If You Haven’t Yet, Save Some Trees & Shoot for the Cloud

· by Brady Hammond

Brady is the Organizational Development Specialist at HTI. She started in 2015 and is a certified Gallup Strength's Coach.
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Why go paperless? While there have been great strides made toward cloud utilization, more than 70% of businesses would fail within 3 weeks if they were to suffer a catastrophic loss of paper-based records due to fire or flood.

Everything is being digitized in our modern society and there’s a responsibility to keep up with the latest technology. But that’s always easier said than done. We all know the reasons why many companies are hesitant to ditch paper entirely and go for an automated system for internal processes. “We’re set in our ways.” “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” “No one likes change.” I get it, shaking things up company wide is a difficult, time-consuming thing to do. It dedicates resources and time that people often find nearly impossible to give up.

So what could make it worth it to go through that? Well, once your company grows to a certain point, paper just doesn’t make sense anymore. It’s more labor intensive, costly, and ineffective than the struggle of implementing an automated system will ever be. If you’re spending more time signing, scanning, emailing, and tracking documents than actually getting work done, it may be time to think about automating your internal processes.

So what are the benefits of going paperless besides saving some trees? Here are seven reasons:

  1. Increase efficiency – Time is money, people.

    And while it may cost you the aforementioned time and resources to get your internal processes automated in the first place, once they’re up and running time spent on them will be significantly reduced. Don’t know whose approval that Purchased Order Request is waiting on? Don’t have time to track down which desk a Compensation form is sitting on? Just login to your automated system and get the answer in seconds. See how this could be helpful?

  2. Meet compliance standards more consistently – In addition to saving time, you’re going to increase consistency and accuracy in your processes as well.

    Human error is a big factor in derailing a workflow. It’s just not easy for every manager to keep up with the minutiae of every approval needed for every process. But imagine if that workflow is already built into a software that will automatically move a form from an employee to their direct manager for approval. Or know to require an approval step from a VP because this particular submission meets this particular criteria. That saves confusion and ensures compliance is met 100% of the time.

  3. No more missing information – A software with the capabilities already listed will be able to let you customize your forms in a way that works best for you and your company.

    Does everyone always “forget” to leave off their budget when turning in an Advertisement Request? Well, it’s pretty hard to do that when you require the inclusion of that information before you hit submit. That will make Doug remember!

  4. Track automatically – Sick of updating spreadsheets? So is everyone else.

    So why not have a system that automatically tracks all internal documents, timestamps, approvals, workflows, and everything else you’re sick of typing out yourself? Enough said!

  5. Historical record keeping – Get rid of filing cabinets.

    Know everything is secure in a backup server or is in the Cloud. Sure, you might be more comfortable keeping a hard copy around just in case. But think of how much space is taken up by copies of copies of documents. Additionally, you can go back and find a form submitted a year ago with the click of a button. Most systems will have the ability to search and organize in a way that a cabinet full of loose papers never could.

  6. Ensure accountability and transparency – Right now, someone has to physically find and remind someone to sign off on a form.

    Or email them to make sure they’re reviewing it. With an automated system, you can set reminders and email notifications to be sent automatically. So now the software is doing the nagging for you! You don’t have to be the one to find out who a form is waiting on, where it is in the process, or how many days it has been sitting with the same approver. The software will do all of that for you. And everyone involved in the process with access to the workflow will be able to tell who it’s waiting on and where the holdup. No one can hide! (Not even Doug.)

  7. Access to statistics and data collection – One of the most immediate benefits of an automated system is easy access to automatically generated reports and statistics.

    This kind of data is essential to functions within accounting, HR, sales, marketing and many other internal company processes. Being able to view trends and patterns allows the opportunity to inform and drive future processes and reform. This is something higher-ups love to see and value from an overhaul as big as this one, something tangible and definable to demonstrate the benefits of going paperless.

You may have noticed a theme here. That theme is that a one-stop-shop for all of your company’s internal processes is, simply put, convenient. All of those things you’re having to do yourself right now, it will do them for you, and then some! It saves time, error, space, and let’s face it, the planet. What more do you need?!