Frequently Asked Questions
The following topics are discussed in more detail below.
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1. What does ITG do?
ITG provides a wide range of document imaging products
and services, including complete in-house multi-user
document imaging systems, web-based multi-user document
imaging systems, imaging training, imaging technical
support, and scanning services.
2. What is document imaging?
Document imaging is a technology of digitizing paper
files. In effect, we take a "picture" of each page and
store it in a digital, electronic format rather than in
a paper format. Document imaging has been around for
many years, but it has only been in the past 10 years or
so that imaging has been practical for most companies.
Document imaging moves the information to the people
rather than making the people move to the information.
It performs a service similar to that of an accounting
server in that it provides fast access to information.
The difference is that the imaging server allows you to
see the actual document, not just the data. It is an
electronic filing cabinet of unlimited size that can
provide access to any on-line document in less than 5
3. What are the benefits of document imaging?
The primary benefit of document imaging is time.
Document imaging saves money by saving time. The biggest
cost savings from document imaging comes from the
reduced amount of time that must be spent in collecting,
filing, maintaining, and storing documents. Imaging
allows your company to grow without having to constantly
add more clerical staff. If you can increase your
business volume and not hire just one additional
clerical staff position, the imaging system will pay for
itself in less than 2 years. There are benefits from
imaging in A/R departments, in A/P departments, and in
HR departments. There are benefits from imaging in any
organization that needs to store paper documents for
long periods of time. Imaging saves time.
4. How long
has ITG been in business?
ITG has been in the document imaging business for more
than 20 years.
5. Does ITG
only provide services for local clients?
ITG has clients in more than 35 states, from California
to Maine. We have clients in Los Angeles, San Francisco,
Denver, Dallas, Houston, St. Louis, Minneapolis,
Nashville, Boston, Sarasota, Bangor, and many other
cities around the country. Wherever your company is
located, ITG can help.
6. What does
“Web-based " means that a particular technical service
is handled by ITG over the Internet rather than in-house
by your own company's IT staff. Web-based services are a
good way to handle business tasks that are not directly
relevant to your core business activity.
7. What is a
web-based document imaging server?
A web-based document imaging server is one which is
physically located at ITG's technical facility but which
is connected directly to your company's own network.
Where the server is located is totally transparent to
the users. They have exactly the same features,
functions, and capabilities whether the server is
located in your office or in ITG's technical facility.
The main advantage of web-based imaging is cost. Instead
of having to purchase the imaging server, your company
is billed a small monthly service fee for the services
that they actually use. If in the future you decide you
would like to move the imaging server in-house, the
information is copied from the web-based server to the
new in-house server.
8. How does
A scanner works exactly the same as a copier or a fax.
Instead of getting a paper copy out the other side, an
electronic copy is created. That electronic copy is then
indexed and stored in the imaging system. The scanned
image is typically stored as either a Group 4 TIF file
or as a PDF document.
Most business documents are scanned at 200 dots per inch
(dpi). Scanners can be either "simplex", meaning that
they scan only one side of the page at a time, or
"duplex", meaning they scan both sides of the page in
Most scanners have an autofeeder on them, just like a
copier. A typical scanner has the capacity to take pages
as small as a personal check and as large as 8.5" x 14".
A good quality scanner as described here will probably
cost around $1,000. Scanners attach via a standard USB
port to a Windows PC, not to the imaging server. The
Windows PC must be attached to the network, be able to
see the imaging server, and must have the imaging client
software installed on it.
There can be as many scanners as are needed for a given
imaging system. If your company has multiple locations,
each location can do their own scanning. All images, as
soon as they are scanned, are sent immediately to the
imaging server. Nothing is stored on the local Windows
PC. This means that everyone can have instant access to
information, no matter where it was scanned. This also
allows the scanning load to be disbursed over a number
of scanning stations, reducing the amount of paper that
each scanning station must process.
9. What kind
of quality can I expect from scanning?
The quality of the scanned image should be very close to
that of the original image. It should be no different
that the quality you would expect from a photocopy. And,
just as with a copier or a fax, there are some things
that will reduce the quality of the image. There are
some shades of paper or ink that are difficult for a
copier, fax, or scanner to reproduce correctly. Just as
with a copier, it is possible to adjust the brightness
and contrast on a scanner. This sometimes helps to
improve the overall quality of the image. Prior to
undertaking a new scanning project, we usually run a
small sample through the scanning process to show you
what the actual results will be. This is the best way to
go, since it gives you an actual scanned sample for your
review before you commit to a project.
10. Can the
images be accessed via the Internet?
Yes, using the new Web Access module, images can be
viewed over the Internet. Web Access allows your
company's own clients to access information in the
imaging system via the Internet. They do not need any
software other than their normal Internet browser.
