Business Intelligence: The True Path to the Paperless Office

Robin Woolen, The Records Guru®

Many organizations want to become a paperless office but struggle with the amount of paper they generate every day. Business intelligence, a technology-driven process for organizing and analyzing data, is key to solving this issue. Useful services include cloud storage and digital asset management.

Financial reports are a good example of the type of file that can accumulate paper. Every organization creates and distributes these in hardcopy or by email, contributing to the pile of Redundant, Obsolete files (part of the ROT we’re trying to eliminate) that everyone keeps. These files also include critical proprietary business information that could be forwarded to unauthorized individuals, both inside and outside the organization, posing a very different risk to your organization.

Fortunately, technology has advanced. These reports can now be replaced with secure dashboards that display relevant information to the people that need it. Dashboards eliminate overflowing inboxes and provide your staff the information they need in a secure format. They also provide opportunity for employees to review the report together and verify the kind of data the end user really needs, improving the efficiency of your organization.

Technology can also assist in automating the record-type classification process, which, until recently, has been left to the individual — a major risk in all information governance programs. Thankfully, this task can be eliminated through the use of systems. The systems will analyze a file’s metadata and automatically classify incoming information with a great deal of accuracy. As with any implementation, the key is to take the time to properly identify metadata and develop the system accordingly.

A totally paperless office is a continuous, ongoing process that may never be fully realized. There will always be people that prefer the tactile comfort of hardcopy. You can accommodate them by setting an information governance policy that states the official record copy is digital and hosted within a designated system. This makes any hardcopy a “Copy of Convenience” and subject to immediate disposal.

The benefits of a paperless office include reducing storage costs, reducing clutter and making things easier to find. Developing secure electronic information reporting by using dashboards to display actionable operations data can give your organization the business intelligence it needs to create true information assets that can start making money rather than just saving it. Return on investment is paramount in any organization. A paperless office has many advantages if you take the time to implement it properly.



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