For those of us who enjoy reading, some may prefer using e-readers like Kindle, while others opt for the physical touch of a book. The same concept applies to business documents. While there are certainly reasons why enterprises and government agencies still generate, send, and store paper documents, more and more teams are transitioning to paperless offices. Why?
Historically, paperless offices have gained popularity due to the environmental impact of reducing paper waste and carbon emissions; but today, paperless offices have unlocked extraordinary digital capabilities as well – from enhanced data analysis and cybersecurity, to automated workflows and document retention, going paperless has become a determinant factor for the ongoing success of organizations in both the private and public sector.
In this blog, we’ll define the concept of going paperless, then we’ll list the top tools you can use and the benefits you can expect from a successful transformation to a paperless office.
What is a Paperless Office?
A "paperless office" refers to a business enterprise or government agency that has adopted digital processes and technologies to reduce or eliminate the use of physical paper in day-to-day operations.
Whether it’s digitizing communications through email, or leveraging secure document generation tools to streamline the creation, sending, signing, and storage of documents and correspondence, paperless offices are reducing the time and cost to communicate with their customers and partners through the use of more secure and efficient tools.
Here are the top benefits we often hear when businesses and government agencies finally make the switch to paperless.
Top 4 Reasons to Go Paperless in 2024
For any business initiative, especially one that involves procedural changes for your workforce and customers, knowing and communicating the ‘why’ is a vital first step. These are the top reasons, beyond sustainability, why organizations strategically decide to eliminate paper documents in their workspace.
Benefit #1. Save money and storage space
Digital document management saves 80% of costs when compared to keeping physical documents. Since digital documents are stored on servers or in the cloud, this saves your office the need to keep space for physical filing cabinets.
After integrating Inkit’s document generation services, credit card company Vital Card created templates and automated the creation and distribution of e-notices to customers in less than a month, saving postage costs, time, and paper. Vital Card virtually eliminated their paper storage, retention, and destruction costs by switching to electronic notices.
“We’re issuing and sending thousands of digital notices. And that’s before we really ramped up. We’re saving 99.8% of our mailing costs,” said Ed Cody, COO of Vital Card.
Read more about how Vital Card saved 99.8% of mailing costs here.
Benefit #2. Improve the customer experience
With automated document generation and e-signature capabilities, you can offer your customers self-serve tools that expedite the completion of document-related services. With Inkit’s e-signature tools, you can enable customers to sign important documents online and complete all the necessary actions without in-person or manual support. In addition, the document generation system will automatically create, send, and store critical documents for record-keeping purposes.
In the government context, the move toward a paperless office is often driven by the desire to improve transparency, reduce bureaucracy, and enhance citizen services.
Benefit #3. Automate tedious processes and workflows
For businesses and entities that send correspondence as part of their daily operations, employees spend valuable time and effort generating these documents, sending them to customers, verifying proof of delivery (if required), and filing them according to security and organizational needs. With an all-in-one document generation tool like Inkit, these steps can all be automated with built-in cybersecurity, access control, and data privacy protocols. Additionally, once Inkit integrates with your existing business systems, you can automatically generate documents with 100% accuracy, reducing any chance of human error.
Benefit #4. Simplify compliance and reduce risks
Today, a myriad of federal and global regulations stipulate how an organization must retain certain documents, including the duration, access, and method of destruction. For example, the Protection of Personal Information Bill (POPI) requires all companies to destroy customers’ records after a certain period, and according to GDPR, EU and EEA citizens must be able to access and erase all personal information stored by a company. There is also a range of other industry-specific rules that regulate business owners who process confidential data.
With paperless technology and document generation solutions, your organization can securely store documents in one place, and configure documents to automatically delete in bulk, or after certain periods of time according to the document classification.
Depending on your industry and business needs, going paperless can have a significant impact on your efficiency and bottom line. But how are organizations achieving a paperless office? Below we provide a list of the most commonly used tools and digital capabilities in a modern paperless workspace.
Top Tools for a Paperless Office
To achieve a paperless office in 2024, here are the top digital solutions to consider:
Automated Document Generation: Instead of relying on physical documents, organizations are implementing secure document generation (DocGen) solutions to generate, send, sign, and retain documents in digital formats. Inkit is the only document generation solution that lets users pre-build templates for invoices, contracts, reports, and more, as well as the ability to build documents using HTML-to-PDF and Microsoft Office file types, including Word, Powerpoint, and Excel in a zero-trust environment.
Electronic Signatures: To facilitate remote and digital transactions, electronic signature solutions replace traditional handwritten signatures. This enables signing documents electronically, reducing the need for physical paperwork. Organizations and government agencies are embracing the digital revolution and transitioning to a paperless office to save costs and time, streamline workflows, and simplify compliance activities.
Workflow Automation: Paperless processes often involve the automation of workflows through digital tools and software. This can include automated approval processes, document routing, and task assignments, increasing efficiency and reducing reliance on manual, paper-based processes.
Digital Communication: Email, instant messaging, and collaboration platforms are used to facilitate communication within and between organizations. This reduces the need for physical memos, letters, and other forms of paper-based communication.
Data Storage and Cloud Solutions: Organizations move away from physical file cabinets and storage rooms by adopting cloud-based storage solutions. This not only provides centralized and easily accessible data but also reduces the physical storage space needed.
Mobile and Remote Access: Paperless initiatives often involve providing employees with mobile devices or remote access solutions, enabling them to work from anywhere and access necessary documents digitally.
To save costs and time, streamline workflows, and simplify compliance activities, organizations and government agencies are embracing the digital revolution and transitioning to a paperless office. Organizations can eliminate paper-based processes and costs around printing, mailing, storage, and manual handling by implementing automated document generation systems, workflow automation, and digital communication tools.
Moreover, the paperless office facilitates enhanced collaboration and accessibility. Digital documents stored in the cloud empower employees to work from anywhere, promoting flexibility and remote collaboration. This boosts productivity and ensures that information is readily available when and where it is needed.
For your Paperless Office and Secure Document Generation needs, consider Inkit’s full suite of document generation, sharing, deletion, and retention tools. Trusted by the Airforce, DoD, and top institutions where privacy and security matter most.