Digital Document Management: The Benefits of Going Paperless

Originally published on April 10, 2023. 

The global sustainability movement is well underway, and many of today’s businesses are heeding the call by going paperless. Since the average worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper annually, eliminating paper in the workplace can make a swift, significant impact on a company’s sustainability efforts. 

But while it’s true that digital documents are better for the environment, there are plenty of other positive benefits, too. Seventy percent of workers are more inclined to take a job at a sustainable company, even if it has a lower salary. Likewise, consumer demand for sustainability is growing, with 60% of consumers saying they would pay more to support a sustainable brand. 

Read on to discover the benefits of going paperless in 2024.

Digital Documents Are (Much) Cheaper

Digital document management saves money—and those savings kick in almost as soon as you start using your new platform. 

The average company spends $725 per employee annually on printing costs, making it the third highest business operating expense. When you use digital documents instead of paper, you cut down on ink usage drastically by only printing what you absolutely need to print. 

But digital documents aren’t just cheaper. They also cut down on labor costs associated with physical document mishaps.

Physical documents interrupt even the most well-constructed workflows. Between filing, organizing, locating, and ensuring everyone has a copy, paper documents can keep your team members from fully focusing on the important work. They lose precious minutes trying to find a document they printed an hour ago that was signed by a client in the office. These minutes spent roaming around searching for paper documents add up and cost businesses money. 

On the other hand, digital document management lets your team members access their documents within moments. Between search functions and impeccable organization, digital document platforms allow employees to dive into their work right away. They’ll spend less time finding the right document. As a result, your company will see more productivity, resulting in more time and money.

Digital Document Management Systems Boost Productivity

Going paperless also improves productivity by streamlining operations and increasing efficiency. Documents are sent electronically in seconds, rather than exchanging a few hands before getting to the right person.

Locate Documents with Ease

Consider the time your company wastes on physical documents. The average worker spends six weeks annually searching for documents, and 80% of filed papers are never referred to again.

Eliminate IT Service Tickets

What happens if the printer breaks down or the copy machine stops working? Everyone who’s ever worked in an office is familiar with printer struggles. They’re common, so any chance to bypass the printer is a chance to save time and avoid frustration.

Improve Team Collaboration

Then there’s the time wasted when everyone has different versions of a document. When one person updates a document, it means that the rest of the team is suddenly working with an outdated version of that document. Then, when team members meet up, they have to spend several minutes catching each other up on the latest document changes. 

In contrast, digital document management allows team members to simultaneously work with the same version of a document. They can all access the document in its digital format, making changes in real-time. This way, everyone has the most up-to-date version of the document, so they don’t have to waste time getting everyone on the same page. 

Save Time with eSignatures

With paper documents, getting a signature can be a long and tedious process. The paper has to safely make it to the signee and back without any mistakes. Furthermore, your paper may sit on the signer’s desk for days, getting lost in the other papers that can clutter a desk. 

Digital document management can also help you save time on signature collection via an eSignature feature, allowing businesses to streamline the signing process by automatically sending documents to the next signee in line until all parties sign it. Instead of waiting for hours, days, or even weeks for a signature, you can have a signature within minutes. This helps you expedite those ever-so-important contracts, sales, and invoices without breaking a sweat.

Digital Document Management Systems Are More Secure

Cybersecurity and print security threats are increasing every year: 42% of businesses had an IT security breach in 2023, and 27% of all incidents were related to paper documents. At the same time, 39% of businesses say it’s hard to keep up with security demands.

Fortunately, features like multi-factor authentication, encryption, and secure cloud storage make digital document management far more secure than paper files. Physical documents can easily be misplaced, lost, or forgotten. Even the most careful employee can drop a piece of paper on their way to someone else’s desk. 

Digital documents remove that risk because they virtually eliminate the need for paper documents to travel between desks and further ensure that documents are only seen by those who need to see them. 

Digital documents also protect company information from theft or natural disasters. While physical paper can easily be taken or destroyed, digital documents can only be accessed by those with permission. Plus, if anything happens to your office, you can still access your digital documents from anywhere. 

Digital documents provide safety by preventing misuse and allowing secure sending and retrieval. Ultimately, digital content management puts you in complete control of your information.

Digital Document Management Systems Offer Sustainability

Many offices justify the use of paper by recycling. Even so, paper production and waste continue to grow exponentially every year. Paper waste currently makes up 26% of total waste at landfills, and 40% of all printed paper ends up in the garbage. 

Digital document management systems eliminate the costs and pressure on the environment instantly. And while employees still may need to print every now and then, they will be doing much less of it.

Digital Document Management Systems Improve Customer Service

In terms of customer retention and overall satisfaction to help sustain your business, digitizing your document management provides a streamlined method to collect customer data and deliver your products or solutions to them. 

We live in an era of instant gratification. If companies can’t process documents to deliver a product or service to customers within a short timeframe, business is all but lost. Additionally, more customers are looking to do business with companies that have strong sustainability initiatives in place. According to Deloitte’s The Future of the Consumer Industry, “Consumers are likely to seek products and services that contribute to reversing this [ecological damage] trend.”

Digitizing document workflows in your organization helps you keep your current customers and quickly build trust with prospective customers. Lasting customer relationships translate to longer-term, predictable customer payments that help you sustain your business into the future.

Digital Document Management Systems Are Intelligent

Companies that haven’t moved to digital document management systems most likely have thousands of customer documents sitting in filing cabinets. And while they may be organized, they can be a massive drain on time and resources. The average filing cabinet costs about $280 per year in office space, meaning just 10 cabinets would cost $2,800 annually. If you’re a growing business, paper filing isn’t a feasible way to store customer info and data. 

Digital document management systems enable you to leverage existing data by scanning your documents and automatically moving them to the correct folder location. Using OCR and ICR technology, you simply scan your document, and the system can identify where to digitally file it.

Digital intelligence doesn’t stop there. 

These systems can index all of your company data so you can pull up documents easily in a search bar by last name, type of document, department, etc., and eliminate the possibility of losing valuable customer information.

Customizable Document Management at Your Fingertips

Going paperless is one of the best ways to meet the growing demand for more sustainable offices. Digital documents are also more convenient and secure, helping to improve the employee and customer experiences.

Whether you’re trying to be completely paperless or just decrease the amount of paper you use, choosing a solution that can be modified on the fly to help you achieve your long-term digitization goals is important. At Vasion, we customize your digital document processes to fit your needs and consolidate your siloed, manual work processes—all on one platform.

Schedule a demo today to learn more.