Monthly Archives: February 2013

Paperless revolution branching outside the office

The paperless revolution has helped many offices toss out the stacks of paper and replace them with digital versions. By using a document scanning and management service, businesses are easily stepping into an electronic age, improving organization, productivity and profitability.

However, there are a number of other ways that a paperless culture is spreading. For instance, starting tomorrow the federal government is undergoing a major change and shifting social security, retirement or military benefits over to electronic payments by direct deposit or express debit card. Known as "Go Direct," this change affects hundreds of thousands of people across the United States. While this option has been available for some time, starting tomorrow it will be required.

The largest group that is dealing with this is of a retired age which has traditionally been tech-phobic. There has been some resistance but the convenience and safety of funds being automatically deposited into an account are outweighing the fear of something new.

There are other situations that are not as controversial, like the announcement from Major League Baseball that they have partnered with Apple to make mobile ticketing for baseball games available in half of the stadiums this season. Fans will be able to buy and present an e-ticket in Apple's Passbook app, meaning there is no reason to hold a paper copy. This adds to the growing number of companies that have partnered with the service to make tickets and coupons electronic.

While these steps are more advanced than most companies need, it does go to show that the days of paper are numbered. Businesses that have not yet made the switch should start looking into the best ways to go digital and stay ahead of the competition.

Michigan court system adopts new paperless system

Regardless of whether you believe the U.S.'s court system is just or unjust, most everyone agrees that the judicial process is very slow. However, there is a paperless mindset that is setting in over the judicial branch that could help speed things up.

According to a recent article in the Macomb Daily, the Michigan county circuit court has finalized a plan that will implement an electronic filing system and start the ball rolling on an entirely paperless courthouse. The solutions will be put in place over a three year period that with include document scanning and management as well as providing electronic-filing, signature and certification.

The new system will be integrated with Courtview, the court's case management system and public access website provider. According to Chief Judge David Viviano, this is an impressive move to launch the court into the digital age.

"Our vision is to use digital images instead of paper to conduct the court's business, to store our data efficiently and securely, and to conduct business electronically with litigants, attorneys and other units of government," Judge Viviano said to the news source.

Officials said that the new system will save time and money over paper systems. It should be in place by the end of the summer and will include contract and negligence civil cases, juvenile, divorce without minor children and personal protection cases. There are plans to expand it further following the initial rollout.

With the use of a document scanning and management service, any business can take a step towards a digital existence and ensuring that every paper has an electronic form.

Montcalm County saves over  $3,300 a year by going paperless

Each member of the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners in Michigan is presented with a 139-page meeting packet before each gathering. It contains all the information for the upcoming votes, bills and talking points. However, according to a recent Stanton Daily News article, starting soon that stack of paper will be replaced with an iPad.

This move is being done as a way to save money. According to County Controller-Administrator, Chris Hyzer, who was interviewed in the piece, it costs $185.03 a month – $2,220.31 a year – to mail all nine packets out. There is also an additional $1,097.68 to create the packets for a year. This doesn't include the time and effort that goes into the production.

The cost of the new iPads will run $4,050, which means after 15 months of use, the devices will have paid for themselves. Hyzer said that there will be no additional costs or work for the commissioners aside from making sure the devices connect to their home wireless internet. He added that the average life of an iPad is five years which means the country will be experiencing three and a half years of profit.

"This is something that I've been trying to get us to move forward on for quite some time, to go paperless," Ron Retzloff, one of the commissioners, told the news source. "I started saving some of the packets at home and I have three or four boxes full of paper. I think to myself, how useless and what a waste."

The only paper that will be at the meetings is a small four page agenda for the public and any note taking material the commissioners desire.

The paperless approach is spreading across offices around the country. With the help of a document scanning service, an organization can make sure every physical paper is in a digital format.

Philadelphia school going completely paperless

The one thing that would seem like a staple of the educational field would be the need for paper. From written assignments to tests to information sent home to keep parents informed, physical copies have always had a purpose. However, some school districts are tossing it all out to go paperless.

According to a recent NBC 10 Philadelphia report, the Jenkintown School District has fully embraced the cloud and gone completely digital both in the classroom and at home.

