Water, water, everywhere,
And not a drop to drink.
The paper piles that I must face,
If only they would shrink.
- Average Office Worker
Puddles, Potholes, or Pools of Paper?
To summarize, the last time we paddled this pond together, the problems presented with retaining so much business information on paper were:
- Physical Space Requirements Square footage cost and opportunity cost of using valuable office space for paper.
- Time and Personnel Cost -- Filing and retrieving, copying and distributing, finding misplaced documents and recreating lost ones.
- Multi-person and Concurrent Access Sharing paper documents with others for their review and approval especially when needed at multiple locations.
- Security and Confidentiality Restricting access to certain types of documents based on need to know, and still allowing easy access to all else.
- Backup, Archival and Destruction -- Preventing accidental loss/destruction of critical papers, and removing the burden and liability of obsolete ones.
Where Are Your Stormy Seas?
While computer-based electronic records are now the norm for most business systems, paper still remains a very common medium for those transactions which typically require humans to physically read, write and share information. Some of the most common examples of paper-based business transactions are found in the following areas:
- Purchasing vendor invoices, purchase requisitions, purchase orders, and receiving documents
- Sales sales orders, specifications/drawings, customer approvals, credit returns, and cash receipts/remittances
- Human Resources personnel applications, resumes, insurance enrollments, expense reports and receipts
- General Contracts, correspondence, complaints and claims
Consider your own organization where do you see piles of paper or dozens of drawers? Which of the above business processes involve paper-based documents that seem to take forever to file, find, forward, forbid and forgo? Is your ship in peril of foundering?
Is There a Life Boat Out There Somewhere?
Typically, most document imaging products are suited for specific purposes. But just as the problems with paper can affect processes, departments, and locations in many different manners, the answer for an entire organization is often best found by using an approach called a framework.
In business, a framework is a conceptual structure that allows uniform handling of different business objectives according to a common management discipline.
In systems, a framework describes a re-usable design comprised of related tools, each of which can be customized to a unique purpose, yet still providing a common user experience.
So how can you best address your specific (or perhaps many) problems with paper? Next time, well explain how a framework can be used to address a variety of document imaging needs.