The Old Electronic Documentation

Does your business still have historical data on floppy discs? Or tapes? Paper archives? Word Perfect files? Unusable TIFs? Extension unknown? Do you have tons of duplicates in a variety of locations? For some reason old, electronic documentation has been left behind in the ever-changing business world, and now it can pose a significant business risk.

Problem:

  • Scanned documents
  • Poor Quality
  • Non-searchable image formats

Technical Clean up:

  • Make searchable 
  • Improve readability
  • Convert to a long term searchable archive document format
  • Ease the GDPR process

Once upon a time in the 90's and through the 00's organizations faced the wave of having their paper copy and paper archives – historical and incoming information – electronic and part of a digital storage system, EDMS, ECMs or of a company specific fileshare drive.

The risks associated when going digital were among other things:

  1. The software: What if Microsoft killed Word? Or ECM system vendor went out of business?
  2. The format: Storing electronic documentation is running a risk of the file format getting too old to be readable.
  3. The media: Disks, tapes, cassettes, video, images and soon CDs and DVDs, etc. The media must be in a viable format that can still be accessed.

The pros for going digital were victorious in the end, which meant historical documentation was scanned and the incoming documentation converted to live up to this new paperless and electronic era. A lot of companies’ most critical documents are to this day still saved as those PDF and TIF images from the transformation time.

How are the digital risks looking now? In the year of 2017 these files pose an overall business risk based on some updated factors:

Security and Governance
If there is any Personal Identification Information (PII) in some 10-year-old PDFs that might be stored in a folder somewhere, it is crucial to find it now. If not, it can cause serious business damage. The GDPR is also on the move putting more pressure on companies to get control of all their documentation across the organisation.

Also under the GDPR umbrella, companies are faced with information governance challenges when having to manage the retention of records that not only meet company-specific policies but also comply with industry regulations. These policies determine the types of record, its retention period and following destruction procedure.

Lastly, some of your digital files might be too old to work with the newest software; you have to go through new and time-consuming projects to ‘unlock’ the dust of the old file formats.

Resources and Workability
As mentioned earlier, a business’ software and hardware has high regards on the maintenance budget. The old digital files are not. In the end, they will not be able to work the newest software, as the software is not built for ‘these oldies.'

Also, poor quality means poor or none search options, which leads to manually searches and wasted hours. It depends of course if you have already upgraded your electronic files, got them OCR treated and quality enhanced. If that is the case, hats off – continue the good work!

Following the poor quality challenge, images – like PDF images and TIF’s - are hard to work with and in. A search can be complicated enough, and once you find what you need the next challenge comes: the extraction of data. Worst (and most) case scenario; it is yet another manual task. Summing up and listing the usual scenario today, we have:

  • PDFs, TIFF, and not to forget old formats of whatever file extension are aging, which they always have and always will 
  • It complicated readability with lack of quality
  • No or limited search ability
  • No durability leading to no usability (ISO 15489 requirement)
  • Causing a waste in resources due to manual searches and processing
  • Conflicts with the newest software

The necessary next step
The list of the way forward looks promising:

  • Document sees their value and increases their value
  • By becoming searchable
  • Increasing the workability in the files
  • Complies with the ISO 15489 (durability and usability)
  • Files get converted to/from more than 400+ formats

 Just like getting all paper copies and paper to electronic files is not just one big project with an end date, neither is a Technical Clean Up. It is that specific idea that is the cause of this whole situation.

What is a Technical Clean-up?
Technical Clean up is a conversion service that can be a small project or adjusted to include a broad range of services and solutions based on the exact problem or objective at hand.

  • Conversion of files upgrading the files from given format to any wished format
  • Apply OCR
  • Upgrade old format to the newest format
  • Improve quality, searchability, and extractability
  • Clean documentation while de-duplicating copies
  • Process e-mail and attachments
  • Extract metadata for archiving
  • Prepare for audit
  • Advance GDPR initiatives
  • And more

The project is a simple, flexible and quick one, based on the newest conversion technology. It can resolve loads of otherwise complicated documentation issues, increase regulatory compliance and overall document control.

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