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Should I scan or store my documents?

It is difficult to determine the exact amount of paperwork generated by businesses in Iowa over the last several decades. However, it is safe to say that businesses have generated an enormous volume of paperwork over time and continue to do so daily. It has become unmanageable, inefficient, and cumbersome for many organizations, and even the largest corporations are looking for new ways to improve their records management strategies.  Businesses, government agencies, institutions, and organizations across eastern Iowa are evaluating their document management options to ensure compliance, streamline operations, and protect valuable information.

Iowa businesses must comply with industry regulations that mandate the retention of specific documents for designated periods. Failure to comply can result in penalties and legal consequences. Proper records management, including secure offsite storage facilities like the ADS3’s records center in Cedar Rapids, ensures adherence to these requirements, allowing businesses to avoid potential legal issues and reputational damage. Decision-makers know that they must choose the option that ensures compliance with legal and regulatory requirements in Iowa but also enhances operational efficiency and reduces risk.

Scanning or securely storing documents in a professional 3rd party records center involves weighing various factors and considerations specific to the industry or business. When evaluating if secure off-site storage or document digitization is the “right” solution, decision-makers must consider the frequency and urgency of accessing those documents. If the business requires quick and frequent access to information, scanning documents and converting them into digital format provides greater accessibility and efficiency. On the other hand, if access is infrequent or time-sensitive retrieval is not a priority, off-site storage might be more suitable, especially if industry regulations require physical document retention; off-site storage may be a viable option. 

Conversely, if the organization’s archive is extensive and there is considerable ongoing document accumulation, off-site storage can provide a cost-effective solution. 

Organizations must assess their budget and available resources. Scanning documents in-house requires an initial capital investment in scanning equipment, which is expensive and much more resource intensive. Engaging a professional scanning service like ADS3 provides a much more efficient and budget-friendly alternative. 

Investment and ongoing expenses are additional considerations that must be weighed as well. In today’s business climate, organizations in Iowa must assess the ongoing expenses associated with digital document management, including storage, backup, and maintenance, and if it is prudent to use the company’s resources or outsource those functions. They must compare and contrast those expenses against the cost of storing that paper as opposed to digitizing it. Off-site storage typically involves recurring costs, but it may be a more cost-effective option for certain businesses.

It’s important to note that some businesses opt for a hybrid approach, combining scanning and storage solutions based on the specific needs of different document types. This approach allows for a balance between immediate accessibility and long-term storage requirements. A hybrid solution for scanning and storing business documents combines physical and digital elements to create an integrated and flexible records management approach. It allows businesses to leverage the benefits of both paper-based and digital document management systems.

Ultimately, Eastern Iowa businesses must assess and evaluate the advantages and limitations of the available scanning or storage options that satisfy their business requirements, compliance obligations, and budget considerations. ADS3 is a locally owned and operated, full-service records management and document imaging center that provides solutions that cover the entire lifecycle of your documents. We take a consultative approach when defining the scope of a records management program. We work closely with our partners to identify the most cost-effective, practical, and responsive approach to managing your organization’s records. This results in a tailor-made solution that will satisfy regulatory requirements, internal practices, process compliance, and retention policies of Eastern Iowa-based businesses and industries. 

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