Before you can successfully create a document imaging system, you’ve got to understand the steps in the process.
By Bernard Chester
I’d like to present an organizational framework for digital conversion and capture that I have been developing for a document imaging book. The framework includes both manual policies and procedures, as well as technology. This model is most applicable to production conversion operations, although it does map to other scanning projects. I’ll be referring to this repeatedly in future columns, so you might want to bookmark this page. Your feedback is encouraged.
There are twelve stages that every conversion activity must address. The flow through the stages is normally sequential, and is amenable to automation.
All conversion operations have the following (roughly) sequential stages:
1. Service Definition
The conversion service must be defined in advance, either through a published offering or an agreement with a client. This involves marketing and sales activities, as well as technical and operational staff. The service definition covers the quality, quantity limits, charges, performance level, and delivery of results. A preliminary configuration for the capture sub-system may be prepared in advance to match the service offering.
The service definition, as modified by the specific service request, determines behavior for each successive stage.
Completed agreements and standard service descriptions will need to be filed in a common place to permit staff to refer to them when presented with a request.
A customer must make a specific request according to a defined service offering including specifying any options or changes from the definition. Issues of access to the records are addressed. A specific process and system configuration may need to be produced to manage servicing the request, or it may utilize a standard predefined configuration.
Requests may arrive via one of a number of mechanisms: telephone, mail, electronic mail, fax, or electronic system. Requests and their resolution need to be maintained as business records.
3. Document Access
The documents to be converted must be located and brought to the conversion area. This may amount to pulling boxes from shelving, or accepting delivery from their owner, and then identifying the specific documents to convert. Secure handling of the originals is important to maintain client confidentiality and regulatory obligations.
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