Best practice

Are we expecting too much from paperless business?

  07. 05. 2018

At Mikrocop and other providers, we offer solutions for paperless business and promise to reduce costs, increase efficiency, and ensure legal compliance. But can we also fulfil these promises?

If undertaken systematically, digitization allows companies to gain competitive advantages. Everyone is confronted with paperless business in one way or another, as this is what customers expect from electronic business partners who issue orders and invoices in electronic form, and from state institutions, which are increasingly encouraging paperless business.

At the same time, they cannot give up on paper entirely. The result is a combination of paper-based documents, usually scattered across various locations or departments, and electronic documents in various information systems.

Lower operating costs

Companies often take their first step towards paperless business in the field of document management. Digitizing documents increases their value, enables more efficient management, and opens up business process automation and digital transformation opportunities. In addition to the initial digitization of documents, it is also important to capture data from said documents. According to the experience of Mikrocop, a paperless solutions provider, companies can go paperless to cut data entry costs and simultaneously reduce the possibility of errors.

At Abanka, this is illustrated by the digitization of the processing of execution decisions: “As the executors of decisions, banks deal with an extremely large number of execution decisions every day. Each decision must be processed manually immediately upon receipt, as such decisions are received in paper form. Process digitization has resulted in significant savings in manual data entry and document retention costs.”

Greater operational efficiency

Managing documents in paper form is burdensome – searching for documents is time consuming, sharing them between users is tedious and difficult, changes are not traceable, and documents are occasionally lost. On the other hand, working with electronic documents allows for so much more than just review. This includes sharing, editing and commenting on documents, timely notification of changes, searching for content anpdescriptive data, providing remote access, ensuring the integrity and credibility of documents, tracing usage and, of course, preventing loss. Proper document management is a prerequisite for digitization – and potentially automation – of business processes, which adds value to the business.

Companies decide to implement process solutions, as they generally contribute to increased operational transparency, better responsiveness, simplified cooperation, and reduced operational and financial risks. “It is precisely for this reason that an effective user experience and guaranteed compliance are key factors in choosing a new solution,” says Klemen Novak, Business development manager at Mikrocop.

Guaranteed business compliance

In the context of the compliance of paperless operations, companies face at least two challenges: how to ensure personal data protection compliance, and how to store documentation long term. The key to successful compliance with the GDPR lies in designing appropriate personal data management processes and establishing accountability for such processes. Companies often experience difficulties because, under pressure from ongoing operations, they don’t succeed in establishing comprehensive overview of all the personal data they process.

Although the issue of long-term document storage is not currently as challenging as GDPR compliance, it should by no means be overlooked. Ensuring the accessibility, preventing loss, maintaining usability, and ensuring the integrity, authenticity, and sustainability of documents are the fundamental principles of long-term storage, which all companies have to take into account.

“I therefore strongly recommend that businesses consider using certified paperless solutions,” advises Sanja Žaubi, Data protection officer at Mikrocop.

Meeting expectations

Although the benefits of paperless operations are unequivocal, paperless solutions providers alone cannot guarantee that such benefits will be achieved. The introduction of paperless business processes requires considerable organizational, business, technical, and ultimately, cultural changes. Without the client’s active participation and willingness to make changes, we can conclude that the mere introduction of the solution will not exploit the full potential of paperless operations.

“By digitizing documents upon receipt, we curbed the flow of paper into all business processes, wherever possible. Now, most processes are conducted in electronic form and are automated. By doing this, we significantly increased our efficiency and reduced our operating costs. Although it was a complex and time-consuming project, we are satisfied with the results. The success of such a project largely depends on clearly established goals, broad support from management, involvement of employees in the project and, last but not least, choosing the right partners.” That is how the Bled Diagnostic Centre summarized its experience transitioning to paperless operations.

Klemen Novak
, Business development manager at Mikrocop