What’s holding us back from going paperless?

Posted by TAB on

paperless records managementIt seems that records and information management professionals are mostly in favor of moving entirely to electronic records. However, as a recent blog post on CMS Wire points out, the dream isn’t necessarily lining up with reality.

The post highlights the findings from two recent surveys, one published by Adobe and one by AIIM (Association for Information and Image Management). The surveys reveal the fact that paper records are not only proving particularly persistent, the proportion of paper records has actually increased in recent years at nearly half the organizations surveyed.

More paper? What’s going on?

The AIIM study suggests that the recent rise in paper records may have to do with the general economic upturn after a few slower years between 2008 and 2011. More business and more economic activity means more paper records.

This may be part of the explanation, but the Adobe study indicates that there is more going on here. While plenty of progress has been made converting many types of records to electronic formats, it seems that organizations are having a hard time letting go of paper when it comes to contracts and other records that require a signature. This includes everything from purchase orders to expense claims – which represents a pretty wide spectrum of business activities.

The Irony

The interesting part is that both records and legal professionals agree that paperless makes sense – even for records that typically require a signature. They are believed to be harder to tamper with or deface, and they are also thought to be more secure when stored digitally vs. the traditional filing cabinet tucked under a desk or in the office storage room.

So when the support is clearly there for electronic contracts and other signed records, the natural question is “why not make the move”? As any records professional knows, the factors are many, but mainly it is a classic problem of organizational change involving people, process and technology. Throw misperceptions into the mix, and it becomes even easier to understand why paper persists.

Is your organization struggling to make the move away from paper records? What’s holding you back? Let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear from you.

Next Steps

  • Read the full blog post here.
  • Until the paperless dream becomes a reality, the challenge of managing the hybrid environment will remain. Get our free Hybrid Records Management Toolkit, full of great resources to help you stay on top of both paper and electronic records.
  • Talk to a TAB representative about how we can help you manage the hybrid environment and migrate more of your records to electronic formats.

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