The Real Cost of Imaging: Do-it Yourself vs. Outsourcing

The Real Cost of Imaging Do it Yourself vs. Outsourcing

When you convert paper records to digital images, your organisation becomes more efficient. The process of indexing, retrieving, storing, sharing and maintaining your records gets faster and resources are not wasted looking for paper based records.

However, the question many businesses ask themselves is “should you attempt to image everything yourself using existing resources, or is it more cost effective and efficient to partner with an imaging provider?”

To answer this question and to help provide an internal business case, you first need to have an accurate idea of the actual costs of doing it yourself using in-house resources.

Digital Transformation Solutions have put this resource together to help you better understand what should be considered in your calculation.

What are your overall digitisation project requirements? 

A great place to start is understanding the scope of the project and what will be required. You will need to estimate the following:

  • Project duration
  • Number of records to be scanned overall and per month
  • Number of images to be scanned overall and per month
  • Number of staff required
  • Scanners and hardware required
  • Office space and office fit-out requirements

Clarity about these numbers will enable you to create a cost framework for the project from start to finish.

What is the total cost of investment in equipment?

Many businesses factor in the scanner costs, however they often fail to take into account the cost maintenance and the associated labour required. These are a significant part of any overall cost assessment and should be taken into consideration.


When considering the cost of equipment, think in terms of:

  • Total hardware costs (i.e. how many and what type of scanners, bar code scanners, computers, etc. will be required)
  • The cost to maintain the equipment
  • Consumable costs (i.e. bar code sheets, ink, toner, stationery etc.)

Labour Costs

Aside from equipment costs, there are associated labour costs including:

  • The time taken each time a staff member undertakes a manual scanning process
  • File reassembly and re-filing
  • Preparing the documents for imaging (i.e. pulling out staples, repairing damaged pages, affixing odd size pages to carrier sheets, etc.)
  • Data entry costs
  • Applying multiple quality control steps and allow for rescans which means finding the record and re processing it.

What are the project management costs associated with imaging in-house? 

Any imaging project requires project management, and this adds additional personnel cost considerations, including:

  • Project Manager for conversion
  • Various IT resources including database administration, development support, and project management
  • A conversion supervisor

Have you taken into consideration facilities and utilities costs? 

When it comes to calculating imaging project costs, it is easy to overlook the hard facilities and utilities costs. Be sure to include these numbers in your assessment:

  • Price per square metre of dedicated project space
  • Cabling and networking
  • Electrical and utilities usage
  • Staff facility capacity e.g. kitchen, bathroom, lockers Etc.

There will always be miscellaneous costs

As expected with all big projects, there are a wide range of miscellaneous costs to consider as well. Some of these include:

  • Additional hardware and consumables required (PC’s, servers, network equipment, displays, furniture, etc.)
  • Labour costs on overtime and/or beyond the established project timeline
  • Office consumables (tape, folders, copier, costs, etc.)
  • Attrition costs from staff turnover
  • Senior Management/Executive time on project

Digital Transformation Solutions can show you the benefits of outsourcing your project. Our digital transformation case studies can show you cost comparisons between doing it yourself in-house versus our well proven and highly efficient outsourcing solution. Just a hint, we do it much much faster and deliver greater cost savings, providing the latest compliance and highest quality standards from image one.

Related Articles