Scanning vs. Digitizing Documents: What Are The Differences?

At face value, the terms scanning and digitizing may seem interchangeable. After all, both terms describe processes for converting paper documents into digital documents, but the processes and outcomes differ in several crucial ways. As software engineers passionate about making sure organizations make the most of the documents encountered in the ordinary course of business, we understand the importance of using the right tools and processes to achieve optimal outcomes. We created this guide to resolve discrepancies between scanning and digitizing documents.

Key Differences Between Scanning and Digitizing Documents

Document scanning is a form of document imaging. During the scanning process, a static image or picture of the document is created into a digital file. The digital file can be stored, shared, or changed, but any augmentations to the text or content must be done manually. 

Document digitizing is also a form of document imaging, but the process results in a dynamic digital file that is manipulable instead of a static image that is not. To make digital scans that can be easily edited, digitizing software leverages Optical Character Recognition (OCR), Machine Learning (ML), and Artificial Intelligence (AI). 

Benefits of Scanning Documents

Scanning documents offers many benefits, mainly when document scanning and managing processes are automated. Here are some ways in which scanning benefits businesses: 

  1. Improves Productivity - By scanning transactional documents, businesses reduce the time needed to file and retrieve paper documents and allow remote access to files. 
  2. Lowers Costs - Scanning documents saves money by reducing the amount of time required to organize, manage, and source documents. It also frees up valuable office space that can be used for other purposes. 
  3. Simplifies Security - When documents exist as scans, it is much easier to keep track of information and reduce the risk of theft, damage, or loss. Scanned documents can easily be stored on or off-site and protected through encryption and other digital security measures. 

If you want to learn how to streamline the process of scanning documents, read our blog, Scan Directly to SharePoint

Benefits of Digitizing Documents

Digitizing documents offers the same benefits as scanning documents, along with several additional advantages, including: 

  1. Enhance the Functionality of the Documents - When documents are digitized, OCR technology extracts data and converts characters into machine-encoded text. Intelligent Document Capture (IDC) technology uses ML and AI to recognize and interpret challenging content, extract even the most problematic information, and enhance the quality of the documents. With document digitization, users can access dynamic documents that can be edited and manipulated with very few constraints. Additionally, digitized documents can be indexed by metadata, including information like the date of creation, author, and additional unique identifiers, making these documents searchable. 
  2. Improves Security - During the document digitization process, sensitive information can be redacted irreversibly. Furthermore, the redaction process is much more straightforward than the alternative, manual solutions. 
  3. Automates Tracking - Businesses often need to store records for a specific time, but organizing these timelines can be challenging. By digitizing documents, automated retention tracking systems can be established to simplify record retention management and avoid noncompliance penalties down the road. 

If you want to learn more about digitizing documents, read our blog, The Best Ways to Digitize Documents

When To Use Scanning vs. Digitizing Documents

Now that we have established the differences between scanning and digitizing documents, we must consider when to use each approach. Scanning is sufficient if you only need a static digital record of a document. Digitizing documents is ideal if you want to edit or search the digital document. 

While digitizing documents may seem more involved than just scanning documents, that is not the case. With the right software, digitizing documents is more manageable than manually scanning and organizing documents. 

To streamline the document capture and management process, we created our DeskConnect solution. DeskConnect has intelligent capture technology to manage documents on the user’s desktop easily. Whenever a user needs to process a repetitive document, DeskConnect can improve the process by eliminating the user’s repetitive steps, removing human error, and forcing consistency. DeskConnect uses AI and Machine Learning to greatly improve the user experience. FabSoft combines best-of-breed solutions to optimize the amount and quality of the data you capture and minimize the effort required.

To see how DeskConnect can work for your business, Book a Demo with us today!

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