5 Tips for Going Paperless
The History of the “Paperless” Concept
As long ago as 1975, the paperless concept was being discussed. In fact, in June, 1975, Newsweek Magazine published an article called “The Office of the Future.” It was touted as an “in-depth analysis of how word processing will reshape the corporate office.” In the article, Vincent E. Giuliano of Arthur D. Little, Inc. was quoted as saying that “1990, most record-handling will be electronic."
Fast forward to present day, and what do our offices today look like? Is most of our record-handling electronic? And can there really be a completely paperless office? Or is the truth of “paperless” somewhere between row upon row of paper-crammed file cabinets and the sleek concept of the paperless “office of the future?”
Another question to consider is just how a paperless office interacts with the user. While most of us today are electronically savy, the fact of the matter is that we’re still a long way from eliminating paper entirely. While in real terms the technology needed to create a paperless office is available, the fact of the matter is that our society as a whole is not ready to function in a total electronic environment. We still send and receive snail mail!
That is changing! As the generations who have grown up with computers move into business and offices of all kinds, the comfort level and expertise of society, as a whole, to function in an entirely paperless world will be our new “normal.”
This means that if a business is to grow, function and be successful into the future, it must move into the paperless environment, take advantage of workflow automation and artificial intelligence. k
While most offices today are heavily reliant upon computers, databases and other electronic data, much of the efficiency that is inherent in these automated systems is lost when paper is printed out, or edited by different people at different times, enabling more than one version of the same document. Moving into the Cloud can help eliminate these dichotomies, but there’s still the problem of existing paper to consider. Should it be digitized and incorporated into your digital data? And, if the answer is “yes,” then the question becomes how much and what to digitize and exactly how to store it in your digital files.
Further, how will you service customers without paper? Are all of your customers all set up for automated billing and payment? How will you communicate with those who are still in a paper-based operation?
In other words there are many, many considerations for any business to consider before moving into the “paperless” world.
One of the first tips that we offer our customers is that they need to decide just exactly what they want to accomplish. This means developing a “paperless” business plan. “I want my office to be paperless,” in and of itself, is an ambiguous goal. So, first consider what results you hope to attain with your paperless office – for instance:
- Do you need more efficiency, so you can do more with less?
- Do you require additional security measures for your internal documents?
- Do you want to save time when you need to find a particular document?
- Do you want to reduce space requirements and storage costs for old documents?
- Do you need to conform to new regulations?
These are just a few of the results that businesses hope to achieve when they go paperless. Your office may have other goals in mind. The important thing is to know what you want to achieve. Determining what results you want can help you determine what existing paper documents need to be converted, the order in which they should be converted, what software or SaaS you need to track your electronic documents, how they should be indexed or OCR’d for your system, what portion of your staff will be immediately affected, and other details that will influence the success of your conversion project.
An experienced provider of paperless office solutions and technology can be an invaluable guide in helping you sort through the best paperless direction for your business.
Based on our considerable experience guiding businesses into the “paperless” realm, our white paper provides 5 Tips to get you started. We invite you to download it now.