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What to Look for When Selecting a Document Digitization Provider in Eastern Iowa

When selecting a document scanning company, it’s essential to consider several factors to ensure they meet your requirements and provide high-quality services. Here are some key aspects to look for when evaluating a document scanning company:

  • Flexibility, Scalability, and Capacity: Consider the company’s ability to handle your document volume and meet your scanning requirements. Assess their scanning capacity, turnaround times, and whether they have the necessary equipment and resources to handle large-scale projects. Also evaluate the company’s ability and willingness to adapt their offerings to your unique requirements or desired outcome. Trusted digitization vendors like AdvantageDS3 shy away from blanket “out-of-the-box” approaches to digital conversions, and recognize each organization’s needs are somewhat different, even within the same industry, government agency and application area. Select a digitization provider that is willing to customize their project plan and tailor it to your requirements.
  • Compliance and Legal Considerations: Depending on your industry, you may have specific compliance requirements for document retention, privacy, and legal admissibility. Ensure the scanning company adheres to relevant regulations and can provide necessary documentation, such as certification of compliance or audit trails.
    • Security Measures: Since your documents may contain sensitive or confidential information, it’s crucial to ensure the scanning company has robust security measures in place. Inquire about their data security protocols, including access controls and encryption methods. Evaluate the records center’s policies and procedures to protect the privacy of your information, including employee confidentiality agreements and compliance with relevant data protection regulations. Advantage Document Scanning and Storage Solutions has maintained comprehensive documentation of our policies, procedures, and practices, and would be happy to share them with you to help you establish your own evaluation criteria.
  • Document Preparation Services: Document preparation is a critical step before scanning. Ask about the company’s document preparation services, such as removal of staples, paperclips, or bindings, as well as document sorting and organization. Proper preparation ensures optimal scanning results.
    • Quality and Accuracy: Document scanning should result in high-quality, accurate digital images. Inquire about their quality control processes, including image resolution, file formats, and accuracy verification methods. Ask for samples or demonstrations to assess the quality of their work.
  • OCR Capabilities: Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology converts scanned images into searchable and editable text. If you require OCR services, verify that the scanning company has the capability to perform OCR and inquire about the accuracy and effectiveness of their OCR processes. This is especially important when the documents or materials to be scanned are unstructured, or of particularly poor quality. Look for a vendor that has experience with the challenges inherent with materials like historical newspapers or historical government records. These companies have overcome obstacles with the most challenging image-to-text processes, and they will likely offer a higher rate of accuracy on your records vs. a vendor only accustomed to OCRing clean contemporary documents.
  • Indexing, Metadata, and Output Formats: Indexing and metadata play a crucial role in organizing and retrieving digital documents. Inquire about the company’s indexing capabilities and whether they offer manual or automated indexing services. Discuss the metadata requirements and ensure they can capture and incorporate relevant information into the digital files. Discuss the document scanning company’s ability to provide output in the desired file formats, such as PDF, TIFF, or searchable PDF. Additionally, if you plan to integrate the digitized documents with your existing systems or document management software, confirm compatibility and discuss any integration capabilities they offer.
  • Pricing and Contract Terms: Request a detailed pricing structure, including any additional fees for document preparation, indexing, or special requirements. Understand the contract terms, including service level agreements, turnaround times, and provisions for handling potential issues or errors. Consider the level of customer support and service the company provides. Ensure they are responsive, available for assistance, and have a reliable support system in place to address any concerns or issues that may arise during the scanning process.
    • Experience and Expertise: Look for a company with a proven track record and experience in document scanning and imaging. Consider their years of operation, their specialization (if any), and whether they have worked with organizations similar to yours. Ask the scanning company for references or testimonials from their existing clients. Reach out to these references to gain insights into their experience, level of satisfaction, and the overall quality of the scanning company’s services. For instance, If you are in the healthcare industry, references from the University of Iowa Health Care or UnityPoint might be of particular interest.  Educational institutions should seek references from a K-12 school, or a college like Cornel College in Mt. Vernon or Coe College in Cedar Rapids, or maybe the local library or museums in your community. If you are in local, county, or state government, you may be more interested in speaking with agencies like the Iowa Department of Transportation, The State Historical Society Of Iowa, or the recorder’s offices of county’s like Linn, Des Moines, or Keokuk. A good offsite storage company should be able to provide you with a long list of recognizable names that utilize their secure vault storage services.   

By carefully evaluating these factors and conducting thorough research, you can select a document scanning company that meets your specific requirements and ensures a successful and efficient digitization process for your documents.

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