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Getting Digie With It

[ 0 ] Sep. 1, 2007 | SBO Editor

Stats show that US businesses are making more than 1 billion photocopies each day and spending more than $25 billion a year to file, store and retrieve paper documents. In many cases, records and information systems often represent 50 percent of the total cost of doing business.?

“With the technologies that are available today, it doesn’t make good business sense to expend large amounts of capital to store and maintain hard copy information,” said Kevin Cushing, CEO of Salt Lake City-based AlphaGraphics, the leading visual communications franchisor with 265 stores worldwide. As with all aspects of a company’s business, using technologies that will increase productivity and reduce costs is vital to profitability and success.

As a result, many companies are changing their attitudes toward data storage. Organizations are looking to AlphaGraphics’ digital archiving services to handle the flow, storage and retrieval of data.

Digital archiving, also known as scan-to-file, is an excellent method for processing and storing documents. Simply put, digital archiving is the process of converting paper information to a digital representation of the original document. These highly cost-effective conversions allow information to be stored and accessed easily, enabling companies to save time, storage space, money and resources.

Digitally storing information will reduce the costs of document storage over time. It will increase productivity and reduce employee workload associated with filing, retrieving and re-filing paper documents. Additionally, it provides easy access to search, retrieve, read, print and e-mail imaged files. Digital archiving also allows for expedient file transmission over the Internet or a network. Finally, it creates a flexible and electronic database of corporate documents, such as financial statements, required regulatory documentation, client and patient files, tax and legal documents—all of which can be password-protected to restrict printing and content extraction.

“The general benefits of digital archiving are extensive. From cost reductions to increased productivity to easy retrieval to security, companies are recognizing the process as an important element in building and managing a successful business,” explained Cushing. As a result, AlphaGraphics is ramping up growth plans to meet the expected demand for the valuable services, such as digital archiving, that they provide to small and medium-sized businesses.

AlphaGraphics is seeking to nearly double its number of locations to 500 in the next five years, growing its network through new openings at a rate of 10 percent annually. AlphaGraphics digital business centers, which offer customers the same level of consultative service and visual communications solutions as other AlphaGraphics business centers, are the most intriguing aspect of the five-year plan. The digital business centers have highly-enabled digital printing capabilities but no traditional offset press, requiring less space and a lower cost of entry than a traditional business center. Digital business centers are expected to account for 30 to 40 percent of new openings within the next five years.

These digital business centers along with the traditional models will see customers from a variety of industries looking to take advantage of digital archiving. Law firms are using digital archiving to store files, as well as imprint serial numbers on documents associated with specific clients and cases. Medical offices are digitally storing patient files. Government agencies, as well as schools and universities, are also employing scan-to-file to store records and other data.

AlphaGraphics provides these organizations with three different types of digital archiving: Flat File, OCR File and Group IV TIF file Scanning and Encoding.

Flat File Archiving: This service is a process of scanning paper documents into a flat PDF file format. Individual lines of text within a flat PDF file cannot be searched.

OCR File Archiving: This service is a process of scanning paper documents into a PDF file that has gone through the process of Optical Character Recognition (OCR). OCR is a technology that recognizes and converts the letters and words of a scan into editable and searchable text for future use.
Group IV TIF File Scanning and Encoding: This service is a process of scanning paper documents into a Group IV TIF file for compatibility with litigation software programs. Document encoding tags a Group IV TIF file with specific information. •

Kevin Cushing is the human dynamo and chief executive officer of AlphaGraphics. The franchisor says that the average biz earnings of a center are more than a whopping $1 million a year and the dollar figure grows with each year of operation. Our digital world has created a boom for the huge AlphaGraphics franchise network.

Category: Magazine, Small Business Opportunities, Small Business Opportunities Sept 2007