Going Paperless: How Digitizing Workflows is Improving Efficiency

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Going Paperless: How Digitizing Workflows is Improving Efficiency

Remember how pay day used to be? Someone would walk around the office handing out checks, and we’d spend our lunch hour standing in line at the bank to make sure they got deposited. Fast forward a decade or two, and we’re not only celebrating the wonders of direct deposit. We are marveling at the ability to deposit checks right from our phone at any time. In fact, it’s possible to do quite a lot from our phones and devices—which is why so many companies are finally giving paperless workflows a try.

If you’ve ever experienced the frustration of a having a paper document or expense form kicked back because it was incomplete or you forgot a signature—you’re not alone. I remember one time specifically: I was waiting for a large expense reimbursement, only to find out a week later that the rejected form had been sitting on a folder on my desk for the past four days. In that sense, paper-based workflows are not just inefficient—they’re also un-secure and out of alignment with today’s mobile work environment.

Companies today need to embrace a paperless office if they want to stay on pace with the rest of the world. The following are just a few benefits of digitizing workflows and going paperless as part of your company’s overall digital transformation.

It’s Mobile

It’s anticipated that nearly 75 percent of the global workforce will be mobile by 2020. As more and more companies shift workloads to the cloud to accommodate them, a paper-based work environment is no longer realistic. Going digital allows instant access to files and documents, no matter where an employee is working, and no matter what device they are working from. This improves efficiency across the board, whether we’re talking about field employees submitting data reports in real time, or global teams collaborating together via cloud-based documents.

It’s Collaborative

With mobility rising, collaborative communication has become increasingly important. Paperless documents allow for real-time sharing in today’s fast-paced work environment, whether one works in finance, human resources, creative, or healthcare.

It Saves Money

Even if they’re not into saving trees, most businesses are definitely interested in saving money. The EPA estimates a paperless offices saves $80 per year per employee due to reduced cost of ink, paper, and other related expenses. For an office of 500 people, that adds up to $40,000 a year—a considerable budget that could be applied to other tech enhancements for your business.

It’s Searchable

Filing paper and forms takes much more than space. It takes a lot of time. Going paperless allows you to tag and file documents for easy and efficient access—not just by you, but by other members of your team who may need them.

It Improves Workflow

Do you recall the days of running around collecting signatures to push your projects forward? Going paperless makes the process faster and easier by automatically routing documents like enrollment and expense forms through the proper channels, and making sure they’re filled out completely. Systems like Adobe Document Cloud can help companies automate the entire workflow process, managing the collection signatures, document routing, and security, all from one cloud-based location.

It’s Safer

With paperless environments, you no longer need to depend on employees to shred confidential documents or send them to third-party secure storage facilities. Paperless workflow allows for digital authentication of highly confidential files, and can even allow you to track who has accessed and changed which documents at what time. You don’t get those benefits with paper.

If you’re having a hard time envisioning an office free of paper, I get it. There are still some things I prefer to see printed—for instance, editing lengthy documents or reading extensive reports. Going paperless doesn’t mean you have to give up your company’s printer just yet. In fact, you can help ensure that your employees embrace the change by communicating the long-term benefits in efficiency and cost savings, and making it as easy as possible to adapt to a paperless environment. This could mean offering digital workflow training or simply adding dual monitors to make it easier to review multiple documents at once.

Paperless work environments are the way of the future. Actually, they’re the way of now. In that sense, going paperless won’t just save trees. It could also save your business.

Additional Resources on This Topic:
Enterprise Mobility: Eliminating the Need for Traditional Offices
Continued Evolution of Enterprise Mobility
Enterprises Mobility: The Evolution of the Future of Business

This article was brought to you by Adobe Document Cloud . Opinions and thoughts are those of the author. 

Photo Credit: visitbasis Flickr via Compfight cc

Daniel Newman is the Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. From Big Data to IoT to Cloud Computing, Newman makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology projects, which leads to his ideas regularly being cited in CIO.Com, CIO Review and hundreds of other sites across the world. A 5x Best Selling Author including his most recent “Building Dragons: Digital Transformation in the Experience Economy,” Daniel is also a Forbes, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post Contributor. MBA and Graduate Adjunct Professor, Daniel Newman is a Chicago Native and his speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.

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