The Future is Now: Why SMBs Should Be Embracing the Paperless Office

The year was 1975 when a writer at Business Week, in a moment that would bring fame to the media company, predicted the rise of “The Paperless Office.” The writer was a visionary – and the world embraced the idea. The concept was simple and obvious – the office of the future was right around the corner, and soon businesses would be more productive with increased savings and bigger profits to share with their stakeholders.

The global enthusiasm for “going paperless” is bigger than ever, and the benefits have never been more apparent. Think about it: instantaneous access to any document at a moment’s notice – and no more risk of sensitive documents being lost, stolen or destroyed. Yet, here we are over 40 years later, and most small businesses are still hesitating to start down the path to paperless.  

Stray papers can result in millions of dollars of legal liability, so why is the average office worker still printing over 10,000 sheets of paper each year? You’d be surprised by the answer – and even more surprised by what the addiction to paper is costing businesses like yours.

Why the hesitation?

Many SMBs think they are not ready for the cloud. They are intimidated by potential costs and the idea of implementing new technology. Some are even wary of security in the cloud, despite the fact that the business world is increasingly moving towards digital documentation in general. For instance:

  • 57 percent of all companies are committed to digital transformation.
  • 77percent of HR professionals are already working with digital documents.
  • 44 percent of invoices, on average, arrive as digital documents.

In an era where clients and customers are making online purchases, filling out website request forms, sending questions via email, and providing scanned or digitally created project specs, many SMBs are still saving documents to their computer hard drives and faxing information to their partners and vendors.

What these businesses don’t realize is that going paperless is not only safe and cost-effective, but that it can increase productivity and may not require any additional investments in infrastructure, software or hardware.

Fact: U.S. companies spend more than $120 billion each year on printed forms that usually outdate themselves within three months.

While that statistic is hard to ignore, the actual cost of a paper-centric environment can be far more daunting. The financial savings associated with going paperless have less to do with the actual paper and more to do with the increased efficiencies of automated processes and reduced office needs.

Consider, for example, that a paperless office can:

  • Decrease storage costs, as only those physical documents with regulatory requirements are retained.
  • Eliminate postage and printing expenses through the adoption of digital marketing techniques.
  • Reduce the energy consumption produced by printers, faxes and copiers.
  • Cut costs required for certain office supplies, like ink cartridges, paper and file folders.
  • Decrease the time employees spend on mundane, administrative tasks, allowing them to focus on strategic initiatives. 

Also consider that partnering with an outside vendor can completely eliminate the need for new technology infrastructure, as well as hardware and software upgrades or IT training. It’s hard to ignore reduced costs that require minimal investments.

Fact: If today’s businesses suffered a catastrophic loss of their physical records, over 70% of them would fail within weeks.

Businesses cannot prevent natural disasters or random acts of vandalism, but they can substantially mitigate risks through the establishment of a paperless office.  Digital files not only allow for multiple manual backup options, such as external hard drives and flash drives, they also benefit from the cloud’s pre-scheduled, automatic backups.

Should a flood, fire or earthquake occur, small business owners need not worry about their customer files, deliverables, schedules or other important records. Their digital files will remain secure in the cloud, no matter what is happening on the ground.   

This protection extends into the basic security of an SMBs digital information. The cloud provides for increased security protocols that help to prevent and deter data breaches and hacking attempts. Multiple encryption levels and restricted access procedures are available, depending on your needs and compliance requirements.

It’s simple: a document secured within the cloud is exponentially safer than a printed document in your briefcase.

Fact: Going paperless can provide a customer response time that is an average of 6.7 times faster than a paper-based response.

No need to elaborate here; the better customer experience you can provide, the more your company can grow and prosper. A paperless office allows you to quickly locate information, anytime it is needed.

Imagine being able to answer customer inquiries, find past invoices and locate historical data immediately. Your customer attrition rates will plummet, positive reviews will abound and you will cement your brand’s positive reputation.

It’s all possible, right now. So, why are you still hesitating?

Discover how you can create a more effective organization with a free strategic consultation today.


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