The Paperless Office in the Cloud: The Future of Business? - Part 1: Overview


(#1 of a series.)

The term "paperless office" was coined by BusinessWeek Magazine in an article in 1975.   While at the time it was a very appealing idea, the available technology was not capable of delivering on the promise, and it was too expensive to make the paperless office a reality.

You may have heard of Moore's Law – It states that every one and one-half years computing power will double at the same price point.  The impact of 35 years of compound improvements in the price-performance ratio of computing power has now made the paperless office a practical reality.

Now I'm not suggesting that we will see the end of paper anytime soon, but much of the paper present in business processes can be eliminated.  And there are tremendous advantages in reducing that paper to the greatest extent possible as we will see.

That's becoming more and more important as the proliferation of paper in the enterprise explodes.  The average document gets copied 9 times.  In addition to the paper pumped out through the high-volume printing of checks, invoices, statements, reports, etc., now that we have the convenience of personal desktop printers each individual prints an average of 10,000 pages per year at a startling cost of $10,000 to $12,000.  And 40% of that is thrown away within three to four hours!  

80% of business knowledge is contained in documents, and not stored in structured databases.

It’s been said that documents are the lifeblood of business.  If that's true, then paper is like the cholesterol clogging the arteries, straining the process.

In this series of blog entries we'll explore the forces driving the paperless office of the future, the reasons why it will very likely exist in the cloud, and the implications of these trends for each of us in today’s business environment.  

Stay tuned for future installments, or register for the RSS feed to receive entries as they are posted.

Until next time,

John Queen