Paper Is Dead! Long Live Paper!
In the four decades since Businessweek published the Xerox research lab article credited with seeding the idea of the “paperless office,” reams of news stories, commentary, books, and research have reported on its progress or declared it a myth. It’s safe to say the topic, at least, has not been bad for the paper industry.
The path to paperless, apparently, is strewn with paper. You may as well try to create the coffee-less office. Who among us is really prepared to give up our Post-It Notes?
Paper Is Not Always a Bad Thing
Among the skeptics, cognitive psychologist Abigail Sellen and socio-digital researcher Richard Harper, who published The Myth of the Paperless Office in 2001, argued that we were not likely to give up our attachment to paper anytime soon. “We have heard stories of paperless offices, but we have never seen one,” they wrote.
The Guardian, which recently rhapsodized on the enduring appeal of paper in a digital world, noted that some of our most beloved digital products are marketed around their paper-like qualities. “The most paper-like digital writing experience ever…” ad copy for the reMarkable tablet boasts.
But if the paperless office has turned out to be something of an overstatement, less paper is still the goal. Filing cabinets do not generate the same level of affection as moleskin notebooks and sticky notes shaped like fruit. No one would ever buy a device that boasted of reproducing the paper-like experience of processing invoices by hand.
The Keys to a Successful Digital Transformation
There may still be paper lying around, but the digital transformation of the workplace is well underway, saving time and money and freeing up employees for more strategic work. Last year, The Wall Street Journal reported that while getting there has been slow, the steady decline of paper use in offices shows that the transition is no myth. There’s simply no way to be competitive in the modern world without taking advantage of the speed and efficiencies that digital processes offer.
But there’s no single path to getting there. The right way to transition your business processes to digital technology is rarely an all-at-once approach. The successful transformation is one that doesn’t bankrupt you, disrupt your business or leave your employees struggling to adapt.
Download our whitepaper, Finding the Right Path for Your Content Management Digital Transformation, to learn more about the best ways to make the digital transformation in your organization. At MetaSource, we have helped many clients on the transformation path, creating custom technology solutions for streamlining processes, boosting productivity and eliminating needless drudgery.