Let’s take a look at some of the key points to keep in mind:
- Document scanning is designed to increase efficiencies: The point of document imaging is to increase efficiencies, not to eliminate paper. It’s important to stress that you are not going to force your customers into doing something they are uncomfortable with. Some users may be intimidated by the potential change associated with going paperless. In order to counteract this, you can stress that the implementation will only change as much as needed in order to improve the process.
- Show the ROI: Obviously, the biggest goal of any investment in technology for an end user is the payback they are getting. And paper-centric processes can be notoriously slow and inefficient. From reducing the time to process invoices in order to take better advantage of early-pay discounts to being able to turn around correspondence faster and onboard more customers, the potential for “paperless” ROIs is everywhere.
- Scanning doesn’t eliminate paper; it just helps you deal with it more efficiently: This kind of goes back to Point 1, but remember: Scanning can be implemented at various points in a process. It can be implemented at the end in order to improve archiving and retrieval or at the beginning in order to improve an entire workflow. A customer can even start with an archiving implementation and move to workflow later. Imaging technology today is very flexible and should be implemented with your customers’ needs and comfort level in mind.
- E-forms are great: If your customer does want to consider going as paperless as possible, today’s e-form technology is able to accommodate them. Most document management software vendors now offer some sort of e-form package, complete with workflows that can be used in order to replace paper processes in many cases. Digital signature and mobile viewing technology make today’s e-forms very flexible, and associated paper documents can always be scanned and assimilated.
- Automated capture can be a huge labor savings: For years, OCR technology had the reputation of not working well and leaving a trail of failed implementations. That is not the case anymore by a long shot. Automated data capture has been proven to work in a number of applications, from being used on very structured documents like order and tax forms to processing more semi-structured documents to invoices. Automated classification is even used in order to successfully sort out complex packets of documents like mortgage applications. The ROI for these types of implementations can be very large and straightforward: Basically, you are replacing manual labor with automation.
- Paperless increases security: This may seem counterintuitive to people who are always hearing about data hacks in the media. But these are exceptions rather than the rule. For the most part, electronic information is more secure than paper, which can be more easily misplaced and accessed without an audit trail than electronic documents.
Now, going paperless is not a panacea for all your customers’ problems. What it is designed to do is to enable them to focus more on their core businesses—how they make their money—rather than on pushing their paper around. It’s also important to remember that as your customers are hiring younger workers—Millennials just graduating from college—many of these new hires are going to be much more comfortable working paperless than with paper. Today, many of these individuals do almost everything on their phones, which aren’t even likely attached to a printer. Going paperless not only offers benefits to your customers today (which we’ve outlined) but also helps them prepare for a future where paper is certain to become even scarcer, without, of course, ever likely disappearing.