Lots of corporate data still lives on paper
Paper consumption in offices makes up for about a quarter of the world's total paper consumption. What is stopping us from digitizing our operations and going paperless? There are many technologies and approaches available today that offer simple methods to reduce the quantity of paper and work more efficiently.
The idea of a paperless office was first envisioned in 1978 by British-American scientist, Frederick Wilfrid Lancaster. Although nearly four decades have passed, paper-based information continues to be a central part of daily office life in many companies.
- 64 %of employees prefer paper-based documents to electronic format .
- 62 % of employees indicate that errors are more likely while editing an electronic document as opposed to a printout.
- 83 % of employees feel that a paperless office is unrealistic.
Source: Epson: Paperless office fails to materialise in the UK, 2016
Why are we so keen on using paper, what is preventing us from digitizing our operations further? Most likely, the reason lies in established habits and set behavior patterns.
The results are quick to show and multifaceted
Good news is that the first effects of a transition to paperless office can be seen very quickly. One of the first and most obvious benefits of digitalization is the time saved on searching for, accessing and confirming documents.
In addition to time savings, transition to paperless delivers the following benefits:
- better traceability of information,
- more organized operations,
- easier document management,
- improved security,
- lower risk of error in document management.
- Searching for documents takes up about one third (1/3) of working time.
Paperless operations are a link that ensures that all data is clear and readily available, and work processes quick and agile. Transition to paperless benefits the environment by making our company part of the solution to reduce paper consumption. The office environment is justly classified one of the greatest consumers of paper.
Going paperless as a cost-cutting measure
It does not take long before an organization begins to see the positive effects of paperless operations reflected in the bottom line. It is hard to give exact figures because these depend on a series of factors but transition to paperless definitely produces tangible savings in printing costs, document management costs as well as space which would otherwise be needed for the physical storage of paper documents.
- Nearly a half of paper documents ends up in the trash at the end of the day.
At Sparkasse, we have successfully digitized and e-archived more than one million of credit documents, thus freeing up valuable space in our physical archive. Most importantly, our credit documents are now continuously and promptly digitized.
– Polonca Bevc, Head of Sector in Sparkasse
Even great projects may fail without proper support
There is no doubt that paperless operations are cleaner, greener and more (cost) effective. Piles of printed pages on desks are thinning slowly, but persistently, thanks to sophisticated technological solutions that help us work more quickly and more efficiently, even from home.
Unfortunately, we often think that as long as the system functions, we can continue working as usual. It is only when problems occur that we start thinking about change. With problems still a constant in the VUCA environment, digitalization is the only logical step towards a more optimized and agile business model.
However, we cannot ignore the vital role that corporate organizational culture plays in the successful transition to paperless business. It is crucial that such a project has a committed supporter inside the company who will be able to speak strongly in favor of the project to disperse any doubts the employees may have. Only with systematic approach and strong focus on change can we hope to crack even the toughest nuts (which a change in organizational culture definitely is) and achieve the desired result in the end.
Majhni koraki lahko vodijo do velikih sprememb
Če še vedno ustvarimo veliko papirnih informacij, ni treba, da kar čez noč postanemo brezpapirna pisarna. Vendar pa si prizadevajmo, da bi čim bolj zmanjšali porabo papirja in informacije ustvarjali pretežno v digitalni obliki. Ne smemo si dovoliti, da bi bili preveč odvisni od papirja kot osnove za ustvarjanje informacij. Z digitalnim poslovanjem ne bomo le olajšali dostopa do dokumentov, ampak tudi poskrbeli, da bomo delali pametneje in bolj učinkovito.
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