3 minute read

Making your team paperless, even if a paper free company is not yet a reality.

In the 1970s, the idea of a paperless office was first muted. Organisations – enthused by developments in personal computing – started to visualise a time when back-office tasks and outbound customer and employee communications would all be online, making the humble printed page redundant.

Fast forward to today and real progress has been made towards a paper-less working environment. The scale of technological change and affordability of resulting innovations, has made it possible to automate many back-office operations. Filing cabinets of records have been replaced by cloud based data storage. Sophisticated scanners are helping digitise inbound financial documentation and high-speed networks are routing information automatically at real-time speeds.

And, as we look ahead, developments such as artificial intelligence and augmented reality are starting to reshape business processes again: offering new interactions with information.

So will we ever be paperless?

Global research and advisory firm, Gartner, suggests we’re still not quite there:

“We don’t know what will be the trigger point for organisations to transform into paperless offices or when it will happen, but we don’t expect it to happen during the forecast period (2016-2020).”

One area where progress is taking more time is with outbound customer and employee communications.

The appetite from consumers for online documents is rapidly growing, but organisations often struggle to keep pace with the different, and ever expanding, number of communication channels and devices.

And people love print

As individuals spend increasing amounts of time online, adults often now seek refuge in the tactile world of print. Enjoying a digital detox to digest personal, financial and sensitive information offline. And there will always be a requirement for print. Unless a game-changing technology is just around the corner to revolutionise our world again!

A utility client of Datagraphic recently commented that: ‘if we provide a financial incentive to customers to switch from paper billing to online eBilling our print volumes drop to 20%, if we don’t provide that support to go paperless then typically 50% of customers will stay with paper.

Six ways to achieve a paperless office

Whatever level of progress you’ve made towards using less paper, there is more you can do. It’s unlikely your organisation will be 100% paperless any time soon, but your team can automate, control and output outbound communications more effectively. Here are six ways to start your journey to a paperless office with the help of our document automation services.

1 – Moving your employee communications online

60% of employees using our Epay service do so from a mobile device. You can seamlessly transfer data from your existing payroll and HR software to Epay. You’ll give employees current and historical payslips, and other documents in an online format they want to use. You will significantly reduce regular print volumes from your workload.

2 – Making your customer communications more accessible

If you communicate regularly with customers it makes sense to give them a secure portal online where they can access all the information they need around the clock. It reduces your queries and copy document requests driving down your print volumes.

3- Making your correspondence more accountable

How many times does important correspondence, you’ve spent time preparing and printing, get lost in the post? When you need documents to arrive and they don’t, your print volumes rise. Why not try a secure online alternative to email, enabling you to send and trace a document online: saving paper and your time?

4 – Removing wastage from your print processes

If we acknowledge print is here to stay, then the next task is to maximise the efficiency of the print you need. Datagraphic’s Aceni services, takes documents generated in your ERP, CRM and HCM systems and automates production. It can scan outbound documents for inaccuracies and streamlines correspondence.

5 – Consolidating communications for the same recipient 

How often do you need to write to customers or employees on multiple subjects? Aceni can bring together multiple pieces of correspondence in one envelope to reduce postage and printing. It also enables you to meet legal requirements by providing documents in accessible ways such as large format and braille.

6 – Automating your office print

As print volumes decline, they become more intense to manage internally. Equipment used less frequently can lead to printing errors and poor quality output: and in turn high wastage. With Aceni you can transfer documents securely online from your desktop to our printers for high-quality printing first time. No matter what the volume from a single letter to many thousands, you can print and post without touching a sheet of paper.

Whilst you might not be working in a paperless organisation tomorrow, you can use less paper in your team today. Learn more about Aceni – secure end-to-end document automation solutions – here.