Cloud storage systems, the new generation of mobile devices and increased security are all helping to liberate us from the shackles of the pen and paper – improving office productivity as a result. Reducing your reliance on paper will not only benefit your business, but the planet as well.
The challenge today is much the same as it was in 1975 – how best to facilitate the sharing of information between users? but it’s only now that we’re able to tackle it properly. Although it may sound like an oft-repeated self-help mantra, the key to your business becoming paperless is in embracing the cloud.
Cloud computing enables the sharing of information across systems and platforms, essential to breaking an organisation’s reliance on paper. Programmes like Evernote and Google Drive can provide simple and searchable information architecture for your business, acting as a sort of virtual filing cabinet, without the dividers and the mountains of A4.
One of the defining strengths of the cloud is secure, remote access. This central portal allows access from anywhere in the world and with most providers now offering desktop, tablet and mobile-specific applications, the paperless dream is getting closer than ever.
From Watergate to Wikileaks, losing track of paper documents can cause significant problems for your business. As a result, a paperless office can also be a safer office. Tighter document control, a clear and easily navigable audit trail, password protection and layers of security – including VPN – all provide extra safeguards for your business.
The law is now on your side too, with online signature technology enabling businesses to securely move toward providing a completely digital service.
Going paperless is not just about sharing information but, more importantly, facilitating collaboration. Software solutions like Google Docs and Evernote allow you to create a genuinely collaborative, virtual workspace for all, where users can simultaneously work across platforms, devices and locations.
These cloud-based work spaces can break down barriers between teams and reveal new ways of working, reducing a great deal of bureaucracy and internal waste.
In planning your journey toward a paperless future, a host of paper-replacing applications are available. With interactive mind-mapping software like XMind or Mural.ly and whiteboard-style conceptualisation tools like Conceptboard, there’s never been a better time to ditch the pen and embrace your digital future.
The printing of documents is more often a habit than a necessity. Going green is about changing culture, leading from the front and removing the obstacles to change. Keeping track of print outs, setting organisational targets and even reducing the number of printers in your office are all physical ways of forcing a change.
Of course, any change requires marketing, so make use of solutions like Mailchimp and Bitrix24 to support your digital revolution. CSR is a big part of modern business, so make sure your customers know about the changes you’re making as well as your internal teams.