Secure Record Storage | Rapid Retrieval

How to do Electronic Document Conversion & 6 Advantages of Outsourcing It

What is Electronic Document Conversion Outsourcing?

Electronic document conversion outsourcing means hiring an experienced third-party company to scan paper records to create digital copies, verify copies against original documents, and apply industry best-practices to secure the resulting database.

If you are considering electronic document conversion to digitize your paper documents, your instincts are correct! 

The most common concern about hard-copy records: Paper files are vulnerable to threats such as failure to return records to their proper place, misfiling, accidental destruction, theft, and damage from water or fire.

By contrast electronic files, stored in a document management system (DMS), can be stored securely – with backups stored separately to prevent the loss of vital information.

In other words: Anything your paper filing system can do, an electronic DMS can do better – as long as it is secure and well-managed.

Whether you are interested in going paperless or simply want the security of a redundant document storage system, read on to learn how affordable it can be to outsource the conversion and secure storage of your vital business files.

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Why Business Records MUST Be Stored Securely

For your company to grow and flourish, a sound process for storing and retrieving documents must be in place.

Whether hard-copy or digital, your business records are crucial to your organization’s longevity. They contain documentation that keeps you on track and protected from frivolous legal action.

Confidential Information

Business files in most companies also contain confidential information that must be protected from unauthorized access, such as:

  • Organizational, proprietary information
  • Information shared in confidence by customers/clients
  • Personal health information (PHI) shared with a medical provider, protected by laws like HIPAA in the U.S.
  • Other information that is legally protected, like knowledge someone shares with their attorney  

Threats to Your Paper Business Records

For organizations around the world that use paper records, there are a few common nightmare scenarios that play out every day. For example:

  • A worker may accidentally grab the wrong files when shredding culled documents
  • Raging flood waters floods can fill a file storage area and render the records useless
  • Wildfires can spread rapidly, leaving no time to evacuate important documents
  • A disgruntled employee can access the storage area and steal or destroy critical files
  • A new file clerk may inadvertently mis-file a folder in a way that is not easy to discover

Why You Should Consider Electronic Document Conversion

If you have ever had a sleepless night or a panic attack because an important file has gone missing, we do not need to tell you about the value of having digital records with safely stored backup copies.

In the following sections, we will discuss the mechanics of putting a filing system in place that gives you peace of mind and sound sleep.

Best Practice for Storing Digital Files: A Secure, Specialized DMS

Let’s discuss some of the basics about document management systems.

What is a Document Management System (DMS)?

A document management system (DMS) is software used to secure and maintain electronic documents; it may be purchased from a software retailer or custom-designed as part of a proprietary system.

In other words, you can buy or subscribe to a software package to handle your documents, or you can hire a software developer to create a DMS. 

If you outsource your document management system, your BPO provider will take care of this according to your specifications.

Key Characteristics of a Sound DMS

A DMS can be simple or elaborate, but it should have the following features: 

  • Specific process for naming and storing documents
  • Streamlined record retrieval
  • Robust security to prevent unauthorized access to files 
  • Sophisticated user access controls according to a set of criteria
  • Automatic logging of user access and editing activities
  • Testing protocols to ensure the integrity of the database and data

Operating WITHOUT a Formal DMS for Electronic Documents

Here are some of the consequences of mishandling or improperly storing your digital documents:

  • Version control issues – duplicate files edited by multiple people mean it may be nearly impossible to determine the most recent version of a document
  • Change history – it may be difficult to determine who edited a document and what changes they made
  • File locking – If the final version of a document is “locked” from editing, it may be cumbersome to allow access to users for future updates
  • Accidental deletion – less experienced users may inadvertently select “delete”
  • Cloud platform account issues – the account tied to all of the data can be accidentally closed, or you can be locked out due to payment or other administrative issues

Converting Your Business Records to Digital Documents

Turning your paper documents into a database is a complex process. 

The scope of a conversion is well beyond standing in front of a scanner, feeding documents until there are no more, and declaring victory. 

Digital copies must be checked against the originals to be sure they are legible and complete, and they must be assigned file names according to a system that ensures retrieval of any or all documents on demand.

The Electronic Document Conversion Process

Here is an idea of the scope of a paper-to-electronic conversion project, assuming that an IT professional has created a secure database for storing digital copies:

Preparing Paper Documents for Scanning

  • Remove staples, paperclips, and other fasteners
  • Smooth out folds so all pages are flat
  • Check the quality of each page for legibility issues
  • Mark poor quality pages for special handling

Scanning Paper Documents to Electronic Copies

  • Follow established file name conventions for the electronic documents
  • Feed the original documents into a scanner or other imaging device
  • Use special handling protocols for poor quality originals
  • Maintain and repair the scanning equipment as needed

Post-Scanning Procedures

  • Ensure that electronic files are properly named to facilitate retrieval
  • Verify that each digital document is an exact copy of the original
  • Re-scan any page that fails the accuracy verification check
  • Label paper originals as “scanned”
  • Enter the box, folder, or other container in the logbook for destruction

Destruction of Originals

  • Verify that files marked as “scanned” have corresponding electronic files
  • Ensure that unscanned documents have not been inadvertently added
  • Shred the original copies 

Challenges of Completing Electronic Document Conversion In-House

Most organizations cannot absorb a labor-intensive project like document conversion with existing staff because it pulls them away from the day-to-day availability and services their customers expect. 

