The knock-on of paper, and how it's hurting your business

October 13, 2014

"It is ultimately the goal to join all data into one ubiquitous record" - Stausberg, Koch, Ingenerf, Nat and Betzler


"The average document is copied 19 times" - Cooper and Lybrand

"Professionals spend 50% of their time searching for information, and take 18 minutes to locate each document on average" - Gartner Research

"Companies typically misfile up to 20% of their records" - ARMA International


Let's be frank. Paper's old news, and the business forecast isn't predicting an indie revival anytime soon. Whether it be environmental effect, processing efficiency, storage space, networking capability, or any point of interest, electronic systems have got paper beat. But you know this, and Honey Software knows this, so why are we talking about it?

Simply put, a lot of businesses aren't aware just how inefficient paper systems are, which leads to the dreaded double ups - businesses that are reluctant to take the plunge completely and ditch the paper for good, but still want to integrate electronically. A la the quote above, chances are these businesses intend to eventually convert completely to electronics, but when is eventually? Honey Software suggests it's time to take a good hard look at mixing paper and electronic systems, and why it's doing so much more harm than good.

"[It is] estimated that the typical enterprise with 1,000 knowledge workers wastes $2.5 million to $3.5 million per year searching for nonexistent information, failing to find existing information, or recreating information that can't be found" - IDC

Mikkelsen and Aasly's "Concordance of information in parallel electronic and paper based systems" outlined the importance of total concordance between the electronic and paper documentation in this situation, however their results on hospital systems with a duplicate system found that 7% of documents were significantly different from their counterpart, and up to 13% were missing entirely. Consider how large of a problem retrieval and processing of documents is in your business, then consider how much more of a problem it is to have to keep track of twice the number of documents, in two different mediums, that are potentially contradictory! 

Now this isn't to say that every business using both paper and electronic systems simultaneously is stupid, because they're not - it's simply a testament to how vastly superior electronic systems are, and they are only going to get better. If a business on-boarding such a wildly inefficient concept by effectively doubling the chance of mismanaging information is still yielding greater results than a paper based one, it goes to show just what's in store for businesses that push into purely electronic systems. With further advances in technology, electronics are only going to become more and more attractive. 

Agree or disagree? Comment here, or on any of Honey Software's social media to let us know what you think!