Vive la difference
The benefits of scanning are well established, as you would expect for a technology that has been around for decades. Today, businesses of all sizes are using scanners to eliminate paper from business processes, to improve access to documents or just to save a bit of space. For green-minded organisations, scanning offers a quick way to shrink one’s carbon footprint. It can also help create a more comfortable, neater working environment.
So why are businesses so dependent on paper? As we go to press, altodigital has released the results of a survey of 1,000 decision-makers showing that more than three quarters (76%) of businesses still consider the printed page to be missioncritical. Only one in 10 (11%) believes that they will be paperless in 10 years’ time.
What’s so surprising about these statistics is that most of the evidence suggests that print volumes are falling in mature economies – although HP has always argued that print volumes reflect business activity and will rise with economic growth. There are also countless examples of businesses that have adopted scanning and prospered as a result, many of which are reported in this issue.
Perhaps the answer lies in the revelation that 90% of businesses ‘double up’ by storing important documents both electronically and in hard copy. This suggests that there is still a high degree of scepticism about the resilience of electronic storage, as well as real appreciation of paper’s virtues, with almost half (45%) of respondents stating that they prefer the convenience of having a hard copy to hand.
Given the enduring appeal of paper, it is essential for businesses to implement systems and technology that allow them to maximise the benefits of paper and minimise its drawbacks. Scanners are one such technology. Another is Neopost’s OMS-500 system featured in this month’s cover story. In the future what will matter is the document, not what form it takes.