Why are We Still Fighting Paper?

by Kevin Craine | 5/5/15

Despite the increasing digitization of business today, the truth is that across all industries many key business processes are still burdened with paper. Loan origination, claims processing, accounts payable, human resources – these are just a few examples of fundamental activities that continue to be plagued by paper-bound workflow. Indeed, in the face of the modern digital office, many companies continue to fight a war with paper.

Paper Wars

In a recent study performed by AIIM a number of key findings show that the tide may be turning in the fight. Of companies participating in the survey, 68 percent of respondents agreed that business-at-the-speed-of-paper will be “unacceptable in just a few years’ time.” Indeed, 46 percent consider that the biggest single productivity improvement for most of their business processes is to remove the paper. While the justifications for all-digital processes have traditionally been focused on improved productivity and lower costs, today it seems the biggest target is on ways to improve the speed of response and boost customer experience.

From the Front

The good news from the battlefront is that 44 percent of the organizations surveyed say that overall paper consumption is decreasing.  The bad news is that only 35 percent of organizations have a strategy to drive paper out of the business, with just 19 percent having endorsement at board-level. Clearly, there is plenty of opportunity out there…and plenty of work still to do in order to properly fight the inherent inefficiencies and deficiencies of paper-based processes and workflow.

Next-Gen ECM

One reason that paper has staying power is that until recently adopting enterprise content management and document digitization systems required an enterprise-sized budget, specialized expertise and a long-term implementation plan. But the next generation of ECM solutions is starting to change all that with more tightly integrated features and functions that don’t require great investment or effort to adopt. Next-Gen ECM brings the critical functions that company’s need – document and data capture, content management and archiving, online viewing, and case management – together into one platform that does not require users to purchase and integrate separate parts and pieces. The result is a unique and highly integrated ECM platform for managing the entire process.

Map Your Strategy

But with so many advancements underway it can be difficult to know which ones will lead you win the war on paper and which will simply will lead you to a dead end. Look for providers and partners that provide the right mix of experience, vision, and advanced capabilities that will help you win the paper wars.


Guest contributor Kevin Craine is the author of the book Designing a Document Strategy and host of the Document Strategy Podcast. He is the managing director of Craine Communications Group. For more information visit CraineGroup.com

Kevin Craine is the managing director of Craine Communications Group. He is writer, podcaster and technology analyst, as well as the author of the book Designing a Document Strategy and a respected authority on document management and process improvement. He was named the No. 1 ECM Influencer to follow on Twitter.