Posts Tagged ‘paper-free office’

Paper-free office – efficient model for a modern company?

August 8, 2009

Workflow software is one of the factors which – according to Thomas L. Friedman – have “flattened” the world and supported globalization and offshore outsourcing. It has also contributed to establishing of the paper-free-office concept and outsourcing digitalization and archiving services. The latest solution helps to cut costs even by 40%

We live in digital era. However, there are still many organizations as private companies and public institutions which prefer the traditional way of printing and archiving documents. The costs of printing and archiving of documents are relatively high and they can easily be reduced. Also the authorization of employees to enter archive areas are neglected in many cases so that employees can see documents which they normally should not have access to. Therefore one of the intelligent solutions is outsourcing.

Many companies avoid to outsource operations as they are of the opinion that outsourcing brings much risk. For instance, sensitive data, processed by an external service provider, would not be safe any more in their opinion. That can be subject for discussion as data is not equal information and information is not equal knowledge. Let us briefly define the difference between these three concepts.

Data is defined as pieces of information that represent the qualitative or quantitative attributes of a variable or set of variables. Information is a collection of data from which conclusions may be drawn. And knowledge means the confident understanding of information with the ability to use it for a specific purpose if appropriate. (Oxford English Dictionary)

The regulations regarding protection of intellectual property differ from each other in different countries. However, if a vendor processes data, it does not automatically mean that they possess knowledge or even information — does not matter what legal circumstances there are in their country. It is definitely easier to create information or knowledge in-house, having better connection to the business made. Therefore, it could now be asked if the data are really safer while processing them in-house then outsourcing them?

As people like to write their ideas on paper and print them out, outsourcing paper archives to third party definitely makes sense. And that not just for cost reason but also due to security reasons described before. Also additional room gained due to outsourcing of paper archives to external party means that the space can be used to perform business processes.

In many countries companies and other institutions are obliged to archive important documents as for instance tax-related documents or invoices for 5 to 10 years. Construction plans should even be archived for a period of 99 years!

Of course, the solution in form of digital signature has made life easier. But this solution is quite new, used for a period of 2-3 years now. Therefore good practice is to outsource digitalization and archiving of documents to third party, specialized in such services and then making them available for secured download to authorized users. Possible cost reduction in this case amounts even to 40 percent. And more security of data can be achieved as well.

Magdalena Szarafin