office worker distressed with lots of files and folders and legal paperwork


How are you storing data? Do you have a room full of filing cabinets? If your office space is a cave of paper, it may be time to consider moving into the digital storage age with legal scanning services.

If you’re contemplating transitioning to digital document management, contact River City Data for a free estimate. We’ll prepare and scan your documents, tag your information for easy searchability, and provide secure access for your employees and clients.

Why Would I Want to Change How I Store My Documents? Paper Feels So Safe and Familiar

There is something solid about holding onto the document you need. You keep your passport in hand while you’re waiting to go through airport security. You keep a copy of your birth certificate locked up.

Paper documents have undeniable value. They are also cumbersome and fragile. 

Let’s compare traditional paper document storage to a digital option.

judge hammer or gavel resting on a stack of folders and files and legal documents

Digitized Documents Can Be Searched Easily

Can you quickly put your hands on a specific document? Perhaps you know precisely how your paper files are organized and can finger through the right file drawer to find that single sheet of paper.

You might have one or two members of your team that can accomplish this. Do you have staff whose primary duty is to locate information? 

One limitation of paper files is the singular format. Files are usually arranged by an overarching organizational method, such as alphabetizing by name.

This singular format means that to search your files, you always start from the same point.

But what if you don’t want to search for a file by name? What if you need every file from a specific date or every file for a particular location? 

Paper files can be difficult to search and cross-reference. By storing your data in a digital format, you will have access to search your data by whatever identifier you value.

Search by client name, case number, date, or any other filter. You can also add filters to search various subsets within a value.

lawyer reading contract and legal documents with client

Digitized Documents Can Be Shared Easily

If you want to share paper documents, you will likely be taking a trip to the copier machine. Once you’ve passed those copies around, you will have limited control over what happens to them next. 

If a client or an employer misplaces a document, the information contained in that paper could be compromised.

Give your staff easy access to information with digital access to scanned documents. You can allow read-only access to those who need to be informed and editing access only to appropriate employees.

Scanned information can be shared quickly without going through reams of paper. Digital documents are less likely to be lost or accidentally shared with someone who shouldn’t have access.

Your Documents Can Be Accessed Remotely

Have you ever gotten to a meeting, opened your briefcase, and discovered you were missing the item you needed most? 

If your documents are stored digitally, you will have access to them wherever you go. Don’t worry about hauling hundreds of pages around. Plus, you won’t have to worry about finding yourself unprepared for that meeting.

Your employees will spend less time trying to get their hands on documents and more time getting results for clients. And, if the staff needs to work from home or another remote location, electronic access is a must.

Is Paper Safer Because You Can Hold It In Your Hands?

If you keep your legal documents in filing cabinets, you probably lock them at night. And then lock the filing cabinet room. And then lock the building. 

The physical act of turning a lock can help a person feel secure, but it doesn’t protect you from:

  • Fire
  • Flooding
  • Mold
  • Spills
  • Unauthorized copies

 

If your filing cabinet room goes up in flames, what will you do? 

If your legal documents have been scanned and saved electronically, a flood or fire in one location won’t result in a catastrophic data loss. When you give staff and clients read-only access to confidential documents, they can’t change, copy, or destroy them. And if you need someone to discontinue having access to a document, you don’t have to try to take back a piece of paper. You just push a few buttons.

Your documents will be safer in an encrypted file than they will in a filing cabinet. You’re still locking the doors at night; they’re just digital. And actually, you don’t have to lock them at all, because they stay inaccessible to anyone without authorization.

lawyer explaining legal things to client with legal documents on table

Why You Should Use Professional Legal Scanning Services

You’re ready to step into the digital storage age. But there’s so much paper copy to switch over!

Don’t waste human resources having employees stand around feeding the scanner. They have enough to do without taking on this task (don’t they?). 

Legal scanning services provide an economical solution. You receive a dedicated team of single-taskers. They’ll work only on your conversion — and not stop to answer your phones.

The most important part of any great job is preparation. Your scanning service team will take the time to sort, repair, and remove staples from all those precious documents before scanning.

Your data will be scanned with state-of-the-art machines that are meant to handle large quantities of paper. Your office all-in-one was not made for this task.

Legal scanning service providers are experts at managing sensitive data. They stay up to the minute on compliance laws and are familiar with the legal industry.

Your information will be tagged by whatever search terms you choose. Imagine the time saved when your employees can type a few terms to retrieve exactly what they need.

If you choose document hosting and cloud storage, your data will be securely encrypted, yet ready at your fingertips. If you prefer to manage your own data, your documents can be loaded to a private drive that will be entirely in your control.

It’s time to advance your company through digital data management. Contact River City Data today for a free estimate of customized legal scanning services (and other services too!).

person working with documents for microfiche conversion

 

Adaptability. This skill is vital for both businesses and individuals. Access to your data from remote sources is crucial now more than ever. That includes microfiche conversion.

