Beyond selecting the right equipment for your team to scan documents, putting a well-communicated scanning workflow in place across your organisation is essential to collective success when it comes to functioning as a digital-first team. There’s all kinds of paper that can be valuable to the entire team; capturing it and putting on your company’s shared drives in an organised way keeps things from getting lost and enables real collaboration.

With more streamlined workflows in place, the task of digitising a file en route to a more digital work environment can be the smooth, efficient step you need. To get you there, we’ll first look at selecting tools that will allow each colleague to scan and upload documents to the correct place with the appropriate permissions and tagging for future use. Then we’ll consider software integration and workflows to make it all worthwhile.

Scanning your options
There are several scanning solutions at your disposal to help achieve a modern scanning workflow:

  • Mobile scanners
  • Multi-Function printer
  • Desktop scanners
  • Professional scanners
An established scanning workflow in place across your organisation is key to digital-first collaboration. An established scanning workflow in place across your organisation is key to digital-first collaboration.

Choosing the right scanning tool is a function of your organisation’s needs. Are you trying to digitise filing cabinets full of older documents or to manage day-to-day needs? Is your workforce on-the-go, or sedentary? These are important overarching questions to get right, as the answers will lead you to the right equipment.

In the field
If you are more focused on day-to-day document management within an existing digital system, you need solutions that can help your team instantly capture and internally distribute documents throughout the day, all in seamless fashion. If your workforce does a lot of fieldwork — which may range from real estate to delivery drivers to mobile financial advisors — investing in a fleet of handheld mobile scanners may be the best option.

These lightweight machines easily capture single sheets of important paper — such as receipts or signed contract pages — and make them available to the entire workforce once the mobile scanner is connected to your company’s cloud-based services.

Compact and powerful
If a slim hand-held device isn’t necessary, consider a compact scanner that can rest at workspaces on a large warehouse or delivery area floor. It will still have a small footprint but can can scan data from as many as 20 sheets at once.

Tabletop solutions
Dedicated desktop scanners are ideal for busy professionals who work in finance, doctor’s offices or educational centres where invoices and completed forms need to be digitised throughout the workday. Many of these might need to become password-protected PDFs at the point of creation, so a desktop scanner that integrates with the software you are running on your PC or Mac is an essential tool for maintaining key security protocols.

Bulk scanning
Are you digitising stacks of old files? For this purpose or the kind of high-volume scanning and archiving done daily at paper-centric businesses such as medical or government offices, a professional scanner is the best choice. This machine has multi-feed detection and will easily handle two-sided scanning, produce images with high Dots Per Inch (DPI, and handle a high volume of paper per cycle.

Finally, multi-function printers are best for offices that do lower volumes of regular scanning.

Scan your business processes
It’s easy to overlook the role procedural scanning plays at your organisation. Scanning documents, particularly signed forms or handwritten forms, is a key step toward digitalisation and data-driven efficiency. It’s a great way to make sure information isn’t stranded atop someone’s desk, but rather catalogued, tagged, indexed and shared with the whole team.

Know where it’ll go
Documents scanned by a Brother device can be named at the point of scanning, and uploaded to specific folders — whatever operating system you use. Our iPrint&Scan software allows you to eliminate the time-suck of searching a server for bizarrely coded file names automatically generated at the point of document capture. iPrint&Scan allows for you to direct every document to a specific cloud-based location, where it will be instantly available to every colleague with access. This kind of automation means business processes can run far more quickly and smoothly.

Passwords may also be assigned at the point of scanning, essential for security-conscious enterprises.

Especially when OCR is utilised, scanned files can be searched, indexed and tagged. This means that when offices assign naming conventions to its files, searching for, say, a former client’s signed form submitted two years ago, suddenly becomes as easy as a Google search.

Portable scanners easily capture documents and make them instantly available to your team.Portable scanners easily capture documents and make them instantly available to your team.

File it away: putting documents to work for you
Making documents more readable once they are uploaded is one of the key reasons it’s worthwhile to design a more efficient scanning workflow. To maximise opportunities for indexing, create a standardised scan workflow for how all colleagues should handle file types, file sizes and OCR processing. This kind of pre-planning will boost efficiency, making it easier to find things later — even if they wind up mis-filed.

Naming conventions for images are likewise important so that everyone on the team can find what they need. So too is the importance of choosing a usable and preferred file format; iPrint&Scan allows anyone scanning a document to select the type of file they wish to generate, be it a PDF or a Word document.

Tips for cementing a productive scanning workflow
Becoming an office — or a team working together while geographically dispersed — that regularly uses scanning tools to enable digital workflows will take some adjustment. It’s a mindset shift as much as an investment in equipment and a software shift. Making the change will represent an opportunity to work more efficiently and thus generate more time for the most creative work.

Brother scanners offer technological ease and easy-to-integrate software solutions focused on security as much as simplicity. All scanned documents can be password protected as they’re uploaded, keeping key data secured. And it all works with a few clicks of the dialogue box, helping you move forward on your to-do list.

To learn more about how Brother can help your team with document management solutions, please contact us. We’re always keen to help organisations select the best-fit scanners and workflows to integrate into their existing networks and software.

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