What Should I Use for Scanning Images into SharePoint?

Scanner or Copier for SharePoint?

So, how do you choose which to use for your SharePoint MOSS or WSS Scanning/Imaging Project?

Scanning Multifunction Peripherals (MFPs/copiers) have become standard in most offices. I receive the same question all the time from prospects and customers: Can’t I just use my copier for scanning? In most cases, for a typical office, with typical documents, a copier is a perfect scanning solution. As offices become more complex in the way they handle their documents, or they expand their scanning efforts to other departments, dedicated scanners may be required to achieve the desired result.

Below are some interesting statistics provided by InfoTrends:

• 65 % of office workers use digital copiers/MFPs
• Over 50% use the “scan” feature daily
• 71% expect scanning requirements to increase from year to year
• 72% believe it is necessary to view images before processing
• 36% will require dedicated scanners versus MFP devices
• 36% believe they will need both scanners and MFPs

So what are the benefits/drawbacks to scanning with both types of devices? Below is a summary:

Benefits of MFPs as scanners:

• Leverage your existing investment in the MFP
• Most copier maintenance plans do not charge for scans, so you get “free” maintenance for the scanning function (no print/copy, no click charge)
• MFP manufacturers are really focusing on scanning capabilities: fast speeds, better quality and enhanced drivers, etc.
• Network scanning functions:
o Scan to email
o Scan to Windows Folders
o Scan to FTP
• One-to-Many relationship: all workers can use one device.

Drawbacks of MFPs:

• Contention – copying, scanning and printing may cause “a line at the copier”
• Poor performance with differing paper sizes
• Lack of color dropout (Scanning blue or black backgrounds will result in a black page)
• Lack of image correction capabilities (auto deskew, despeckle, black border removal, streak removal, etc.)
• Small Document Feeder sizes (50 – 100 pages)
• On average, file sizes are 10-20% larger
• Duplex scanning/DPI increase greatly slows down rated speed
• Black and White scanning only on some models

Benefits of Dedicated Scanners:

• Convenience – scan at your desk
• Duplexing does not slow down scanner
• Color dropout
• Superior image quality due to enhancement features
• Ease in handling differing paper sizes/types
• Larger document feeder selections (up to 1000+ pages)
• Smaller file sizes
• Ability to preview scanned documents at scan time

Drawbacks of Dedicated Scanners:

• One to One relationship – directly connected to PC
• Additional Maintenance costs

Above are all the pluses and minuses, but in a nutshell, when should you use a dedicated scanner?

• Scanning 100+ documents per day
• Workers that are constantly scanning throughout the day
• Mixed paper sizes, weights and colors
• Poor quality, older documents or when image enhancement is required
• OCR or ICR applications
• High volume copying and printing environments
• Large Document scanning
• High security environments

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Posted in scanning, sharepoint

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