Most offices are driven by paper. One document management expert, however, wanted to know what it will take to get paper out of the workplace entirely.
Daniel Chalef, writing for Knowledge Tree, reviewed a report from the Association for Information and Image Management:
[What stood out to me is] that people are predominantly scanning documents to get rid of paper file cabinets and archives – they’re scanning documents that are already “dead.”
Unfortunately, the real value from document scanning comes from those documents that are very much “alive” and that require action. About 57% of respondents identified “improve process throughput (productivity)” as an important business driver for document capture.
Yet, in reality only 37% of survey respondents are scanning over half of their inbound documents. Of those scanned documents, 57% are passed to archive rather than a business process.
Chalef is correct in that the advantages of digitizing paper is far greater with documents you are actually using. After all, if you’re scanning documents just to place them in an archive, you probably hope to never have to retrieve that data.
However, taking an active business process paperless can be incredibly difficult. That’s because you’re asking stakeholders to make as many as three changes:
- Acknowledge that the way you are working now can be characterized as a rigorous, well-defined procedure.
- Trust that the proposed system will work at least as well as the way you are doing it now.
- Learn and utilize the new approach and deal with any eccentricities that appear.
Unfortunately, many improvement efforts try to force all three at the same time by issuing an order from above. What often happens, as Daniel Chalef noted, is a compromise. Instead of implementing a comprehensive document management system and resulting in dramatic productivity increases, the company ends up with a small change that is largely ignored.
These concepts don’t just apply to scanning systems. The reason business improvement is hard is because we often start with technology instead of with people. We should begin by empowering stakeholders, not forcing them to change. To learn more, contact us today to learn more about our business improvement services.