The modern digital workplace is revolutionizing work processes. Employees can connect with colleagues, partners and customers like never before. Action-oriented work processes and models give them more flexibility and responsibility. However, workflow management is often obstructed by one necessary work practice: keeping records. Hardcopy records need to be retained for customer service and compliance but are hard to access, create information silos, pose security risks and use valuable space just for storage. No workplace transformation can succeed without addressing these issues.

A recent study by the International Data Group (IDG), sponsored by Iron Mountain, found that 42% of IT respondents saw the digitisation of records as a top consideration in workplace transformation. This single strategy was the key to the benefits of a paper-lite workplace including: easier to access and share information, fosters engagement and promotes productivity and job satisfaction (Gallup, 2017), reduces operating costs, reduces the carbon footprint and de-clutters office space, which reduces anxiety and inspires creativity (Psychology Today, 2018).

To achieve a paper-lite workplace, organizations need to reduce original documents created in hard-copy format and convert existing paper-based files to a digital format. Timestamp considerations plus the need to sort, catalog, scan and store large numbers of records can make the scope of this project daunting.

This four-step approach cuts through the complexities.

  1. Get organized
    In the IDG survey, 95% of organizations wanted to kick-start their strategy with a complimentary, specialist third-party assessment of its requirements. Transformation requires detailed planning and a specialist service provider can not only assist with this but also provide up-to-date information on the various options available to your organization.
  2. Map your capabilities
    With the scope of the project clear, assess what in-house resources are available. Chart each step and include who, how and when information. Does your organization have the capabilities? More importantly, can you afford to use resources involved in commercially focused activities? Both bottom line and operations may indicate it is more cost-effective to outsource the project. Even simple steps such as sorting and scanning are time-consuming and can require special technology and expertise.
  3. Select specialist resources
    A service provider needs the expertise and resources to cover the scope of the project and the volume of the records involved. Digitization is not a one-size-fits-all solution. The provider should offer a wide variety of options for your project. Ask for examples of how it has successfully customized its services. Check the provider’s record for handling sensitive or confidential information. Are its services a closed-loop solution? Risks around compliance and security are mitigated if the same provider does every step from moving the physical records off-site through to storage and secure destruction.
  4. Embed paper-lite practices
    Paper-lite is possible in even the most paper-dependent workplaces. Regardless of the size, complexity or confidentiality of your information, a digitization project delivers anytime, anywhere access to information. It also reduces operating costs and the carbon footprint while fostering collaboration and innovation. These far-reaching benefits to employees, partners and customers are the reward for this transformation.

Gallup, Psychology Today