At first it took a bit of a change of heart, but it’s becoming increasingly common to catch a flight with an e-ticket or access the theatre with a QR code. And what about in the office? When the process saves us from having to dust off the old printer at home, we all do fine. But when it comes to a report or a work document, we struggle to change the automatisms and the justifications on the grounds of organisation or security pile up.
There is a certain mistrust of computers and a delay in moving to a paperless office model. But it turns out that we couldn’t be more wrong and there are dozens of data to prove it. Here are a few examples of successfully dispelled doubts.
Losing or simply not finding a document can have grave consequences for the company
Digital alternatives to reduce paper consumption in the office
Cryptographic digital signature
There are departments that, almost daily, have to sign contracts, tenders, administrative evidence. These functions involve printing, signing, filing and, sometimes, scanning, in order to be able to share these documents with the interlocutor who, in turn, has to print them again to sign them. The digital signature is the technological solution to this endless chain of entrustment by providing the highest level of security to electronic documents through an advanced cryptographic system that proves their authenticity.
Regardless of the means by which the information is processed or shared, digitally signed documents remain intact. Even when they are transferred over the Internet. With the added bonus that the signature endows the documents with legal and evidentiary value.
In many cases we can’t see the full picture of digital benefits because we’re not aware of it. A clear example is the scanning of documents. It’s all too common that this advance is only applied to facilitate storage. But the digital transformation goes further and offers the possibility to make this documentation interactive. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) enables the system to recognise characters as part of an alphabet. In this way, the scanned document can be edited with a word processor, as it is not stored as an image.
Any average Google user knows that the way in which a search query is posed can mean that you find what you are looking for right away, or that you have to waste several minutes to find what you need. Search engines have been learning through Artificial Intelligence to understand our needs. They’re moving away from considering words as a single set to understanding intent and context. There are already tools applied to the archiving and search of internal documents in companies that facilitate the process of storing and finding information in a single repository and with the same rules of description, creation, classification and capture. These characteristics result in the efficiency of document and file retrieval and, consequently, in improved response times. Operational efficiency is enhanced and valuable automatisms are generated by anticipating our needs.
What are all those icons on our desktop? Little helpers always at our service An office suite or office package is a set of computer programmes that allow you to create, modify, organise, store, send, receive or scan files. They include databases, layout, authoring tools, programs for statistical data analysis, editors (image, presentation, project, web page), e-mail programs, agenda, web browser… Although they are right in front of our eyes, office suites are indeed the great unknowns in the office.
It is therefore a good idea to involve the IT department and receive appropriate training to extend knowledge to other functionalities, since all of them can interact with each other via a uniform user interface. In this way, graphs can be generated in a spreadsheet and integrated into a presentation. Thus, when updating the data, the changes are immediately effective in both programmes. This is just a sample of the many functionalities that we can access and that we miss out on when we ignore these applications in our day-to-day work.
We close our eyes, visualise the warehouse, remember the date and time when the contract our client wants to modify was filed, and go to the archive to look for it. But the room is not as we left it. Since that day there’s been a lot of incoming and outgoing documents. It takes us two minutes to locate the box, but now we have to go through all the sheets one by one until we find the desired document. In total, more than 10 minutes have already passed. And so on, every day, and with every employee. Can’t the times be improved? It’s enough to focus efforts on a single review process that classifies the physical files using QR nomenclature so that the next search is quicker and we can rapidly locate in which box is the document we are looking for.
To be clear, where the risk lies is in printed documents. Losing or simply not finding a document can have grave consequences for the company. The employees must internalise that the company’s documents must serve the general interest and not their own. This is why digital tools are so important, because with paper documents the traceability of part of the process can be lost. This can be fatal if the final version is not supervised.
The integrity and reliability of documents is guaranteed with online work. Any manipulation of documents is recorded and it’s just as easy to detect the changes – and the author of the changes – as it is to revert to a previous version. This is not the case with physical documentation where it’s more complex to certify the correctness of the process, however much we may think that our desk drawer is the safest place in the world.
Paperless not only brings significant economic and ecological benefits by reducing paper consumption in the office, but also has a direct impact on workflow efficiency and storage security. It promotes the accessibility of the entire company staff- and not just one employee – to all documents and offers a proven solution for any of the processes to be modified.