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Enterprises are continuing to generate vast quantities of paper documents, despite attempts to move to a paperless office. At the same time, regulations and legislation are increasing and litigation is on the rise, all of which requires the ability to search paper and electronic documents. Enterprises need to act now to reduce their volumes of paper documents.

Capturing and digitizing documents is an important step on the road to digital transformation

A paperless office is an important element of digital transformation. Although enterprises cannot totally control the format of externally created content, they can determine what happens once it enters the enterprise. Developing a strategy to scan and capture paper documents as soon as they enter the enterprise is a key step toward digital transformation. It provides business benefits by allowing automation to be introduced into document processing, resulting in reduced processing times and increased productivity, and allowing analytics to be applied to the digitized content.

Once documents entering the enterprise are being digitized, enterprises can develop a strategy for digitizing historical documents. The scale of this task can be huge, and it is a process that can take many years to complete. It should be planned and tackled as a major project. Failure to digitize historical paper documents can create risks. For example, many enterprises are noncompliant because they are retaining paper documents beyond their retention period. There have been many instances of warehouses containing archives of paper documents being damaged by fires, where the only copy of documents was destroyed. Unfortunately, paper documents that are stored off-site rarely have backup copies. Noncompliance poses a greater risk. Enterprises can be ordered to destroy specific information, and a failure to do so can result in a heavy fine. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union, due to be introduced on May 25, 2018, will make compliance even more imperative as the fines for noncompliance are high. The right to erasure, right to rectification, and right to data portability mandated by GDPR are nigh-on impossible to achieve with paper documents.


Further reading

Capture as an Enabler of Digital Transformation, INT002-000072 (February 2018)


Sue Clarke, Senior Analyst, Data and Enterprise Intelligence

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