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Slow Going Towards Paperless Goals

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The concept of a ‘paperless office’ has been around for at least 35 years, since British-American information scientist Frederick Wilfrid first envisioned it in his 1978 book ‘Towards Paperless Information Systems’. More than three decades on, reality is far from it.

Recently conducted research has revealed that physical pages are still a central part of daily office life. This survey of over 3,600 employees found that 83% felt the ‘paperless office is unrealistic’ as printouts are still preferred to electronic documents. This phenomena continues to occur because workers feel the need to share reports, and a majority stated they’d be more likely to make a mistake when editing an on-screen document than having a printout.

A similar piece of recent research looking specifically at small businesses found that more than three out of four are still wedded to paper. 77% of businesses still store paper records, with 19% stating that they kept all records in paper format and 58% currently storing data in both paper and electronic format.

It’s not a lack of awareness that is causing the delays, as businesses are amply familiar with the productivity gains that can be made by migrating to an electronic format. But they are constantly facing pressure to improve efficiencies, optimize business processes, ensure compliance and reduce cost. The challenge for many is to cut their dependency on legacy paper-based processes and deliver real business transformation.

“Over the past few decades, the transition from paper to electronic document management has not solved the issue of being able to quickly find the documents we need.” said Julian Cook, director of business at M-Files. The top three reasons businesses are considering storing documents in electronic form are to improve business processes, enhance efficiency, reduce storage space and reduce overall cost. But all too often companies have just migrated their existing paper filing systems into digital form, and as a result are still suffering from the same drags on productivity.

“With the growth of the cloud and the increasing use of mobile devices offering new tools for enhancing and improving information management, the answer is not just migrating paper files to digital form,’ he continued. “Without a strategic approach in place for more effectively managing information, businesses are often doomed to replicate the same inefficient processes. What is needed is a new way of thinking and creating more effective systems to store and manage data.”

If your organization is struggling with the switch to a paperless (or paper less) system, The Data Vault can help. After 30+ years of assisting businesses with their information management needs, our team of experts stands ready to coordinate multiple solutions into real results. Through document imaging, secure shredding, and cloud based backups, your company can meet the challenges of the future with a more flexible and responsive set of processes. Contact us today!

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