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Friday, October 19, 2012

A Review of Document Scanning and Management Systems

Document management systems let businesses store and search digital documents, whether they are scanned images or MS Office documents, PDF files or CAD drawings. Some have a web-based interface to let you view files online, while others have an installed client application for better speed and functionality. All of these solutions require a central database and storage server to hold the files and index information used for searching.

These document management systems require a few days in planning, installation, configuring and training. This is definitely time well spent, ensuring that a correct and optimal implementation at the outset will revolutionise the way in which any company works with its records.

This review highlights a range of proprietary document scanning and document management software, with key functions which they offer.

Systems to Store, Search and View Documents

PaperVision by DigiTech and CompuThink's ViewWise both provide fully featured, HIPAA-compliant (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) document management systems. Both of these systems can grow with company needs, and are affordable enough for small businesses yet powerful enough for large corporations too. Each offers some benefits that the other does not.

To take PaperVision first: this software suite includes a customisable application for searching and viewing, as well as a web interface. PaperVision also has workflow and report management modules which boost any return on investment by allowing the automation of document processes and eliminating pre-printed forms.

A "lite" version called PaperVision XPress offers a similar search interface as PaperVision Enterprise, but comes in at a lower cost, without the extra scalability, security and options.

The other fully featured in-house system featured here is ViewWise. This system is unique in that it is Java-based and can run on Windows/SQL Server as well as Novell, UNIX and Linux operating systems and Oracle database servers. ViewWise also has several key differences in the layout of its user-interface that many users prefer. This includes a folder view for browsing documents.

For a simple, low cost scanning front end for these document storage and retrieval systems, an interesting product is SimpleIndex ' which complements both. SimpleIndex is designed to interface directly with both PaperVision and ViewWise, and so provides a simple, low-cost automatic scanning front-end.

In fact, SimpleIndex also includes its own low-cost searching and viewing application that can be used for basic document management tasks, and so SimpleIndex can be used as a standalone document management system, or added to allow the search and viewing of documents on other workstations.

Another document management product is DocuLex WebSearch. This system is a different in that it can automatically index all documents folder contents, similar to the way in which Google Desktop operates. Networked users are able to search on values in filenames, file properties or document contents. Additionally, users can access files via a website ' a big advantage for remote workers operating outside the confines of the office building.

Web Hosted Document Management Solutions

The choice in products to allow web access to searchable document storage is give access to documents via the Internet. A reasonably priced system is Ricoh's DocumentMall which is based on EMC Documentum's Enterprise Content Management platform.

Digitech PaperVision described above, also provides a web interface with its document management server. This allows businesses to store its documents for access online. But an alternative from the same stable is to go for their ImageSilo dedicated hosted solution. ImageSilo has more features than Ricoh's DocumentMall, and so the monthly cost is higher..

DocuLex WebSearch has a small office (10 user) and unlimited user versions that provides web-based access to documents using your in-house servers and a Google Desktop style search interface.

CompuThink ViewWise web clients are also available, giving you full access to document management functions over the web. No hosted solution is available for ViewWise.

Batch-Scanning for Importing into a Document Management System

SimpleIndex enable users to export files directly to the PaperVision and ViewWise batch import format, by means a 1-click scanning interface and powerful dynamic Optical Character Recognition to these systems. Meanwhile, Digitech PaperFlow is the recommended scanning interface for PaperVision. It too has built-in exports ' but these also allow exports to almost any document management system, so it can be used no matter which one you choose. PaperFlow is more suitable for multi-user scanning and indexing configurations, while SimpleIndex is better for desktop or distributed capture scenarios.

Systems for Use with Multifunctional Printers and Copiers

Amongst software designed for use with network-attached multifunctional printer and copiers are DocuLex Goby and SimpleIndex., Additionally, the all-embracing scanning and storage system INVU is a simple to use document scanning, storage and retrieval system preferred by many business equipment owners looking to maximise their document handling workflow efficiency.
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