Enter River City Data to the rescue. Do you know where your data is?

If your data lives as a physical entity in a physical location, you could find yourself behind the times very soon.  

You could even find yourself out of business. Do not let this happen to you. Let River City Data help your company out today if you still need microfiche conversion.

River City Data will transfer any form of media you have into digital format. Whether physical paper records or analog media, such as microfiche, or obsolete digital, River City Data will transform your data into more mainstream formats using state of the art conversion technology services.

We use AMI View but will work with your existing ECM software to provide the highest quality digital data you need, right at your fingertips. River City Data services include converting both microfilm and microfiche to digital. We specialize in conversion projects. 

Both forms of media require bulky, specialized equipment typically available in a library, federal building, or other remote sources. Why is that an issue?

Since both entities have been closed since COVID began (some facilities may have opened after this article was written), the data is not being used to its fullest potential.

River City Data will take care of transferring your old data into digital images, giving it the capability to be accessed anytime, anywhere, crisis or not.

Microfiche reader in closeup

What are Microfilm and Microfiche?

You likely remember using them in school or work. They were tiny little squares that housed countless hours of research reading material. Sometimes information was stored on reels that you watched like a movie. 

Though split into two forms now, both microfilm and microfiche were once called under the unified name, microform. 

An English scientist invented microform in the late 1830s. Early microforms were used in the 1870s during the Franco-Prussian War to transport messages via carrier pigeons. However, they weren’t widely accepted as a useful form of data storage until the 1920s when George McCarthy made them more mainstream. 

In the late 1930s, microforms were then progressively split into two types of formats, microfilm and microfiche. Microfiches were usually single-square boxes, while microfilms were on reels. 

Since the Eastman-Kodak company was involved in their creation, people believed microfilm reels were more efficient. But that wasn’t the case. Microfiche was still widely preferred due to its compact size and ease of use.

Each microfiche can house up to 98 tiles, providing readers and researchers alike countless hours of knowledge at their fingertips. And up until recently, companies and individuals equally preferred these versions of data storage also. Why? 

The smaller size and analog nature of microfiche helped save companies unnecessary costs. Without the need to print every document or retain every receipt, companies could save storage space. The best part? They were helping the environment back before it was a known thing.

By using River City Data’s conversion services, your old microfilms and microfiche can transfer to digital format. You can free up wasted space and wasted employee hours searching for past data using our microfilm scanning and microfiche scanning services

This means you can focus more of your resources on building your business instead of trying to simply remain afloat. And, you’ll help to reduce your carbon footprint. It’s a win-win! 

employee holding binders of microfiche film and documents for filing and organizing and indexing

Digital Media is Everything

Even though microfilm and microfiche are still used and useful today, they are very outdated forms of information storage. The digital age has brought about an entirely new way of life.

What took countless hours of searching is now accessible in mere seconds via a smartphone.

To think, people actually waited in line to get access to information!

Not only is digitizing your records advantageous for ease of access, but once done, the data will never disappear. The infinite cloud storage space will never get damaged by flood, fire, or other acts of God, and will never fade.

You don’t need a big bulky piece of equipment to read it, either. A simple click of any internet-connected device, and you can have full access to your data. River City Data will convert your documents into two types of formats: 

 

  • Tiff (Tagged File Format) and PDF (Portable Document Format). Tiff is the method certified by the National Archives and Records Administration, but isn’t widely used by the public.

 

  • PDF is the preferred format since it is most user-friendly. Thankfully the PDF has been gaining more acceptance by the records industry in recent years. 

rows of chairs at a table with microfiche machines

Need Microfiche Conversion? 

How can River City Data help your company succeed and thrive? Some businesses might think they are saving money by not converting old records. Others have tried scanning their old files using employee resources and scanning equipment. 

But in reality, they are wasting both time and money by not using River City Data. Don’t let this be your company.

Our precise microfilm conversion machines allow our operators to adjust for image quality, specs, and skew. This ensures your data is as good or perhaps even better than the original. In addition, you don’t incur any more wasted employee resource hours doing mundane work. 

River City Data’s Advantage 

River City Data has been in the data conversion business for over 40 years. Our stellar reviews from clients prove we do great work and have adapted well in an ever-changing industry. We strive for excellence and continue to adapt to meet our customer’s needs. 

Based in New London, Minnesota, but accessible to anyone, River City Data is here to help your business succeed. By transferring your old document images into digital, you can ensure your data will be secure for life. Contact us for a free estimate today!

happy businessman doing data entry work at office

For many companies, storing data is an ongoing challenge. Methods of data entry and storage continually evolve with changing technology. It can be tough to implement data entry systems that are efficient, cost-effective, and space-saving.

