Paper-based forms, records and communications have been affected heavily by such technological advancements. Today invoices, statements, confirmations, purchase orders, and more are saved and distributed as Adobe Acrobat files (PDFs) instead of paper.
Why is it, then, that most offices are filled with more filing cabinets and bankers boxes of paper-based documents than ever? Why are organizations still sending boxes of files off to be stored in secure environments? The answer is because many companies and organizations have not developed a strategy to manage these forms and records (all their business documents, really) using modern means.
It is not hard to imagine why many companies do not want to experience the tremendous cultural change in their workplace by going paperless. Their staffs are comfortable using paper, folders, cabinets and boxes to store, safeguard and retrieve information. The REAL problem is, however, that paper is expensive to work with and using 170-year-old technology to contain records runs against recent innovations.
“Many companies are still paper-dependent” says Gary Skalyo of QLS Solutions Group (formerly Quality Laser Services, a Buffalo-based Document Solutions Provider). “Surprisingly, we see a lot of companies printing electronic documents to paper and storing them in cabinets, sometimes multiple times in different departments”.
The cost of storing these records on paper is very high when you take into consideration of all the factors. Yes, office real estate and secure document facilities are expensive, but the real cost-driver is the labor dollars to file and retrieve documents and records. Moreover, documents are often misfiled or lost, which adds considerable expense and anxiety.
“Paper-based documents provide most organizations with the daily challenge of locating files, folders and documents, and the frustration of finding information on someone's desk,” continues Skalyo. “A good deal of time is often spent each day by ’knowledge workers’ looking for documents and the data that they contain. Sadly, this is widely and mistakenly perceived as routine business-as-usual.”
In addition to the expense associated with paper documents and records, there is certainly an environmental cost. Most companies and organizations are looking for ways to reduce both their costs and their carbon footprints. Actively reducing paper from your office and business processes will accomplish both.
Luke Collard, Managed Print Specialist & Analyst, says “Security and compliance are real issues for offices continuing to use paper-based documents and processes. Many of our clients are seeking to replace paper documents with electronic documents while safeguarding the information they contain, as well as keeping a record of just who has accessed these documents”.
Paper and electronic documents are the last link to automating the office of companies, organizations and government agencies. Finally, enterprises are now starting to embrace Document Management Solutions (DMS) often referred to as Electronic Content Management (ECM). The need to accomplish more with the same (or even less) staff is the big motivator for DMS. Now, and in the near future, companies will need to adopt these types of solutions to remain competitive in their respective fields.
“Documents and records are the currency that ties businesses and organizations to their employees, customers, partners, vendors and the government,” continues Collard. “Most clients are surprised and pleased to find out that Document Management Solutions promise a great return on their investment - arriving in the form of reduced costs, improved efficiencies, and disaster recovery… the value is really vast”.
Document Solution Providers, such as QLS Group offer a wide range of Products, Services and Solutions to make the "paper-less" journey for workgroups transparent. In fact, the biggest difference between DMS Solutions and working with paper is that you simply don’t have to leave your desk to find information.
Since 1990, QLS Solutions Group has been providing clients with laser printers, MFPs, and copiers, as well as supplying and maintaining the equipment. ”We still sell and manage print and /copy equipment fleets for clients, but we have been focusing more on solution products to reduce their print volume and /expenses and to make their operation more green” says Skalyo. “It’s a win-win for customers because they save money and help save the environment”.
The concept of a completely paperless office is still not a reality… yet. However, with Document Management Solutions (DMS), Document Hosting on The Cloud, Managed Print Services (MPS) and other game-changing document solutions, companies and organizations now have the opportunity to reduce their paper usage - as well as the associated cost and inefficiencies of this old "technology."
How do you manage your documents?