Going green can save a lot more than the environment, it can also save time. According to new research, businesses that traded paper forms for digital ones have experienced gains in responsiveness from customers. In some cases customer response time improved tenfold, but on average it was doubled or tripled.
These gains are a result of eliminating the processing time of paper forms. As a result, many businesses are better able to keep customers happy, thanks to the speed with which they are able to meet their needs.
"The earlier in the process that capture takes place, the better the transparency and availability the content will have," Doug Miles, director of market intelligence at research company AIIM, said. "The data is available to the process faster, and paper forms handling is eliminated."
Although replacing paper within an organization may seem like a drastic change, it can be achieved through the use of scanned documents, PDF files and digitized versions of paper forms. According to the research, 35 percent of surveyed companies have already adopted many of these policies and as a result are consuming less paper and making fewer photocopies.
Old habits, however, die hard, as 77 percent of PDF attachments and 31 percent of fax invoices were eventually printed within organizations, according to the research. Consequently, this resulted in 32 percent of surveyed businesses reporting an increase in paper consumption.
Employees working remotely were also able to experience gains in productivity, as they were able to more quickly share and search through content from home, thanks to digitized content. As a result, the research found that 38 percent of businesses were already equipping employees with such devices as scanners, smartphones and tablets to help facilitate the ability to work remotely.
These new technologies, however, bring with them a cost to organizations. According to the research, 42 percent of businesses were able to recover the costs associated with scanning and capture projects within a year, while 57 percent of businesses recovered their costs within 18 months.
"The Paper Free Office – Dream or Reality" was conducted by researcher AIIM. The research was funded by Swiss Post Solutions, ABBYY, EMC, IBM, and Kofax.
Reach BusinessNewsDaily staff writer David Mielach at Dmielach@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @D_M89.