The concept of the paperless office has been around for decades. Unfortunately, the available technology was never quite good enough or cost effective enough to give most businesses a good return on investment (ROI)... until Now!
The latest technology is unbelievably effective at reducing or eliminating paper in your office. Significant employee productivity gains are exciting to see within months, not years.
In our Small Business offices, we've been reducing one file cabinet per year by implementing these techniques.
The following Top 10 Technology Solutions are used today to Build a Paperless Office:
- Evernote is our number one solution for going to a paperless office - The business and premium versions of Evernote will OCR scan and search all words in a PDF document and in photos. It's also a must-have in today's mobile world. The mobile apps can scan business cards, connect with LinkedIn and automatically enter the contact info into your smartphone phone book. The evernote clipper extension can be installed in Chrome or Safari Browsers to help with any website research. There is an Evernote app for almost every mobile device, Windows and Mac laptops.
- Stand-alone Scanners - New low-cost high-speed scanners will quickly scan a multi-page document into a PDF stored in a digital file. Look for one of our favorite desktop scanners: the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500
- Office Copiers - When you are ready to upgrade your office copier, you should consider getting a model with a scanner and software built-in. You can then use the copier to copy and convert your documents to a digital format. Some of the leading vendors include: Cannon Office Copier & Scanners and Xerox Office Copiers and Scanners.
- eSignatures - If you process lots of large paper contracts, eSignatures will give you one of the fastest returns on investment of any of the technologies. eSignatures are legally accepted in the USA. The top vendors include: Docusign, Adobe Echosign and Rightsignature (by Citrix).
- eBilling - There are many great alternative services from Banks to companies that specialize in eBilling. Some of the top vendors include: Bill.com, Freshbooks.com and Xero.com
- Cloud Storage - Securely move information and data storage into the cloud. Top vendors include: Box, Dropbox, Sharefile (by Citrix) and Google Drive and more ...
- Smartphone Cameras and Scanning Apps - Use your smartphone to convert paper to PDFs. You can even password protect medical and financial information. Our favorite Smartphone Apps are Scanner Pro (iPhone and iPad only) and CamScanner
- Tablets - Use tablets to read reports and reduce the need to print more paper. Our favorite tablet is: the Apple iPad Pro. If you don't like Apple products or have a very limited budget, here's a link to the top Google Android Tablets . The Amazon Kindle Tablets are also being used in small businesses to save money. They can be used for work, however, we believe they are still better for home and personal use at this time.
- Scanning & OCR Software - Use high quality scanning software to convert paper to digital information that can be quickly searched. It will take you 10 times longer to search dozens of paper file cabinets to find key information. The top vendors include: ccscan and abbyyscan.
- eBooks - Replace all paper manuals with eBooks and PDFs. Top eBooks formats include: Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, ePub (open industry standard).
Simplifying your office workflow is the key to getting the maximum return on investment. It is important to plan, identify, change, test and train your people (and if appropriate, your customers) on the new processes. Once you eliminate all the paper stacks and files in your office, you will feel great, your people will be more productive which reduces sick days, turnover and poor morale.
Feel free to add your comments below on your own success in converting to a Paperless Office.
Photo Credits: pixabay