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Is a Paperless Office Worth the Hassle?

TMCnet Feature

November 05, 2013

Is a Paperless Office Worth the Hassle?


Balancing the need for a paperless office with the traditional values of a business requires a forward-thinking approach. Organizations around the world rely on the best practices of other companies in their sector in order to drive innovation and growth. In recent times, the focus on line efficiency has also extended to administrative staff. CEOs around the world are beginning to focus on optimizing processes and on a larger scale, their existing systems. Choosing paperless software to optimize document management has been proven as a reliable way to improve efficiency and medium to long term profitability. The question is: Is your company ready to go paperless?

The Case for Paperless

The use of technology to improve profitability, manage risk and to improve efficiency levels is a good practice, but needs to be examined in the light of a company's mission statement, operational maturity and strategic goals. There is no doubt that paperless software can result in benefits for industries that rely heavily on documentation but is it relevant to niche firms, small and medium scale businesses or to industries that do not rely on paper as much? Is it worth the hassle for a company that enjoys a healthy profit margin in its current operating environment? Is the potential improvement in efficiency worth the cultural and technological changes that the company will undergo as a result of going paperless?

First, it is vital to understand that paperless software is not just another tool that a company can 'use' to cut costs. Choosing to go paperless in a small way by choosing to work on electronic copies of documents or in a big way by incorporating collaborative sharing platforms and workflow capabilities into a paperless environment requires cognizance of the fact that both require the approval and acceptance of every employee in the organization.

The operational difficulties caused by the transition from a paper-based system to a paperless one can only be mitigated by setting the right expectations---i.e. ensuring that line and staff workers do not believe that the transition can be made in a single day. Even in small and medium businesses, the behavioral transition can take far longer than the technology transition. If a company is willing to expend the resources required to manage this behavioral aspect of the transition to paperless document management software, the road ahead gets easier. 

Image via Shutterstock.

The initial setup and deployment of paperless software will begin to yield results in the short term---two or three months. If managed well, some of the key changes that will become noticeable include an improvement in measurable productivity metrics; fewer documents lost or misplaced and less time spent locating key documents. In the medium to long term, a company can expect to see a 15-30 percent improvement in overall productivity with a significant time saving in administrative effort.

A well-deployed paperless office can also expect significant improvements in access control and cost effective secure document storage, improving the organization's operational and enterprise risk profile. And finally, the most important benefit of a paperless office can be seen on an organization's balance sheet---where it counts.


Matt Peterson is the CEO of Lehi, Utah based eFileCabinet, Inc. Founded in 2001, eFileCabinet, Inc. began as a cutting-edge tool to digitally store records in accounting firms. As it grew in popularity, eFileCabinet developed into a full-fledged electronic document management solution designed to help organizations capture, manage and protect their data. While the accounting industry was the company’s main focus at formation, it has since expanded to include numerous vertical markets. eFileCabinet, Inc. distributes its solutions both direct and through a worldwide network of Value-Added-Resellers and strategic partners that customize solutions to meet their client’s specific needs.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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