Why ‘Going Paperless’ Isn’t The Smartest Solution
Is ‘Going Paperless’ the Smartest Solution?
Although paperless processes hold merit in many industries for streamlining operations, they aren’t the smartest solution.
The key reason is that technology can’t completely replace traditional systems yet.
Using paper is still predominant in industries such as legal, publishing, education, etc., where the physical paper has more value than digital formats. Hence, instead of ditching documents entirely, you can integrate them into various processes for smooth digital workflows.
Paper-Based Processes Are Versatile
Whether you consider from a business or a household perspective, papers are essential for several reasons. The foremost is their versatility. Not every person is adept at using digital platforms for managing their work.
For example, a survey says that many health insurance customers use paper-based information or call the companies for buying the plans because they can’t access the online data. Here, you need versatile systems that work for everyone, not just for people having a high-speed internet connection and a smartphone.
Lesser Risk of Data Theft
It may be debatable whether paperless transactions increase or put more risks to valuable data. On the one hand, papers are expensive and risky to transport when compared to digital data. However, it is still easier to steal or hack information in digital form, en masse.
A locked cabinet is much safer when the security of data is of paramount importance to your business.
Being Paperless Doesn’t Always Reduce Carbon Footprints
You may find it surprising, but digital processes can increase greenhouse emissions in the long run. A report by Greenpeace says that computers and their accessories will account for nearly 57% of the total world emissions by 2020.
But again, using less paper will save the forests. So, it will help if you find a middle ground.
Papers Assure Better Organization
When it comes to choosing between paper-based or paperless processes, there are no black or white options. Papers can keep you better organized since you can hardly miss your bills and family calendars stuck on the fridge.
Also, it’s easy to track the expenses when you have paper bills. Subscriptions like Netflix are easy to make online through automated payment options. But, you may forget them completely when maintaining the monthly accounts.
Even in the legacy business processes, being paperless can sometimes lead to project failure. It happens if the digital systems fail, and you have to turn back to papers during an ongoing project.
The failure rates are much higher for ‘rip and replace’ systems where you replace papers completely. Also, it increases the workload on the teams. So, it makes more sense to integrate both paper and paperless workflows.
What’s the Right Way to Go?
Data can be available both with and without paper. It’s essential to meld them together to create robust systems. Without writing, you may become forgetful and disorganized. So, use safer digital processes and ink-saving printers that reduce your carbon footprints without affecting the efficiency.
Identity-based print audits can also help to reduce paper usage in your office. Make every sheet count. Embrace technologies as the means to digital transformation, not the end.