Mountains of paper to streams of data


When digitizing your agency records, are they ‘intelligent’? Simply scanning a file full of paper produces ‘flat’ images that can be stored electronically but later are not searchable for key data points. Your agency needs to be able to search and retrieve documents fast, leveraging descriptive information and identifiers needed to classify a document.

February 1, 202312 mins
Mountains of Paper to Streams of Data
It’s no secret that government agencies are seeking digitalization and data accessibility to optimize work processes and deliver improved citizen services. Whether moving to the cloud, improving their security operations, or complying with the M-19-21 electronic records directive, information and data are the lifeblood of the mission.

Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) allows agencies to take records management a step further. IDP coupled with capabilities, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) allows information to be extracted 8-times faster and with better accuracy than traditional optical character recognition (OCR) methods.

Digitizing doesn’t automatically produce an “intelligent” document that is searchable. By taking necessary steps, agencies can produce intelligent, electronic documents and records with data captured for auto classification and process automation, improving the citizen experience.


Scanning a paper document or record produces a ‘flat’ image file that can be stored electronically. This “simple” scan does not provide any value derived from a one-touch digitalization process. To produce intelligent documents, agencies must incorporate descriptive information and identifiers to classify records according to type, author, subject matter, creation date, etc. Metadata, essentially “data about data,” captured in concert with the digitization process will enable agencies to interface data with their core applications to glean insight and intelligence. Digitized documents make information securely accessible to support the mission.

Before you digitize, Iron Mountain’s information management experts advise every agency to establish an end-to-end information management strategy and governance plan. These crucial components should include an enterprise information framework applicable to both analog and electronic records, plus the taxonomy for the data required from the records.

Putting in place appropriate metadata tags is vital to this enterprise framework for several reasons:

media backup

Locating electronic records, data, and information

legal 2

Complying with legal holds requiring preservation of data or metadata

document inspection

Identifying records that have fulfilled their retention period

cog wheels

Implementing and using data analytics


Ensuring the data required for downstream application is digitized

Capturing and tagging data through an IDP process will enable digitalization and data accessibility crucial to process efficiency for the agency workforce and a digital experience for citizens. Iron Mountain is assisting government customers every day to intelligently digitize everything from personally identifiable information (PII) located within health charts, to historical archives, to sensitive and classified data associated with national security programs.

To find out how we can help make your documents intelligent, contact us at