It has been over forty years since a generation of Mad Men and technology industry commentators coined the phrase, a ‘paperless office.’ They imagined a future where paper documents would be history, with everything stored and shared digitally.
It was quite a vision, considering that virtually every piece of hardware and software required to make an office paperless was yet to be invented. Since then, the technology sector and entrepreneurs have made it possible for businesses to function without paper.
We could, if we wanted, go paperless tomorrow. And yet, printers are still office essentials, the paper industry hasn’t collapsed, and commercial printers are busier than ever.
Rapid Returns From Digital Transformation
According to an Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) report, Paper-Free Progress: Measuring Outcomes, progress on creating paperless offices is slow. This is despite the fact that many organisations have bought into the idea that going paperless increases efficiencies and improves operational workflows and customer experiences.
The AIIM report found that only 17% “work in what can be described as a paper-free office,” with 31% of respondents still dependent on an excess of paperwork. But the tide is finally turning, with 49% reporting their reliance on paper is reducing, and 11% saying this is happening at a rapid pace, thanks to digital transformation initiatives.
It should be noted that 84% of organisations that have gone paperless experience an ROI within 18 months. Noticeable benefits include faster customer service, improved productivity and compliance. Costs reduce across the board, in every business function that adopts paperless workflows and processes.
Paperless also goes a long way towards reducing an organisations’ carbon footprint, which also contributes to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. In turn, companies with active and coordinated CSR programs generate more shareholder value, find it easier to retain staff, and, when it comes to environmental policies, reduces operational costs whilst making a positive impact on society and the environment.
Compliance is an important business function. Organisations that don’t stay compliant with government regulations and/or health and safety guidelines face legal action, fines, license suspensions, and even directors who could face imprisonment. Compliance is mission critical, which is why, along with other important functions, employees have been encouraged or are obliged by the business processes imposed on them to put everything on paper, and ensure an accurate paper trail of information that could be a key factor when pitching for public sector contracts, applying for industry-standard accreditation, or even in a court of law.
The Question Remains: Should Compliance Go Paperless?
In most cases, there is no good reason to keep using printed paper and signed copies of documents. Government departments and regulatory agencies understand the value of digital records. They are just as valid in the eyes of the law, more secure, easier to share and search, and -perhaps most importantly – harder to falsify.
Stop for a moment and consider how much of your organisations’ compliance is currently done on paper. How much time does it take? What does that time cost? How much are annual printing and storage costs? What else could your staff be doing with that time, if you had an alternative solution?
For most medium to enterprise-sized organisations, these costs, along with the proliferation of paperwork they generate, soon accumulate. Papertrail is a time and cost-saving solution that can liberate operational departments from an excess of paperwork and administrative work. Compliance is simpler when all the features and documents you need are cloud-based, can be shared with relevant team members, and take less time to complete and manage than paper documents. Peace of mind comes as standard with our compliance solutions.
Is it time your company embraces the digital transformation and goes paperless for risk and compliance processes? Contact us today.