Paperless Office?

stack of documents for converting Posted on April 9, 2013

The Paperless Office?

It seems that according to new research published by AIIM during the week, the idea of a paperless office is further away than it ever was. This is not just hearsay, but one of the conclusions of the new report on records management in the Aimm State of the Industry series.

It also seems from the report that even with all the technologies and advances in capturing and storing information, enterprises are still struggling to manage all of their office records.

However, digging a little bit deeper into the subject, you find — as might be expected — that the problem lies not with the technologies, but the lack of a coherent records management strategy in many enterprises, especially when it comes to digital documents.


One of the most striking facts that come out of this year’s report is that the number of paper records is increasing despite the growing volumes of electronic content and the ease with which enterprises can turn physical records into electronic records.

The volume of paper records is increasing in 42% of organizations and decreasing in 34% — a negative gap of 8 percent. This is in contrast to last year’s report which saw more organizations showing a decrease than an increase.

Why there should be a return to increase in paper growth is not clear, research author Doug Miles says. It may simply be that the number of business transactions fell during the economic downturn, it could be file-scanning projects have been run down and not restarted as a cost cutting measure, or that during the downturn, space was scrutinized more closely.

Also of note here is that while deletion polices were, generally speaking, the same for electronic and paper records, when it comes to destruction, enterprises were more likely to destroy electronic records than paper records.

There was some positive news for emails, with 73% of enterprises selectively treating emails as records, but the problems here have been replaced by concerns around the way electronic messaging is treated.

It seems that few organizations are treating dynamic, personalized content as records, collaborative SharePoint content is considered transient as is instant messaging despite the fact that they have a legal standing. The challenge here, then, is to start looking at policies to manage this.