Document management hardware features
There are two main hardware components you may need. If you're running a document management system in house, you'll need a server; if you're going to be converting paper documents, you'll also need a document imaging scanner.
Your vendor should provide you with appropriate specifications for the server, and in some cases will sell it to you directly. However if you have a preferred computer hardware provider, you will probably be better served buying from them. Just make sure you follow the recommendations from your document management vendor and your IT staff for processor speed, RAM, and hard drive space.
You may already have the document imaging scanner you need in-house: your copier. A modern digital copier with an automatic document feed and network connectivity can be exactly what you need to keep up with your day-to-day scanning needs. Almost any network copier can be used with a document management system. (Need help choosing a copier? Read our Digital Copiers Buyer's Guide.)
If you're buying a document imaging scanner, the vendor can provide valuable assistance. They'll be able to recommend certain brands or models that will work well with their software. Often, they can sell you the hardware directly, which can simplify your purchasing process.
When choosing document imaging scanners, you'll have to consider the balance between quality and speed. If you want to scan paper documents so that the full text is easily retrievable and searchable, you'll need optical character recognition (OCR), and that requires more expensive, high-quality scanning.
If your system will simply be storing your documents as images, the level of detail isn't quite as important. If you need color or wide-format scanning, you can expect to pay a little more for scanning services.
If you plan to scan millions of pages, you'll want a high-end scanner - one that can chew through files at around 150 pages per minute (ppm) - which could cost you $40,000 or more. A scanner rated at around 20 ppm, on the other hand, might cost around $1000. The slower machine can easily handle around 1500 new documents per week, but won't be any help in processing backfiles.
To meet higher scanning volumes, consider getting multiple scanners instead of one ultra-high capacity model. Three 40 ppm machines will be considerably less expensive than one 120 ppm device. Plus, they'll allow three people to work on scanning simultaneously, and provide you with the ability to continue working if one of them needs service.