DMS refers to Document Management System. OCR refers to Optical Character Recognition. If you own a DMS without OCR, your conflict and other searches will only ever be partial searches. DMS and OCR are two sides to the same coin; they go hand in hand. Each helps the other in finding things for their users.

How many documents in your document store are NOT text searchable? We’ve read reports and worked with sites that have as many as 30% of their documents that have not been OCR’d. If you have 50,000 files that means up to 15,000 in this example are not text searchable.

Houston, we have a problem.

If your documents, emails, pictures, and other media are not text searchable, then you will not be able to find them when you need them. This means you are only partially meeting your legal obligation under the law. It also means your firm is less productive than it might be. Just consider the ramifications of failing to disclose a document during discovery; a misfiling; failure to find a conflict of interest; or just not being able to find a document you need when you need it.

Who, me?

You may still be thinking “not me, I have a document management system!” but just because you have a DMS does not mean all your documents are text searchable. Typically, a DMS will index your documents that have already been OCR’d. But not all documents are OCR’d and the DMS does no OCR’ing itself. .tiff, .jpeg and even some .pdfs are saved as images. As such, without OCR technology, your staff does not have the ability to search the text they contain.

How can a firm address this issue?

There are options like OCR’ing all scanning documents as they are scanned, either with a desktop scanner, or a larger multipurpose scanner, but this do not address all aspects of the problem, nor does it address all documents that have already been saved. It also slows the entire scanning process and can create backlog demand for scanning resources.

A better solution is OCR software like contentCrawler by DocsCorp or Symphony Suite by Trumpet. These solutions will OCR all your documents: past, present and future. Any new document entering the DMS will be OCR’d automatically. Any old documents not OCR’d will be found and converted. These suites also have reporting abilities that will notify you of its progress or if it runs into any problems. The end result is a complete text search of your  entire data store, confidence in your ability to meet legal requirements, and peace of mind knowing your firm is productive and efficient. The best part? These suites are very inexpensive. Symphony OCR-only starts at $60 per user per year, equivalent to $5/month.

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