In the past, all businesses were reliant on paper processes and printing for day-to-day operations. Over time, as businesses have implemented new technologies, they have also reduced their paper consumption, and the move to remote and hybrid work has only further reduced the need for paper. With this being said, most businesses still make use of legacy paper-based systems and are yet to become completely paperless. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of going paperless and how businesses can cut out paper once and for all.
Benefits of being paperless
Faster Access to Information
When paper documents are moved to the cloud it ensures that employees can quickly and easily access any document, from any device with an internet connection. Although some paperwork, such as employee contracts, may rarely be needed, it is significantly faster to search for the document in a well-organised cloud storage system, rather than a filing cabinet.
Reduced Environmental Impact
Businesses are now more aware of their environmental impact than ever before. For businesses that are actively working to reduce their carbon footprint, moving to a paperless future can have a significant impact. Not only does this mean that fewer trees are cut down to create paper, but digitising processes also means that courier services are no longer needed for sending paperwork, further reducing their operating carbon emissions.
Simplify Disaster Recovery
If a business experiences a disaster, such as a fire or a flood, this can mean that all their paper documents are destroyed. In the past, one method to enable disaster recovery was to have a copy of all paper documents stored off-site. Although this makes it possible to recover the documents, it is much simpler to store digital copies of the documents with a cloud storage solution.
Tips for moving to a paperless future
Digitise Paper Documentation
In order for businesses to become paperless, first, they must digitise all of their current paper documentation. This typically entails scanning documents and then storing them either digitally either on-premises or using a cloud storage solution. Depending on the size of the business, this can be a lengthy process. If a business has an extremely large number of paper documents, it may be beneficial to define the goals and scope of the digitisation process and only digitise paper documents created after a certain date to make it more manageable. During this process, businesses should also consider how they categorise and manage the digital documents to ensure it is easy for employees to find documents.
Make use of Cloud Storage
Whilst there are many different storage solutions for digital documents, none are as versatile and cost-effective as cloud storage. With a cloud storage solution, employees can quickly and easily access files from any device with an internet connection, making it perfectly suited for remote or hybrid work. Also, with most cloud storage solutions, businesses only pay for the amount of storage required, making it possible to move from a CAPEX to an OPEX model. Cloud storage also has many other benefits, such as enabling simple disaster recovery, and reducing the risk of a cyberattack, if the solution is set up correctly.
Implement an eSignature Solution
Although many businesses have already digitised some of their processes, 82% of businesses still rely on paper agreements and contracts that are manually processed by employees. In order to move to a paperless future, businesses can implement an eSignature solution to eliminate the need for paper contracts. A comprehensive eSignature solution also enables businesses to streamline other processes and even track the status of a document in real-time, reducing the chance of delays during projects and creating better customer experiences.
In order for businesses to become paperless, they must introduce several new technologies and to ensure success, it is essential that employees have training on how to use the technologies and the importance of reducing reliance on paper. For this reason, it is advisable for businesses to take a phased approach, implementing one technology at a time, whilst providing adequate training and documentation around how to use the technology effectively.
How we can help
It is clear that for businesses to make the move to a paperless future, technology will play a major role. To ensure success, businesses need the right tools, and that is where we can help. Drawing from our years of experience, we can recommend the best technology solutions for your specific needs, and then implement them to help you take the next steps towards a paperless future. Contact us to find out more.