Paper has been integral to the world of business for decades. Whilst the majority of us are comfortable tapping away on laptops, responding to email on our smartphones, for many people, particularly those that work ‘in the field’, a paper and pen remains de rigeur.  Whether it’s completing a form on a construction site or scribbling notes for a report, using a paper and pen at work is typical. 

[easy-tweet tweet=”Almost 15% of an organisation’s revenue is spent creating, managing and distributing paper documents ” user=”comparethecloud”]

Unsurprisingly, almost 15% of an organisation’s revenue is spent creating, managing and distributing paper documents.  Furthermore, it is estimated that most companies could reduce their printing costs by 10–30% (Cap Venture).

The alternative is of course to ‘go digital’.  For field-based workers, this means recording information on a mobile device via an app, which is then stored in the cloud, accessible, anywhere, anytime.  For businesses, ‘going digital’ enables them to manage the business & staff online, as all activities and tasks can be viewed and managed via the web.

going ‘paper-free’ i.e. capturing everything on a mobile whilst in the field, should be obvious

Considering how digitally savvy most of us are, going ‘paper-free’ i.e. capturing everything on a mobile whilst in the field, should be obvious.  However, for many companies, the thought of eradicating paper all together, is perceived as costly, time consuming and quite frankly, most businesses are resistant to change.  So, what are the positives?  Are the benefits worth the time and investment?

Saving time and money

The average UK small business owner spends 16 hours a week on paperwork – almost 50% of their time.  By recording everything digitally, there is no time wasted re-purposing information when back in the office. With all information stored in the cloud, data can be accessed from anywhere, at anytime, with little need for printing. The business can then focus its attention on actually using this information, rather than recording it. 

Increase productivity

For companies, being able to digitally see and manage your employees, ensures staff are as productive as possible. From an employee perspective, technology enables information to be captured more quickly and easily.   

Motivating your employees

[easy-tweet tweet=”55% of UK SMEs cite admin as their biggest hate, #Cloud could change that” user=”comparethecloud”]

With 55% of UK SMEs citing admin as their biggest hate (2015 Infusionsoft Small Business Market Research Sales & Marketing Report), empowering your staff with new, intuitive technology, demonstrates that they are valued by their employer and worthy of investment.  On a day-to-day basis, eliminating the headache of using paper, not to mention the time spent filing, will help to increase morale and productivity, as well as ultimately, improving employee retention.

More secure

Security is a real ‘buzz-word’.  However, capturing important information on paper is a legitimate and significant potential security threat.  What happens if your paper files are stolen or damaged in a flood?  Is your storage facility truly secure?  And how much is it costing the business to store information indefinitely?  With all your data and information safely in the cloud, these risks are reduced.

Compliance and auditing 

Compliance is a necessary ‘evil’ for the majority of businesses such as health and safety, environmental, fire and accident reports. For some industries in particular, it is a huge burden in terms of time and cost.  Going digital reduces this burden considerably, ensuring all data is stored in the cloud, instantly accessible and secure. 

Improving accuracy

[easy-tweet tweet=”Recording on paper might seem easy in the field, but re-purposing #data when you’re back at your desk is time consuming”]

Recording important information on paper might seem easy when out in the field, but re-purposing this data when you’re back at your desk is time consuming, mundane and can result in multiple errors.  Deciphering scribbled handwriting is a potential mindfield; in fact, the cost of human error to businesses in the US & UK is estimated to be £24 billion (Zurich).  Digitally inputting this information ensures you’re not having to re-input data back at the office.  Both the employer and employee can then access and manage data, quickly and easily.     

So, going paper-free offers multiple benefits to businesses, from employee motivation through to compliance.  Consumers are only going to become even more digitally savvy and demanding every day, so for employees in the field, using a mobile app, rather than paper is straightforward.  For employers, being able to digitally manage its field-based staff is quicker, simpler and ensures higher levels of productivity.  Whilst it might seem daunting to make such a seemingly significant change to your business, ultimately, becoming ‘paper-free’ will make your business more profitable.

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CIF Presents TWF – Andrew Grill


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