4 Big Mistakes Organizations Make When Going Paperless
Going paperless can greatly improve efficiency and reduce costs in your organization, but only if you do it right. Here are some of the biggest mistakes people and organizations have made when they move from physical to digital documents.
1. Resisting change
It takes a complete change of habit and office culture to become a paperless organization. Changing a habit that has been nurtured and reinforced for millennia is unlikely to happen overnight.
To get everyone on board with going digital, you need an effective change management strategy.
As Jennett Mays of the Township of Springwater, CO, says, “We can train people. We can give them the software, but they need to be on board with using it or you’re going to have more problems.”
2. Doing things the same way
Learning a new process is only half the battle—you have to unlearn the old process, too. Converting a paper-based process into a paperless process creates many opportunities for reengineering that will ultimately help your staff work faster and more efficiently.
For example, the Florida League of Cities automated its accounts payable process when it implemented enterprise content management (ECM). It used to take five steps to add an account number to the League’s various systems. With ECM, the League only has to make the change once and its ECM system takes care of everything else.
3. Not reducing paper at the start
There’s paperless, and then there’s paperless. One requires scanning a sheet of paper and then handling the rest of the process digitally. The other is not using paper at all.
An office that is determined to go paperless can create digital forms. By getting rid of paper at the very beginning of a process, you make even greater improvements by cutting out the task of scanning.
4. Continuing to keep paper files
Having a back-up is definitely a best practice in any organization. But unless you’re required by state or federal regulations to store the physical documents that have been accruing for decades, holding onto to all that paper is unnecessary and can inhibit company growth.
Tompkins County, NY had two centuries’ worth of county records packed into 9,000 boxes, enough to (almost) justify building a $3.5 million storage warehouse. After implementing Laserfiche ECM, they were able to save $5.5 million on storage costs, and have since expanded to develop a shared services program that has reduced support maintenance costs and created a public portal that allows citizens to easily search for public records.