I know, I know - a scanner is a scanner is a scanner. Not quite.
This is a bit embarrassing, but here's the background. About a year ago, I decided that I wanted to streamline as much of the TONS and TONS of paper in my office as I could. Between the magazines, receipts, printed documents, web articles, notes on projects and the like, I was drowning. And that doesn’t even begin to address the 1-2 filing cabinets I have with client files, financial info, etc.
So, about a year ago, after 2-3 weeks of thorough research, I sheepishly plunked down nearly $700 for this little dude. The embarrassment over this purchase has a couple of angles: I have a small business, and $700 is no small sum of money; and after I bought it, would you believe it - I left it under a table for nearly 12 months!?!?
Well, a couple of weeks ago, I decided to see how big a goofball I really was (no wisecracks, Dennis). I broke everything out of the box, hooked it up (USB 2.0) and installed the software. Within 10 minutes it was done.
Well, it quickly became apparent that this was NOT a purchase destined for eBay. I took a couple of 40-50 page documents, dropped them in, fired up the Canon scanning software, and had a handy Adobe Acrobat PDF file on my desktop for each one in about 3 minutes. WOW.
Since then, I have been slowly clearing my work area of all sorts of clutter and stuff I couldn’t bear to throw away, primarily from concerns that I might need it eventually. Did I mention that it does Optical Character Recognition (OCR)? Yep, every PDF file has the contents of the document contained within it, so they are all fully searchable, even from outside the document. Now, bear in mind that this works very well with scanned documents – for handwritten notes, etc. you’re on your own.
From a collaboration perspective, this will dramatically affect the way I and my team store and use information. We have all of of our files stored in Groove Workspaces, and Groove is installed on all our PCs. With client files, notes, etc. scanned and stored as PDF files, I can retrieve most anything I need wherever I am – and I’m out of the office a lot.
I still am a bit embarrassed that I spent $700 for something like this. But I sure like the way my office is shaping up.