Digital revolution – the benefits of paperless
The digital revolution is well underway, and the innovative new technologies utilised by start-ups have completely transformed business operations. However, there is still a significant number of SMEs and larger corporations that are completely reliant on paper. 41 per cent of businesses agree that moving to digital would cut operational costs significantly. However, the heavy initial investment and potential skills gap is presenting a tough hurdle for many organisations.
According to a study by Xerox, 55 per cent of businesses across western Europe and North America are still completely reliant on paper. A similar study found that 70 per cent of these businesses admit that they would fail within just three weeks should key documents go missing. With all this in mind, we look at the key benefits of going digital.
Why risk it?
Words like ‘audit’, ‘security breach’ and ‘compromised data’ are enough to raise the hairs on any businesses neck. Physical documents pose a multitude of problems when it comes to security, there is a huge reduction in the level of control the business has over them. Paper documents can be scanned, shared, and viewed indefinitely by anyone at all.
Research by AIIM reported that up to 50 per cent of businesses surveyed were unsure whether they had ever suffered a security breach due to a complete lack of visibility. Moreover, 31 per cent stated they had encountered poor record keeping to the extent that it would negatively impact regulation checks and audits.
Smarter, faster, stronger
Productivity is a key priority on any business’s agenda, to get the most from their employees a business should endeavour to establish streamlined processes, efficient operations and transparency. Utilising digital document management reduces the amount of time spent looking for required information dramatically.
Digitally stored data is easier to find, and the quality of data collected is improved; through digital templates and pre-agreed parameters companies can maintain consistent data standards universally. Lengthy approval processes and over complicated workflows are also a thing of the past, digital signatures make authorisation and communication much more efficient. The ability to access documents anywhere at any time through a centralised digital solution will reduce the risk of missed deadlines when employees need to work remotely.
Going digital provides a centralised view of all documents. Access can be controlled, allowing only the necessary and authorised employees to view confidential data. Clear trails can be established to monitor the progression and movement of key information and backups are easily created to avoid the heart-stopping loss of key business information.
Cutting the cost
The reason behind most business activity is to protect and improve profitability; going digital also has a compelling impact on a company’s operational costs. US research from The EPA found that companies choosing to go digital could save as much as $80 per employee in printing resources and the efficiencies that come with streamlining manual processes. For a business of 400 employees this is a sizeable saving of $32,000 per year.
Small businesses can benefit too. For smaller, less established businesses the transition to digital is likely to be much easier as there is less physical documentation to convert. This could mean the ROI is visible much sooner. Digitalisation will make the business considerably more agile and responsive, where competition is fierce the need to respond quickly and accurately to customer enquiries, competitor activity and market demand is essential – this is made much easier with visibility and strict organisation.
Going green – not to be barked at
Although this could quite easily be tied into an organisation’s profitability, reducing carbon footprint often comes with more benefits than just lower operational costs. Corporate social responsibility is a hot topic globally and is only set to get hotter. Recent data in the US showed that the average employee uses a staggering 10,000 sheets of paper a year, the equivalent of a 100ft fir tree.
In many cases, a company’s activity surrounding CSR has become an integral part of a prospects decision-making process. For those in B2B, many businesses with strong CSR values will actively seek out equally responsible organisations to purchase from.
Digital revolution requires effective physical device management solutions
As part of the digital revolution, businesses will be investing heavily in the devices that enable the process. The increasing number of physical devices in the workplace such as laptops, Chromebooks, tablets, smartphones, and other media devices means it has become necessary to implement effective physical device management solutions, protecting the longevity of the initial investment.
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