Don’t Let Paper Have the Last Laugh

In 1975 a Business Week article discussed how the personal computer revolution would ultimately lead to a paperless office.  In 2009, thirty-four years later, the information contained in paper form has changed, but businesses are increasingly inundated with paper records.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports:
· The average office worker goes through 10,000 sheets of copy paper a year.
· Each employee in a typical business office generates 1.5 lbs of waste paper per day.
· Reducing paper production by a ton saves the equivalent of 4,100 kWh of energy and 7,000 gallons of water.
Every aspect of the paper storage process adversely impacts a business’ budget and the environment as a whole.  These financial drawbacks of paper storage include the purchase of paper, personnel resources spent filing and finding documents, increase of square footage for physical file storage and recovery from flood or fire damage.

The environmental impacts cannot be overlooked.  The storage office needed to house filing cabinets leads to additional heating/cooling requirements and more. The paper production process requires the harvest of trees, consumes significant energy, leads to increased greenhouse gases and involves toxic chemicals. 
So what are paperless office solutions?
Paperless office solutions, also called document management systems, are business software applications designed for digitally storing documents into a repository.  The documents are stored in the system and associated with index information referred to as metadata attributes.  These metadata indexes give users the ability to quickly search for and retrieve documents electronically on a computer.
These systems electronically route documents, allow documents to be scanned and uploaded to optical character recognition (OCR) programs, provide additional security and privacy, disaster recovery and more.