Paperless office remains major business trend 35 years after introduction

Back in 1978, information scientist Frederick Wilfrid Lancaster envisioned the possibilities of a paperless society in his book "Toward Paperless Information Systems." One would think that with nearly 35 years to think about this prospect, every office would already be there by now. However, I'm sure as you take a look around your workplace, you can see that that is not the case.

That doesn't mean we are not getting closer, as a recent Forbes article points out. It feels like the technology has finally advanced to the point where it can make Lancaster's vision a reality. With cloud services, email, the internet and countless other products, it is possible to have a fully digital office, even if few have obtained it.

"Thanks to emerging paperless technologies, business owners can bypass many headaches and decrease their environmental footprint at the same time," Kate Harrison, the author of the piece wrote. "Not only does going paperless clear clutter from your office environment, but it also saves you money and is a great PR message for potential customers and partners."

She laid out several technologies and services that have made this digital shift possible, tools like Google Docs, paperless billing and statements, and electronic meetings and calendars. However, these services do not answer the question what to do with the 35 years of documents that have been taking up space since Lancaster first spoke about a paperless office.

This is where a document scanning and management service becomes an invaluable resource. By partnering with an outside company, a business does not need to dedicate internal manpower and time to scanning countless files when it would be better served working on more critical projects.


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