The Journey to Simpler Information Management Begins with Going Paperless
John Mancini

By: John Mancini on November 4th, 2016

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The Journey to Simpler Information Management Begins with Going Paperless

Paperless Office

In pursuit of the paperless enterprise, it is often easy to lose our way. Projects stall, months pass, and ROI is nowhere on the horizon, and all the while paper continues to rifle through our processes like stubborn weeds. Paper overwhelms the enterprise, and the difficult task to remove it all can cause a crisis of motivation.

Stakeholders ask: “What is the point of driving out paper? What destination is this digital journey leading us to? And is it worth it?” The short answer: yes, and here’s why.

At its core, the movement to build a paper-free workplace is about simplicity. Enterprise processes, business-critical tasks, and the way we manipulate and utilize information are more effective and user-friendly when physical paper is replaced with a digital format. Simplicity is important because our organizations are comprised of a series of moving parts, all performing complex tasks and making complex decisions; the less complicated and unwieldy the enterprise is to the end users, the better. Without support to simplify enterprise operations, tasks, and technology, employees have a more difficult time doing their jobs. The result is disruption in productivity radiating throughout the company.

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Simplicity, however, cannot come at the cost of depleting the efficacy and quality of our enterprise processes and information management. Simplicity is not a low-calorie diet or a fast, but rather a more economical and logical way to use resources. For instance, when it comes to simplifying information and content management activities, sufficient security is still paramount. The ability to direct information intelligently, to where it needs to be when it needs to be there is of utmost priority. Business informed decisions fueled by sensible information management are essential. Simple enterprise is not about going without. Simple enterprise is about breaking down barriers that obstruct fluency in our organizational functions, to create more connected, agile, and understandable processes that can afford greater mastery and less confusion.

Progress towards eliminating paper from business processes

Organizations across all industries can benefit from a simpler way of doing things. Commonplace horizontal business functions such as digital mailroom, accounts payable, and records management are tasks relied on every day for enterprise function and profitability; however, these business activities represent areas of immense challenge to keep simple. In addition, the rise of new technologies such as cloud and mobile have necessitated a more nimble, simple organizational model that can quickly react and adapt to business changes in real-time—in this regard, simplicity edges as a game-changer.

So, where are organizations starting the journey to going paperless?  We recently surveyed leading organizations and asked this question: “Which of the following processes are you currently converting to paperless?”  We gave a choice of 20 sample “horizontal” processes – here are the 6 most popular answers:

The 6 Most Popular Targets for a Paperless Initiative

  1. Records management
  2. Human resources (recruitment and applicant tracking)
  3. Human resources (onboarding, employment management, off-boarding)
  4. Contract management
  5. Accounts payable (Invoice Processing)
  6. Technical documents


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About John Mancini

John Mancini is the President of Content Results, LLC and the Past President of AIIM. He is a well-known author, speaker, and advisor on information management, digital transformation and intelligent automation. John is a frequent keynote speaker and author of more than 30 eBooks on a variety of topics. He can be found on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook as jmancini77. Recent keynote topics include: The Stairway to Digital Transformation Navigating Disruptive Waters — 4 Things You Need to Know to Build Your Digital Transformation Strategy Getting Ahead of the Digital Transformation Curve Viewing Information Management Through a New Lens Digital Disruption: 6 Strategies to Avoid Being “Blockbustered” Specialties: Keynote speaker and writer on AI, RPA, intelligent Information Management, Intelligent Automation and Digital Transformation. Consensus-building with Boards to create strategic focus, action, and accountability. Extensive public speaking and public relations work Conversant and experienced in major technology issues and trends. Expert on inbound and content marketing, particularly in an association environment and on the Hubspot platform. John is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the College of William and Mary, and holds an M.A. in Public Policy from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.