Scanning Made Easy
You can achieve the Ultimate Paperless Office with judicious use of scanning. Learn how with Get-It-Done Guy.
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Recently SimpleScan sent me their SimpleScan DP personal scanner to review. I was skeptical, but it solves several real problems in creating a paperless office.
It's extremely compact and comes with several stands so it can be used in almost every orientation, anywhere in your office. Best of all, it scans both sides of a document at once! So I no longer need to worry about feeding sheets in twice.
But SimpleScan has done what no one else has done: they've thought about why people scan paper, and what the overall user workflow is like. SimpleScan lets you create "connectors" to web services like Box.com, Dropbox, or Google Drive. When you scan a document, your scan gets uploaded right into the given service via the connector you set up.
But wait, there's more! A connector can do more than just upload. A connector can do optical character recognition on a document. You scan in your marketing report, and what ends up in Dropbox isn't the image of the report, but an actual editable version of the report itself.
Some of their current connectors do OCR and uploading. But they also have connectors that send your scanned document as a fax, or submit it to expense reporting services, or process it as an invoice with invoice processing services.
SimpleScan is one of the first productivity tools I've found that really, deeply knows it is part of a larger workflow, and is building itself out to be an entire workflow optimization service that just happens to start at the moment of capturing a document.
Even though we haven't discussed cell phone cameras in this episode, SimpleScan has a mobile app that lets you submit smartphone photos to the same connectors you use for your scans. Snap a picture of your expenses and send them to your expense reporting connector, and you've gotten paper out of your life the moment it entered.
The current SimpleScan physical scanner requires hand-feeding, so it's not great for stacks of paper. But for double-sided sheet-at-a-time or workflow optimization, it's great.
*NOTE: Get-It-Done Guy was not paid to promote SimpleScan in any way. He's just really, really excited about their product!
Don't Trust, Don't Verify. Encrypt.
What no one has solved yet is security. The moment you upload something to the cloud, back room NSA employees look at it and start making fun of you. And we never like to be made fun of, even in the name of national security. Even if a Cloud vendor claims "we're secure," the NSA can force them to add software holes that compromise your security.
See also: How to Feel Secure on the Internet
My solution is to password-protect my PDFs using Adobe Acrobat. I set a password for the file—a long password—and tell Acrobat to encrypt the file contents. Then I store the encrypted file in the Cloud. It isn't ideal, but with Big Brother watching, it's the best I've come up with.
The paperless office doesn't have to be a thing of dreams and imagination. It can be real. Here and now! And it's a simple matter of scanning. Scan your paper files. Use scanner settings that make scanning quick and the end files readable. Use a tool like SimpleScan to streamline your workflow. Then password protect and store your files in the Cloud.
This is Stever Robbins. Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I help highly successful people change careers by highlighting their exceptional qualities, building an external reputation, and keeping them moving through a job hunt. If you want to know more, visit SteverRobbins.com.
Work Less, Do More, and have a Great Life!