If this is the digital age, why is there still so much paper around? Despite talk about the 'paperless office' and even the 'paperless NHS', hard copy documents are still our comfort blanket even though they are expensive to print and store, often difficult to locate when needed and can cause major delays and inefficiencies which impact on customer and supplier relationships.
However, taking digitisation to its natural conclusion involves more than just clearing untouched files and avoiding printing. It could mean transforming an entire operation. So how can a business bite the bullet and go paperless?
CBR met with Glenn Gibson, product marketing manager at Hyland Software, a creator of OnBase enterprise content management, to find out.
1. Think beyond just scanning, otherwise the whole project will only have superficial benefits. Using an enterprise technology application such as enterprise content management (ECM) means the whole initiative will have far-reaching and long-lasting advantages, for the entire lifecycle of your information. ECM will help take control of all your important documents, not just the ones that originate as paper, such as emails, faxes, pdfs and Microsoft Office files so on.
2. If you are scanning any forms, there are form recognition engines which can lift the information directly from them. However, if any of these forms are "yours," consider replacing these with electronic forms. Even forms filled out by people outside your organisation (customers, constituents, patients, students etc.) can be turned into electronic forms and put up on your website. In doing so, you completely eliminate the cost of printing and distributing the forms, and speed up the process as you receive the completed form seconds after it is submitted.