Automated data management systems have quickly expanded their reach to assist companies not only to store their data effectively, but to use it to enhance their products, services, and operations.

River City Data is your one source for document storage and management. We customize our data processing solutions to fit your needs for online and physical space, privacy, and security. If you find yourself in data and document overwhelm, contact us today to climb out from under your digital or paper piles.

medical employee filing records and doing data entry in hospital

Data Automation: Is It For You?

Let’s begin with a few more questions, and then you’ll likely start to see some definite advantages to automating your data collection, storage, sharing, and dissemination.

 

    1. Does your company collect and use extensive data? If you run a medical office, a government organization, a retail company, a law firm, or any other related company, you likely collect and maintain truckloads of documents and client information. Keeping client information accessible, secure, and private is a cornerstone of your business.
    2. Would your business benefit if you could USE your collected data more effectively? Storing private data securely is one thing, but USING data to your advantage for reporting, progress analysis, and customer metrics is quite another. Most companies use only 30% of the data they collect in analytics that drive success. That’s a lot of valuable information to leave out of your business and growth strategy. 
    3. Does accessing, compiling, and reporting your data seem too big and scary for any of your teams to handle reasonably? Manual reporting can be among the world’s most daunting tasks. Asking your already stretched staff to add data analysis and reporting to their plates may be unreasonable. Further, if you don’t have a dedicated analytics and reporting team, you may not have the right skill sets to use your data for the best business gain.

How Do I Begin Data Entry Automation?

First, start with strategy consensus. If part of your data management challenge is coalescing different data sources into a centralized, accessible location, you’ll need to assess your data needs and use.

Every team leader should have input into the type of data they desire, collect, and use from internal (departmental and project data) and external (customer and client) sources. Further, if portions of your data are paper-based while others are digitally collected, you’ll need to convert paper documentation into indexed, digitally stored formats.

Before any data entry automation can take place successfully, all members of your leadership will need to agree on how data must be categorized, where it will be stored, and who will have access to which documents and information.

close-up of a person analyzing data on a tablet computer

Create or Update Your Indexing System

Building a system of data indexing that everyone can learn and use is paramount to successful data entry automation. Be sure to gain consensus on all your data forms for categories of information relevant to your business. 

With current document conversion technology, you can get as granular as you like with precise keywords or column headings to make your data indexing laser-focused and business-relevant.

Further, with companies that operate under privacy standards like HIPAA, indexing your data accurately will be necessary to use only the data allowable by law.

Matching your business terms with data sources and ensuring column-level accuracy are paramount in making sure everyone on your team “speaks the same language.” Accessing data successfully on-demand means training your staff on the keywords, phrases, or columns you employ for data organization.

Enlist Help with Data Entry Automation

At River City Data, we use OCR, or Optical Character Recognition in our data conversion processes and services. This software allows us to comb your documents for the keywords and characters you specify, making indexing a snap in most cases. 

As long as you and your team are clear on how you want your documents organized, our software can take your indexing methodology and apply it to every record we capture, convert, and store.

What Automation Does for Data Entry

Automation helps every stakeholder in your company gain access and insight into the data you collect. When your information is collected and stored with common indexes and a language everyone understands, you can use the data you collect to improve your overall business practices.

Plus, with data entry automation, you eliminate the need to manually re-key data on PDF’s and paper documents. This automation saves time, frustration, indexing mistakes, and money.

Data entry automation can also help you eliminate data silos within your organization. If one department employs different indexing keywords, phrases, characters, and columns than another in the data they collect, store, and use, you can all “get on the same data indexing page” with data entry automation.

In short, data entry automation can be a unifying force within your company. When implemented correctly, this type of automation eases communication challenges, streamlines project work, and can even help you grow your business.

close up of a doctor with stacks of medical folders and files and a stethoscope

Business Growth with Data Entry Automation

Once you’ve automated your data with improved indexing and accessibility, it’s time to use your data to benefit your company. Compiling patient outcomes, customer buying patterns, case loads, and project statistics are some of the ways you can let your data work for you (instead of merely storing it securely.)

You can even use your data to better understand your audience demographics so you can grow your footprint on social media and other marketing channels. The benefits of data entry automation continue to evolve with each passing season.

Stay ahead of the Data Entry Automation Curve with River City Data

At River City Data, we handle thousands of documents each week with care, security, and professionalism. We use the most leading-edge technology to help you get ahead of the data collection tidal wave. After all, data collection and conversion will always be “a thing” in every successful organization.

