If we are to break the information barrier before it breaks us, the paperless office must be qualified as an essential component of effective infonomics. The technology organizations use to go paperless bears equal significance to the elimination of paper in the workplace entirely, and the impact it has on “infonomics” as a profit forming exercise.
Gartner describes infonomics as “the emerging discipline of managing and accounting for information with the same or similar rigor and formality as other traditional assets.”
But don’t let the term “emerging” in Gartner’s definition distract you from the fact that information management and infonomics now, more than ever, are just as important to an organization’s profitability as cash flow, and for the following reasons: The emergence of each reason made explainable through a historical timeline of information management.
1. Melding Digital and Paper-based Information Causes Numerous Problems
The Advent of Paper-based Information and Analog Information Initiatives
Paper-based information dates back roughly 2,000 years to when Chinese inventors used cloth-like sheets to document their writings. In the 2,000 years that followed its advent, paper, ironic given the amount of efficiency we gain from digital information use today, drastically increased human’s efficiency in both personal life and business venture.
Paper dependency reached its maximum efficacy in the 1990s—a decade that spawned the public use of the internet, computers, and therefore—digital information.
The Advent of Digital-based information
Digitization paved tremendous inlets to most of what we see in contemporary business environments. Not only did it make information sharing and recording spotless and replicable (as an antithesis to analog information), it made the paperless office an obtainable possibility.
Our very lives were redefined by the power we had at our fingertips, and businesses could barely contain the innovative possibilities that unfolded from that point onward. As data compression technology became increasingly sophisticated, not only did digitization mediums proliferate, they became more crucial in consumers’ and businesses’ routines alike.
However, human behavior and preference in both personal and businesses contexts were outpaced by the emergence of digital technology, resulting in the chaos that a melding of digital and paper-based information causes.
Melding Digital and Paper-based Information: A Formula for Chaos
Despite many declarations on the importance of eliminating paper to make the paperless office more than a pipe dream, most organizations are still relying on a mix of paper-dependent and digital processes within their organizations, facilitating a work environment nonconductive to effective infonomics in both micro and macro proportions.
Under these conditions information is needlessly re-created, lost, or misplaced—rendering it useless at later dates and oftentimes detracting from organizational output.
Furthermore, multiple, competing information repositories and workflow bases (such as traditional filing cabinets and shared drives) are conducive to incongruous business practices where the data organizations need to make effective decisions is squandered.
Leveraging Paperless Office Infonomics through Document Management
Effective Imaging and Capture
When considering the paperless office prospect, many organizations are worried about the various methods to choose from when it comes to scanning and uploading paper-based information effectively to their new document management solutions.
However, certain electronic capture add-ons to paperless filing systems and document management software streamline and simplify this process through metadata-enhanced search, capture, and retrieval features.
What’s more, removing purely digital information from its unstructured environment on either a shared drive or Windows folder structure is a task met with difficulty, as well.
However, data migration and conversion services, usually offered by most paperless office software vendors, can expedite this process into a pain-free endeavor.
Beginning with the Right Technology: Using a Centralized Repository
Using technology that functions as a centralized repository for documents, content, and images is crucial in transubstantiating office environments into purely paperless form, which is conducive to effective infonomics.
Within this centralized repository, it’s also essential to make sure the document management system harnesses within it all the functions and features necessary to transact and conduct workflow processes inherent to the scope and purpose of the enterprise it serves, or needless information management dualities and replication (such as the relationship between traditional filing methods and unstructured digitized information) will continue detracting from effective infonomics.
A Concluding Note on Infonomics in the Paperless Office
International Data Corporation (IDC) analysts, Susan Feldman and Chris Sherman note in a pivotal IDC white paper, that “timely access to critical information separates the winners from the losers in today’s economy.”
To ensure you remain a winner in your market and are equipped to resolve your customers’ and clients’ needs, including the information needs of the workers sustaining your organization, using the right technology to leverage infonomics in a paperless office is imperative, and arguably the smartest (and easiest to implement) alternative to other models of revenue lift.