Document Digitization - What Is It And Why You Should Do It In 2021

In the era of rapid technological evolvement, digital technology increasingly covers many areas of our life: from finance and business to travel and leisure. Therefore, it is logical to use all the advantages of digitization and scanning documents.

Document scanning is one of the best approaches that make businesses’ workflows efficient, streamlined, convenient, and fast. 

10 years ago, this process was pricey for non-specialized organizations because it required employees to receive specific training, equipment, and software. However, due to the digital transformation, this no longer a luxury. There are many IT vendors that provide document scanning services that are now available to all businesses.

Having said that, as technology evolving nonstop, more and more shortcomings of document scanning have come to the surface. Today’s document scanning methods are outdated and cannot help companies to fully achieve their goals. Scanning is not enough, you need to extract data from these documents, meaning, we have to convert unstructured data into CSV, XML, JSON, XLS, and other structured information. This process is known as document digitization and is totally different from document scanning.

Document Digitization - What Is It And Why You Should Do It In 2021

This article will provide you with the definition of document digitization and why you should do it in 2021 as it is better than document scanning.

Why I should consider document digitization in 2021?

Like mentioned, document digitization means transforming the information that a computer cannot process (unstructured data) into a format that they can handle (structured data). An example of document digitization is to convert handwritten text into digital format or audio recordings in analogs to digital format.

The main shortcomings of document scanning have become the basis for document digitization’s popularity. Let’s have a closer look at why you should digitize your documents this year.

Low processing cost

The first reason for document digitization is the low data processing cost: when the data is converted into a convenient format, the processing will be cheaper.

The main idea is that if you have an immense amount of complex data, you don’t have to delegate the processing of these documents to dedicated staff. By developing software or custom search algorithms or data processing tools to perform the task, it will be much cheaper. Even at the beginning of the process, developing such software can save you more than hiring full-time staff for a one or two-month task. 

Therefore, the entire process of processing digitized data requires fewer resources: engineers, financial resources, and time. You can create a search engine and then search all relevant data with one query.

Easy data processing

The main feature of document digitization is its capability to convert documents into digital formats such as jpg/png/bitmap and prepare data schemes that include all the data needed by machine algorithms to extract the needed data from the original document.

Document digitization helps to convert on-paper information into electronic documents and converts data in these documents into machine-readable formats (XML, JSON, CSV, TXT). It is much easier to use business intelligence software combine with manually processing data in these formats with the appropriate software. For instance, CSV can be easily processed in Excel.

Cloud data warehousing

One of the problems with paper documents is that they must be stored in one place, in the right order, which can take up a lot of space. In addition, you might face the risk of losing or damaging your data document. After digital processing, we can store both scans and extracted data from these documents. Therefore, you can receive all valuable data from anywhere online, while the original data is available in one location on the material media.

Another reason to use cloud data warehouses is the exchange of digitized documents. Despite we all move to digital nowadays, sometimes the internet connections are still very unstable and heterogeneous. Depending on the connection quality which can be different in some regions, it might be a struggle to process scanned documents. This is because high-quality scanned documents usually take up a lot of space on the hard drive. Therefore, it is quite hard to transfer the document over the internet, especially in regions where the internet is poor. That is why many large companies still often send large amounts of data by mail or courier.

During digitization, special algorithms extract data from documents, which greatly reduces the amount of data transferred. Although the size of the original raster-scanned document is 3MB, the amount of data extracted from the document may vary between 30-50KB.

Needless to say, it is much easier to transfer 10,000 50KB document files over the Internet than the same number but 3MB files per file.

How to extract data from on-paper

There are a huge amount of documents that each of them needs a unique way of digitization. There are three most common document digitization ways:

1. Using inexpensive or free software applications

There are many software solutions available on the market that are built specifically for digitizing a variety of documents. The main feature of these software applications is that they are made without sticking to any specific document. However, this is not 100 percent true. But they still do a wonderful job. 

Some of the popular software, which you have actually heard of, are Office Lens (for DOCX, PPTX, PDF), Adobe Scan (for PDF), FineReader Online (for DOC, DOCX, XLS, XLSX, ODT, TXT, RTF, PDF, PDF/A)

2. Specialized OCR software

OCR or Optical Character Recognition software allows you to use document scanning of scan invoices, text, and other files into digital formats. Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is one of the most popular OCR software 

3. Software development outsourcing companies

IT vendors often offer a team of experts to help you solve any of your IT-related problems. Do not hesitate to contact them. There are a large number of software outsourcing companies in Vietnam that can help you digitize your document with their human-powered resources. 

Bottom-line

Document digitization is a must in today’s digital transformation era. The digitizing process is not as complicated as it sounds and does not take you so much time. Hence, we recommend you to do it as soon as possible.

If you have any questions regarding document digitization or any software development requirements, be sure to drop us a line and we will give you the answer you need.