Dir Product Offerings, GW Apps
According to an IDC White Paper, the wasted time associated with handling paper leads to a productivity loss of 21.3%. Paperless office systems help your organization address those losses, but they also bring many additional benefits.
The Benefits of a Paperless Office
- Better Document Security: Everything in a paperless office system is locked behind a secure login, and accessible only by those who should have access.
- Improved Access and Efficiency: Digital data can be accessed from anywhere at any time. This not only enables remote work but also ensures employees can readily access the information they need, boosting efficiency and responsiveness.
- Information Collaboration: Paperless offices improve the ways in which we share, store and use information. Freed from physical documents, workers can share knowledge seamlessly across teams, departments and geography.
- Reduced Costs: According to a Corp Magazine article, US businesses spend $8 billion annually to manage documents on physical paper. In addition, according to the IDC White Paper “… information workers waste a significant amount of time each week dealing with a variety of challenges related to working with documents. This wasted time costs the organization $19,732 per information worker per year.”
- Dynamic Forms: Unlike with static, paper forms, digital forms can have active elements, like fields that only show when needed and lookup lists that filter their values based on what’s already in the form.
Types of Paperless Office Systems
There are several different types of paperless office systems. The main ones are:
- Enterprise Document Management – These systems concentrate on scanning and managing your organization’s incoming and outgoing paper documents. These systems help you manage situations where real paper documents must still be processed by your organization. The insurance and healthcare industries are big users of these systems, for obvious reasons.
- Electronic Forms – These systems concentrate on creating electronic versions of forms, and storing the entered responses. Some can also create a workflow approval process, though many require integration with another platform for this functionality. These systems don’t usually address the handling of incoming and outgoing paper documents, but instead help your organization replace some of your paper forms.
- Workflow Automation Applications – These combine electronic forms with advanced workflow, automation, security and reporting capabilities to allow organizations to modernize whole processes via a full featured application. Low-Code and No-Code platforms allow for much more rapid development of custom workflow applications than traditional development. No-Code platforms like GW Apps allow application creation without writing even a single line of code.
Key Elements of a No-Code Paperless Office Platform
- An organized dashboard to allow users to easily find the right request form.
- Ability to create flexible and full featured forms to collect data and drive the process.
- Approval workflows with service level agreements (SLAs), combined with automated actions and notifications throughout the business process.
- Dashboard & reports for managers to review SLA compliance and take corrective action if service operations are running behind schedule.
- Access from anywhere on any device.
Developing a Paperless Office Solution with No-Code
If you’re seeking to create a paperless office solution, the following points will help you get started.
Decide on the Forms you Want to Offer
The most important step in creating a paperless office solution is to decide which forms you want to digitize, and to gather all the required specifications for them. The process you currently use in relation to each kind of form will clearly be the basis for your work, but remember that a transformation project such as this is a perfect time to reevaluate each business process and improve them: Do you still need all of the information you currently gather, or are there new fields you will need? Does the workflow process used still make sense, or could it be simplified or improved?
Make it Simple to Use
When developing each form, make them as easy to use as possible. Be careful when laying out the forms that they are easy to read and make sense to your target audience. Can you provide look-ups for key information to speed up the process and minimize data entry issues?
Plan your Security for Robustness and Ease of Access
One of the major benefits of a paperless office solution is to offer ease of access, but only for the right users. Carefully planning your data security before you start building will make things much simpler. For example, as you know for sure they can’t change any of the data you might decide to give view rights to more users than currently have access to the paper files. You can also secure data down to the individual field level, so are there any fields you would like to hide from certain user roles?
Common Challenges with Deploying Paperless Office Solutions
Change Management and Training
As with any significant process change, a rollout plan covering launch communications and training is a must. Make sure your employees know what’s coming and how it can benefit them. Even a simple to use and well designed paperless office solution should launch with some form of training being made available. Whether that is in person classes, on-line ones, pre-recorded training or just an FAQ site depends on the applications and the expertise of the target audience.
Availability and Credibility
For a major transformation project like a paperless office solution, it is vital to get buy-in and support from senior managers. The key knowledge workers for the forms and business processes being moved need to know that not only is their participation vital to the success of the project, but that they will be contributing to the future success of the organization and helping their fellow employees.
Implementing a paperless office solution will take a fair amount of work, even with advanced No-Code tools like GW Apps. However, the many benefits it can bring to so many areas of the organization greatly exceed the amount of work involved. As with most process change projects, the keys to success are starting with the right platform and taking the time to plan and implement properly. Get it right, and your employees, support staff and managers will be happy, with perhaps their only complaint being why the project hadn’t happened even sooner.