Going paperless seems like a huge task for a company, but the positive impacts this can have on a business are enough to makes it worthwhile. In today’s fast-paced world, we’ve all become accustomed to accessing everything we need on the go – whether this is on our laptop while commuting to the office or via our phone while out and about. This, however, is only one of the reasons so many businesses have decided to take the plunge and go paperless.
The perks are many and they range from the sole environmentalist reason of reducing paper waste to more practical ones, such as transferring everything to a cloud-based system, making it accessible whenever and wherever.
Can your organisation become paperless?
As briefly mentioned in our introduction, one of the most practical ways of becoming paperless is by investing in a cloud-based system that will allow you to safely store all your documents and assets without the need to keep a hard copy of everything.
Software like Microsoft Dynamics 365 is the most obvious choice for this switch thanks to the user-friendly interface as well as the many functionalities they offer, which go beyond document storage.
There are a few solid reasons why you should consider going paperless today and Dynamics 365 has been specifically built to make your processes quicker and more effective with features that can help with your day-to-day tasks. The tools available are many and varied, ranging from the handy “E-mail a Link” tool, perfect to share a record or document without having to print it, to the “Activity Scheduling” feature, allowing you to manage tasks without written lists or post-it notes.
Confidential files can also be better protected in the Dynamics 365 cloud by setting the security roles to regulate which users can access or share these files. The Microsoft partner Preact is specialised in helping businesses find the perfect solution tailored to their needs, helping small to mid-sized companies and organisations get on the right path towards a paperless model. Dynamics 365 also offers more advanced capabilities that can solve other challenges your organisation may face, from measuring customer satisfaction to email tracking.
Thanks to the many apps available for dynamics, you can in fact create a custom-built set of tools specific for your needs. Using Web Portals, for instance, your clients can quickly complete and update forms and files without the need to produce unnecessary paperwork. This results into faster processing times, enhancing your service quality.
Feedback processes can become paperless thanks to Dynamics 365 Customer Voice (previously Forms Pro), which allows you to automatically collect survey data for follow-ups or just for engagement, measuring customer satisfaction in a streamlined, paperless way.
By integrating Dynamics 365 with any other systems you use – from Outlook for email tracking to Sage50 or Xero for invoice management – you will eliminate duplication and speed up tasks, streamlining your processes for a more efficient business model.
Why should you shift to a paperless model?
Whether your end goal is to produce less paper waste, or you’re looking for a solution to make your documents available virtually to your teams, going paperless is a wise move that could benefit you in the long run too.
A few of the advantages of running a paperless business are:
- Time – A cloud-based system will offer an easier retrieval of documents and quicker turnaround times, ultimately increasing productivity
- Money – When added up, postage fees and printing costs can take a big chunk out of your budget; the paperless alternative is not only more streamlined but also cost-efficient
- Storage – You may employ the most sophisticated file cabinet system, but when you have loose papers lying around the office these can be easily misplaced. Documents uploaded to the cloud are safely stored, making it harder to lose or misplace them
- Centralised storage – In the era of Working From Home and flexible working, having a centralised storage that is easily accessible by everyone within the organisation (and from any device) is a great added value for productivity
Practical steps to going paperless
The road to a paperless business might seem daunting but, if taken one step at a time, it can be achieved with very little effort.
The goal is to immediately start discouraging your teams from printing unnecessarily – if your motivation is environment-led, adding a footnote to your emails asking to only print ‘if necessary’ will also discourage your customers. The next step is to train on selective printing (only print the pages that hold the relevant information) and start enforcing paper recycling by making it a policy to use scrap papers rather than purchasing pads for the stationery cupboard.
Another good way of making this transition easier for your staff is by providing them with two monitors to view their documents on a screen other than their data processing screen.
If you manage to achieve all of the above and you complete the shift to a paperless model, you will soon realise that the ‘Paperless Journey’ has a return on investment that was worth your while.
Gone are the filing cabinets and, consequently, the need for physical space; the spend on archive files and folders as well as printing costs has also been ditched and you have also extended the lifespan of your printers by using them less frequently. Remote workers will now be able to access whatever they need when they need it, improving productivity by giving your team instant access to live documents.
And last, but not least, a cloud-based document storage system will give you a solid “disaster recovery plan” and enhance data security by preventing privacy breaches and unlawful access to confidential information.
If your business is considering going paperless, then our advice is to do it one step at a time and slowly start building your cloud of documents. CRM specialists like Preact can help you in your transition by giving you access to a tailored set of Microsoft Dynamics 365 tools that you can use to streamline and speed up your business processes however you please.