This is where a top BPO company may save the day!

After the Conversion: Ongoing Document Management & Data Administration

Properly Maintaining Electronic Records In-House

Some (very) small businesses might get away with storing all of their business records in the cloud using platforms such as Google Drive, DropBox, or OneNote – and not giving their storage system a second thought. 

These platforms are great, but they do not automatically provide the highest level of security or the ability to retrieve lost data files unless they are managed and monitored by experienced personnel. Otherwise, method works… until it doesn’t!

Once your paper files have been scanned, verified for accuracy, and stored electronically in a database, who will take responsibility for keeping your documents safe and readily available?

To ensure the safety and integrity of your electronic records, you need the services of an experienced IT professional.

Profile of a Document Management/Database Administrator


IT degree, certification, or equivalent training and experience

Job Duties 

  • Establishes and enforces data management procedures
  • Sets up cybersecurity measures
  • Configures servers and databases
  • Controls user access
  • Monitors system/data integrity and updates security protocols
  • Ensures security and data privacy as required by law
  • Regularly tests systems and databases
  • Loads and authenticates new data
  • Performs complex queries, analysis, and data interpretation
  • Ensures efficient document retrieval and distribution
  • Creates new systems/databases as needed

“Anything your paper filing system can do, an electronic DMS can do better – as long as it is secure and well-managed.”

6 Advantages of Outsourcing Your Conversion & DMS Maintenance

For the greatest security and ease of retrieving your documents, you need IT personnel who are trained, certified, and experienced in the latest security protocols and complex data maintenance routines – and the time needed to properly maintain your DMS.

The good news: Full-service BPO providers can assign a specialized team with the skills to manage and safeguard your digital documents, often with higher quality and lower costs than relying on your in-house staff.

1. An Experienced, Qualified Workforce

A business process outsourcing vendor like Login Services™ has the manpower and expertise to seamlessly take on your document management functions, as if they were just down the hall from your office.

  • The BPO takes care of hiring, training, oversight, staffing, and payroll so you can get the job done more efficiently – for a lower cost than hiring more in-house workers or using a high-priced temporary staffing agency.

For an interactive look at typical document management outsourcing services, click here.

2. A Dedicated BPO Project Manager

Top BPOs assign a project manager as your go-to for anything related to your outsourcing projects. 

The duties of your assigned project manager vary depending on the services provided by your contract, but generally include:

  • Frequent check-ins with you 
  • Rapid optimization of your project as needed
  • Personnel management/staffing
  • Maintain the workplace for efficiency
  • Monitor and improve productivity as needed
  • Data validation and accuracy verification
  • Data analysis and timely reporting

3. High Quality Control Standards for Paper-to-Digital Conversions

A reliable BPO vendor takes great pride in their consistently high accuracy rate, whether they are performing data entry or converting paper records to electronic. 

  • Because outsourcing workers are professionals who provide these services routinely, they are skilled at ensuring the quality of scanned documents.

4. Safe, Reliable Management of Digital Documents

Your outsourcing vendor must abide by legal and ethical standards of conduct with regard to the handling of confidential information and proper use of their login credentials.

5. Ongoing Security Monitoring & Administration of Your DMS

When you have an electronic database that contains your important, confidential, and routine documents, it is not a set-it-and-forget-it situation.

Your precious data must be monitored for potential security threats and protected by the latest data security technology.

The database must be backed up, at least daily, with backups stored separately and securely. 

Routine, periodic testing and analytics must be performed to ensure that your data is safe and available for quick retrieval when needed.

6. Outsourcing Your Conversion & DMS is Likely Cheaper Than DIY

When you outsource to a BPO in a cheaper labor market, like India, you can get special projects and ongoing services at a much lower rate than the cost of hiring and managing local workers.

This leaves your in-house team free to focus on what they do best – keeping your customers happy and growing the business.

For a more detailed look at record storage and maintenance, read the Guide to Outsourcing Your Document Management Systems on the blog from our sister company, Rainbow Softech™.

Speak With an Expert About Outsourcing Electronic Document Conversion & DMS

When it comes to outsourcing, the key factor in your success is the quality of the BPO you hire provides the service.

You can usually have it all: An experienced, top-tier outsourcing firm and cost savings that boost your bottom line.

Before you choose an outsourcing firm, do your research, make a shortlist of companies, and find out what their customers say. Take advantage of the free downloadable tools (below) to find the best BPO for your needs.

Questions? With over 15 years of full-service outsourcing experience, our founders are happy to answer them.

Murthy and Suresh can share with you the opportunity for value and quality that come from hiring an offshore outsourcing partner, and they would be happy to brainstorm with you about your current needs and future plans.

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