Justification for document scanning services may involve many factors; some are easy to quantify in dollars and others that can only be quantified through educated projections. The easiest justification is where digital records are mandated or paper volume is so huge that there are literally no alternatives. Reassignment of experienced personnel to more productive functions is a typical benefit of document imaging. More commonly, concern about missing documents demands that documents will be available when needed. If supporting documentation is not available for litigation, proof of ownership and intellectual property, tax filings, etc. the penalties can be onerous. Continuity of business operations in case of a disaster might not be possible. Documents that were misfiled or lost prior to scanning will obviously not be found, but once captured, there is never a need to physically remove and re-file an item. Since the information is then subject to usual network backup procedures, there is almost no chance for lost documents.
There are two aspects to improved customer service; Immediate responses to inquiries differentiates the top-tier customers, but there are also direct cost savings in the time needed to search for paper documents, re-file them, return telephone calls, write letters or e-mails, copy or fax information. If supervisors or managers have to become involved because of delayed responses or lost data, their time should be added to operating costs. Finally, there are costs that are much easier to quantify. These include the direct costs of clerical support and overheads including supervision. It is also relatively easy to determine the cost of cabinets, filing folders, floor space, heat, light, cleaning, copying, warehousing, etc. Somewhat more ambiguous are related costs that might include the cost of recreating vital documents, higher audit expense, pressure to respond to governmental inquiries and situations where large amounts of manpower are needed for one-time research.