Paperless Construction Office - Scanning vs Capture

IBM_System34.IsettAcresOne of the first steps in moving your construction office to a paperless system is to convert your paper based documents to an electronic format. Generically, we refer to this process as “scanning”. However, the end result of the scanning process can have a big impact on the the accessibility of data as well as the amount of workflow automation you can perform, so it is important to be aware of your options. When speaking to vendors about scanning, you may also hear the terms “imaging” and “capture” or “data capture”.

Document imaging generally refers to the process of quickly and easily converting paper into a digital form. You have probably done this in your office or home when you used multi-function printer (printer, fax, scanner) to scan a document and save it as an image  - usually ending up with a jpeg, tiff, or pdf.

Document imaging is good for situations where you don’t have a high volume of documents and in situations where you don’t plan to do much (processing wise) with the document once it has been converted. Imaging is often used by construction offices who want to convert their paper to digital files primarily for storage.

Document Capture software helps you take imaging to the next level. These tools extract data from your documents and give also give you the ability to automate your document workflows by integrating with the other systems in your office.

Capture is good for offices with a higher volume of documents and for companies who want to move beyond simple file storage and enjoy the benefits of a document management solution.

Capture also gives you more flexibility for working with documents once they have been converted to digital. Most document capture solutions provides gateways to multiple repositories, meaning there is a greater chance the information can be stored and integrated with the other systems in your business.

Those are a few of the main differences between document imaging and document capture systems. Each one serves a particular need, the important thing is to define your needs before you purchase a solution. If you have questions about selecting the right system for your construction business, contact us for a free consultation.