Over at the Document Imaging blog, there's an interesting post on 5 considerations for using SharePoint with document images. I don't agree with the first one, however:

In many organizations, SharePoint projects are departmentalized and are outside of the domain of IT. In fact, according to AIIM’s 2008 State of the ECM Industry, only 42% of SharePoint projects have a formal plan that involved IT. Therefore, your capture integration with SharePoint should be virtually “plug and play” and should not require any modifications to the SharePoint server.

SharePoint is a platform for provisioning websites -- and has quite powerful facilities for deploying and hosting server-side code. In fact, it is this capability that makes SharePoint so effective at hosting document images, because the server-code can preprocess the images and render a zero-footprint viewer, thus making it possible to view document images directly in SharePoint.

Here are my top considerations for document imaging in SharePoint:

#1: Getting scanned content into SharePoint should be streamlined with your scanning process. You have paper in your hand and you want it in a document library -- it should be no harder than (1) load the paper (2) click a button on the scanner. It would be great if your software could read the document and just know where in SharePoint it should go, but barring that, a quick list of choices show up on my screen and I pick one.

#2: Viewing a document should be fast. Document images are potentially very large files. I should be able to quickly bring up a thumbnail of the first page and get others on demand. I should not have to download the entire document image to find out what it looks like.

#3: It should be easy to act on multiple documents at the same time. When indexing or cleaning up a document image it is very likely that I will want to do more than one at a time.

#4: Document Imaging should be pervasive. Should be supported in libraries, lists, web parts, search results, workflows, etc.

#5: Cost should not be a barrier to adoption. Ubiquitous document imaging is only going to happen if you can afford for everyone to use it. No document imaging silos.

Atalasoft is working hard on this, and making document images usable in SharePoint is so important to us that we're giving away SharePoint document capture and SharePoint document imaging previewing (#1 and #2 above -- and I guess #5 -- stay tuned for how we're going to address #3 and #4).