Document imaging is a reliable, stable technology that
provides many proven productivity benefits. These benefits
come from the carefully planned and controlled
implementation of this technology tool, as well as from the
features contained within the imaging software. Imaging
takes over many of the mundane clerical paper handling
tasks, freeing up time for more productive uses.
The following is an overview of document imaging and some of
its key components. This overview is a good place to start
your investigation of imaging, its features, and its
benefits. Specific topics are also covered in more detail on
other pages within the site.
Many companies have heard of imaging, but few have had
an opportunity to review it in detail. This overview is
intended to present some of the key features and
capabilities of our document imaging software.
Our imaging software, called IMIGITtm, was developed by
POH in the late 1980's and has been updated regularly
ever since. It has one of the largest installed bases of
any imaging package on the market today, with nearly
5,000 installed sites already up and running. IMIGIT is
a very durable, "industrial strength" imaging package.
It is designed for high-end clients who need to store
hundreds of thousands, or even millions of pages of
documents on-line, ready for immediate access. Some of
our clients have more than 30 million pages of
information stored on-line and can locate any page in 5
Imaging provides a number of tools to minimize the
amount of paper that must be handled. Paper handling and
storage is expensive. To manage the paper problem, the
only real choice in the past has been to hire more
clerical staff. Today, there is a better choice. Imaging
can solve the paper problem and can do so for less than
it costs to pay for just 2 clerical staff positions.
Within the imaging system, the information is organized
into file cabinets, file folders, documents, and pages
just as in the paper world. This standard hierarchy
makes it easy for a non-technical person to quickly
grasp the basic concepts of the imaging system. There is
no limit to the number of cabinets, folders, documents,
or pages that can be stored in the imaging system. The
only limitation is the amount of disk space that is
available. As a rough estimate, a 150 gigabyte hard disk
has enough room to store about 3.2 million pages
The basic hardware component of an imaging system is the
imaging server. There are no special requirements for
the imaging server. Any server computer that will run
Windows 2003 Server will work fine. A typical imaging
server computer will have at least 2 gigabytes of RAM
and at least 150 gigabytes of hard disk space. As a
general rule, about 25,000 pages can be stored per
gigabyte of disk space.
The imaging server is normally located in the computer
room and is connected to the TCP/IP network as just
another IP address. Since is it attached to the network,
it is accessible to all authorized users simultaneously,
even if the users are in different offices. All of the
imaging software, the images, the indexes, and the
licenses reside on the imaging server.
We recommend that imaging run on its own server. This is
based upon two factors. Imaging, being graphical, places
heavy demands upon the resources of the server. By
placing imaging on its own server, the production server
is able to function at full speed. By installing imaging
on its own server, it is isolated from the primary
production server. This means that nothing that imaging
might do will have any negative impact on the production
server. As inexpensive as hardware is these days, it is
much more practical to have imaging run on its own
The users access the imaging system directly from their
own Windows PCs. A small viewer program is installed on
each Windows PC that will be used to access imaging. The
user can click on the imaging icon, provide a valid user
ID and password, and gain access to the information in
the imaging system. The only requirements for the
Windows PC is that it be running a supported version of
Windows and that it be connected to the network.
The user’s PC acts as display station only. No images or
indexes are stored on the local PC. Even if the PC is
used as a scanning station, nothing stays at the local
PC. Everything is immediately transferred to the imaging
server. If a company has multiple sites, it does not
matter in which office a user happens to be located, as
long as they have a network connection. This makes
imaging simple to deploy across a large organization.
There is no limit to the number of scanners that can be
attached to an imaging system. There are no licensing
fees for scanning stations. Imaging can work with many
different scanners. The primary requirement is that the
scanner support ISIS drivers. The scanners connect to
the user’s PC with a standard USB connection. We do not
support multi-function copier/printer/scanners nor do we
support network attached scanners.
The scanners that most our clients use are the Fujitsu
fi-6140, and the Fujitsu fi-5650C. The choice of a
scanner is based primarily on the volume of paper to be
scanned. All of the scanners have roughly the same
features and capabilities. If you know the number of
pages to be scanned each day and the number of pages per
minute that a scanner will process, you can choose the
scanner that best fits your needs.
The Fujitsu fi-6140 scanner is a 60 page per minute
scanner. This is a good choice for scanning volumes of
up to several thousand pages per day. It has a very
small footprint, taking up less desktop space than a
laptop computer. It will handle pages as small as a
personal check and as large as 8.5” x 14”. About 30
pages can be put into the feed tray at one time. The
street price on this scanner is about $1,700 or so.
