9 November, 2015
Written by Louise
The idea of a paperless office has been around for nearly 40 years; a Tomorrow's World utopia without the need for waste paper baskets and recycling bins.
We have come a long way, with many aspects of our lives now digitally managed. The last paper Tax Disc was issued exactly a year ago and other Government agencies such as HMRC and the NHS have committed to a paperless future. Currently, only 1% of businesses have achieved this and, in reality, many business can aim for somewhere between the two - a paperlite solution which cuts down the needs for paper processes but still provides the security and familiarity employees need.
In 2015, many companies are still reliant on manual processes and paper documentation, both in terms of long term archiving and day to day business practice.
- 75% of invoices sent electronically are printed for payment and
- 35% employees still print out emails they are sent
An over reliance on antiquated paper solutions in the digital era is largely cultural; institutions are comfortable doing things this way and naturally resist change. But businesses are losing valuable time and money.
Every organisation can benefit from automating their workflow and reducing the amount of paper they consume.
In simple terms, taking your systems online saves employees hours of time and money. The time it takes to print, photocopy, staple, file or distribute can add up to thousands of hours, not to mention the money spent on unnecessary equipment, ink and paper. Remember fax machines?
And that's when things are working well. A recent YouGov poll claimed that UK SME spends £42.2million per day looking for documents. The average search time is around 8 minutes and, according to Imagenet Consulting, 7% of all documents at any one time are lost.
Every successful business needs a clear and easy to understand system. Using task management or workflow software can streamline tasks into a simple activity chain with clear visibility. Smart Logic enables the right information to be requested at the right time, cutting out the need for needless data entry.
Every task can be actioned, updated and signed off or shared in realtime. No more lost forms or duplicate tasks.
Businesses no longer operate in a specific time or space. The beauty of an online business process or document management system is that it can be accessed anywhere at anytime, whether on a field visit, an international office, working from home or managing a team across multiple basis. What's more, a digital security system can mean that only people with the correct authority can access each key piece of information.
The "papertrail" has always been vital. However a paperless solution makes a business even more transparent. There is a clear audit trail of who accessed or authorized each stage of a process, changes can be tracked, timestamped and electronically stamped. Compliance issues can be flagged immediately, and rectified on the spot.
What's more, the data collected can be used to identify trends over time - what processes take too long, what processes are not meeting our requirements - allowing constant refinement and improvements to be made to every aspect of the business.
Many companies still believe that the safest way to store records is on paper. However, a recent study claimed that over 70% businesses would fail within 3 weeks if a fire or flood destroyed their paper based records.
And beyond document management and storage systems, a responsive workflow management system means that processes, procedures and authorization processes can be changed swiftly and communicated immediately should the situation arise.
That's not to mention the trees!