Pretty much every industry over the past 10 years has shared one common goal – to go “paperless.” For example, we’ve seen tremendous opportunities for efficiency and growth in the healthcare industry, which has, little by little, adopted electronic health record (EHR) solutions.
Obviously a paperless business offers many advantages. For starters, getting rid of paper documents and replacing them scanned PDFs eliminates physical clutter – always a good thing – and digital copies are easier to store and manage.
Gone are the exorbitant fees to overnight a thick contract to a client and have them overnight that contract back. Simply scan the pages and email them to clients instead. Simple, right?
The bad news is, dealing with scanned PDFs is a real pain and creates legal debt for your business. Here are 3 specific reasons why you should get rid of them and move to a digital process.
Scanned PDF’s are Essentially Locked Documents
As soon as you scan a contract, it stops being a text document and starts being an image file. Working with document images creates a lot of legal risk and legal debt. You now have a document that contains critical business and corporate information within it, yet it can no longer be searched any other way than by manually reading line by line. Slow, painful and time-consuming.
That’s a bad enough scenario when dealing with a few contracts. But when you have to find information across 100, 500, or 1000+ contracts, it’s nothing short of a nightmare. Not only are manual reviews in this situation a waste of time and resources, but there is a major legal risk involved. Manual reviews are not an efficient way to search for information within large numbers of scanned documents, and human error is bound to occur.
Poor Quality Scanned Documents Make Manual Reviews Even Harder
Here’s what tends to happen when important legal contracts get sent electronically:
Person A sends a PDF file to person B. Person B prints the pages, signs them, scans them, and emails them back. Those pages may then end up being printed one more time, signed, and scanned back via a PDF image.
All of this printing and scanning makes for one very hard-to-read document. So, not only are you forced to conduct manual reviews, but these reviews take even longer because of the poor quality of the documents you’re working with. And that legal risk we mentioned earlier… there’s even more of it.
Dealing with poor quality scanned PDFs is archaic. We’re living in the digital age, not the dark age, and it’s time to move your business forward.
Scanned PDFs are Incredibly Difficult to Convert and Manage
Of course there’s a solution to the problem of dealing with scanned PDF image files, and that is to use OCR technology to convert them back into editable and searchable text files. Though it’s a viable solution, OCR conversions also present challenges.
To start, manually converting these documents takes a lot of time. Sure, at the end of the conversion project you’ll have documents you can edit and search, but what if you don’t have the manpower to spend countless hours converting everything back?
Also, OCR technology is typically only 95% accurate. The technology often misspells words, which can lead to big headaches and more risk down the road. Here is just a partial list of some of the most commonly misspelled words during OCR conversion:
- tenns —> terms
- pennit —> permit
- person —> perform
- tenn —> term
- fonn —> form
- fonnal —> formal
- lnfonnation —> information
- lnfonnalion —> Information
- perfonn —> perform
- leam —> learn
- Sirategic —> Strategic
- Crealion —> creation
- rufes —> rules
- retum —> return
- parry –> party
This is an area where LinkSquares can really help you to not only convert, but convert in accuracy higher than what current technology is allowing today. Our proprietary conversion process increases accuracy to 99% or higher. On top of this, we’ve created a search engine so you can find information across any number of contracts quickly and easily, which means no more manual reviews.
While scanned PDFs seem to make sense at the time, they are difficult to read, take too much time to manually review, and can set your organization up for tremendous legal risks.