Our job is to smooth out the waves of data you must collect, process, and store into a calm sea of accessibility and utility. Contact River City Data today and find out why we’re the trusted local leader in data conversion, indexing, secure storage, and on-demand access.

young woman employee looking at data modeling on stacks of papers and files

When you’re buried under virtual or physical piles of PDFs, paper documents, or out-dated storage tools (CD-Rom, or–gasp!–floppy disks), coalescing your information into one indexable format is a daunting task. Data modeling is the first step to making sense of every record, no matter its age or storage method.

No business leader we know has extra time for data conversion, indexing, storage, and security. Per human nature, incomplete data conversion and archiving tend to build up over time, because they’re no one’s favorite tasks. 

Instead of procrastinating this crucial element of business success and customer privacy, partner with the pros at River City Data. We’ll customize a data conversion, indexing, and storage strategy that grows with your company so that data privacy and organization is never a problem again.

Call us today for a free quote, and we’ll handle all your records with the care and security they deserve.

hanging folders and files in a filing cabinet with an employee's hands sorting files

Data Modeling: Code for “How’re We Going to Find Anything Ever Again?”

Imagine you spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of person-hours organizing your data. You’ve purchased filing cabinets, folders, colored tabs, and every kind of “sticky-note” under the sun. 

By the time you’re finished with your files, they look neat and tidy, years of business contacts can now be accessed quickly, the file drawers all close tightly, you can lock the files for security, and you’re about to pat yourself on the back.

However, you forgot to tell anyone that you used your clients’ birthdays to categorize them in the files. Then, you hire in a new office manager, and they assume you’ve used the customer’s last name as a primary data indexing tool. 

So, now your new manager cannot find any information on your clients, plus, she uses her last-name assumption for all future data filing. You’ve got a massive potential data mess on your hands in this scenario.

The one thing you must do to combat this data disaster is data modeling.

Create a Rubric that Serves You Now and in the Future

Of course, today, we’re done with paper documents and tabbed manila folders in most organizations. Data modeling refers to digital data indexing, storage, and interaction. 

Your data model can also inform the type of physical space and components you use for data storage and reporting as well, some of which may still be the odd filing cabinet. But, most companies seek out ways to condense and archive their data while still enabling easy reporting and analytics.

It’s essential to think out into the future as much as possible concerning storing and indexing data. Try revisiting your business plan. (If you don’t have a current one, now’s a perfect time to create it.) Look at your growth and sales goals for the next five years or so. 

Your data model should reflect where you want to BE in five years, as much as it should serve your needs where you ARE. Why plan to keep purchasing more and more physical file cabinets when you can obtain more secure and nimble data storage in the cloud right now, for example?

stacks of files, folders, documents used for data modeling

Three Types of Data Models

For a successful data model, there are three essential steps in the process:

 

    1. Conceptual data model: Here, you define entities that deliver or collect data, like customers and products. Then, you list the attributes of each entity, such as name (customer or product), customer number, and product price. Finally, you determine and describe the relationship between the entities.
      Conceptual data models are intentionally high-level.

      Think of this step as building the foundation for data collection and organization–a statement of which information is most crucial to your business model. This step creates a common data language and priority list for all stakeholders, company-wide.
    2. Logical data model: In this phase, you’ll specify data structure and the relationship between data bits. For example, you’ll define how data from one project may interact with information from another source within the company.
      You’ll answer questions like “how will I integrate and utilize information across several departments or teams?” And, you’ll put values and nomenclature to those data bits.
      At this stage, you’re still thinking in general terms–defining data relationships within your operation and how you want them to interact.
    3. Physical data model: Here’s where you’ll get more precise about triggers, keys, views, indexes, authorization, database columns, as well as the technology you’ll use to access and store your data. (Will you use the cloud or a physical server location?)

 

Achieve Consensus, and Then Train, Train, Train.

Once you (and your leadership team, if applicable) have landed on a data modeling strategy that fits your needs now and can easily grow with your expanding audience, product lists, and physical footprint, it’s time to educate.

Any data model is only as effective as the people who know how to use it. Adding data collection and use training to your on-boarding process is crucial. This staff education is the only way to ensure your data works for YOU once you’ve implemented your data modeling strategy.

Departments can become entrenched in the dreaded “silo” when they don’t have access to the same information. Without the judicious use and sharing of the data you collect in sales, product performance, customer needs, client outcomes, and more, your entire operation suffers.

When your entire company speaks the same data language, you can access and use your key information to drive marketing, product development, and service delivery.

employee at a computer with data modeling and documents

Partner with the Pros for Data Modeling that Works

Once you’ve determined your conceptual, logical, and physical data models, River City Data can help you implement your strategy the right way.

Our conversion, indexing, and storage methodologies help you accurately index your records with OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software, save physical space, decrease staffing costs, and ensure the highest level of security and privacy. Plus, we enable on-demand access to all your data, so you never miss a needed metric.

Contact us today for a free quote, and start taming your rogue data piles with the most reliable, professional team in the business.