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Business Process Automation Featured Article

February 07, 2012

Paperless Office Significantly Improves Customer Response Times, Study Shows

By Jacqueline Lee, Contributing Writer

If saving a tree wasn’t reason enough to go paperless, then a new study released by AIIM may convince some pulp-driven offices to take the plunge. Going paperless can make customer response times two to three times faster; in some cases, paperless offices report gains of five to 10 times their standard paper processing times.

In addition to improving customer response times, the AIIM study reveals that employees in the field also respond more quickly to digitized content. “The earlier in the process that capture takes place, the better the transparency and availability the content will have,” explained Doug Miles, AIIM’s director of market intelligence. “The data is available to the process faster, and paper forms handling is eliminated.”

AIIM pointed to the way that digitized content increases both search and sharing functionality between employees in the field and home offices.

Going paperless also tends to pay for itself, according to the study. Forty-two scanning projects achieved full payback in one year or less, while 57 percent of projects achieved full payback within 18 months. Thirty-five percent of respondents confirmed that they are performing less photocopying in the office and, overall, using less paper.

Enterprises are also demonstrating a willingness to be early adopters of cloud and mobile strategies for both scanning and capture. Fully 20 percent of respondents expressed commitment to a cloud deployment strategy for capture, and 38 percent of respondents are equipping their employees with electronic capture devices when they are in the field. These devices include portable scanners, tablets and smartphones.

Not every office, however, is getting on board with digitization. Roughly one-third of organizations reported an increase in paper consumption and copying, and 77 percent of invoices that arrive via PDF attachment are printed. Only 45 percent of documents that are scanned were born digitally, and 31 percent of invoices received via fax were printed and then rescanned.

During ITEXPO (News - Alert) East 2012, a panel discussed the factors that were keeping some offices from ditching paper processes. Panelists cited fear of digital as one main reason keeping companies from digitizing their documents. Also, panelists noted that older management teams seemed more hesitant to adopt paperless processes, while younger management teams were more likely to express enthusiasm for digitization.



Jacqueline Lee is a TMCnet contributor who produces web content, blogs and articles for numerous websites including wikiHow.com. Her background is in business and education.

Edited by Jennifer Russell



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