Going paperless: what’s your strategy?
World Paper-Free Day on November 6 (see page 28) is an opportunity for businesses to reassess their operations and see where they can reduce paper use. No one is suggesting that organisations go completely paper-free – paper still has its uses and benefits – but there is little doubt that there are huge advantages in digitising key business processes. A survey of 562 business executives carried out last year by AIIM, organiser of World Paper-Free Day, highlighted numerous benefits including better records for audit trail or compliance (52%); faster customer response (48%); better monitoring of status and workloads (40%); reduced staff resource (38%); and fewer errors (32%). Business Info readers will know all about such benefits. The results of the Business Info/Neopost Mailing Survey Questionnaire 2014 (see page 33) show that many have already digitised essential document workflows including invoicing (81%); payment (36%); marketing (36%); sales orders (27%); bills & statements (27%); expenses (27%); customer support (27%); and brochures (27%). Many more are just starting out on this journey.
Worryingly, however, our survey shows that many are doing so without a clear strategy: almost two thirds (62%) of respondents admitted that in their organisations the transition from paper-based workflows to electronic processes is happening in an unplanned manner. Without clear direction it is unlikely that businesses will reap all the benefits that digitisation offers. Worse, there is a real danger that certain aspects of business operations could be damaged if managers focus entirely on how much paper they can save rather than taking into account other factors, such as the wishes of their customers. Replacing postal communications with electronic messaging can make sense from a financial perspective, but if it means that customers are inconvenienced it might not be a strategy worth pursuing.
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