Most organizations take one look at their too-full file cabinets or their clutter-filled offices and decide right on the spot, “Let’s work to make this company less paper dependent.” It makes a lot of sense, really – why would anyone want to waste precious space on something as simple as paper? Yet, if getting rid of paper is the key, why not just throw it all away?
If only it were that simple.
In this case, the paper represents something extremely valuable: information necessary to run the business. So how do business managers eliminate paper while keeping the essential data it represents? Oftentimes, asking this question causes many companies to do nothing, because paper presents a lot of problems:
- Location – Typically, only one copy of every document exists in the entire organization. So, the valuable information it holds is in only one place.
- Security – Whether it is sitting in the printer, on a desk somewhere or in a file cabinet, most people have access to it, which puts information at risk.
- Access – The paper/information is only available at the office. If it’s not filed correctly, it may take some time to find it.
- Version Control – How are changes made to different versions marked on the paper/information?
- Backup – How is something that is lost or destroyed recovered?
- Duplicate Entry – Information from paper sources is retyped several times into various systems.
Evolution to a Paperless Office
Should businesses go completely without paper? Not necessarily. The idea of the paperless office has more to do with eliminating a dependency on singular printed information as the only means of accessing data. It also has less to do with scanning every piece of paper in the office, then shredding it to smithereens.
There are some steps to take to achieve a successful “Non-Paper-Dependent-Office”. First, take these three types of documentation to into consideration:
- Legacy – Types of documents you already have in file cabinets and folders
- To Be Created – Types of documents to be created going forward
- To Be Received – Types of documents received from outside sources
Second, determine the procedures currently used for each of these document types. How are they archived? Is the information entered into a software program? Once you answer these questions, you are ready to make a decision on how to go “paperless” in your office.
Document Management Solutions from Van Ausdall & Farrar, Inc.
Van Ausdall & Farrar is breaking new ground with custom Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solutions that capture documents, manage, store, preserve, processing, filing and deliver information across your entire enterprise. We tap into the multi-disciplinary structures, policies, procedures, processes, controls, security and technologies that maximize the value of your data, intelligence and information while minimizing the associated risks and costs. From email to account statements, you can effectively manage your information assets as one integrated system, keeping you connected and compliant, no matter the company size or geographic location. With this kind of information governance, you enjoy seamless workflow, streamlined content sharing, enhanced customer service and reduced costs.