Why it’s time to lift the “paper weight” from your business

Posted: 07/21/2016 - 20:05

It’s 2016 and we have digital technology at our fingertips, yet few bank accounts can be opened without printing and signing a paper form. A student can’t get their exam results until an examiner manually crosses and marks their paper. Our reliance on paper runs deep and many business workflows continue to bear the “paper weight” burden.

In a business setting, the paper weight counteracts efforts to automate, ensuring efficiencies and savings. Automation requires the availability and reliability of data from all business units, in a digital format. Having small, isolated pockets of automation across a business doesn’t equate to a digital enterprise.

Removing the paper weight requires time, but doing so is instrumental in enabling digital transformation. Not sure how this works? Let’s look at how clear and realistic the opportunities are in the manufacturing, banking and education sectors.


Manufacturers must reduce costs and improve operational efficiencies, whilst growing sales and competing in an agile, global market. It’s at this intersection that software and technology can have a major impact.

Consider research and development (R&D), for example. This is an essential part of keeping manufacturers competitive, and by digitising, companies can streamline their processes and foster collaboration. Relevant information from R&D is integrated into an efficient workflow so that the right team can share information, conduct market testing and complete projects, on one centralised platform. The integration ensures R&D remains agile, allowing companies to launch more successful new products.

Using digital technology, manufacturers can transform their infrastructures and automate business-critical processes to cut out paper-based inefficiencies, improving global collaboration, innovation and productivity.


Cost pressures, increasing regulation and legacy systems are making it hard for traditional banks to keep up with the banking revolution. Digital technology also has changed customer expectations.

According to Capgemini’s ‘2016 World Retail Banking Report‘, only 54 per cent of banks’ customers globally are likely to stay with their primary bank, which underscores the necessity of a positive customer experience. Think about the customer sign-up process. As critical as this process is, it often remains manual and time-consuming, and delays raise the possibility of losing potential customers.

Workflow automation software, which involves digitally inputting information and having that analysed in a single, central repository, streamlines the process. Employees can route critical documents in real time, retrieve new account information quickly, decrease processing times, and reduce costs and demands of new client processing. Ultimately automation improves the overall customer experience – a must in today’s competitive banking environment.


Students today live in a digital world. So why do administrators still work with the mountains of documents across university departments?

Digitising documents may begin with an extensive scanning process, but with the right tools in place this can lead to transformation, and an enhanced approach to keeping up with the demands of the student body. It can transform error-prone, repetitive and tedious tasks into accurate and automated processes that save time and money.

Workflow automation tools can be used to fully manage or automate elements of processes such as financial aid, record-keeping and student admissions. The value lies not only in the proven time and cost savings, but also in the increased student satisfaction and improved student experience that automation instils campus-wide.

If it’s not already, it will soon be a major requirement for companies and organisations across all industries to identify how, through automation, to begin to build comprehensive digital strategies and tools and make them stick. They will be looking for partners that can ensure automation tools impact the entire business, not just part of it.

With so much potential for positive change, the “paper weight” needs to be recognised and removed. When that happens we will see our world move towards fully digitised processes and start to make good on the promises of digital transformation.


About The Author

Andrew Morrison's picture

Andrew Morrison is President, Large Enterprise Operations, Europe at Xerox.