If you’ve long ignored the urge to shift to a paperless strategy, then your grace period has almost certainly run out of tarmac.
First, the paperless office is not as new as many imagine; the campaign began decades ago and continues to date.
Still, the inadequacy of dependable technologies (to replace paper processes) remains the primary hindrance to cross-industry adoption.
Implementing a paperless approach means ditching paper processes, partially or completely, for a digital strategy— which wasn’t scalable back then due to gaps in existing technologies.
But as we speak, numerous tech and tools exist to encourage your paperless campaign.
Today’s solutions go beyond eliminating paper; they seek to automate the processes that make traditional tactics tiresome, thus driving organizational productivity.
What are Paperless Technologies & Should You Implement Them?
Paperless technologies is the name assigned to the tools that allow startups to run operations without relying entirely on paper.
It is a collective term for solutions like;
- Electronic signature
- Electronic content management (ECM), etc.
In one way or another, these technologies eliminate paper-dependent procedures while ensuring process efficiency.
The benefits could manifest in terms of productivity, saved time, and increased quality. On the flip side, poor implementation could hamper operations and lead to errors?
So how can a startup determine whether implementing paperless technologies will improve their bottom line or not?
Well, the right remedy often lies in the response to these questions:
- How does the technology work?
- How will your company process change if you implement the paperless tech?
- What current workflow challenges do you seek to address?
- How much change is involved, and do you have what it takes?
Steps to Make an Informed Decision
- Profile the risks, advantages, and independence of individual technologies and the entire approach.
- Research more on workplace improvement technologies and strategies.
- Pre-plan a workflow improvement map to spot weaknesses before selecting a piece of tech or contacting a vendor.
- Use the pre-planned workflow map to calculate the Return on Investment, assess software/app relevance and capabilities
8 Paperless Technologies to Consider.
Research and Document flexibility
Research tools offer great convenience to a paper-free office. The best solutions will allow you to OCR scan and do an in-depth search in PDF docs and photos.
Also, your business relies on different file formats for various processes. To ease the document conversion process, companies should implement a comprehensive commercial PDF suite.
These tools allow you to convert PDF to various formats, and back, to serve your changing office needs.
A paperless approach involves a lot of scanning. Consider affordable, super-speed scanners that will save time and ensure a good ROI.
A slow machine can eat into office time, especially when you have pages of documents to scan.
Smart Contracts & electronic Signatures
Smart contracts replace paper in a digital office. They streamline the contract process by eliminating manual procedures like one-on-one engagements, printing, mailing, etc.
And such contracts can only be signed electronically. In the US, e-signatures are as legal as wet signatures. Startups can rely on a single affordable and compliant online electronic signature solution for all their needs.
When upgrading to a copier, go for one with a scanner and in-built software.
Such tools can help copy & convert docs to digital formats. Be sure to double-check and compare features and prices upfront when looking to implement.
The cloud replaces the huge file cabinets that sit in traditional offices. Your computer hard disc space isn’t a safe place to store company and client information.
Cloud storage solutions like Dropbox allow you to store all sorts of info without compromising on security.
Electronic Billing & Invoices
Electronic invoicing is an excellent way to prepare to collect payments from customers.
These services accomplish multiple invoicing tasks, including the automatic tracking of unpaid invoices and sending reminders to keep clients on their toes.
Lastly, startups looking to automate their billing processes can also sign up with the many bank and non-bank solutions.
Scanning apps allow you to use a smartphone to make PDFs out of paper documents. You accomplish this by capturing photos using your smartphone camera and creating PDFs using apps.
These apps can prove handy when looking to capture and store some info from a paper document while on the move.
There’s more and more, the list of paperless technologies continues. Startups can leverage several other solutions as long as it plays a critical role in their organization.
Remember, the tools you choose determine the workflow in your organization. It can also be hectic switching between too many tools; that’s why a business should consider all-in-one solutions where applicable.
Lastly, don’t forget to involve your team when making the transition.