Justifying the Expense of Digitisation: A Comprehensive Guide to Planning and Execution

Suppose you’ve made the decision to begin digitising or to boost the scope of your digitisation operations. You’ll take a lot of paper records, scan them using OCR, and perhaps (ideally) index them. It’s important to balance these costs against the benefits they bring since they might mount up. 

Considering the Digitisation Scope 

We tend to think of records as being digital in the twenty-first century and digitisation as the best option, but is it always that easy? Going totally digital might not make sense for some organisations. The following are some important areas that you should evaluate in order to gauge the size of your digitisation project. 

Can digital records be successfully controlled after they’ve been created? 

Dark data sets are so common that it is clear that people have no influence over how they are produced. Organisations frequently digitise records without fully considering how to keep them after they are created. They are completely unidentified and unmanageable since they have no index or information all—just bytes and bytes of hundreds of thousands of photos with all those enigmatic serial numbers. 

Does your company require simultaneous remote access for everyone? 

Every organisation has a different internal policy about this. It could be completely OK for someone to merely pull down a binder from a shelf if they are the only person in a small workplace who will ever need to look something up. 

What is the rate at which your records are added? 

Digital records might not be the most economical choice if you have lengthy retention periods but very low accession rates. 

Steps to Digitisation 

Digitisation alone is not the solution if your processes and procedures are not aligned from the beginning; it will just increase your list of issues.  

Do we really comprehend our data? What do we not require? 

Have you ever worked for a company that had a sizable shared drive that was crammed with files in folders that were nested within other folders? If you don’t know where to search, it could be hard to locate what you’re looking for. Nobody is in charge. There is no organisation, no metadata, and no method for adding new data. People can preserve anything they wish, whether it is required or not. 

You must thus make certain that you have a thorough understanding of your data. Think about the following: 

  • Are we aware of the data we have and its location? 
  • Have we created an indexing or metadata system? 
  • How useful are the records to the company? 
  • What burden of regulatory compliance is imposed on the data? 
  • How long must we retain data? 
  • Do we need to digitise all of our records entirely, or would partial digitisation better suit our needs? 

What effect could migration have? 

Before you have even started your first data migration, there is another thing to think about. The truth is that you’ll need to relocate that data again to the newest version of your selected repository in 10 years, or maybe even five. 

You can find yourself in a difficult situation as a result. Data migration is expensive, and you might not be willing to bear that expense. However, you could work in a regulated field where you must maintain specific kinds of data for a predetermined amount of time. A forwards solution and an older legacy system that must be retained because the data still has value or is subject to a regulatory obligation are the two systems that organisations frequently wind up using. 

You must be open to consider two systems in the future. 

Can a particular solution meet our unique needs? 

The two prior considerations are relevant to how to respond to this query. 

How can a technology that supports your requirements be chosen if you don’t know what they are? Every technology has benefits and drawbacks as well as ongoing hazards and difficulties. It is a difficult exercise, but one that you simply must perform: weighing danger vs necessity. The majority of consumers desire a “easy button” in the newest technology, whether it be an imaging system, cloud computing, or whatever the newest innovation is. However, there isn’t a simple button for any remedy. 

People frequently purchase first and execute afterwards. Then they find out they have a costly – often extremely costly – failed technological installation. 

Plan first, execute later 

The answer is not technology. Your preparation method is. Technologies were developed to address a certain set of issues, which might not be the ones you are now dealing with. 

Spend no money unless you have thoroughly assessed your needs and done some serious preparation. A ROT (redundant, outdated, or trivial) information counsellor may keep you informed about regulatory requirements and assist you in getting rid of redundant, obsolete, or unimportant material. 

Spending on technology should occur at the very end of the digitisation process rather than at the start. You’ll be able to determine whether a certain technology is intended for you once you’ve done your research. If you want to know whether digitisation is the answer, you must: 

Before picking a digitisation solution, follow these three steps. If you don’t, you’ll find that you’ve made a costly mess that has no value and puts your company at worse danger than it was before you began down the route of digitisation. 

Ready to embark on your digitisation journey but unsure about where to start? Our team of experts is here to guide you through each step, ensuring your transition is smooth, efficient, and cost-effective. Contact us today for a free consultation to understand how digitisation can transform your business while being mindful of your unique requirements and budget.