Going Paperless is Becoming a Necessity

By: Matthew Davis

The Internet has changed the U.S. economy drastically since its creation, accounting for an estimated $100 billion GDP by 2016, as reported in 2012 by the Boston Consulting Group. One question for many companies rich in history is how to transfer all print copies into a digital system. Going paperless was seen as an eventuality with computers; unfortunately this never fully happened. A 2013 study by the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) showed nearly 75% of companies had business improvement plans set up, but around 25% of this group had plans set up to specifically deal with implementing paperless policies. Laserfiche reviewed the same report and found 41% of companies reduced paper amounts, but 19% of companies actually increased their paper amounts. They continue to highlight these main problems with paper:

  • Re-keying data, searching for documents, and then filing the paper
  • Storage volume and outsourcing paper storage costs continue to rise
  • Monitoring workflow progress is difficult to analyze

What do digital processes actually provide for a company? A lot. The AIIM’s report shows companies with paperless processes are over four times faster; this includes a nearly 30% increase in productivity for all staff with higher numbers from experienced staff. These improvements can be seen in various departments from human resources to customer relations.
However, some companies have hesitated with going paperless for a number of reasons ranging from technology demands to legal implications, which are by far the main concern.

Going paperless is not only a business issue. In 2013, Yale pushed for paperless initiatives for all groups on campus. By implementing these processes, Yale saved almost a quarter of a million dollars from department initiatives in the Student Employment office, School of Medicine, and the Finance and Business Operations department.

Newspapers have been at the frontlines of this fight for some time now. They are among the few with the most experience from this change. Many have adopted digital or e-editions for their print subscribers and included incentives for their business advertisers. Their continual innovation will be one of the key areas of change.

It is clear that the process of going digital is not an easy prospect, but it is still a vital one. Even though this topic has been widely discussed, the best practices to accomplish the task have not been included. The important task for now looks to be starting all work in digital when and where it’s possible to do so and keep it digital.

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