Why Hollard digitised documentation

7 Dec, 2015

The challenge: 55 000 confidential paper documents
Storing highly confidential client information and documentation is a challenge for many organisations. We live in an age of information with the result that in some organisations, paper documents are literally piling up. Finding and retrieving information is often a time-consuming exercise and off-site storage can be expensive.

Hollard was one such organisation where literally thousands of documents, some containing highly confidential client information, was starting to prove a significant challenge. By virtue of the nature of Hollard’s business, there is a requirement for the documents to be securely stored, but, should it be necessary, the documents need to be easily retrieved. With a growing team of administrators, Hollard recognised that access to historical data is going to become even more frequent.

“The challenge was that these thousands of documents, 55 000 to be precise, were packed in endless filing cabinets.

However, some of the client information contained in these documents is highly confidential so it would not have been appropriate to give our administrative staff access to the data,” explains Hollard Client Administration Manager, Michelle Govender. She adds that, considering the vast number of documents, it would have been a significant challenge and very time-consuming for the company to handle a project of this size internally.

Hollard had previously used an external data storage company but the system was cumbersome as it allowed only six registered and licensed users to access the data and, with a monthly storage fee included, it was expensive.

The solution: Digitising documents
Based on recommendations and an existing relationship with Nashua, Hollard appointed Nashua’s Scan Centre to process all 55 000 documents and to digitise each document. The Nashua Scan Centre, which opened its doors in early 2015, specialises in providing an efficient service to scan clients’ existing paper documents, enabling them to save time, money and storage space as well as helping them to move towards a full Managed Document Solution (MDS). The Nashua Scan Centre establishes exactly how the client wants their documents scanned and indexed.

According to Selwyn Newman, Acting Chief of Sales for Nashua Solutions, the process is even more important than the actual specialised scanning hardware. “Preparation is difficult for large volumes of many thousands of documents, which may be in binders or folders or even loose in boxes,” he says.

The Scan Centre removes staples and paperclips, flattens dog-eared corners and removes documents from binders and files. Using specialised software, the scans are indexed, sorted and filed digitally. The software automates time-consuming data entry and filing with a centralised, systematic way to work with documents, and also certifies that each scan is a legitimate scan of the original with the overall system ensuring POPI compliance. On completion of scanning, each document is returned to its original state – all without any damage or loss of any pages.

Once all the documents are scanned they are made available to the client in a usable format as either TIFF images or as PDF documents, either on a DVD or on an external hard drive. Index information provided by Nashua’s Scan Centre allows for easy search and retrieval. While paper documents may be required for compliance reasons, Nashua is able to advise companies on what they need to do in order to be compliant in their particular industry. The Scan Centre’s processes also help companies comply with regulations by providing a clear audit trail and evidence that all pages have been scanned correctly.

“They sourced boxes and physically packed the data into boxes themselves. We were given a six-week time frame for the completion of the project, but in fact it was completed and all documents scanned and indexed within three weeks. From our perspective it was a totally seamless process and we have been delighted with how easy it is to access and retrieve any of the documentation. We have also been impressed with the very high quality of the scanned documentation.”

“We now have a very efficient data storage system in place which meets all the necessary Financial Services Board requirements, image quality and resolution is assured, documents can be easily retrieved if there is any ombudsman query, and we no longer have an ongoing monthly storage fee,” she adds.

But what really impressed Govender was how quickly the Nashua Scan Centre representative understood what was required of this project. “He knew my business, what was required and provided even more solutions than I had initially considered. His skill and efficiency were very apparent from the start of the project.”