Move towards Dematerialization

Enterprising management makes innovation in organizations/companies a reality, namely by introducing new technologies and state-of-the-art processes, as well as by raising them to a new level of excellence.

Thus, new opportunities and lines of action/business are created, improving procedures, optimizing efficiency, and prioritizing pressing needs.

The wave of organizations of all shapes and sizes taking advantage of digitalization is huge, and its many benefits are generating profound changes in them, with very significant improvements in terms of agility for their businesses and services.

From manufacturing to distribution, from central to local governments, from healthcare to utilities, all types of organizations around the world are discovering the benefits of digital transformation.

Why dematerialization?

The path, goals and rewards of digital transformation vary according to company/organizational leaders and project teams.

Many start with a more immediate step towards digitization, by getting rid of paper and taking control over its flow through the organization.

For some, the driving force is decentralizing decision making with the support of mobile applications.

For others, it is about restructuring processes through the analysis and use of data collected by the organization in its normal activity — Big Data.

In all cases, the net results are focus on digital solutions for every new opportunity or issue (digital-first thinking), empowerment of information workers, reliable automation, and new levels of organizational or business model agility.

The cost of paper

Organizations still remain at the mercy of paper-based systems, despite available technologies to reduce its use, or that can even get rid of it altogether.

Presently, only 18% of companies can be considered as truly paperless.

Paper is everywhere: areas such as supplier invoices, purchases, contracts, human resources, and legal services are all dependent on paper-based processes, which means poor efficiency in process management, and an obstacle to productivity.

Filing and searching paper documents is not only time consuming but it also gobbles up money:

  • A recent study estimates that time wasted processing paper costs organizations about $20,000 per information worker per year.
  • Wasted money: $700 for each lost document, and $125 for each misfiled document.
  • Business continuity: 70% of business continuity risk arises from the possibility of paper loss resulting from disasters.
  • Insecure by default: 98% of business printers are insecure and open to unauthorized access.

In a recent new ROI (return on investment) survey, studying the benefits of SMEs investing in content management, Nucleus Research found returns of $8.55 per dollar spent. This report highlights the main benefits and best practices for SMEs when they start saving costs through content/document management, while, at the same time, optimizing their employees’ time.

The advantages of dematerialization

Many organizations have already decided to focus on digital solutions for every new opportunity or issue (digital-first thinking), undertaking a cultural shift from being a traditional organization with paper-based processes to an approach built on digital-based processes.

This paradigm leads to a substantial cost reduction and to reliable automation, enabling high levels of organizational and/or business model agility, by empowering information workers and enhancing existing knowledge in the organization.

Reduce Costs

Consultant Gartner estimates that companies spend 1% to 3% of their revenues on printing documents in offices. This is without even taking into account the costs of filing, forwarding and storing documents — nor the cost of paper itself (which is quite substantial), of replacing toners, upgrading the printer fleet, and postage costs.

But the biggest savings are related to efficient process management and reduced filing space requirements.

And let’s not forget indirect costs! Paper-based processes are a waste of time and take information workers away from more productive, high-value tasks. The time workers spend on these unproductive tasks could be costing your company/organization thousands of dollars.

In fact, according to a 2012 IDC (International Data Corporation) White Paper “…information workers waste a significant amount of time each week dealing with a variety of challenges related to working with documents. This wasted time costs the organization $19,732 per information worker per year.”

In other words, for an organization with 1000 employees, productivity losses are equivalent to hiring 213 new employees.

Improve Security

Companies have several possible vulnerabilities, and, of course, document management also, which can include data breaches, security breaches, improper sharing of sensitive information, identity theft or other types of cyber-attacks.

This type of incidents can seriously impact the serviceability of organizations, and damage their reputation and trust in their services.

However, an annual report presented to the US Congress by the US Department of Health and Human Services revealed that paper records account for 62% of data breaches in companies with more than 500 employees.

These statistics should come as no surprise. After all, paper is, by its very nature, short-lived, and unless digitally backed up, it remains vulnerable to such breaches. It is also subject to theft and damage due to natural disasters, such as floods, which can impact business continuity.

Everyone knows that printers, which are still quite common in many organizations, are insecure by default and also open to hacking — yet another security risk for your organization.

Implementing measures that improve the security of your organization is therefore crucial, namely by:

  • Limiting access to certain documents and/or processes to specific people;
  • Ensuring a good disaster recovery solution by recovering archived digital files (versus paper documents, destroyed by floods, fire or other causes);
  • A good, efficient, secure IT infrastructure that supports recognized software and applications, of which Filedoc is a good example;
  • Well-trained employees, and compliance with best practices.

Thus, organizations/companies will safely reap all the benefits of digitizing their business processes.