They have created a "Parent Portal," which allows parents to handle a number of different tasks. They are able to keep track of their child's grades in real-time, sign up for specific times for teacher conferences, find copies of every letter and announcement that would normally be sent home with students and have access to the school calendar. Administrators are also active on Twitter and Facebook with information about the upcoming events.

This technology is also being used in the classroom as part of the curriculum. By using Google Drive, students are able to easily work on papers and projects while at school and then continue the work at home.

"We're using it for everything from peer editing and reviewing of essays to science experiments, writing up your science report," Jim Cummins, the district's Director of Technology, told the news source. "A lot of teachers are actually grading, within the container of Google Apps so there's no paper. They're trying to go as paperless as possible."

To make sure the solution remains as paperless as possible, the school system should partner with a document scanning and management service to convert every past document into a digital form.

University of Iowa tosses out physical phone books

It is a stack of paper that we are all familiar with and has been delivered to our doorsteps for some time. However, it would seem that the age of the phone book has come and gone as the ability to look up phone numbers and company information can now be handled easily thanks to smartphones and wireless internet.

This is what is happening at the University of Iowa as school officials announced this week they are eliminating the physical phone directory, according to the campus newspaper The Daily Iowan. In preparation for the decision, the Office of Student Life is surveying deans and directors, asking if they use the physical directory. While responses are still being gathered, early indication is that usages is way down, with some saying they haven't used it in years.

This is all part of a larger plan to increase the recycling proficiency of the university, Liz Christiansen, the director of UI Office Sustainability told the news source. Currently, the college recycling efficiency rate is at 30 percent and by 2020, the school has a goal of 60 percent.

"We really need everybody to contribute to reducing our waste," Christiansen said. "[Going completely online with the UI directory] is a great step toward that. Students are getting comfortable online, and this is a great step."

Many professors have also gotten on board to help with this goal by providing readings, homework and other paperwork online.

While these are solid step into the digital realm, to go truly wireless, the school will need to add a document scanning and management system to ensure all paperwork that is currently in physical form is included in the transition.

City councilmen fights for paperless adoption

Going paperless saves you money in the long run. This is the main argument for companies tossing out the stacks of paper and bringing in tablets and computers as a way to share information and documents.

According to a recent article in The Sun News, a Cleveland area newspaper, this is also the reasoning behind Parma City Council Clerk Ken Ramser's plan for council members. Desperate to save some money, Ramser has taken several steps, some unpopular, to get there.

Currently, the budget does not have the room to replace old-fashioned paper ordinances with electronic legislation by purchasing iPads or laptops for each member of the city council. To help reach the goal, Ramser proposed a $500-a-year cap for each council member when it comes to making copies, fliers and mailing invitations.

The reason for this interest is the perceived wasted funds because of paper copies and duplications. The current budget has $4,000 set aside for such needs, on top of the $4,500 appropriated for each council member. This also does not include the $10,000 for outside printing costs. Then there is the mailing and postage line item, which is set at $4,000.

According to Ramser, other councils in Ohio have shifted towards a paperless system by making legislation packets digital and using email instead of traditional mail and have saved upwards of $17,000. He also mentioned how productivity has improved by removing the need to copy and bind every page of a packet prior to a council meeting, as well as, being able to project ordinances and memos onto screens while they are being discussed.

For a paperless approach to work, however, an organization needs to ensure every document reaches a digital format. With the help of scanning and imaging services, companies can make sure no document is missed.

Google urges more businesses to adopt paperless office solutions

In the movement to limit the negative environmental effect of paper documents and save money, more businesses are considering electronic document management solutions that store critical information digitally. One of the tech world’s biggest companies is on board with this trend, and encourages more businesses to think about paperless office solutions.

In a start of the new year blog post, Google challenged businesses nationwide to make the concept of a paperless office their New Year’s resolution for 2013. In fact, the company affirmed its commitment to the Paperless Coalition, a network of organizations that develop products and strategies to help the business community strive for complete digitization.

“It’s a new year, which means new resolutions. If you’re up for saving time, money and trees, going paperless might be a good goal for you in 2013,” wrote Google marketer Meredith Blackwell in the post. She manages outreach for Google Drive, the cloud-based word processor that allows users to share and collaborate on work online – without ever having to print anything out.

Google and its Paperless Coalition partners – which include HelloFax, Xero Accounting Software and Expensify – design products meant to address future paperless office objectives, but in many industries, it is still a challenge to find ways to transition legacy paper records to a digital system.

