Paperless work through digital processes
Document management systems are the basis for digitization in companies and the realization of digital business processes. These make a significant contribution to the efficiency and success of your company and towards a paperless office. If all analogue sources are integrated into the digital processes, the efficiency of the company's core business increases.
Pro tipWould you like to reduce paper consumption in your company, digitize your data or learn how to go paperless in the office? In this article, we have selected some steps that can be very useful to achieve a paperless office.
The approach of the paperless office is increasingly the focus of media reports, but is hardly used in practice - especially not in small and medium-sized companies. It's not just about the time and money involved.
However, with just a few measures, paper consumption can be greatly reduced. SMEs benefit from flat hierarchies and flexible structures.
In the current article, we take a closer look at the topic of the paperless office, or "digital office" as it is also known. We will show you that the transition is much easier than you imagine. You will also receive tips for corporate organization, we will tell you the advantages of working paperless and describe the effects of successful implementation.
Technology is getting faster and faster
At a time when technology has pushed us to contact the world through our smartphones, it makes less sense that we still use paper in many of our daily activities.
Today we are Used to dealing with digital content (music, photography, TV series), but the digitization of documents is not yet widespread in the work and business environment. Nowadays almost all companies have access to computers and mobile devices, so why do we keep filling our offices with paper?
The main reasons for the continued use of paper lie in the challenges of dealing with change and digitization. Many people like to keep a physical copy of the documents they work with.
However, as your employees begin to eliminate or at least reduce the amount of paper used in the office or throughout the organization, you also improve processes increase productivity by digitizing the data, using paperless methods and thus reducing costs.
Why should you reduce paper consumption in your company?
The paperless office is a goal that more and more companies are certainly striving to achieve and offers many benefits beyond cost savings and reducing a company's carbon footprint.
It is estimated that an employee who spends a total of two hours with documents uses an average of 10,000 sheets of paper per year (Federal Environment Agency data). For this reason, it is important to use solutions and tools that improve both access, management and localization of information. However, any change in the business process takes time and requires a gradual change in corporate culture.
In addition to the positive impact on the environment by reducing the consumption of business paper, the digitization of documents and company data offers many other advantages.
The advantages of a paperless office
The following are the main advantages of a paperless office: p>
Optimization of all work processes
Thanks to the switch to a paperless office, you can be the first Take a step towards the digital transformation of your company.
Because thanks to the workflow solutions from you can further simplify and accelerate your business processes. They relieve the clerks by taking over a lot of complex routine work. Legal requirements that must be observed are integrated directly into the workflow.
Flexible working, no matter where you are
If you digitize your documents, you can do it anytime, anywhere and with any device access the documents. This is particularly important if you have several branches, your employees want/have to do their work from their home office or have to issue approvals.
Massive cost reduction in all areas
Document digitization has a direct impact on your company's cost reduction, not only because you no longer buy as much paper, but also because you save on printer maintenance and the purchase of ink and spare parts.
Of course, this also reduces the costs for storage, i.e. files, folders, shelves, filing cabinets. Valuable space for storing paper documents is no longer wasted.
The bottom line is that as soon as you use digital data, your employees work much more efficiently in the office and invest the valuable time gained in a sensible and targeted manner in the company .
The significant reduction in storage space through digitization and/or reduction in paper consumption leads to cleaner and tidier offices.
Maximum security against theft and loss
Higher information security through the use of software with a database storage system. The security of digitally stored information is far superior to the security of documents archived on paper.Be careful not to use a cloud solution in your company, because cloud-based DMS solutions and DMS software are a security gap.
Less stress through automation
With the transformation from manual to automated workflows, business processes are standardized and costs reduced. For example, workflow optimization can result in faster collection and a reduction in acquisition costs.
Payments of invoices are no longer forgotten, discounts can be deducted in good time.
Reduce risks in business processes
Improve customer relationships
Digitization in your company gives customer relationships more depth and volume. This means that comprehensive data collection in business transactions with the help of big data, consistent linking of internal processes, reaction times within seconds, as well as personalized contact with a large number of customers at the same time and precise, extremely demand-oriented requirements planning will bring your company forward.
Digitization is on the rise in all areas of the company - not least in customer service. It would be a mistake for any company to underestimate this potential. If you do not want to lag behind the competition and even rush ahead of them, it is essential to deal with digitization in this area. Never before has it been possible to communicate more agilely and individually with the customer about their specific needs and wishes.
