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Paperless in 2017 is not a Pipedream

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Since the dawn of personal computers paperless has been promised, but never fulfilled.  For many paperless is a pipedream that might never happen, but in 2017 It’s becoming a reality for many businesses.  A paperless environment requires many pieces of technology employed effectively to happen.  While going green has never been this easy, it does take a concerted conscious effort to achieve a truly paper free environment.

Digital Archiving

Digital archiving the most crucial part of becoming paper free.  Except in rare cases original documents do not need to be saved if a digital copy exists.  Almost all day to day business transactions, proposals, contracts, and documentation can be simply archived digitally with no need for a paper copy.  A properly backed up system is more redundant, persistent, and durable than an analog filing system.  During the course of history, many paper archives have destroyed by fire.  An improperly filed paper document can be lost and searching for it can be like searching for a needle in a haystack, while an indexed searchable online archive is far more easily accessible and can facilitate fast document recovery. 

Digital Signatures

Adobe acrobat and many other document creators have the ability to create digital signatures that can be used in the place of a traditional signature.  This means that it is becoming unnecessary to print out contracts, and forms

Scanning Hardware

Your company might be digital but your clients, or vendors might not be.  Having a quality scanner available to scan documents, receipts, business cards, and other important items can help you keep information organization, and your office clutter free. 

Employees should be trained to use the scanning hardware to digitally archive and submit their expense reports.   Most erp systems, and accounting systems can provide employees with an ability to submit expenses digitally. 

Entering business card information into the CRM is good practice for all employees because it ensures faster sales cycles.  It also ensures that all leads are either qualified or disqualified. 

Email and Team Collaboration Software

Avoid printing out meeting agendas, and sales information.  Most flyers and marketing materials are generally not necessary in today’s computer heavy environment.   Printed materials can usually be limited to conferences, expositions, and trade shows.  Usually the customer

Email has become the default way to send finalized information instead of standard mail.  And team collaboration software, and collaborative editing has shown to be effective at reducing the need to print out document drafts for editing. 

Mobile Devices

The clear majority of employees are better served with the use of cell phones, tablets, and laptops.  Nearly everyone is mobile these days, whether working remotely, going to client meetings, going from meetings, to conferences.  The power of mobile devices has grown to the point where the desktop computer is no longer necessary except in rare use cases.  Mobile devices reduce the need to print out materials since the employee can take computer documents with them, and can reference them easier on the go.  

Cloud Storage

The heart of any paperless office is cloud storage,  all the files, scanned documents, proposals need a place to reside.  The cloud storage solution should have the ability to define employee groups and roles as well as secure documents that are sensitive.  Cloud storage reduces duplication of documents that often arises from emails.  It also provides availability to employees on the road, documents are accessible on smartphones and tablets.