Extensive security is in place to ensure that they are
only able to access information for their own company.
With the Web Access module, any of your clients who need
a copy of an invoice, for example, can log on to the web
page, enter their user ID and password, and then look up
any document in their customer folder. By providing this
tool, not only are the documents available to your
clients 24x7, but also your staff time needed to support
these types of requests reduced.
images be faxed?
Any image in the system can be sent to a laser printer
or it can be sent out as a fax without being printed.
The images can be sent out to anyone that has a fax
machine. If a customer has a question about a particular
billing item, you can call the invoice up on the screen,
get the customer's fax number, and send the copy of the
invoice directly to the customer's fax right while you
are on the phone. Going one step further, it is also
possible to fax out invoices or statements to a select
group of customers. Those customers who would prefer to
receive their statements via fax can have them sent out
automatically by the imaging system. This can reduce the
cost of your postage and speed up the collection of your
images be e-mailed?
Yes. Imaging currently supports Outlook or Outlook
Express. To email a page or pages, first search for the
documents that you want to send. Once you have found the
documents, click on the Email button. This will open up
a new Outlook message, convert the documents to PDF
format, and add them as an attachment to the email
message. All you need to do is to enter the email
address and the subject. Many clients use this feature
to automatically send out invoices or statements as an
email rather than mailing paper copies to their
scanned copies considered to be legal copies?
Yes. In 1999, the United States Congress passed the
“Electronic Records in Commerce” act which, among other
things, basically says that a copy from an electronic
source such as a CD or an imaging system is considered
to be the same as a photocopy.
14. What is
OCR (Optical Character Recognition) is a process that
converts a scanned image into text. Even though the
scanned image can be read by the users, it appears to
the computer to be just a series of black and white
dots. This is sometimes called a bit-mapped image. OCR
looks at each character on the scanned image and tries
to determine what letter or number it is.
The success rate of an OCR process is highly dependent
on the quality of the original document. If the original
document is a clean, laser-printed page, should
correctly read 95%+ of the page. If the original
document is from a dot matrix printer, will probably
only get 75%-85% of the characters correct. Even with a
clean, laser-printed page, if the original is a form
with boxes, lines, and shading on it, will have a
difficult time reading it. OCR does NOT read handwritten
The advantage of using OCR is that it creates a new text
version of the image. That text version is fully text
searchable. That means that you can search for any word
or phrase and have the imaging system pull up just those
pages on which that word or phrase appears.
OCR is of great benefit in certain situations and of
limited value in others. For example, OCR is a heavily
used tool with law firms. They sometimes need to scan in
hundreds of boxes of documents and then need to find any
page where a particular word or name appears. Doing this
manually, by reading through every page, is obviously a
laborious, time-consuming, expensive, and haphazard
approach. With OCR, we can scan all of the pages,
process them through the OCR module, and create a
complete set of fully text searchable documents.
On the other hand, OCR is not used much in accounting
environments. While OCR is a good tool, at best is can
only be expected to hit about 95% accuracy. Most
accountants are not very happy with 95% accuracy. They
need to have 100% accuracy. This means that the text
that OCR creates has to be checked and verified. This
process often takes far longer than just keying in the
important index information manually to begin with.
15. Can bar
codes be used?
Yes. In fact, bar codes can be of great value. Unlike
OCR, bar codes can be read with a very high rate of
reliability. While bar codes may not be 100% accurate,
they are certainly in the 99+% range. We can read a wide
variety of bar code formats, including 3 of 9 and 128.
Bar codes are used most frequently to print a key
matching number on an invoice, or a delivery ticket that
a customer signs as proof of delivery. When the signed
delivery documents are returned to the office, they are
scanned into the imaging system and matched up with the
original copy. Without a bar code, this must be done by
manually entering the key number via a 10-key pad.
However, if the matching number is available as a bar
code, the imaging system can read the bar code as the
page is scanned. It then automatically matches the
scanned page with the original COLD page. This
eliminates a significant amount of manual data entry.
Bar codes are used heavily in accounting environments to
speed up the collection of important index information
without any manual data entry.
16. What is
COLD (Computer Output to Laser Disk) is a very important
imaging technology. COLD allows documents to be sent
from your existing accounting software directly into the
imaging system without any scanning. COLD makes the
imaging server look like a standard text printer to the
production computer system. This means that invoices,
statements, delivery tickets, purchase orders, payables
checks, and even greenbar reports can be sent direct to
and automatically captured, indexed, and organized by
the imaging server.
Since the data is coming in as a standard ASCII print
job, COLD can be taught where to find key index fields.
