"Going paperless" is a phrase thrown around the business world every day. Let's shed some light on just why it's become so common.
Businesses often need to consider a few factors in determining where going paperless would benefit them the most, and what problems currently exist. These "pain points" of a paper process are unique to each business, but most share some major factors:
- Is there a particular failing point in the paper process that repeatedly slows down or stops work from being done? If so, where is that failing point?
- How secure are the documents at any phase of a particular process? Would my clients/customers/employees be happy with that level of security?
- If the business exposed its processes to the people on the other side like vendors or customers, what would they say? What would our business think in the same situation?
- Are the tangible and intangible resources of a paper process worth their cost?
- Could the business increase revenue tomorrow by speeding up the rate at which work is completed and allowing a higher volume of work to be done?
- Is my current process adding value to customers, or is it a "necessary evil" that the business struggle against?
If any of these sound familiar, then you are facing document management pains similar to major companies around the world.
For example, PriceWaterhouseCoopers Health Research Institute estimates that in the healthcare industry alone, inefficient claim processes wasted around $210 billion in 2009 alone. This is only a single aspect of a single industry.
Scaling the problem up, we are looking at the most universally wasteful problem affecting businesses everywhere. So why won't businesses upgrade?
Often, when faced with change, companies will fall back to three excuses:
- "It's too expensive."
- "It would cost more to switch than it would to keep doing things the way we do now."
- "We're doing fine. Why would we change how we work?"
- "Our company is too small/big/different. This system would never work for us."
These three excuses have a large commonality though – assumption. The common assumption with cost is that efficient, agile document management and process automation solutions will cost millions of dollars. With increases in technology and the availability of hosted and SaaS solutions, that's simply not the case.
On average, a strong, scaleable document management software will provide ROI in 6 months to 1 year. Compare that to the ROI on any of the other systems being used in a business – ERP, accounting or custom line-of-business software – and it's easy to see the quick return.
The assumption of not needing to change is, thankfully, going away in the business world. The marketplace is constantly connected and evolving at a rate never before seen. It's impossible to be successful in the competitive world without the ability to adapt and stay agile.
As for a company not being able to fit a solution, that's simply a matter of perspective. Find a solution that fits your company, and if one gets close, ask them to get closer!
Strong document management software will adapt to the your organization, not the other way around. If you are being forced to do work in a way you don't like because of the limitations of your software, it's probably time to change your software.