The aim of a paperless office was coined years ago, but is only slowly becoming a reality.
Research by AIIM to mark 2015's World Paper Free day in November found that the use of paper at offices is declining with solutions for a paperless office becoming cheaper, better and faster.
While many organisations still have difficulties making their organisation more sustainable and efficient, the survey shows that only 35 per cent of the organisation developed a policy on the use of paper.
At Kodak Alaris we aim to help customers become paperless, drive a higher degree of business efficiency and in turn to become more competitive through innovative digital document capture solutions. In order to help organisations embrace a paper free initiative there are some key tips to note.
Choose the right document scanner
The goal is to transform paper documents into an electronic format as naturally and quickly as possible. To ensure your scanner is capable of meeting the demands of your business it is important to ask yourself about the nature of the data you need to capture:
- How time sensitive is the information? Having the right information to hand quickly can sometimes make the difference between a happy and unhappy customer or between winning and losing business. Pick a scanner that will give you excellent productivity, and won’t slow down with increased demands
- How accurate do you need your data capture to be? Are you capturing barcodes or other information that requires high definition and accurate scanning? If your captured data isn’t to the standard needed this can not only cause problems with data accuracy, but also reduce efficiency and cause delays in making use of the data
- How long can you afford to be without your document scanner? What is the real cost to your business with any downtime due to malfunctions and breakdowns? An unreliable scanner that breaks down or needs constant maintenance can cost you a lot of money. Always make sure your scanners are reliable and include the right level of service to address any issues you may have with downtime
The value isn’t in what you capture, but what you do with it
Once you’ve been through the process of digitising and capturing your data it is vital that you have a solid software solution on the back end.
- The right information. You can have all the data in the world but if you don’t use it in the correct way if it’s worthless. Supplying incorrect or irrelevant data can be confusing and increase the time taken to process. This can lead to a decrease of efficiency and increase in costs. It’s essential to deploy a solution that is intelligent enough to sort your information at source and direct it in the right way
- The right people. Once you know what data is required you need to put it in the hands of the people that need it. Whatever solution you have in place needs to be integrated into your IT infrastructure to ensure the right people are receiving the right information
- The right time. Having information available after it’s required can be as frustrating as not having it at all. Any solution you implement needs to be able to provide information as close to real time as possible; getting the right information to the right people at the right time
Stop garbage in, garbage out: ensure data accuracy
Manual data entry is prone to errors and human errors overall are among the main reasons for data quality issues. It’s important to automate where possible and ensure you have the right solution to support your data capture process.
- Have the right solution. Make sure the hardware and software you have in place can support automation where possible
- Have the right process. Set aside any current limitations you may face when implementing an automation platform and look at what the ideal process would be. You might be surprised at what you can achieve with some of the solutions in the market
Embracing a paper free initiative in your organisation may not be as daunting as it seems. Whether choosing to start small and focus on internal documents or embracing a companywide policy from the get go.
The benefits to the environment and organisation efficiency looks set to drive that 35 per cent adopting paper policies figure much higher in the near future.
Jason Howard, Northern Cluster Manager at Kodak Alaris