How to Find the Best Document Scanning Software
Naji Kazak, General Manager, Middle East, Africa, Turkey & Russia at Kodak Alaris, on how businesses can efficiently go paperless in the digital era.
Going paperless can improve productivity by 30 to 35 percent. But to go digital successfully, you need the right tools.
Unfortunately, this is where many businesses flounder. What are the right tools, exactly? What happens if you don’t know how to choose scanning software that’s right for you?
Here are top tips on how to pick the best scanning software for your needs.
Tip 1. Take Stock of Your Scanning Needs
The truth is that there is no single “best” scanning or capture software that’s going to be right for everyone. Just as offices of different sizes and in different industries will be best served by different scanner models, they also need different software. The first step in discovering which scanning software is right for you, then, is to take stock of your specific needs.
To start mapping out what you need from scanning software, consider:
- The size of your company
- How many offices or locations your company encompasses
- Your budget
- The type and volume of documents that you expect or need to scan
- How mobile is your workforce
- What kind of computer or cloud infrastructure you have or intend to invest in
- How tech-savvy is your workforce
All of these factors will help you determine how good a fit various software programs are for you and your needs.
Tip 2: The Best Scanning Software Will Have OCR
If you were to nominate programs for the title of “best scanning software”, all the contenders would have at least one thing in common: OCR. OCR, or Optical Character Recognition, is a feature that allows scanner software to translate scanned documents into files that are:
The importance of this is almost impossible to overstate.
For example, imagine that your business handles contracts. If you were to scan the draft of a contract using non-OCR software, you would end up with a picture of the contract. This would allow you to read the document and print an exact copy.
However, you would not be able to:
- Edit the document, forcing you to retype the entire thing from scratch if something changes
- Use a screen reader or other tool to make the document accessible to individuals with disabilities
- Find words or phrases in the document using standard search tools
These limitations cut down on what you can do with scanned documents. They also increase the amount of time and effort needed on your end to handle those documents every time they come up.
With an OCR-enabled software program, by contrast, the data in your scanned documents can be accessed, shared, and used in all of the same ways as files that you create digitally from scratch. No matter what your industry or digitizing intentions, OCR is the way to go.
Tip 3: Consider Springing for Software That Auto-Corrects
Very little is more frustrating than pulling up a document you need for work only to find that in addition to not using OCR, the previous user did a terrible job of scanning it.
It might be cock-eyed. The coloring or shading might be poor, making it blurry and hard to read. They might have even spilled coffee on it before scanning.
Whatever the case, the result is the same: you, your coworkers, and your clients have to work with a subpar document.
Choosing auto-correcting scanner software means never having to deal with that frustration again. The best scanner software auto-corrects for:
- Sharpness and clarity
- Discoloration, including streaking or stains
- Orientation and skewing
They also differentiate photos from text and otherwise promote optimal OCR.
Tip 4: Don’t Let Your Scanner Tie You Down
If you have a highly mobile workforce, choose scanning software compatible with your mobile devices. Integrated scanning apps keep your people on the move without sacrificing scan quality.
If you’re primarily office-based, look for scanners and scanner software that can keep up with the speed and volume of documents you need to scan. This is important, because slow devices tie your staff to the scanner, create queues that slow workflow, and lead to frustration.
The right devices and software will keep up with you.
Tip 5: Make Sure Your Software Is Supported
Which scanning software do you want: the one that’s supported by a team of experts who get you back up and running right away whenever there’s a glitch, or the one that you have to drop everything and trouble-shoot yourself when things go awry?
Obviously, there’s no contest. You need your software to work, and you need to know that if anything goes wrong you’ve got access to professional support that can get you back on track.
When in doubt, choose software that’s backed by guarantees you can count on. Your peace of mind is worth it.
Tip 6: Upgrade Other Tech, Too
Before investing in new scanner software, take a good look at your operation. Are you using old or outdated technology anywhere? Have you upgraded or updated your workflows to align with your efficiency and digital records management goals?
If not, take a step back. Choosing software that integrates with outdated tech isn’t a good investment.
Invest in whatever other upgrades you need to get up to speed, whether they are process- or equipment-oriented. Doing so will help you choose the scanners and scanner software that truly move you forward and support your long-term goals.
Tip 7: Don’t Lose Sight of the Big Picture
When going digital, it can be easy to get lost in the details. You can worry about minor differences in cost, speed, and capacity all day long.
When push comes to shove, however, the important thing is choosing scanning software that:
- Does what you need it to do
- Is user-friendly
- Fits your budget
- Fits your business style
- Comes with good tech support
Focus on choosing software that integrates with the rest of your office tech, your business culture, and your workflow. You may be surprised just how easy it is to find the right software for you when you keep your eyes on the prize.