As a paperless company ourselves, we were admittedly torn when we first heard that Hasbro was coming out with a new version of “paperless Monopoly” that uses ATM cards, bar codes, and an electronic scanner. True, paperless business systems have swiftly taken over billing, banking, and just about everything except the bathroom. But a Monopoly without money, property cards, or Chance and Community Chest? What fun is that?

“The board game Monopoly is an American icon,” writes Conner Flynn in Technabob. “It’s all about rolling some dice, moving some weird metal game pieces, randomly landing on properties, buying them and charging other suckers who land on them. It’s capitalism at its finest.”

In addition, Monopoly’s development is one of the classic tales of innovation. Ironically, as it turns out, it was originally designed by a woman to demonstrate the unfairness of the capitalist system. The system was so unfair that she got paid $500 for her idea (and no royalties), while the person who claimed to have invented it made millions.

Sordid history aside, we soon realized that a “paperless Monopoly” offered a wonderful example of demonstrating the advantages of paperless office software, including electronic document management and workflow. After all, is there any game (other than Go) that’s more universally known? What better example to use to demonstrate how workflow automation can benefit operations?

On that note, here are the five top benefits of paperless Monopoly.

#1: You can’t cheat the system.

No more “I’ll be Banker!” and rifling the treasury. If you’re the honest sort, you may not realize that in some circles, this is not only condoned, but keeping an eye on the banker is considered to be part of the game). No more sneaking properties into your stack, surreptitiously flipping properties over to be un-mortgaged, or rigging the game by giving some people more money. Everyone gets an electronic card, and you get money, pay money, and buy properties by scanning cards with the electronic device. (Admittedly, some people were immediately speculating on how the bar codes on such cards could be hacked.)

In the same way, for organizations, instituting a workflow means people can’t skip steps or take shortcuts. Ever thought you were done with a process and then found out that some of the steps didn’t get completed? With an electronic system that forwards a document as a step gets completed, this doesn’t happen.

#2: It’s harder to make mistakes.

“Oh, look! I accidentally had $1000 stuck under the board!” “Oops, guess I already had Park Place after all!” and other sneaky tricks all go by the wayside. (Not to mention the times when you actually do misplace money or a property.) Similarly, once a workflow has been digitized with paperless office software, it makes it a lot harder for someone to “misplace” the purchase order they really don’t want to sign, or the performance review they’ve been dragging their feet on.

Part of the reason Hasbro is instituting this system is apparently because people can’t count, or took too long to count. The electronic system helps people automate collections and payments in a simple way without them constantly having to count on their fingers. One of the benefits of electronic systems – including paperless office software – is that they keep track of remembering, counting, and the other things that some people have trouble doing.

#3: You can’t put in “house rules.”

Are you one of the people who believes that fines and taxes go into the center of the board and get collected by whomever lands on Free Parking? It’s a common “house rule,” but it’s not in the real rules (which, apparently, no one ever follows anyway). Defining a workflow means that gatekeepers can’t make up their own systems along the way.  Ever think you were doing something just fine and then some bureaucrat decided that you hadn’t filled in the form right or that you suddenly needed something that had never been documented anywhere? Having the rules written down keeps this from happening.

#4: It’s faster.

“The cashless Monopoly universe is also expected to speed up the game considerably—taking away all the time spent crunching numbers and counting out the money switching hands,” writes Riordan Lee in Techly. You don’t need us to tell you that implementing electronic workflows typically speeds up business processes. IDC studies have found that more than a third of information workers’ time is spent looking for and consolidating information from a variety of systems. And with all that, they only find the information they need slightly more than half of the time. That can add up.

#5: You get electronic storage of important data.

The new electronic Monopoly system also keeps track of all the important data, such as how much money everyone has and who owns what properties. Once you set up electronic document management, all that information gets saved, too.

All that stipulated, we realize that what works for business doesn’t always work best for games. Especially when, for some people, the cheating and house rules and arguments are the game. So if you want to keep playing traditional Monopoly, with paper money and property cards, we understand.

Just so long as we get the racecar.

Photo taken by fir0002 | 20D + Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L – Own work, GFDL 1.2,

Monopoly isn’t the only process that can go paperless. Whether your organization manages ten thousand or ten million documents, planning out the document imaging process ahead of time is essential to going paperlessDownload this step-by-step guide to help understand the document scanning needs of your organization and start planning your organization’s path to a paperless future! 

Related Posts