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8 Reasons to switch paper to digital alternatives

Paper has become engrained into almost every business process there is. Whether it’s used for making notes, annotating documents, printing digital documents, faxing or copying documents, it’s there somewhere.

However, times are changing and for many of these business processes, paper isn’t needed anymore. That’s not to say it isn’t still used and in some cases preferred, it’s simply to say it’s not needed.

In a bid to move forwards with business processes, digital transformation has become a hot topic in the boardroom and a strategy for many organisations to digitise their most inefficient processes.

Transforming paper processes to digital isn’t a way to create more work, but rather reduce it along with reduced cost, better security and less waste.

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Here are 8 reasons for going from paper to digital:

1) Data Volume

There’s a good chance that some of your business processes are creating a lot of data and information and it’s important that this information is accessible and not just filed away or thrown in the bin.

By digitising business processes, the documents, data and information can be stored digitally in the cloud, making it easy to access, search for and share.

2) Efficiency

Some business processes are slow and time consuming - take finance for example; printing, approving and filing invoices can take hours where time might be better spent on other tasks.

By digitising and automating the process, the finance department regains time that can be spent on higher-value tasks. The process is also made much more efficient as even when errors occur, they are much quicker to find and fix.

3) Cost savings

Printing can be very expensive, especially if your printing processes aren’t optimised or monitored. By removing printing from your main business processes, it’s possible to reduce costs.

Cost savings can also be gained from improved efficiency.

4) Customer service

Every business strives to have great customer service, and digital transformation can help improve your customer service. Although not a direct impact, working smarter and faster, you can provide a better service for customers.

When a customer calls, searching for a paper customer file or old invoice can take time and annoy the customer but accessing the files digitally can be quick and easy and keeps the customer happy.

Also, by lowering your back-end printing and infrastructure costs, you free up funds and resources for front-of-house operations like marketing and customer service.

5) Competition

It might be too late to argue that digital transformation gives a competitive advantage as many organisations are already putting in place digital transformation strategies, however, if you don’t offer the best service at a competitive price, someone else will.

Prospective customers want to be assured that they’ll be working with suppliers who use innovation in all aspects of their business. Being digital makes a statement about your market leadership.

6) Security

Paper is insecure. In fact, there are more data breaches from lost, stolen and missing documents than there are from email.

Think about it - a piece of paper when printed can end up anywhere; on a train, in a cafe, in your competitor’s office… Under the new GDPR rules coming into place in May 2018, this can lead to hefty fines.

By keeping data digital, you can have more control as to who has access to what and where it ends up. More importantly, you establish a full audit trail that shows your document’s chain of custody over its lifecycle.

7) Regulations

Digital processes can help you create audit trails that even allow you to see who’s edited a document and what the edit was. This can help to keep your company compliant with regulations and privacy legislation.

8) Sustainability and Waste

Around 50% of printed pages get thrown away. Using paper inevitably expands your carbon footprint and consumes more energy. Going digital means cutting out waste and going greener.

Paper will exist in business processes for a long time to come. It’s a bit like electric vehicles - eventually we’ll all have to switch but phasing out petrol and diesel cars takes time and there is a reluctance to do so.

However, switching paper-heavy or inefficient processes to digital can have some great benefits as seen above. Find out how to get started today

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