The Paperless Office in the Cloud: The Future of Business? - Part 2: What's Wrong with Paper at Work?

What's Wrong With Paper at Work?

(#2 of a series.)

First of all, let’s talk about the paperless office.  What’s wrong with paper at work and why do we need to embrace the paperless office as an ideal? 

Well, we have to publish it, distribute it, file it, retrieve it, copy it, secure it, lose it, reprint it, find it --usually after we have already recreated it!  We have to manage it and finally destroy it at the end of its life cycle.  It all adds up to a lot of pain in terms of cost, time and hassle.

Printing documents is expensive.  It costs $1.90 to print and distribute a single paycheck or pay stub.  Do the math and you'll see how much it costs just to handle payroll processing for your organization.

Think about the time you spend looking for documents at work.  The average knowledge worker spends 30 to 40% of their time searching for documents.  It costs $120 to locate a lost document, and $250 if you have to reproduce it.

We're all used to Google.  You can find anything on Google – it's linked to 3 billion web pages.  3 Billion!  You can find anything except . . . the business documents you need to do your work every day!  But why shouldn't you be able to do that?  The Millennial generation entering the workforce will expect that to be their reality.

As you can see, there are some very compelling reasons for embracing the paperless office ideal.

So now let's talk about Cloud Computing.  Just what does that mean?  Wikipedia defines cloud computing as “Web-based processing, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices (such as smartphones) on demand over the Internet.”

Wikipedia is itself a cloud application - a cloud-based knowledge repository - and it illustrates a trend away from traditional paradigms.  Who would ever have thought that a free web-based encyclopedia would replace Encyclopedia Britannica or Microsoft's Encarta?  Yet, that's exactly what has happened.

You’d be amazed at how much information there is in Wikipedia about Cloud Computing.  And, how current it is.  It’s being continually updated and that’s a great part of its value.

You may have heard of SalesForce.com.  Salesforce started out in 1999 with a vision of transforming the way businesses manage the sales process.  Until then, sales force automation was typically an enterprise software implementation costing upwards of $250,000.  Sieble was the dominant player.  

SalesForce.com pioneered cloud computing and Software as a Service (SaaS) and drastically reduced the price of entry.  Their "No Software" logo indicates the relative simplicity and lower cost of not having to implement a solution on-premises.  You don't have to buy servers and license software to get the functionality, and you use only as much capacity as you need.  

Their vision proved to be accurate, and today they've grown to a $1.6 billion dollar public company.

Enterprise document management is following the same trajectory.  Why?  Because it's a non-core-competency capability, and the cloud provides an extremely cost-effective platform for achieving that capability very rapidly.

In our next installment we’ll review the top 3 business drivers of Cloud Computing and the top 3 business drivers of The Paperless Office.

Until next time,

John Queen