Information Technology "Going Paperless" Concept

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  • Topic: Enterprise content management, Document management system, Paper
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  • Published : July 19, 2008
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Information Technology and the ‘Going Paperless’ Concept

The idea of a company’s business operations venturing into a paperless environment from a paper-filled filing cabinet clutter is not a new concept. The aspiration for a paperless environment was conceived in the minds of management beginning over twenty years ago, dating back to manufacturers and the idea of paperless workstations. (Weber) Unfortunately, the businesses then were forced to delay paperless environment execution due to a lack of technological advancements. Since then, the world of information technology has boomed and the advancements and improvements that are being created have catapulted the business environment to places thought to be impossible. The industries that could potentially benefit from these advancements through business reorganization range from manufacturing sites and accounting firms to insurance companies and even hospitals. An office has the ability to go from paper-filled desks, rows of filing cabinet, and stacks of file folders and binders, and transform into an orderly, organized, and spacious environment. Cluttered offices could potentially become a thing of the past through the explosion of electronic communications. The world of information technology has opened doors for businesses by providing opportunities to save money, save space and even improve client relationships. However, obstacles still hinder the paperless environment advancement. The obstacles that management faces when venturing toward the paperless environment now have little to do with role of technology, but are increasingly concerned with human resistance.

The advancements that have taken place in the information technology empire over the years have greatly impacted the integrity, reliability, and trust that people place in the technology world. With developments such as the wireless world innovation and the tremendous advancements within the digital storage field, the notion of a firm achieving a paperless environment should be a realistic and practical idea to accept. However, the human resistance that has evolved with the idea of going paperless is one of the biggest obstacles business managers today are facing. Moreover, the human resistance dilemma is partially due to the fact that some of the management themselves may also be resistant to such a drastic environmental change. A contributing factor to the resistance of changing the office environment is due partly to the lack of understanding of what a paperless environment actually is. Bob Larrivee, Director of Sales and Marketing for Docubase Systems, Inc., states that in terms of the current paperless environment “the ideal situation is that paper is replaced by electronic formats (imaging), resulting in electronically created information that reduces paper dependency and provides automating processes that effectively make using paper an option rather than a necessity.” (Larrivee) The level of comfort obtained by individuals within a firm with their piles of paper and file folders stacks inhibit the movement towards a paperless office. The concept of needing a tangible paper copy to complete the task at hand has become a pacifier to the old corporate world. The world of information technology is moving faster than ever, it is time for the dinosaurs of the office to catch up before they get completely left behind.

Within the business organizations of today, there is a wide variety of expertise levels, experiences, and personalities among the staff. The employees of the current generation that are entering the workforce for the first time have grown up using computers, the Internet, and other electronic and technological advancements. Those fortunate enough to be part of this technology savvy generation have been able to develop a level of trust with the advanced technology concept, allowing the transition to a paperless environment to be a concept they easily grasp. On the...
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