The movement to go paperless has been around for a few decades and we’ve only just scratched the surface in terms of its implementation across different industries. With various technological advances, the need for paper has shrunk and the idea of going paperless is much more realistic in today’s world. Digitalizing your business process will not only benefit the environment but your bottom line too.
Organizations seldom realise how much of a cost is attached to using paper as they continue to work in an outdated business environment. As per industry research, for every 30 copies that workers print, 39 percent are tossed into the trash. On the other hand, printed physical copies of contracts, guides, offer letters and any document one uses in an organization that need storage take up both space and money. One four-drawer file cabinet holds 15,000-20,000 pages, costs $25,000 to fill and $2,000 to maintain each year. Putting that in the context of a large MNC company translates to thousands of dollars wasted in old-school technology.
In a digitally driven world where job interviews are conducted over Skype, LinkedIn is the preferred choice for shortlisting prospective candidates and where business travellers use disruptive technologies like Uber and Airbnb, it is imperative that businesses adopt a futuristic way to engage with their ecosystem of customers, employees, suppliers and other stakeholders. Clearly, businesses can make huge savings when the 10,000 sheets of paper the average office worker uses per year is reduced to zero.
Benefits of going paperless
When you switch to digital processes, you are not only saving money on purchasing bundles of paper for the printers but on the whole ecosystem including ink cartridges, envelopes, stationery and even postage. Going paperless doesn’t simply mean scanning all existing documentation and moving it all to secure storage and replicating existing forms in a digital or PDF format. On the contrary, going paperless means evaluating your business processes and transforming how paper based processes are done. So instead of people pushing paper, let software decide the flow of a business process.
Some studies suggest that screens are harder to read than ordinary paper but remember that a large part of today’s workforce are ‘digital natives’ having grown up with smartphones and other technologies. This makes going paperless mutually beneficial to both the organization and its employees.
Customers are looking for answers and solutions with the urgency of yesterday. Digitalizing process and enabling employees with the power of mobile communication helps cut-down the turnaround time to customer queries thereby increasing customer engagement and satisfaction.
A digital document management system can simplify many business processes. Users can action or authorise tasks and transfer data with the touch of a button. Ordering goods and authorising invoices, are just two of the best examples of daily tasks that become more efficient when done digitally.
Many organizations still continue to use paper based forms and handbooks for a fundamental process like HR onboarding. New employees still need to read through and sign a contract, fill out tax forms, learn about company policies etc. Businesses can save costs and time by creating a digital on boarding pack with all the required documents that can be mailed to the new employee. Designing online forms integrated with digital signature tools like DocuSign can help digitalize signing contracts, super account forms and more. The HR team can then review submitted paperwork, identify any additional onboarding steps and even track employee progress throughout the onboarding process.
With technology changing the way healthcare is delivered, it is essential for hospitals and other healthcare providers to digitalize the patient enrolment process. A new digital approach helps streamline the patient enrolment process and ensures critical patient information is accessible only to authorised people in the system. For example, someone booking in a patient to meet a doctor need not see the patient history but only the relevant details like their name and time of appointment. Digitalizing such a process ensures confidentiality, continuity and consistency and can help healthcare organizations deliver superlative service.
Similarly, organizations across various sectors can digitalize simple processes like student admissions, travel approval, contract generation etc. The prevalence and continuous evolution of online and digital solutions provide business infinite opportunities to digitalize their operations, increase efficiency and in the process contribute to a greener world.
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