Posts Tagged ‘paperless office’
Buying Software Solutions to Eliminate the Pain
We work with many organizations that initially struggle with spending to eliminate their paper. Many low to mid level managers just see it as a cost of doing business, and they don’t dig deep into the true costs of running paper-based business. In reality, they are not alone. Below are some fantastic stats from the AIIM Paper Wars Study that took a deep, deep look into the problem:
44% of surveyed organizations cited they were only a mere 10% of the way to paper-free process.
23% cited they had made zero progress towards a paper free environment.
17% were chipping away at 5 or more processes per year.
So, why the lack of progress? Below are the top reasons:
- Lack of management initiatives or mandates
- Requirement for physical signatures
- Staff prefers paper
- Lack of understanding of paperless options
- Suppliers still work in paper
- Notion that legally, they still require paper
These are the top reasons, and they were many more.
So, if you are tired of the paper mess, and looking to justify a move to the digital office, what do you do? First off, let’s look at some costs associated with paper-based business, with some stats from AIIM:
- It costs an average of $20 to file a document
- It will cost you $120 in labor to find a misfiled document
- It will cost you $220 to reproduce a lost document
These costs incorporate labor and materials. You can outline many more costs, like mailing, searching for documents, manually entering invoice information, etc. These costs are well documented, and can be the crux of any justification. For specific departments or industry verticals, you can also drill into additional costs that might be associated with service level requirements, fines, and the impact of slow operations. So, take an organization that processes 10,000 documents per month. Let’s make an assumption that 3% are misfiled, and 1% are lost. Below is a tally:
- Filing of these documents will run $200,000
- Misfiled documents will run $36,000
- Lost documents will run $22,000
So, you are running a $250K+ operation just in paper $$ for every month you push pulp. Let’s say you have a rockin’ staff that are immune to paper cuts, and they can do it at a 1/5 of the cost. You are still at $50K per month. Now some may argue those staff need to be paid regardless of paper or not. But the big loss here are opportunity costs. What if those staff members could use that time for other tasks focused on growth, and not paper administration? You can see the true advantage of moving to a more efficient digital workflow and using document capture and scanning to facilitate the paperless office..
So, the next question is where to start? In my next post we will examine success factors, and give some tips on how to ease into the paperless world. Can’t wait? Want to read more? See our frequently asked question pages below for more info:
Build Your Moat and Drawbridge: Document Capture, Digital Forms and Workflow
When you look at the medieval castle, it had all the protective measures to insure the occupants were protected from outside threats. In our modern office, the threat is to efficiency and productivity, especially when examining the flow of paper both in and out. A core strategy is to surround your organization with a virtual moat, that allows no paper to cross. Below outlines the use of 3 technologies to help with the goal of the paperless office.
Document Capture and Scanning – Today, it is almost impossible to forbid inbound paper. Whether it is a small business sending paper invoices, a law firm that sends a FedEx package of contracts or a paper bill of lading for a shipment, paper will still exist for most organizations at some level. The goal here is to create that virtual moat, across which “none shall pass”. This can be your mail room, with a core policy of digitizing any paper for distribution within the organization.
Digital Forms – Forms technology can insure minimal creation of paper, through the use of a “born digital” mindset. Want to request vacation? Fill out a digital form. HR new hire paperwork? Go to the new hire portal and fill out the required electronic forms. This technology can help eliminate new paper creation internally, and can be expanded for external paperwork as well, reducing the need for scanning and document capture.
Workflow Software – workflow provides the ability to fully digitize any work process, and can integrate with both electronic forms and document capture. This provides a powerful multiplier effect, letting you combine the advantages of all technologies, and enhancing your efficiency and productivity to a whole new level. Documents and work can now be digitally routed both internally and externally.
These three technologies can be implemented in stages, one by one to start the improvement process, and begin the elimination of the paper threat. Thoughts?
Why Haven’t More Companies Made Paperless Progress?
Here we are, in 2016, and the Paperless Office topic is still key in many business owners minds. But why the lack of progress? In an AIIM Paper Wars study, there were some pretty amazing statistics:
- 44% of organizations cited they are only 10% of the way towards paper-free process
- 23% cite they have yet to achieve any progress towards the Paperless Office
- 17% are making progress of 5 or more processes per year
So why are we only inching our way towards the ultimate paperless goal? Checkout the chart below:
As you can see, there are a wide variety of barricades preventing progress, many of them are people/culture based. So how do you tackle these paperless blockades?
- First off, management support is absolutely critical, and it starts from the top down. If there is no commitment to your paperless office initiative at the executive level, it will fail.
- I cannot tell you how many times I have heard, “My staff just wont buy into that.” This quote is common place, and indicative of a broader cultural issue. Use of paperless technology is not optional once there is a commitment, and management needs to make that totally clear.
- Dispelling myths about legality and physical signatures can be a challenge, and there is a lot of misinformation out there. The fact is, electronic signatures have been utilized for many years now, and there is complete and total legal precedent for their use.
- The paperless landscape, and the technology available, can be quite overwhelming, and examining document capture/scanning software, digital/electronic forms products, workflow software and business process management software can be a daunting task. Having a great technology partner that can guide the way is critical.
- There are a wide variety of solutions, and cost is really no longer an issue. Paperless solutions have come down so far in price, that any size organization can get started today. Whether you want to print to PDF with an iSeries Forms solution, or create a digital workflow, there are affordable solutions in the market.
Want to learn more about paperless office strategy and products that can help you revolutionize the way you do business? Contact inForm Decisions today.
Tips on Creating a Paperless Environment
So in our previous article, The Paperless Office: Is It Just a Dream, we discussed some statistics, and the key reasons why organizations don’t move towards an environment with less paper. In this post, we will discuss key focus areas for Paperless Project Success. Below are 5 Tips to Follow:
- Start Small and Grow – all too often I see organizations with broad reaching goals, and huge projects. Pick a key pain point, create a successful solution, learn you lessons and grow.
- Focus on Simplicity – technologists like to use a sledgehammer to pound in a nail. Always, always, use building blocks and start with the simplest solution that provides the maximum value.
- Find a Champion – forcing a project on an unwilling participant is always a recipe for failure. Find the person with the most paper pain in your organization and get full buy in.
- It’s About the Users – the technology will work, it is proven, but the biggest barrier you will face is user adoption. Time after time, I have seen users that just refuse to use scanning technology, and managers that let them. Educate, train and encourage.
- Track Success – building an internal case study with gains in efficiency and productivity, as well as cost savings is key. Once you have success, promote and expand.
These are some tips that can be used in the implementation of any paperless technology: advanced capture and scanning, digital forms, digital workflow/business process management, print to PDF or a digital archive. Want more info on these technologies? See our presentation on Key Tech for Paperless. Thoughts?