The Cost of Digitizing Documents
When deciding whether to convert from a paper-based filing system to an electronic filing system, all costs and savings need to be taken into consideration. Usually, the cost of digitizing a plan room filled with blueprints, O&M manuals, project files, and other documents necessary for facility managers to do their jobs effectively is a relatively expensive, but it is a one time cost. You only have to scan the documents once in order to get them into a digital format. The per sheet scanning cost is relatively small compared to the total cost of the project.
It takes a lot of time to convert paper documents to electronic files. Therefore, 75% of the cost is associated with the labor it takes to do the work. First, it is necessary to research and catalog the documents deciding what is pertinent, what should be discarded, and what should be scanned. Usually a plan room has 30- 50% in duplications and superseded sets of drawings. Also, it is important to follow the same cataloging philosophy
for the small-format documents such as O&M manuals, specification books, and project files prior to scanning. Labor is also needed to prepare the documents for scanning such as repairing damaged documents and removing staples. Finally, it takes a lot of time and labor to properly index the files so that they are digitally organized and named properly.
Document Management System (DMS)
The cost of the Document Management System can vary greatly in price depending on the complexity of the system that is chosen. It can range from a very simple database and file folder structure to a complex tool designed to provide facility managers with a wide range of capabilities. A full DMS should have Auto CAD viewers, work flow modules, mark-up tools, and a wide range of document sharing and indexing capabilities. These systems will often cost more to set-up in the first year and then a yearly maintenance fee would be associated there after. A facility manager needs to make sure that they can support the yearly maintenance costs when choosing their DMS.