The myth of the paperless office

April 18th, 2019

The drive to become an entirely paperless-office sounds a worthwhile one…on paper at least. But while a paper-filled office may not be the most efficient, cost-efficient, or secure, elimination of all hard-copy documents is still some way off.

That’s according to “The Evolution of the Digital Workplace” research commissioned by Canon EMEA and undertaken by independent consultants Breaking Blue. It reinforces what those of us in the document space are already aware of. That printed output remains a critical element of an organisation’s document workflows. The report concluded: -

  • 42% are printing a lot or a little more than they were 12 months ago
  • 43% are scanning more often
  • 37% are copying more and
  • 45% believe they’ll be using multi-function devices (MFDs) more

The pace of change

Things do seem to be changing though and gathering pace.

Remote working, cloud-computing, not to mention the risks and consequences highlighted by GDPR, are all having an impact. Plus, the costs associated with print and physical storage are increasingly on an organisation’s radar:-

  • 66% of respondents are now tracking print costs, and that’s up from 58% in 2016

That means looking at the real cost of printing, or True Cost of Ownership (TCO), not simply the equipment, paper, consumables, etc.

The digital benefits

Aside from monetary spend, converting a paper document into its digital form as early as possible can result in other significant benefits: -

  • By attributing multiple tags and references, sophisticated document management software (DMS) makes access to, and retrieval of, a document possible across potentially limitless locations - unlike having a master copy in a single physical location.
  • The authority to access, retrieve and edit can be applied at user-level for enhanced security
  • Collaboration on a document is facilitated and any changes to it need only be made once.
  • In the past an office fire or similar disaster might have simply wiped out an organisation’s records. Documents stored in the cloud ensure business continuity is protected, and disaster recovery simplified.

This document “streamlining” capability means the ways in which offices work are changing. Print still lives on but we can certainly expect wasteful or unnecessary print volumes to significantly diminish.

Want to know more? If you’d like a copy of the full report, to speak to an expert on document management, or if you’re interested in a TCO Print Audit please call us on 0208 498 4100.


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