That is where scanning and imaging services can offer help. Software for document scanning allows office managers to move paper documents to a digital file, bringing a company’s entire records system online. This saves physical space in the office and cuts down on wasteful paper use – according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper annually.

Paperless benefit deposits could save U.S. government $1B in 10 years

As more businesses nationwide consider the benefits of paper office solutions, one major government agency is pursuing a digital strategy that would overhaul the way federal benefits recipients are paid.

Individuals who qualify for Social Security, Supplemental Security Income and other types of federal benefits typically received a monthly paper check. That will no longer be the case starting March 1, which is the deadline by which recipients must choose to switch to direct deposit or receive a pre-loaded debit card for their payments.

The switchover has been in the works for some time – legislation to make the change was nailed down in December 2010. Individuals who started receiving benefits after May 1, 2011 were automatically placed on the digital system, and the U.S. Department of the Treasury reports that 93 percent of benefit recipients are already receiving their money electronically. Even so, transitioning the remaining 7 percent to a new system would save the government – and American taxpayers – up to $1 billion over the next 10 years, according to the department.

“Choosing direct deposit or the Direct Express card makes it easier, safer and more convenient for beneficiaries to receive their payments. Switching to an electronic payment is not optional – it’s the law,” said David Lebryk, commissioner of the Treasury Department’s Financial Management Service.

Benefits recipients can call 1-800-333-1795 or visit to make the switch.

Digitization is sought by more businesses and government agencies for its convenience, security and financial savings. At a time when the federal government is struggling to address deep budget concerns, the economic benefits of effective electronic document management cannot be ignored. Reliable software for document scanning can offer business owners the tools needed to consolidate paper records and digitize crucial information.

NFL embracing paperless playbooks

There are a number of tools that the Baltimore Ravens used to help them win this year’s Super Bowl over the San Francisco 49ers. While many will debate the coaching and talent differences between the two teams, the ability to prepare and game plan is where the game was won and the Ravens have document imaging solutions and tablet computers to thank.

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Baltimore was the first team in the NFL to implement the use of a digital playbook on an iPad with the help of several mobile applications. In the programs, players and coaches can study the Xs and Os of paper-based playbooks along with video clips and the ability to share notes, drawings and other media forms.

The team started using the system in 2011 and during the preseason 90 iPads were given to the players and coaches. Now, nearly half the teams in the NFL are using the solution.

The apps also made it possible for the team to get rid of the 20-pounds of paper that made up the playbooks before. On top of that, instead of printing out hundreds of pages every week for each updated play, coaches can easily update everything digitally and provide pages for every player instantly.

Some team executives have even seen in increase in how often players are studying. According to Ryan Fannin, the director of football information systems for the Indianapolis Colts, players are using the digital version of the playbook 50 percent more than the paper book.

More accessibility to the playbooks can help any team improve their game, as the Raven’s found this year. On top of the increased productivity, the team is also cutting costs by eliminating the need to print out stacks of paper.

Tablets lessen salespeople’s dependence on paper

When a traveling salesperson comes to mind, the image most of us get is a suited individual carrying a large briefcase overflowing with papers. You could also add a large bag that houses a poster board presentation of graphs if you reach way back or a bulky computer bag over one shoulder to be a little more modern. However, tablet devices are making all of those things tools of the past.

When it was released four years ago, the iPad was considered revolutionary, but very few understood how much so. Now nearly every industry has rolled out some form of tablet adoption or application, collectively cutting down on the amount of paper passed around.

According to a recent GigaOM article, the iPad has become the salesperson's best friend. With features like "Instant On" and cellular capabilities, making last minute changes while in the cab ride over is simple. It is also much easier to handle conference room presentations on one-on-one demonstrations.

"A laptop is an ineffective replacement for a catalog, and presenting a slide show on one is awkward," the report reads. "Using an iPad as a presentation tool, on the other hand, is natural. The tablet is easily passed around, can be read like a magazine, and can also output to external displays with less hassle and fewer steps than a laptop."

To get the most out of tablet computers, however, businesses should be sure to convert all of its documents to a digital format. This requires file scanning and document hosting for a true adoption of a paperless office. Without this step, employees can find themselves with even more work as they have to search through both physical and digital documents to find what they are looking for.