Going paperless: the first step in the productivity revolution


If there’s one silver lining for the previous tumultuous year, it’s the fact that many businesses across Australia accelerated their digital transformation. Small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) were forced to pivot their operations and embrace digital technologies as a means of survival.

One key part of this transformation was the rapid adoption of digital documents. Prior to the pandemic, digital documents were seen as a nice-to-have, but during the pandemic, being able to share, review, sign and store documents virtually has been critical to many business operations.

Now, as we move forward towards recovery, digital documents have become the norm. This is not wasted investment. Going paperless cuts costs, creates efficiencies, is better for the environment and enables business continuity in the short term and resilience in the longer term. It is also a great productivity driving, enabling businesses to start automating simple tasks and workflows.

Automation: Driving productivity in any business

Every day your organisation performs the same tasks over and over again. Whether it’s collecting customer information, creating contracts or ordering standard supplies, your employees and customers spend a lot of time repeating manual, paper-based processes. These tasks not only take too much time, but they also introduce inefficiency into every step of the process.

By shifting to digital documents, you can employ technology to automate common tasks. All you need to do is build digital processes that assemble the right documents and route them to the right people automatically, based on business logic.

When people talk about automation, it sounds complex and costly. But for SMEs, turning common paper-based tasks into an online, self-service process is a simple process:

  1. Kick-off a new process: Create HTML forms to prequalify new requests and select the right form or document package for the right situation.
  2. Trigger next steps: Use conditional logic to route each request correctly, so documents move automatically from one task to the next.
  3. Take action: Route tasks to the right people automatically. Assemble documents, review, approve, sign, deliver, and more.
  4. Use dashboards: Manage signed and received documents, generate reports, and get real-time visibility into document cycles.

By setting up such automations, employees and customers can access and complete these tasks at anytime, anywhere, which greatly increases productivity and enhances customer experience.

Starting your automation journey

As you plan out your digital transformation and automation journey, it can be difficult to know where to begin. To help identify the right processes to automate, start by mapping your paper use and identify a few processes that could benefit most from digitisation. Start from key use cases that are slowing down operations and delaying business value due to manual or paper-based steps.

It’s important to engage all stakeholders – employees, customers, suppliers and partners – on your transformation journey. Ensure all of them are on board with the changes and understand its potential benefits to the business as well as them as individuals. All stakeholders need to understand how the solution will improve the specific pain points that they face so that they are determined to be change-makers for your business.

Finally, be sure to think long-term. Chart out short and long-term digital maturity milestones and start working towards them. Look for solutions that can integrate well with existing technology investments and start phasing out old and inefficient processes.

Now more than ever, digital documents are the currency of business productivity. As businesses focus on building a modern, hyper-productive workplace for the future, digital document intelligence and AI will be at the core. By focusing here now, you can jump start your transformation journey.