Oh that joke is as old as you can imagine, and I have heard a lot of them. And I have heard “offices will be paper free when (you fill in the blank)”. In fact, I was once one of those people and to an extent still am because it is still true.
Paper is still in the office and our research shows that when it comes to important business information, thirty-four percent of it is still filed and referenced as paper and forty-two percent of respondents say that contracts, orders, and booking forms are still signed on paper. But here is the key in these figures, look at the numbers. Only thirty-four percent is still filed as paper, and only forty-two percent are still signing on paper. If we were talking about eight to ten years ago these numbers would have been higher. My point is, progress is being made.
In fact, this same study , “Improving Business Operations in 2017: Capturing Vital Content, ” asked respondents to assess the maturity of their content capture practices and we found that inbound digital correspondence is on the rise according to eighty-eight percent of our respondents. We also found that according to sixty-eight percent of respondents, their inbound paper correspondence is decreasing significantly, and that more than half of those in HR are capturing their recruiting, applicant, on-boarding, employment management, and off-boarding information digitally.
Here are a few more points we uncovered in this study:
It is a struggle to match paper and electronic content when dealing with multi-channel inbound.
Nearly one-third report printing electronic information for handling.
The human factor is still the biggest issue in removing paper from business processes.
We humans still like our paper, or do we? Maybe it is only a portion of us. Maybe it is because that is what we are comfortable with because it is what we were taught. Airlines no longer require paper boarding-passes and in some cases are now experimenting with automated check-in for their top clients. Funny how they still use older dot matrix printers for the information the pilot uses. What are you comfortable with? Are you comfortable with driverless cars or the concept of them? What about flying cars or even more on the edge, flying driverless drones? How about paperless processes in your business? Are you comfortable with those?
Did you hear the one about the paperless office? I did, and it is becoming a reality in many businesses. Will we become completely paperless in my lifetime? Perhaps not, but then again, I am willing to take the chance in a driverless car, (Hint to Google and others trying them out here in FL) so why not a paperless office?
About Bob Larrivee
Bob is Vice President and Chief Analyst of AIIM Market Intelligence. An internationally recognized Subject Matter Expert and thought leader with over thirty years of experience in the fields of information and process management, Bob is an avid techie with a focus on the application of advanced technologies to enhance business operations.