If there is a requirement for scanning pages larger than
8.5” x 14”, the best choice is the Fujitsu fi-5650C.
This is a 50 page per minute scanner that will handle
pages as large as 11” x 17”. The street price on this
scanner is around $4,000 or so.
These scanners are available from many distributors and
can be ordered from a variety of sources. Both use a
standard USB connection and ISIS drivers. Both of these
scanners are in use at many of our client sites.
In-House or Web-Based?
There is no question
imaging requires a large investment. This has kept some
companies from taking advantage of the benefits that
come from imaging. Some companies are too small to
justify the capital expenditure, while others, although
large enough, run into problems with internal capital
budget allocation processes.
For these situations, ITG offers a web-based imaging
option. With this option, there is no hardware or
software to buy. We connect your network to one of our
imaging servers using a high speed secure connection
like VPN. Whether the imaging server is in-house or
web-based is totally transparent to the users. They have
exactly the same features, functions, and capabilities
with a web-based server as they do with an in-house
server. The only difference is that there is no up-front
capital expenditure with a web-based. Instead of buying
technology, it is rented. Rather than a large capital
expenditure, there is just a monthly fee.
It is easy to start with a web-based imaging server and
then, as the usage grows, bring it back in-house. We
simply make a tape backup of the out-sourced imaging
server and load it on the new in-house imaging server.
There is no loss of data and no re-keying of
information. Web-based imaging is a good way to get
started with imaging with a very minimal budget.
COLD is one of the
most important features of any imaging system, yet it is
perhaps the least known. Here is how it works. COLD is
used to automatically capture documents that are
generated by your own computer system. It is this
technology that makes the imaging server look like a
standard Windows printer to the other computers on the
network. This means any print job that can be sent to a
printer to be "printed" directly to the imaging server
without any manual scanning or indexing. The production
computer thinks it is sending out a print job to a
network text printer. There are no changes on the
production computer side.
COLD can not only capture printed documents
electronically, it can also index them automatically.
Because the inbound print job is just ASCII text, we
know that certain fields will always be in a certain
place. We know that the invoice number will always print
in the same location, the invoice date will always print
in the same location, the customer number will always
print in the same location, and so on.
A COLD “template” is created that tells COLD which
fields to extract for the index, where those fields are
located, how to name the folders and documents, and
where to store the pages. A template can capture a vast
amount of indexing information with no manual data
entry. As soon as the print job is completed, all the
pages will be in the imaging system, all indexed,
organized, and stored in the appropriate folders.
With COLD, it is possible to reprint any data that is in
the production system. For example, if you have three
years of invoices still on your accounting server, they
can all be “printed” to the imaging server using COLD.
This lets the imaging system capture and store many
years of information with no manual effort.
Since a COLD document is just standard ASCII text, it is
fully text searchable. Some clients use COLD to capture
the various day-end or monthly reports. Instead of
printing multiple copies of large, bulky reports, one
copy is sent to COLD. Those who need information from
those reports can use the imaging system to search for
the particular pages that contain the information that
they need, such as a customer number, or a SKU number
for example. They can print out those specific pages
instead of the entire report. These features make COLD
one of the most powerful components of a document
One of the key
features of IMIGITtm
is its powerful indexing tools. Unlike many other
imaging packages, IMIGIT does not require an
external database. There is no need to purchase,
license, or maintain a third party database. Everything
that is needed in contained in the IMIGIT system
The indexing structure in IMIGIT is very
flexible. A typical 4GL database requires that all
records be indexed in the same way. There may be an
index A, and index B, an index C, and so on. There can
be as many indexes as needed, but every record must
follow the same indexing rules. While this works in most
cases, there are times when additional or different
index information would be helpful for a particular type
of document. There are also times when it would be
helpful to have a new index field. These situations are
not easily solved with a traditional database structure.
With IMIGIT, there is no problem at all. Since
IMIGIT does not rely on an external database for its
indexing, it has much greater flexibility in how it
handles its index information. Within IMIGIT, all
of the indexes are "free-form" indexes, meaning there is
no fixed structure or pattern that must be followed.
Each folder, each document, and even each page can be
indexed in any way that might be useful. One document
might have three key words, while the next document
might have ten key words. It does not matter at all.
