing microfiche and other documents means you can cut down on office space costs and use your space for projects that bring more value to your organization.

Learn More About Digitization

Digitizing records will save your organization money over the long term. Digitization increases efficiency, it protects your records no matter what natural disaster, theft, or loss happens, and it makes record retrieval painless, while modernizing your organization to current market standards. 

The risk of losing your records is expensive. In some cases, it could shut down your organization completely or make you lose customers.

Whatever type of records you have, BMI Imaging has a solution. We’ve been digitizing microfilm and paper documents for more than 60 years. Nearly all of the time, we have a way to scan your microfiche, even if it takes some creativity.

We’ve had thousands of customers across diverse industries, including government, healthcare, biotech, education, insurance and more. Learn about the services we offer for digitizing microfilm and paper-based records, and reach out to us and have a discussion with one of our team members about your specific project.

Further Reading

“Traditional Microfilm Conversion vs Digital ReeL” is perfect if you’re interested in scanning microfilm or microfiche records but aren’t sure what options you have, or what’s right for you. We provide traditional scanning options (PDFs, TIFs, Laserfiche, OnBase, etc.) and also offer our unique solution, Digital ReeL.

“10 Best Reasons For Document Scanning” ties right in with the article you just read. If you need any more reason to start your scanning project, you might as well have 10 reasons!

Our “Security” webpage is designed to give you a glimpse into how we protect your data through physical and technological means. We want you to have a warm and fuzzy feeling when you work with us, so we make sure you know we’ve got your back.