Electronic document management has transformed business processes as we know it. From Accounts Payable functions to HR file management, the idea of a paperless office is quickly becoming a priority for companies across the world. Unfortunately, the word “paperless” tends to come with a set of pre-conceived notions that have hindered its acceptance.
In order to break the silence and get the facts straight, we have compiled 10 facts about going paperless that everyone thinks are true.
1. “Going paperless is an all or nothing investment.”
Many believe that going paperless is an all or nothing decision. However, many companies make the paperless transition over time – focusing on paper-intensive processes first. By gradually converting your files, you can focus your efforts on particular paper-intensive processes. Many companies choose a ‘day-forward’ strategy, in which all files from a particular date will conform to new paperless processing. Eventually they will address their backlog of files – but it is not necessary to be completely electronic immediately.
2. “My files are safer in paper form.”
Filing cabinets and physical documents are still susceptible to theft and other dangers such as fires or flooding. However, an ECM system will help safeguard data from physical threats while adding additional safety features including authentication controls, IP addressing, encryption, and more.
3. “Electronic documents take too much time.”
In reality, the process of going paperless will only take as much time as you are willing to invest. As we addressed in a previous myth, you do not have to convert every file on day one. Instead, many companies opt for a gradual transition that helps reduce disruptions and provides financial flexibility.
4. “Electronic files are easy to hack.”
Your physical files are just as susceptible to prying eyes. Fortunately, there are a number of security features that help protect your data and will support compliance efforts.
5. “Paper is easier to find.”
This particular myth is completely ludicrous. Being able to search for and retrieve a document from an electronic device makes finding a particular file simple and efficient.
6. “My clients will not be happy.”
Your customers will be thrilled when you are able to provide a more efficient service, all thanks to going paperless. Additionally, your customers are used to going paperless. Bank statements and other commonly used paper forms have been making their way into the mainstream for years now. Much like snail mail, the days of paper processes are numbered.
7. “Employees don’t want to go paperless.”
You are sure to experience some pushback from your employees – after all change can be difficult. However, once your staff experiences the efficiency of an electronic management system first hand, they will see the value. Paper processes tend to focus on the process itself, whereas an electronic process will help you to be more results oriented.
8. “I will need dedicated IT staff.”
Modern software is simple to install, easy to maintain, and can be integrated with your existing systems. Cloud-based document management software has eliminated the need for costly hardware, and has made way for fast and effective implementations.
9. “ROI is only achievable in the long run.”
It may take some time to fully realize every benefit going paperless can provide. Fortunately, there are several gains, such as time savings and increased efficiency, which can be realized immediately. Additionally, your dependence on paper and related items will significantly decrease quickly. In many cases, positive ROI has been established only a few months post implementation.
10. “You can never use paper again.”
While we are on the road to a “less paper world”, it is highly unlikely that every single sheet of paper will make it into a digital system. Furthermore, reducing the amount of physical paper your company processes is a gradual process. However, the primary benefit is not the elimination of paper, but the automation and process improvements that electronic document management enables. Will you still see the use of paper? Sure. However, by converting paper-intensive processes into electronic workflows, you will be able to significantly improve security and productivity while reducing costs.