This important indexing feature allows the users to add
as much or as little information as is appropriate in
Because of this flexibility, it is also possible to add,
change, or delete index information on the fly. With a
traditional database, it often requires a programmer to
set up a new index field. Then, before the database can
be used, it has to be shut down and the index structure
rebuilt to reflect the new index field. With IMIGIT,
it is much simpler. Any user with appropriate
authorization can add a new index key word at any time,
even while other users are on the system. They can also
change an existing index key word, or even delete it
completely. All this can be done on a live system with
no requirement to do a shutdown or a rebuild. As soon as
the addition, correction, or deletion has been made, it
is immediately available to all other users.
has very powerful search tools. When a search is
launched, up to ten different search criteria fields may
be used. Much like a Google search on the Internet, the
more search terms used, the more targeted the search
results will be. The fewer the search terms used, the
broader the search results will be. The search fields
include folder level indexes and creation dates,
document level indexes and creation dates, page level
indexes, and page level text searches. These search
criteria can be used one at a time or in any
When a search is launched, every folder, every document,
and every page in the imaging database is checked. This
allows the database to be viewed in many different ways
when looking for data. For example, you may wish to find
all invoices for a given customer, or all invoices
within a certain date range, or all invoices that
contain a particular SKU number. Boolean searches using
“and”, “or”, and “not” are supported and wildcards may
be used. In addition, a fuzzy or inexact search feature
helps locate items that are similar to but not an exact
match with the search criteria.
Any image in the
imaging system can be sent to a laser printer. It
doesn’t matter where the laser printer is located as
long as Windows knows about it. Imaging can send a print
job to any of the Windows network printers. This allows
a document to be sent to the printer that is nearest to
the user who needs the information. The printer may be
located in the same office or in a different office
entirely, as long as it is on the same network.
Any image in the
system can be sent out directly as a fax. A
full-featured fax server is included as a standard part
of our imaging software. All of the fax tools, such as a
fax phone book, cover sheet options, send timing, and
fax logs are available from within the imaging software.
Each fax request is queued up just like a print job is.
As soon as the fax modem is available, the next fax is
sent out. This feature allows information in the imaging
system to be sent to virtually any place in the world.
All the recipient needs is a standard fax machine.
Documents can also be faxed directly into the imaging
server and can be automatically captured and stored.
Batch faxing is also supported. This means that multiple
documents can be sent out to different destinations. For
example, some of our clients use this feature to fax
monthly statements to select customers rather than
mailing them out.
Any image in the system can be sent out as a PDF
attachment to an e-mail. Imaging currently supports
Outlook and Outlook Express. To email a document, select
the page or pages that you want to send and click on the
Email button. This opens up a new Outlook session,
converts the selected page or pages to PDF format, and
adds the PDF to the email as an attachment. All you need
to do is to fill in the address and subject lines. Many
clients now email all of their invoices and statements
directly to their customers rather than printing paper
copies, stuffing envelopes, and sending them out in the
The primary rule in imaging is that the original image
cannot be changed. We want to be sure that the image
that is displayed exactly matches the original document.
No changes are allowed to any image. However, there are
times when it is helpful to add notes or other types of
annotation to an image.
Our imaging software provides a number of annotation
tools. These tools include underlines, single line text,
a block out tool to hide confidential information, and a
"sticky note" tool. The sticky note tool allows the user
to enter and store one or more notes of unlimited size
as a part of the document. This is often used in
collection departments, for example, to log what was
said during telephone conversations with a customer.
Note that adding annotation does not in any way change
the original image. Adding annotation is like putting a
sheet of plastic over the image and then writing on the
plastic. The plastic can be removed and the original
document is still unchanged. This is how annotation
works. The annotation is associated with the image and
can be placed on top of the image, but it does not
change the image.
This module provides tools for the capture of delivery
documents signed by the customer. If your business needs
a signed proof of delivery document as a normal part of
your collection process, signature capture is the tool
to use. Signature capture allows you to scan the signed
delivery tickets, and match them up with the
corresponding electronic copy already in the imaging
By matching up the scanned signed copy with the original
electronic copy, we eliminate the need to do any manual
data entry of index fields. All that has to be done is
to link the scanned copy back to the electronic copy,
which already has all of the index fields. Once this
process has taken place, searching for a particular
invoice number will return not only the original
electronic but unsigned copy, but also the signed copy
of the invoice.
This process also provides a management tool that helps
identify any signed copies that were not returned to the
office. After the daily scanning process is completed,
the Signature Copy Exception Report can be run. This
report lists all of the invoices that were received
electronically and shows which of them have an
associated scanned copy. If an invoice shows no scanned
copy, that means that there is a missing proof of
software contains the standard imaging components,
including modules for scanning, indexing, search and
retrieval, printing, faxing, e-mailing, annotation, and
security. There are several optional modules that are
available. Please see the Modules page for more detailed