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BG752 Document Imaging and Management

Taxco Business Guide

Data Security and Document Imaging


The objective of this business guide is to summarise important considerations regarding Document Imaging (or scanning) and the management thereof from creation of the document to the storage thereof.

Taxco employs a full-time Certified Document and Information Architech (CDIA+) to assist our clients with their document and storage requirements and Taxco is further part of the Sable Imaging Franchise Group, who are one of the founder members of the Digital Archiving Board in South Africa.


Document Imaging and Management is a growing requirement within organizations in South Africa. The use and retention of paper documents has a cost and risk profile which is placing an emphasis on Document Imaging and Management solutions.

The move to Document Imaging

An often-quoted study conducted by The Delphi Group in 1999 found that 90% of typical office tasks still revolve around paper gathering and distributing, and that while 15% of all paper handled is lost, 30% of our time is used trying to find these lost documents.

If a business take a step back and think of where their information is: paper documents certainly, but also faxes, emails, desktop files, automatic computer output, etc. It is all over the place and they are realizing it.

They are also realizing that all of this can be organized, compressed, preserved and retrieved on demand at the click of a button!

In South Africa, The Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) makes it legally binding for organizations to have a plan in place together with a manual explaining how documents are saved, for how long, where, and in what format, as well as how they are
retrieved when required.

Taxco , via the Sable Imaging network, combines state of the art hardware as well as software together with years of experience to offer a niche service in the need to convert documents into an electronic format.

Paper Documentation Costs and Risks

Using and retaining paper documents in an organization, exposes the organization to the following risks.

  • Storage costs – valuable and expensive real estate space is taken up by theretention and storing of paper documents. This space is dead   space, and is often unmanaged within an organization resulting in the space being utilized growing without any associated accountability in the organization.
  • Damage and Destruction – paper documents are often damaged or destroyed over time. This damage and destruction is often unreported and not detected until the document which has been damaged or destroyed is required for reference purposes. The cost of damaged or destroyed documents is not quantifiable as each document and its contents have its own inherent value to an organization.
  • Misfiled and misplaced – documents are often misfiled or misplaced. Again, these events are only evident when a specific document is required. Productivity costs and lack of efficiencies are the result of misplaced or misfiled documents.
  • Duplication – For business continuity planning and risk aversion, important paper documents should be duplicated and retained off-site to ensure business continuity in the event of a disaster e.g. fire, flood or theft. The cost of duplicating documents for these purposes can be enormous.


The King Commission raised the importance and profile of governance and compliance.

It is in the light of this increased profile of compliance that executives of business now realize the importance due to regulations that make them criminally liable. The control of physical and digital documents forms part of the governance profile.

An American study also discovered that Companies on average spend $25,000 to fill a typical four-drawer file cabinet, $2,000 to maintain it each year, and over its life, a single piece of paper costs an average of $30.

Paper Documentation Inefficiencies

Maintaining a paper document process and retention strategy limits an organization’s ability to streamline itself and become more efficient. Developments in technology, applications and workflow processes are speeding up business processes and
transaction times. The continued use and reliance of paper documents will result in technology investments not being fully realized.

  • Single workflow process – a process reliant on paper documents will be slow and cumbersome. The process will often be a single stream process without the ability of multiple tasks to be active at the same time.
  • Location based processing – paper documentation is location bound unless it is duplicated and transported or transmitted to other locations. This results in business activities and processes being hampered by the location of the required paper document.
  • Static information – the information or data contained on a paper document is dead or static until it has been captured into an application.

The risk profile of paper documents and the cost and inefficiencies of paper processing and retention is building the momentum for organizations to investigate and implement a document imaging and management solution.

Document Imaging and Management

The process of converting a document to a digital format and into a computer file and the management and retention of this file is the Document Imaging and Management discipline.

The Legal Drivers

Electronic Communications and Transactions Act

  • The ECT Act permits electronic retention through sections 14 and 16; however some laws still require you to keep the original source documents for a certain period after scanning.
  • One of the most contentious issues in document retention is about the legal admissibility of electronic evidence. Section 15 of the ECT Act ensures the admissibility of imaged documents as evidence; in principle however, the court must consider the document's evidential weight and how much trust it has in the document's authenticity

Good Practice - SABS SANS 15801

To assist organizations with ensuring the legal admissibility of imaged records, the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) adopted an international good practice framework: SANS 15801: 2005 Electronic imaging - information stored electronically - recommendations for trustworthiness and reliability. SANS 15801 is a voluntary framework for organizations to adopt as the benchmark with which their imaging processes must be aligned.

There are six elements in term of SANS 15801 that must be considered if a company wants to be confident that its records will meet the ECT act requirements of authenticity, reliability, and originality, these factors are as follows:

  • Policy - companies must have well-designed and implemented policies.
  • Duty of care - how people do their jobs, how authority is delegated, and separation of responsibilities to reduce collusion and the potential for fraud.
  • Procedures - must cover all aspects of imaging from the time documents arrive at the organization, are prepared, scanned, indexed, stored, retrieved and reproduced on some output device such as a screen or printer.
  • Enabling technology - such as image enhancement, character recognition, and digital signature technology.
  • Audit trail
  • Documented processes - all of these must be properly documented and detailed in procedure manuals and maintenance schedules.

Benefits of Document Imaging and Management

Having analyzed the cost, risk and inefficiencies of paper documentation, the benefits of the Document Imaging and Management are numerous to an organization. All these benefits have a financial revenue component associated to it.

The benefits are best summarized in the  Access your Documents at the Click of a Button brochure.     [Link to PDF Doc]

A needs analysis will further highlight the associated operational cost and the risk profile for each different organization irrespective of size. The results from a need's analysis process will identify where Document Imaging and Management will save an organization money, enhance an organization's productivity and reduce its risk profile.

Click here to see a Flask presentation of the Benefits of Document Imaging. [Link to Sable Flash]

How can Taxco help?

Taxco, utilising Sable Scanning Technologies, combines state of the art technology and years of experience to offer the following added value services to its clients:

  • Uniquely designed Needs Assessment / Analysis Process
  • Digital storage of paper files
  • Successful track record working with companies, both public and private
  • Service delivery exceeding customer expectations
  • Extensive research on newest trends and technologies on Document Imaging and Management
  • Customer confidence and satisfaction because of expertise

We are committed to constantly evaluating and improving our product and service range.

Sable has a track record of success in various high volume projects such as SASOL and SAPPI. Sable has recently completed the dematerialization (or converting from paper to digital) of SAPPI’s technical library at SAPPI Enstra, Springs. The whole project consisted of aprox 2.2 million scans that was OCR’ed and then converted to PDF for their mainframe.

The following organizations make use of Sable Scanning Technologies on a regular

  • Panasonic SA
  • SA National Defence Force
  • KPMG
  • Nashua Mobile
  • SASOL Oil

See “Scanning Price Guideline”     [Link to PDF Doc]

For more details of how Taxco can assist you with your Document Imaging and Management Contact Us now or Request a Free Quote. Start reaping the benefits of document imaging today.

This Guide is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use of Taxco Services and their Website.

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