Pamela Doyle is the Director of Education, Imaging Products Group, at Fujitsu Computer Products of America, and the recipient of numerous awards, including the CRN Women of the Channel 2013 award. Her role as the Director of Education is to heighten overall awareness of scanning technology and content management for today’s executives. Pamela currently serves as chairperson for the TWAIN Working Group, is an AIIM Ambassador, and was recently inducted into the AIIM Company of Fellows. In the interview below, Pamela talks about the benefits companies realize when moving to a paperless office.
Please tell us about your role as Director of Education, Imaging Products Group, at Fujitsu.
In my role as Director of Education I’m tasked with heightening awareness for scanning technology, which the industry refers to as “capture”, and for raising Enterprise Content Management awareness consisting of a broader range of functionalities including capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver. I use a combination of networking venues and communication outlets such as speaking at trade shows, seminars, webinars, writing white papers and blogs, and teaching industry courses on these technologies to deliver these messages.
What are the biggest challenges you see for businesses to go paperless?
By far the biggest challenge is change. Paper has been around forever and people are used to reading it, managing it, processing it, filing it, and disposing it. The thought of eliminating it creates tremendous uncertainties. People don’t like to change the way they do things; they prefer the status quo.
There are also often concerns that there will not be a sufficient return on the investment. When implemented correctly, digitizing paper can yield significant savings in the areas of reducing physical storage space, streamlining business processes, and reducing distribution costs. Those are just a sampling of the hard dollar savings. There are other benefits including improving customer service, disaster preparedness, and helping the environment.
Which industries are having the largest challenges moving to a paperless office and why?
I think the challenge is not based on sector but rather size. I think it’s more difficult for SMBs because they perceive the need for an enterprise infrastructure to capture and store all their paper-based information. Today there are lower cost scanning solutions and alternatives to enterprise on-premise storage. The Fujitsu line of ScanSnap scanners is cost effective, yet feature rich, and can quickly convert paper documents to PDF with the touch of a button. Additionally, SecureDocs offers an affordable yet secure virtual data room to store these documents. Solutions like these may offer the SMB a significantly better return on their investment.
How much time are employees wasting sorting through data and paperwork?
A study by the International Data Corporation revealed that knowledge workers spend an estimated 6.8 hours per week filing and organizing information. The same study revealed that knowledge workers spend 3.5 hours per week searching, but not finding relevant paper-based information, and 2.3 hours retrieving archived information. These times can be greatly reduced or completely eliminated by capturing and managing paper electronically. Based on a conservative sixty thousand dollar a year salary, the hourly rate for the knowledge worker would be $28.85.
This is just a small sampling of time wasted sorting through paperwork. If an organization considers even a portion of these numbers over the course of a week, and then a year the dollar value can be quite high. Hopefully, this gives some idea to the cost savings that can be achieved by moving toward a paperless office.
What have been the top factors for businesses to decide to go paperless?
The most significant business drivers for going paperless are cost savings, compliance, customer service, and continuity. I often refer to them as the four “Cs”. I think we’ve addressed the cost savings in previous questions. Converting paper to digital also enables faster and secure access to information resulting in better customer service and the ability to demonstrate compliance with regulatory guidelines.
The other significant driver every organization should consider is business continuity. In our recent webinar, “The Power of the Paperless Office” we polled the attendees as to whether or not they had a fully tested and executable disaster recovery plan. Surprisingly, 75 percent indicated they did not. Paper is particularly vulnerable to destruction from a natural or man-caused disaster. Digitizing critical paper-based information and storing them in a secure virtual storage room is one very significant step organizations can take to ensure business continuity should they experience a disaster.
What are several tips for a successful transition to a secure virtual data room?
The most important tip is a phased approach. I suggest identifying a single paper intensive business application that can be converted to digital and stored in a secure virtual data room. This will help prove the concept and identify the benefits of going paperless. Then leverage the investments made in both time and technology to address other paper intensive business applications. Think Big. Start Small. Move steadily toward a paperless office.
What advice would you give a CEO trying to transition their team to a virtual data room?
Lead by example! Perhaps some of the most critical documents are in the CEO’s office. Why not scan those documents first and store them securely in a virtual storage room?
Second, communicate! Take the time to explain to your employees why moving toward a paperless environment isimportant to the success of your company and why you need their support.
And finally, listen! Solicit your employees’ feedback and incorporate their ideas. Making them a part of the decision will go a long way to ensuring your success.
For more ideas and tips on achieving a paperless office, check out “The Power of the Paperless Office” webinar, presented by Pamela and co-hosted by SecureDocs and Fujitsu. You can also follow Pamela on Twitter at @PamKDoyle.