Document Imaging/Management
July 12, 2005 10:15 AM   Subscribe

I’m tasked with finding an appropriate Document Imaging/Management solution for my company. We’re an engineering/environmental consulting firm with several offices, amounting to about 300 users. The ones I’ve looked at so far are Questsys , Docstar , Laserfiche and, (the really cheap solution) PaperPort . Does anyone have any experience with these solutions, or can you recommend another solution that you have implemented?
posted by gnz2001 to Technology (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
LaserFiche sucks to administer... and the upgrades are a pain.
posted by k8t at 10:18 AM on July 12, 2005

Have you looked at Xerox Docushare? It's pretty powerful, especially if you lease a Xerox printer - they have very nice integration, etc. However, it's not cheap.
posted by me & my monkey at 11:29 AM on July 12, 2005

FileNet Imaging and/Records Manager. Not sure how cheap but it's pretty robust.
posted by ramix at 11:45 AM on July 12, 2005

Any XML-based system and XEP?
posted by five fresh fish at 10:21 AM on July 13, 2005

FileNet is pretty good but definitely not cheap! - we're working on implementing it at our work (a global life assurance company; branches in 4 time zones, several hundred users) and we've had several consultants in for protracted periods just doing the analysis. Lots of money spent, and we haven't actually bought anything yet!

Several things to consider:
What do you actually want - something to merely scan documents for backup? for regular day-to-day use (i.e. to replace paper)? for records management (expecially in light of some of the recent court cases - big fines for some companies who couldn't prove that they had control of all their records)?

As you've got several offices, consider that you're going to need some kind of central server/repository where all the images are stored. These will need to be scanned at a decent enough quality to be legible, and perhaps (logically) to replace the paper copy - i.e. once scanned, destroy the paper.
Unfortunately as we ahve discovered, a scanned A4 page in 24-bit colour, stored as a TIFF can be pretty large... fine on a local intranet over gigabit ethernet... but what the poor souls who're connected to your server with a narrow wire - several minutes to download an image. Not good. Check whether the solution can generate reduced size (e.g. JPEG) images for transfer on-the-fly.

Ponder the structure of the documents being scanned - is one document going to be worked on in its entirety by one person, or will different people need to access different parts of the same document? This influences (a) how your physical document is created, prior to scanning and (b) how the scanning and indexing process captures the image.

Also think how your documents are going to be stored - your "electronic filing system", if you will. Determine in advance all of the key index information that you will need to capture in order to find a particular document again - whoever does the scanning (or perhaps the first person to look at the newly scanned image) will need to be able to record this information.
Have a google for details of a "business classification scheme" and see whether you can come up with something. It's not easy, but there is a definite benefit to having one...

Then prepare a tender document laying out your requirements (number of users, current and predicted volumes of documents, details of the network infrastructure, and - naturally - details of the purpose for requiring such a solution) and see what the experts come up with.

Note that buying a cheap system is (in our experience!) a bad idea - we really shot ourselves in the foot with our previous imaging system which is grinding gradually to a halt, and has been driving our users insane for a couple of years. Glad I wasn't involved in doing the analysis for that one... :-)

Hope that this helps - and that I'm not teaching you to suck eggs, or anything! Anyone else want some Business Analysis resource, going cheap?
posted by Chunder at 1:58 PM on July 13, 2005 [1 favorite]

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