For example, you might want to extract the invoice
number, the invoice date, the customer number, and the
customer name during an invoice print run. COLD extracts
these fields from each invoice, puts the information in
the index fields, and then stores the image.
COLD allows you to capture vast amounts of data with
virtually no manual effort. Anything that comes from
your existing computer system that could be sent to a
standard text printer can be sent to COLD. For example,
as soon as the imaging system is installed, you could
reprint invoices as far back as you have them on the
accounting system and send them to COLD. By doing this,
you would have a full set of invoices already in the
imaging system, all indexed, all organized into customer
folders, all fully text searchable and no one had to do
anything other than push the button to reprint the
Another good use of COLD is to capture "greenbar"
reports. These might be end of day reports, or aged
receivables, or inventory, or any other report that the
accounting system generates. Rather than printing off
hundreds of pages of reports, and sometimes multiple
copies of the same report, one copy of each report can
be sent to COLD. COLD can be set up to watch for the
in-bound reports and to file them into the appropriate
folders. You might have an aged receivables folder, for
example, for each week. Anyone who needs to use one of
the reports can call it up by report type or report
Once they have the report open, they can search through
it using a text search tool to find a particular word,
or a customer number, or a SKU number. If someone is
using an inventory report, for example, they might
search for all pages that contain a particular SKU
number. Once they have found those pages, they can
review them on the screen or print out just the pages
that they need.
Remember that COLD is just ASCII text. We do not need
any OCR process to convert it. And, unlike OCR, it is
17. How are
This is a very important point. Most document imaging
packages require that you use an external database to
index the images. In other words, something like Access,
Informix, or Oracle is generally needed in addition to
the imaging software. This can add a significant cost to
the imaging project. All of our indexing is internal to
the imaging software. There is no external database
Since we do not rely upon an external database, we are
free to index our images in a more flexible manner. With
a database, every record must be indexed in exactly the
same way. There can generally be as many indexes as are
needed, but every record must have the same fields. With
our imaging software, each folder, each document, and
each page can be indexed in any way that you want. We
use "free form" indexes. These indexes do not require a
pre-set structure. You can use as many or as few key
words for any folder, document, or page. One document
might have 2 key words while the next document might
have 10 key words. It does not matter at all. You have
the flexibility to determine exactly how you want to
index the documents.
Security is a key concern with an imaging system. Much
of the information that is stored in an imaging system
is confidential. We have extensive security features to
ensure that only authorized users have access to the
images. When a user logs on, they must first supply a
valid user ID and password before being given access to
the images. Even beyond that, once they are in the
imaging system, it is possible to control what they can
see. The system provides tools that allow or deny access
to file cabinets, file folders within a cabinet, and
even documents within a folder. This can be done on a
user-by-user basis. It is controlled by the user ID that
was used at login. These features are part of the
optional Security module.
documents be annotated?
Yes. The images themselves cannot be changed. That is a
basic design concept of a document imaging system. You
want to be sure that what you are seeing in the imaging
system is an exact copy of the original document. There
are times, however, when it would be helpful to add
notes or other annotation to an image. Our software
provides a number of annotation tools, including block
out, highlight, underline, and sticky notes. All of the
annotations are placed on an overlay, not on the image
20. What is
The Signature Capture module is an optional module that
provides tools for matching signed documents with the
original COLD documents. The goal of imaging is to
minimize the amount of manual effort needed to manage
and store documents. When the original documents are
sent to imaging, we capture all of the index fields
electronically. The COLD document looks just like a
photocopy of the original. However, it does not have a
signature on it.
When the drivers make their deliveries, they get a
customer signature at each stop. Those signed proof of
delivery documents are then scanned into the imaging
system and matched with the original COLD documents. In
this matching process, it is very helpful to have bar
codes printed on the documents. This minimized the
amount of indexing that needs to be done during the
21. What is
The Statement Processing module is an optional module
that provides tools for creating invoices or statements
that have all of the backup documentation attached. When
you print statements with the Statement Processing
module, the statements are created as always by the
existing accounting software. But instead of being sent
to the regular printer, they are sent to the COLD
printer. COLD captures all of the statements, extracts
the appropriate index information, and then stores the
statements. The Statement Processing module then takes
over and prints the actual statements.
As the statement is printed, the Statement Processing
module collects all of the signed copies for that
statement and prints them on a page or pages immediately
after the statement. So as each statement comes off of
the printer, there is a statement page, then backup
pages, a statement page, then backup pages, and so on.
The clerk can take the statements right off of the
printer and stuff them into envelopes. All of the backup
documentation is already there. No one had to do any
manual collation, sorting, or copying. The Statement
Processing module did it all.