SharePoint was designed for collaboration with Microsoft Office, and it does a fantastic job, especially with MOSS 2007. But what happens when there are paper documents that need to be added to a site through a digital imaging or scanning process? What options exist?
Below are some key areas to evaluate before deciding on the type of scanning application you require:
What type of page and/or document count will your users be scanning each day? Scanning and Capture applications are divided into two separate segments: basic and advanced capture. For users that are scanning just a handful of documents, say below 20 per day, basic capture applications will suffice. What constitutes a basic capture app? All of the scanner manufacturers provide basic capture applications with their hardware. These applications allow you to scan to file (Usually PDF or TIFF), and then you can just use the SharePoint interface to add the file. There are some applications out there that actually interface with the SharePoint server to provide upload capability either directly through a SharePoint menu, or through a “middleware” application that interfaces with SharePoint. The links below provide information on several applications:
Scanning and Capture Application for Microsoft Sharepoint
What if you have high-volume scanning needs where you are scanning boxes of paperwork into the SharePoint Server? This type of requirement will usually require an advanced capture application, like Psigen or Kofax, that will interface with a high speed scanner, allow you to utilize document separator sheets, and provide the ability to batch upload documents and metadata. Links below:
Distributed versus Centralized Capture
How do you envision your users scanning documents? Will you place the power of scanning in the end user’s hands, or will you have a centralized scanning process where documents are sent to a centralized facility for scanning? This decision is usually tied to the volume of scanning required, and most organizations will choose a hybrid method where both options are available. Placing desktop scanners in the hands of key users, or enabling a copier with an application like eCopy can provide a simple conduit into SharePoint for the masses. The centralized capture route is great for higher volume, or when you want to insure standardization and compliance.
Savvy or Technophobic Users?
Capture applications can be painfully complicated, or extremely simplistic. You need to gauge the learning curve for each type of technology, and insure acceptance. Simple is better for organizations that are new to scanning and capture technology. Making the process as simple as possible will encourage users to scan and add files to the repository. eCopy is an outstanding, yet simple application to get your feet wet in capture, below are some links to read up on eCopy:
What is eCopy?
If you have tech savvy users, and require a high horsepower application, checkout PsiCapture from Psigen or any of the other advanced capture apps:
Document Capture Links
SharePoint is a powerful tool for collaboration and sharing, and any of these applications can help image paper documents into the repository.