Internal transparency increases
Remarkable improvement in the working environment among employees
Companies that choose to digitize their documents through the use of suitable document management software receive great benefits in return, such as: p>
- More free physical space
- Faster document search
- Better organization of documentation
- Resulting in less time spent searching for documents and less stress leads.
- Sustainability and competitiveness
- Simplified communication and task solving
- Productivity of your company increases
- And the most important thing is - you are on the right way to a paperless office.
Avoid this mistake at all costs!
Especially for projects with Digitization is often met with great reluctance, as many companies are afraid that such a project will develop into a bottomless pit. The most common reason for this is lack of knowledge by the companies themselves and additional trust in incompetent software manufacturers who offer software that doesn't work. Many software manufacturers take advantage of the ignorance.
At this point, PaperOffice will be happy to help you with the implementation of digitization. Thanks to 20 years of experience in the field of document management and automation, PaperOffice can bring you working suggestions from practice and accompany you through the complete implementation.
Interim conclusion 1 / 3
Neither an IT specialist is required nor one trained librarian!
All you really need is
Sometimes the hardware is often already there, has more potential than before and can be used immediately.
By the way, there is a special article on the topic "Digitization of paper documents: 10 most important advantages", which reported on the advantages of general digitization:
Click here for the guide
What 5 steps do you need to follow to reduce paper consumption in your office?
We have listed five steps you need to follow to reduce paper consumption in the office and go digital:
Strategy and analysis of the processes
Plan your deployment in the paperless office well. Take enough time to analyze the processes in your company. What must be available or kept in paper form? Which documents are sufficient in digital form? Documents and information come from different sources You will most likely come across information that comes from different sources and in different formats. Some of it in digital form, stored in files or databases and some in the form of printed documents.
You may wish to scan and digitize all previous documents, or transition to a paperless office/system by a certain date, as well as use digital data to continue and work efficiently in the future. Use a multifunction printer/scanner for scanning and directory monitoring or mass archiving for large amounts of documents.
The first option requires more time and resources. Ideally, you and your team will decide how to organize electronic files and set up a continuous scanning process step by step so that all future documents are digitized.
Time and personnel planning for the paperless office project
A quarter or 90 days is a reasonable timeframe to implement the actions needed to transition to the paperless office.
It is also a period that allows for a smooth transition. Quick fix solutions that force employees to make changes from one day to the next are usually short-lived. It is also possible in this way not to disrupt operations.
Basically, when switching to the paperless office with PaperOffice DMS, there is no need for a project team made up of several people.
In many SMEs, deducting these from their actual tasks is neither possible nor desirable. What makes sense, however, is to make at least one person with the authority to issue directives the CDO, the Chief Digital Officer. If you are not too keen on American abbreviations, you can appoint him or her as a paperless office project manager.
It is important that the person concerned thoroughly familiarizes himself with the PaperOffice DMS.
Due to the clearly structured structure of the software and the extensive and easy-to-understand tutorials and videos on every aspect, this is something that requires neither an IT degree nor external training. In addition, it can be done as "learning by doing" accompanying the first conversion measures.
Determination of the periods for the transition to the paperless office
Breaking the intended 90 days into smaller time periods has the purpose of being able to focus on each phase of the transition and to be able to reflect on the processes involved. In addition, successes in the changeover can be documented more easily. The employees get a better understanding of the measures and do not feel overwhelmed. At the same time, the goals must be communicated internally, which is in line with a mental change. How important this is has already been explained in the foreword.
It makes sense to divide the 90 days into three sections of 30 days each.
The first 30 days are used to analyze all processes that are to be converted from analog to digital.
In the second 30 days the PaperOffice DMS and the required hardware will be introduced, but initially only for training purposes and accompanying ongoing processes, if this arises.
The last 30 days have been taken up with making the process transition from analogue to digital, with questions from employees no doubt arising. One or the other incorrect operation is also possible, but this can be corrected at any time thanks to the hierarchical structure of PaperOffice DMS.
At the end of the last 30 and thus also the 90 days, there is a fully integrated document management system that already allows an analysis at this point in time of how great the savings and advantages are and will be in the future.
