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April 29, 2013

Can the IP Fax Contribute to a Paperless Office?

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor


The paperless office – according to estimates released in the 1970s, we should have already reached this pinnacle. Unfortunately, the technology that continues to evolve still hasn’t left us completely void of paper. The arrival of the cloud and IP technology in the office has certainly helped, but the desire to embrace the mobility trend has given the paperless concept new life.

As highlighted in this BBC News report, people scanned at one time purely to archive, in an attempt to eliminate some of the space consumed by rows and rows of paper file cabinets. Today, users are embracing the opportunity to access information from anywhere, and turning documents into digital assets has taken on a whole new priority. As businesses everywhere try to create the paperless environment, challenges and obstacles tend to try to thwart success.

The implementation of the IP fax can help in the process of streamlining and capturing paper documents for digital use and storage. When put in place, the process tends to manage itself as faxed documents gain new organization. For those documents still in paper form, however, it’s important to map the data, putting a process in place that can be followed, managed and measured.

Tools are available to help with the process, such as Freemind, Evernote (News - Alert), ScanSnap, Hovercam, Doxie Go and more. Businesses are also embracing new tools and capabilities to extend paperless capabilities to the consumer base. Doxo.com and Manilla.com offer consumers the opportunity to receive all paperless bills at once. At the same time, hackers are increasingly targeting such sites as wonderlands full of information that can lead to fraudulent bank accounts, credit cards and endless spending. As a result, the cloud is both an opportunity and a challenge for the paperless office.

Datamation also explored the potential of the paperless office and why the final death of paper has been so hard to promote. Even as these same companies are embracing the use of the IP fax, there is still a resistance to the paperless office. Why the push back? According to the Datamation post, people hate change. More importantly, we still lack anything that replaces paper well. Tablets certainly helped, but their first release in the 1990s left much to be desired in terms of resolution and mobility.

Today, the iPad and Android (News - Alert) tablets are helping a whole lot more, enabling the benefits associated with digital document management. The IP fax scanning and storage capabilities enable security, tracking and speed. However, none of these elements can be designated for paper moving throughout the organization. But, while the process isn’t perfect, it certainly offers a more efficient way of transferring information.

Forbes offers 5 steps to getting a nearly paperless office in this article. First, the business organization can leverage Google (News - Alert) Docs to share documents without printing them. This platform also allows users to make changes in real-time that are automatically available for all those with access to the document. Second, companies can switch to paperless statements and bill paying. Many organizations are already doing this as a wide variety of safe solutions are available.

Third, storage and file sharing via Dropbox (News - Alert) eliminates significant paper waste. If a file is too big to easily share, YouSendIt offers a paperless option for sharing and storing. For meetings and scheduling, the fourth option is to use Doodle, SurveyMoneky and whenisgood.net. For remote access to share documents in real-time, TeamViewer is a viable option. There is no need to print handouts, as the facilitator can hijack the laptops of participants and upload the slides.

Last but certainly not least, the implementation of the IP fax can lead to a considerable reduction in the amount of paper needed in the standard office. Secure methods ensure the data is never at risk and configurations tell the system where a document should be stored. It is this level of technology that, once embraced, will help to truly drive the paperless office.




Edited by Blaise McNamee




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