For me, scanning is a love/hate relationship. I love having information in a digital format, I hate getting it there. As long as I keep up with my scanning, I love it.
And, here is another important thought, I advise you to select your scanning partner wisely. I am referring to the system you use. Basically, you can store data some place on the internet or on some type of hardware you own. The system you use should support you well and be reasonably priced.
Here are a couple thoughts on scanning, in general:
√ For the right thinking style (meaning, one who deals with electronic data well and can read off a screen), storing documents and information in a digital format is blissful
√ Documents are easy to find (assuming you categorize and label well)
√ Scanning is easy (assuming you know how to use apps, software, or hardware well)
√ There are a lot of nice scanners available at a variety of prices. The more you scan, the more important speed and a document feed is. I like Fijitsu
√ Cuts down on paper maintenance including filing and shredding.
√ Takes less physical space (whoa!!). Physical storage is costly when you consider how much space it uses in your home and the supplies necessary, including filing cabinets. I like Hon
√ Storing digital date on a website is inexpensive, a year of service is between $50-$100 (as of today). There are may companies to select from: OneDrive, DropBox, SugarSync (highly recommended), Evernote, and many more. There are consultants that will help you use these services…be ready to spend some $$$.
√ There are companies that will scan your documents for you. You ship your papers to them, they scan it, and shred it or ship it back. They put it on a flash drive or on your service. Again, be ready to spend some cash…usually 10¢-15¢ a page but considering how valuable your time is, it is worth it. I like Simplicity and Convert Your Archives
√ If you choose a website as your storage hub, remember, a website is a company and companies come and go. You want to work with a company that will be around 50 years from now.
√ Storing information on the web is a service so you have to pay for it. Yes, you can store it yourself in your home (for the one time cost of a hard drive) but it is at risk…it could be stolen, burn down or break. Please don’t let this decision paralyze you. I use DropBox and like it well enough.
√ Scanning is time consuming
√ Scanned documents can hide (this is huge and can get ugly!!). This can be a big mess, maybe a legal mess. Scanned documents store so nicely in a digital place that you forget about them. You need a plan to review and delete old, out-of-date documents.
√ If you have a backlog of documents to be scanned, it may take weeks or months to get the job done
√ Scanning is faster than physically filing…WRONG. Scanning take as much time as filing when you consider the life cycle of a document (there are exceptions)
√ Digital data can be hacked and lost if not properly backed up or eaten up by a virus
So, what are you going to do:
Weigh the pros and cons and decide which side has the stronger argument to accommodate your habits. Try scanning a few docs, test it out, find a process that your like then dive in. More than likely, the printer you own, scans as well…you need to figure you how to use it.
Want more?? Here is an outstanding resource: DocumentSnap. The author of this blog offers you more than you can imagine on going paperless.