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Analysis on electronic data imaging

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Analysis on electronic data imaging


INTRODUCTION



DigiFile has been serving the Houston community since 1992. Originally a litigation support company, they evolved into a total solution service organization for electronic document management. They offer conversion services, both at their production facility and on-site, as well as open architecture data management solutions. While initially servicing the legal industry they have ventured into other markets through associations developed through existing clients. Ownership is looking to pursue the development of these markets, but is unsure on how to segment such unlimited potential into viable and manageable market segments. From initial exploratory research using primarily secondary resources we have developed the following overall market analysis:



Digital Imaging Conversion Services



Much to the dismay of many in the business world, the arrival of the "paperless office" has been slow coming. Even though the technology exists to almost eliminate paper documents, many businesses have never heard about it. This technology is collectively known as Document Imaging. Imaging has evolved out of the necessity for businesses to manage the ever-increasing amounts of information(Porter- Roth Associates, 1996). The following statistics are evidence of the massive amounts of paper that exist in American business today:

Over three trillion documents are currently stored in corporate offices in the U.S. alone and 95 percent of those are in paper from.

One billion pages are generated a day in the United States.

A typical executive stores the equivalent of five filing cabinets of paper.

This same executive also spends more than 150 hours a year searching for misplaced documents.

The average missing file cost $120.00 in lost productivity.

80 percent of business documents are generated by computers and 60 percent of that is keyed right back into another computer-based system.

Only seven percent of the most crucial information used to run organizations is stored on-line(Smith, 1999, p. 74).



The research objective of this proposal will focus on determining what markets contain the highest percentage of companies that are addressing electronic document management in the next three years, broken down annually. The demographics of these organizations can then be analyzed to profile the most ideal candidates for DigiFile's services in the greater Houston area.

To achieve this objective we will conduct a survey utilizing the Houston

Business Journal Top 100 lists published in 1999 as our sample base. The sampling method chosen for our research proposal is the quota sampling technique which is a form of non-probability sampling. Quota sampling is used for its equitable representation of only the pertinent sampling characteristics required by those conducting the research. Statistical data will be offered in support of quota sampling, once our proposal is approved. Advantages of using this type of research are the speed of data collection, lower costs, and convenience(Weathers, 1999).

The initial steps in conducting a survey will require a pilot study. Upon approval of the survey we will use the same sample base as introduced earlier including the solicitation of three individuals from each of the seven vertical markets. Interviews with these individuals will be verbal in order to clarify and validate the survey questionnaire. Once the pilot study is completed we will pursue the roll out of the survey. Success will be based on the survey achieving a minimum of 35% participation in all vertical markets(Weathers, 1999).

Utilizing our in-house staff, consisting of five interviewers, two technical support personnel, and the project manager, we will conduct a mail survey supported by both pre and post telephone interviews. Interviewers are skilled and trained professionals that are provided overall product knowledge during initial training and will be involved in daily status meetings to evaluate any unforeseen problems. The pre-survey interview's primary function will be to identify the appropriate individuals with in the organization: CEO, CFO, CIO, COO, and soliciting their participation in the survey. Address information will also be verified to aid in increasing response rate. Post telephone interviews will be conducted on an as needed basis for clarification of responses and also to increase response rates in a timely manner. In an attempt to expedite the data gathering process, the survey will be mailed electronically to all agreeing participants, others will be sent by the traditional mail method. The survey will consist of three sections: Company profile, Information Technology Status, Product Knowledge (for sample survey see appendix).



DISCUSSION



As defined by the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM), imaging is, "The ability to capture, store, retrieve, display, process, and manage business information in digital form"(Schroeder, 1996). Put simply, digital imaging means taking paper-based documents and converting them into computer-based documents. Instead of trying to move a document through the process faster, imaging uses innovation to shorten the path. Images appear where they are suppose to, when they are suppose to, in the order they are suppose to and without human error(Weathers, 1999). A variety of statistics from a number of studies show 3 percent of all documents are filed incorrectly and 7.5 percent of all document's are lost forever(Smith, 1999).

Electronic document management (EDM) combines imaging along with optical character recognition (OCR) and indexing or electronic cataloging when dealing with the conversion of paper-based documents(Skupsky, 1999). OCR technology translates characters contained in the document's image into meaningful text that can be cut and pasted into a word processing file or have "fuzzy-logic" searches preformed on it. Indexing allows for information to be entered about the electronic document, such as its title, author, creation date and key words including client name, document description, and so forth. Upon creation, the file is archived - perhaps in a "folder" of items pertinent to a particular subject- in a given storage medium, CD-ROM, on hard drive, or in an online database(Skupsky, 1999).

As one can guess, the possibilities of document imaging are endless.

Document imaging can help increase productivity and efficiency in almost any business or organization that uses information contained on paper. The following short list contains some of the ways imaging technology is being used currently:

Human resource management- resumes, letters of reference, pictures and employee records.

Legal applications- discovery files, contracts and depositions.

Accounting- purchase orders, invoices, and receipts for expense reports.

Marketing- competitive profiles, magazine and newspaper articles and products information.

Insurance- applications, legal proof of coverage, claims and forms sent via email.

Financial- check processing, research, loans and signature cards

Government- law enforcement case records, hand written evidence, digital photographs and historic records for research.

Engineering and Architecture- project files, drawings, specifications and compliances.

Medical- medical records, doctor's notes, administrative files, insurance claim forms(Weathers, 1999).



Document imaging benefited greatly by the many legal opinions that came out in support of imaging. Donald Skupsky, a noted legal expert in data storage requirements and president of the Information Requirements Clearinghouse, issued the following opinion in March 1995:

"After reviewing the legal issues ...

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