It’s hard to believe there are still companies “successfully” operating the old fashion way – maintaining paper documents in library-sized filing cabinets and following age-old manual process flows. It’s 2021. And the last year has accelerated digital adoption like no other. The future is here. Yesterday.

Looking for sound reasons to optimize your business by going paperless? Read this.

In a nutshell, process automation and digital transformation have come to be the key concepts of success of any organization. There’s no escaping the wave. Going paperless is one of the many steps in an organization’s digital transformation. However it is at the foundational layer of the technology stack.

WHAT DOES IT REALLY MEAN TO GO PAPERLESS?

In simple words – it means to eliminate paper usage to the fullest practical capacity. It means automating existing workflows with the help of digital tools and technologies. It speeds up the rather slow and manual processes that require heavy marginal investment in terms of time, effort, and manpower. Think about this – what comes to your mind when someone mentions ‘paperwork’? For many, the word is synonymous to slow, archaic, old-school.

WHAT DOES IT TAKE?

There is no denying that making the digital transition takes a combination of time, money and sweat. The greater hurdle though is overcoming the resistance to change. It’s not like your organization has been dysfunctional. Why fix what isn’t broken? Well, the future, for one. Why? Because storing and maintaining digital data is much cheaper than storing physical files. Not to mention that it’s more secure, easier to access, and results in the reduction of your carbon footprint.

Apart from the investment, the next big thing it takes is a mindset and behavioural change. Disruption feels like derailment. Expect initial pains. However, the long-term benefits will be quickly apparent once they’re overcome.

Going paperless generally starts with the implementation of the tools and services needed for document storage, management and security. Any organisation – be it public or private, governmental or not-for-profit – possesses a lot of important and confidential data. With the latest privacy norms such as GDPR and CCPA, securing this data and protecting it from any possible breaches has become even more critical – failing which a company may have to pay hefty fines as penalty.

Going paperless makes it possible to store all the company data securely in a digital filing system with controlled access. And with the help of an efficient document management system in place, any of the company documents can be made available to parties with the proper credentials at just a click.

MAKING A SMOOTH TRANSITION, IF NOT A SEAMLESS ONE.

Plan and prepare.

Going paperless is seldom an overnight affair. It takes some planning and careful sorting of business-critical documents saved physically, sometimes spanning for decades. This can be a complicated, herculean task that quite often keeps people from making the switch. Even a single misplaced document could have an adverse impact on the business itself. So how to tackle this important step?

Prioritise. Begin with the most important documents first. Identify a resource internally who is well versed with the old processes and has a clear understanding of what needs to be done. A person who can help organize the whole transformation process – with set timelines and roadmaps. The good news is that Document Management specialists like DBS Software and Services provide not only the software tools, but also the planning, implementation, training and technical support through the process of transition. Taking a lot of the potential sting off this stage.

Pick the right technology stack.

Converting physical files to electronic ones can seem daunting. Taking expert advice and choosing the right tools and technologies can however make the process less of a shot in the dark. There are many options available in the market when it comes to document management. It is important to identify the ones that best serve your industry, make a shortlist, and pick the best option that fits your company requirements.

Be (and help others be) future-ready.

As mentioned earlier, going paperless takes effort and commitment. Expecting immediate results can be disappointing. That said, with planning and proper training to the stakeholders involved, clear objectives, and outlining clear easy-to-follow instructions can help smooth and speed up the process. It will also help underline the importance of the transformation and encourage everyone to adhere to the new workflows and processes. In short order, you will have a fully streamlined document management system and automated processes in place.

IT’S A MARATHON, NOT A SPRINT.

Now that you have decided to go paperless, how do you move the needle? Remember, going paperless is a marathon, not a sprint. There is time to analyse, and course-correct. Plenty of lessons to be learnt along the way. There will be improvisations. A document management and business automation system done right evolves with your organization. From it, you will now be able to synchronize the documents referenced by technology tools like CRM and ERP that will further optimize and expand your organization’s capabilities. Making each new transition easier than the previous one.

However all of these challenges can be mitigated by defining automation as a strategic priority. Build your automation capability over time without major disruptions while remaining agile and responsive to the market. Adopt as you adapt. However, a long term strategic vision for automation wouldn’t hurt.

So, is your business ready?

Written by Ricardo Rengifo, DBS Software & Services

DBS Software & Services (DBS) is a long-standing provider of document management and process automation solutions for the education industry, and the exclusive provider of Tessi Docubase in North America.

Tessi Docubase is an enterprise grade modular, secure, and easy to use document management system that seamlessly integrates with Business Information Systems. Its secure architecture and broad range of features make it the perfect solution for a wide range of enterprises and use cases.

DBS LiveForms, is a low-code Business Process Automation platform. Its sole focus is simplifying complex processes by automating repetitive steps – from data capture to alerts, notifications, email confirmations, and everything in between quickly, and without the need to involve a programmer.

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