By Thomas SchneckUsed with permission from DocuWare.

Paper is all around us. It slows our processes, creates frustrations for our customers and business partners, and it extracts a toll on the environment.

Despite all of the advantages of paperless processes, many organizations struggle with taking the first step. Where should you start on your paperless journey? Who should lead your paperless efforts?

AIIM, the leading association for the content and document management industry, offers these 12 recommendations. 

12 Tips to Jump Start the Journey to Paperless Processes:

  1. Identify a process and then document where paper enters your business and processes.
  2. Assess where process slowdown happen and the reason this slowdown occurs.
  3. Evaluate how removing paper from operational processes will enhance customer response times, improve the overall customer experience, and save in back-office costs.
  4. Identify who is in charge of radical process review and seek endorsement for policies on paper-free processes.
  5. Promote successes where digital information and processes copies are being used within your organization.
  6. If you have no existing paper-free processes, pick one to trial – AP perhaps, or HR – but be careful not to become locked in to a single-point solution (e.g. from your finance system vendor).
  7. Ensure that existing paper-free processes are taking full advantage of OCR, data capture and integration with core enterprise systems.
  8. Evaluate how a scan-to-archive post process implementation can be changed to an upfront scan-to-process approach that improves operational efficiency by streamlining the overall process.
  9. Position the system “right at the door” as a digital mailroom, defending offices from paper, and ensuring the quickest possible conversion to digital.
  10. Do not limit your possibilities to be within the corporate walls. Look for ways to extend capture, access and engagement activities beyond the corporate walls using mobile and cloud applications.
  11. Establish a continuous improvement program that will periodically review and refine those changes you make now. When a paper-free project ends, it should be the beginning of an on-going process improvement practice that looks for ways to improve upon the foundation you have set.
  12. Taking the first step is better than taking no step at all. If you are unsure of where to begin or how to begin, seek professional assistance and/or training to help you set off on the right path. Look to your current suppliers and service providers for guidance. Turn to your professional associations and peers to find advice and training that will teach you best practices.

Every journey starts with a first step, and the journey to paperless processes is no exception. Get started today!