28 Jan 2016
Going Paperless: Take The Plunge, Reap the Reward
in Technical Blog by Kae Verens
Why Now is the time to go paperlessSince the beginning of time, people have been writing things down in order to track everything they do. For a large business with several cash flows, a payroll, 200 meetings a day, and hundreds of expenses big and small, this has never been more important. However, the traditional systems require you to set up an entire department to cater for this, resulting in shelves and shelves of incomprehensible paperwork. If you want to try to optimize your meetings or look up expense reports...good luck! But it doesn't have to be this way. Computers are very good at the simple repetitive tasks involved with paperwork. Digitizing everything and going paperless may seem like a herculean task, but it really isn't as hard as you might think. The world of customer and internal relations is evolving. People don\'t really write down much anymore. Move your meeting scheduling to the digital world, and suddenly you have access to the power of graph theory and algorithms to optimally schedule your meetings. Move your internal employee relations to the internet and suddenly distance doesn't matter, and managing field based staff becomes a breeze. Move your customer interactions to the cloud with a CRM service and you suddenly have AI-based analysis, per-user and demographical insights, and pattern recognition. Just like that. There's no delay in getting information about events and such to your employees and users. You can search through your expense reports and performance reviews online, with a few mouse clicks. There is basically no sector of business unaffected by this. You can digitize your distribution systems, vastly speeding up the whole process while simultaneously increasing fault tolerance, identifying errors, and providing demographical insights that you can use to identify the areas with the largest customers that you could expand your distribution network to. You can digitize health and safety inspections, engineering reports, internal services like printing, and so much more. It's also environmentally friendly. So how do you digitize? The process may seem daunting, but here are a few key principles:
- Start now. Don't worry about the backlog. It's okay to have both digitized and physical records for a while. Pick a date, and focus on digitizing everything after that day. You can work on the backlog over time. Some records may not even need to be digitized, which saves some work.
- Pick a service and stick with it. There are a lot of services out there for digitizing paperwork, and all of them have their pros and cons. Most do not follow any sort of common protocol, so switching between them is rather difficult. Decide on a service depending on the size and category of your business, and stick with it.
- Work it into your SOP. This isn't going to happen unless you ensure digitizing is a part of everyone's standard procedures. Get your employees on a Workflow Management System; ensure your finance department is working with an accounting package. Get your developers and engineers to track their progress online.