Detect acquisition paths and determine data storage
In the first 30 days, the focus is now on examining the processes in which paper has played the main role so far. To do this, it is necessary to recognize the interfaces of external and internal communication in the company and to follow their life cycle, which can be there:
- Telephone calls (e.g. an order form that is then filled out)
- E-mail traffic (e.g. mail will be printed out for the next meeting)
- Business customer visit (eg: see telephone calls)
- Accompanying documents
- Internal correspondence
The next thing to determine is when and where, in the case of electronic forms, the transition to printed paper takes place, as well as the path from paper to archiving or just to the wastebasket.
Design documents digitally from now on
From now on, do without paper as far as possible: meetings, minutes, incoming mail, outgoing invoices and notes can be created directly in PaperOffice. Tasks and workflows are also implemented digitally.
Digitize invoices and gradually implement paperless accounting
The issuing of invoices as such is also part of the paperless office, although not only to be seen in this context. Digitization and proper processing are a problem and must also be well planned and implemented.
Anyone who maintains their invoices digitally and also creates their digital bookkeeping recognizes greater potential for savings and can make the general accounting process more efficient.
If you've already decided that your physical files are now going to be digital files, the immediate question is where are you going to store those digital files. Will you store them in a database locally or on an external NAS device?
When switching to a paperless office, you should not skimp on one of the most important facets. Local data storage and use of NAS devices.
Or do you not want to have the data storage or the database in your company at all? In order to avoid fire, robbery, etc., however, using a cloud solution is out of the question for you for legal reasons. Then, of course, the solution of using the database on a dedicated server, which is assigned to you alone, is a very good solution.
The selection is big.
Actually, the search for solutions also belongs in the section of the first 30 days. With the PaperOffice DMS document management and NAS hardware, integrated into the company network, all solutions are available to implement the transition from paper to digital.
Introduction of PaperOffice DMS plus hardware
After the software has been installed on the computers in the company, the hierarchy levels have been assigned and the NAS servers have been set up and networked, the software is trained.
There is no need for external (usually synonymous with "expensive") consultants. PaperOffice employees are of course available if required. The more than one million companies that work with PaperOffice DMS worldwide have so far gotten along very well with the detailed tutorials and videos or with the telephone advice on questions about PaperOffice DMS.
Most of the processes are self-explanatory and are accompanied by a very well laid out help menu. By the way, you don't have to be stubborn about sticking to the 30 days. If everyone involved in the changeover from analog to digital is of the opinion that it will work, the process can be shortened as desired.
A meaningful folder structure is important so that you can easily find yourself after the changeover. Easily organize your digital folder structure according to your existing "real" folder structure.
Rely on automation
Thanks to the intelligent AI recognition, you can recognize important document data in the document, extract it and use it for document keywording. This saves time and therefore money.
Complete the transition to the paperless office
The last 30 days (or less) start and the employees finish the education and training phase. E-mails are no longer printed out, but saved.
Use workflows and stamps
Documents and emails can be accessed, edited and made available to other employees at any time via the workflow function in PaperOffice DMS. Freight documents from deliveries or incoming letters are digitized using a scanner or a cell phone cam and converted into text documents using PaperOffice's OCR software.
The stamp function enables various workflows to be triggered and further actions to be carried out. Dynamic variables can be added to stamps and even email notifications are automatically sent upon use.
Don't forget to backup
There is only one central storage with a backup function. The question never arises again as to which employee has a specific document stored on his or her computer and how to get to it because he or she is on vacation and is unavailable.
A data encryption method that is also used by the US military. The currently popular and lucrative game of hackers with ransomware bounces off PaperOffice.
Stay consistent: The beginning is always difficult, because processes that have been rehearsed for years are new for the time being. Don't fall back into the old pattern.
- Automate the receipt of invoices completely by means of personalized e-mails, if invoices are available digitally
- In the case of paper invoices, thanks to the scanner integrity, they can be automatically captured by batch scanning
- Index and read out scanned documents
- and the most important thing: can automatically store digital and scanned documents depending on their content!
Stay consistent and experience the paperless office.
The Ultimate 5-Step Guide
We have created the ultimate 5-step guide to going paperless and digitizing your business as a downloadable document, detailing each 5 steps and how long it takes:
Interim conclusion 2 / 3
With the right software, a paperless office means no extra work!
All that is really needed is some software
And avoid this common mistake
In any case, make sure that your software choice falls on a DMS with which you can carry out the automatic recording (e.g. directory monitoring) and the teaching of the documents YOURSELF in order not to step into an uncontrollable cost trap and not be dependent on the manufacturer to be!
