This article originally appeared in the April 2012 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine.
Searching for a paperless office is considered by some analogous to hunting unicorns or paperless tigers. Recently, at ITEXPO (News - Alert) East in Miami, Erik Linask of TMC moderated a panel to explore this subject. As the Linask expedition roamed the global office jungle, some interesting footprints were uncovered.
First, panelists and audience participants agreed that hunting for the paperless tiger would be ineffective and reasoned that tracking repeating printer parrots, duplication dinosaurs, paper burying squirrels, data donkeys and workflow warthogs would be more practical – hunting animals that should be extinct but are still surviving quite well. Herds of these creatures roam throughout many organizations and are leaving their droppings everywhere.
Paper manure doesn’t stink, so you can ignore it for quite a while. But it consumes a lot of space and energy. It also requires a lot of time to move around – definitely the antithesis of a global mobile workforce. But paper is simply a symptom of inefficiency and antiquated procedures, and analogous to a runny nose being symptomatic of a cold or allergy. Therefore, you also need to track down time-wasting tortoises, inefficiency insects and energy elephants.
It is time to muck out the office and annihilate these beasts. Weapons of choice are the workflow war hammer, unified communications crossbow, fax flamethrower, IP messaging missile, SaaS shillelagh, Sharp (News - Alert) OSA, hosting Howitzer, Xerox EIP and other technologies displayed daily on the TMC website. Break out the SaaS shillelagh and a hosting Howitzer and take out a few of these beasts. It will work out some frustrations and really do some good for your organization.
I hope you enjoyed having a little fun with the term paperless office. However, as the Linask expedition revealed, the real problem is not paper but outdated office technology and procedures. These are the true profit-eating beasts in your office. In fact, the expedition concluded that attempting to go completely paperless would be counter-productive. Businesses simply cannot control government regulations or how other businesses choose to operate, so some paper usage is unavoidable. But there are plenty of solutions available to make your people more productive with reduced paper and energy consumption. Good hunting.
Edited by Jennifer Russell