As a person responsible for a service that helps our clients go digital, it may come as a surprise that I think the often-discussed “paperless office” is a myth.
Despite paperless predictions dating back to the 1960’s, I can tell you with certainty that I have not encountered a single organization that has achieved this ideal in 2016––more than 50 years later.
Given we have the technology to digitize the entire human communications process, you may wonder why.
The resiliance of print
There are many good reasons. Despite the exponential growth of online communications and mobile devices, people continue to want something they can touch and feel.
Studies show that the information conveyed in a printed proposal or report is far more likely to be read, understood, and retained versus content received in an e-mail or PDF attachment.
Think of the rich details you’ve absorbed from reading a well-written book, proposal or publication that you’ve actually held in your hands. Chances are, if it the material was compelling, you understood and retained that information far better than if you had simply received an e-mail––which you were far more likely to delete without ever looking at again.
Add a layer of rich color and personalization and that printed piece––just by the nature of it being unique––keeps and holds your attention even more.
The question becomes, when is paper not the right choice?
The risks and inefficencies of print
While print may feel better in our hands, it's not exactly the most safe and sharable way to communicate something. Most organizations continue to be burdened by many manual, paper-based processes.
Unlike a pure communications piece, think about the areas where paper or PDF documents enter your organization and are used to manage a business process.
Think about situations where paper is used to store organizational knowledge that needs to be accessed by multiple people and retained for long periods of time to meet legal and regulatory requirements.
Think about areas where information exists in only one location and is not easily accessible or searchable by the employees, clients, or partners who need timely answers to their inquiries.
In these situations, paper-based information is a liability that leaves your organization with multiple process inefficiencies and significant legal risk––and the costs are tremendous.
For example, consider your organization’s AP or new employee onboarding process. How much time and effort does your organization spend locating, printing, and routing paper-based information to the appropriate individuals for review and approvals?
We're living in a world where our clients and partners expect real time access to key information, on demand, from any device. Pulling a single copy of this information from a filing cabinet and routing paper-based forms through a facility for a signature is a very inefficient way to do business in 2016.
The best ways to go paperless
Here are a just a few of the areas in your organization where you may want to look at a paperless initiative to eliminate process inefficiencies and legal risk.
How much does your organization spend to manually process paper or PDF-based invoices and remittance documents?
How much time is spent manually keying invoice and remittance data from either paper or electronic documents?
An imaging program utilizing intelligent data capture and workflow can reduce the cost of processing invoices by up to 80%––a savings which could equate to $7.00 per invoice or more.
In addition, what if you could process all invoices the same day they are received while capturing early payment discounts? Most organizations see an ROI for their paperless initiatives in accounts payable and accounts receivable within six to 12 months.
The volume of paperwork associated with recruiting, hiring, training, and compliance is tremendous. An imaging program can automatically capture all employee documents and data while securely managing the information in a single location accessible to authorized users.
How many of your contracts are maintained on paper with no backup? Are your vendor and partner contracts easily searchable when they need to be referenced?
If you are a law firm, are you able to search for all client information by the matter number?
Are you able to integrate you legacy case files with e-mail and other electronic client information, complete with versioning, check-in/check-out, audit trails and bates numbering?
If you are a manufacturer, how much legal risk do you have by keeping your technical publications archive on paper?
How much liability do you have if you can’t find the documents or information required during litigation? What if your single copy of this information is lost or destroyed?
Are there situations where your legacy, paper-based records need to be retained for many years or become active again? How long does it take to retrieve these records from offsite storage?
In these situations, you may be spending more than necessary on long term storage and retrieval. A scan-on-demand imaging program is an effective tool to address active documents.
Despite the Electronic Health Record (EHR), medical practices continue to store legacy patient information on paper that can easily be imaged and merged with a patient's electronic health record.
Due to a lack of connectivity between EHR systems, medical providers continue to share patient information via fax and secure courier. An imaging and data capture program can eliminate the cost and potential errors of recapturing this information.
Despite your organization’s best efforts to move to EDI and other online processes, documents and data will continue to arrive in your organization in hard copy or other unstructured formats which must be re-keyed into your business applications.
OneTouchPoint provides our clients with services to digitize paper and other analog content while automating the delivery of the content to your downstream business applications.
How we can help
OneTouchPoint is unique in the Communications and Enterprise Information Management industries as we can help our clients manage both inbound and outbound communications, including content and documents received or delivered in any format, and from any device.
Our clients utilize our expertise to tailor cost-effective programs to manage both inbound and outbound communications, content and documents.
In addition, OneTouchPoint is unique in spectrum of document process outsourcing providers in that we are able to provide security and information governance tools and services to help our clients with inbound, outbound and archived information assets.
Click here to start a conversation with our team and learn how we can help you improve communications throughout your organization.