Paper has become a standard part of almost every business process there is. Whether it’s used for making notes, annotating documents, printing digital documents, faxing or copying documents, it’s in there somewhere.
However, times are changing and for many of these business processes, paper just isn’t required anymore. That’s not to say it isn’t still used and in some cases preferred, it’s simply to say it’s not needed.
In a bid to move forward with business processes, digital transformation has become a hot topic in the boardroom and a strategy for many organizations to digitize their most inefficient processes.
Transforming paper processes to digital isn’t a way to create more work, but rather reduce it along with reduced cost, better security, and less waste.
Some business processes are slow and time-consuming – take finance for example; printing, approving and filing invoices can take hours where time might be better spent on other tasks. should business process today e limited to move at the speed of paper when we have invested so much in digitization already.
By digitizing and automating the process, the finance department regains time that can be spent on higher-value tasks. The process is also made much more efficient as even when errors occur, they are much quicker to find and fix.
Printing can be very expensive, especially if your printing processes aren’t optimized or monitored. By removing printing from your main business processes, it’s possible to reduce costs.
Significant cost savings can also be gained from improved efficiency.
Some business benefits to managing documents and paper
If process & business improvement isn’t a good enough reason for you to use the technology you have already paid for, what is? The short answer is that there needs to be a recognizable business benefit to justify making a change. Here are three major ones to consider:
- Mitigating risk:
No matter what industry you’re in, the threat of lawsuits is a fact of life if you do business in the United States. Unfortunately, it’s often impossible for companies to disprove claims of negligence or malfeasance because they don’t have concrete evidence to support their defence. As a result, defendants spend billions of dollars a year in out-of-court settlements—even if they’re not at fault. Paper-based inspection forms and documentation aren’t adequate for the job, but digital records that include photographs can make all the difference when it comes to disproving liability claims.
- Increasing productivity:
It’s hard to think of anything less efficient than a paper-based system. Let’s look at something as simple as a restaurant inspection. An employee shows up with a printed form on a clipboard, marks down everything that the sheet asks (clean floors, working toilets, etc.) and scans, faxes or mails the form back to the head office where it is either typed into a computer or simply put in a folder in a filing cabinet. This kind of duplicative effort vanishes as soon as mobile devices replace paper because all information is automatically in a single centralized system.
- Generating real business insight:
Everyone complains about “paperwork,” and it’s generally treated as an unpleasant exercise. But savvy leaders know that having the right information can help them make smart decisions to boost the bottom line. Paper-based systems can’t create that kind of business intelligence because there is no good way to aggregate data and use it effectively.
In contrast, approaches that rely on computers and mobile devices create a single repository of information that is easy to analyse and turn into best practices, allowing business leaders to spot issues and best performers, resolve problems and replicate success with ease.
Of course, there are many more reasons to move away from paper-based systems once and for all. But if going digital is seen as an incremental process improvement rather than a true driver of business value, companies are not going to automatically replace their old systems. The key is for business leaders in industries still dominated by pen and ink to truly understand what they’re missing out on every time one of their employees picks up a clipboard rather than a tablet.