Conclusion of digital transformation
For many companies, a modern and efficient paperless office is not an overnight achievement, but it is also not a utopia. To finally achieve digitization of your documents, you need to establish paper reduction policies and find solutions to get rid of everything you no longer need.
Document management software from PaperOffice can help you digitize documents and implement a paperless office. DMS solutions are complete solutions that offer a consistent infrastructure.
As a result, business processes are mapped transparently, workflows can be carried out digitally and all important information can be easily viewed.
Thanks to the DMS solutions, you are also able to process and store digital documents and content in an audit-proof manner, for example to save yourself trouble during company and tax audits.
Tips & tricks for a digital office
We have summarized 9 tips for you so that the paperless office actually works!
In short, it is about digitizing a wide variety of documents in the company, such as contracts, receipts, delivery notes, incoming invoices, i.e. everything that is on paper. In addition, not only the paper on the past, but also the future paper comes into question.
Communication is also a relevant partner in the paperless office. You don't have to worry legally, just pay attention to a couple of "subtleties". Certain documents, including the folder structure and in PDF format, can easily be handed over to the tax consultant or colleagues as a self-supporting archive - it's done with just a few mouse clicks.
The right document management software solves the analogue-digital problem
DMS stands for Document Management System and is intended to manage documents, especially digital documents, which includes the conversion from analogue to digital. PaperOffice DMS is such a system. Its range of functions is just as remarkable as its intuitively designed menu navigation, which only requires minor training. You don't need expensive consultants on site. Well-explained video tutorials on PaperOffice DMS can do this just as well and much cheaper, for free.
Scanning, OCR, archiving with automatic keywording, AI-controlled document merging, integrated search engine, workflow function, encryption with 1024Mbit, direct integration into MS Office, protection against ransomware, automated template creation, stamp function, task and note management.
These are a couple of the most important functions of PaperOffice DMS and as I said, neither you nor your employees have to complete an IT degree.
Interim conclusion 3/ 31. Contact a manufacturer with know-how and software that complies with GOBD (and also GDPR)! 2. There is no one suitable DMS software. Every DMS has its justification and ultimately the product has to fit the purpose. 3. Whether it's your own server, PaperOffice dedicated server in the data center of Strato AG in Berlin (Germany) or NAS - save yours NEVER document on third-party cloud storage which a) is not used on a dedicated basis and b) is not located in a safe country c) cannot be exported with one click
If you follow the advice and will use a NAS for in-house secure document storage - PaperOffice is not only perfect for this, but is even the only official DMS for the largest NAS manufacturer in the world - QNAP www.qnap.com/PaperOffice:
Finally, we answer a few more frequently asked questions on the subject "Paperless office: This is how digitization succeeds in the company":
Who is a paperless office suitable for?
The quick and easy answer to the question is: for every company. All business sectors and sizes benefit from a paperless office, from SMEs and start-ups to large companies. However, the conversion is particularly valuable for small and medium-sized companies: The reduction in processing effort and costs frees up the budget required for further growth boosters.
Can I use a cloud-based DMS provider for my paperless office?
No. Another factor that has been on everyone’s lips since the GDPR came into force in 2018 at the latest is data protection. DMS solutions and DMS software are used to process, manage and store documents that often contain sensitive, personal data. In the event of violations of the GDPR, the legislator provides for high fines.
Benefits justify the effort and costs
Working digitally and bringing old documents into the new age will be the best key investment to save an incredible amount of time, money and nerves in the future.
You need someone who knows
You don't need your own IT specialist to take advantage of all the advantages of digitization.
What you need is the right partner at your side who, thanks to his experience, can implement exactly what you need. Avoid scaremongering and choose test positions instead of fancy PowerPoint presentations without having really tested it.
The hardware is usually already available
Experience has shown that almost every operation, company and company has a large copier that does not use its potential. These devices love mass scans, are tolerant of paperclips and can be the basis for a digital start without a scanner investment.
Cheaper than expected with the right DMS
Avoid cost traps with DMS / ECM systems where you are mercilessly at the mercy of the manufacturers. Do not make any compromises when it comes to your own administration options, such as teaching documents and making settings yourself. If you need help, the manufacturer will be happy to help you, but remain independent.
Digital automation is the future
Procedures will be completely identical in the future, but fully automated.
Invoice coming in? The workflow is triggered and everything goes its defined way.
Search through all 1000 folders? No problem, because you have your own Google!