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The concept of a paperless office has been around since the 1960’s, much like the notion of an electric automobile and the flying car. But it was Palo Alto research lab of Xerox, which not only invented the PC and the ‘mouse’, but also defined the vision of a paperless office in 1975. Their head of R&D – George Pake – said in an interview with Business Week (dated June 30, 1975) that there would be a TV-display with keyboard sitting on his desk, which would enable him to “call up documents from my files onsthe screen by pressing a button.”
But as computers became widely available, PCs became ubiquitous, and the cost of technology plummeted in the 1990s, the global consumption of office paper actually DOUBLED between 1980 and 2000 because of the easy availability of low-cost printers and copier. Even though paper-based correspondence gave way to emails, some older, technophobe bosses insisted on having emails printed out so they could scrawl their responses in pen for their secretaries to type out email replies.
But the trend has reversed since 2000, and paper usage per white-collar U.S. worker has dropped from 150 lbs of paper per year, to 125 lbs in 2008. Offices are still far from paperless, but the trend is clear.
Filing cabinets are giving way to hard disks; more documents, memos and reports are being distributed electronically; emails have replaced traditional letters; rolodexes and index cards are being replaced by databases; paper invoices and purchase orders are being supplanted by electronic messages; electronic calendars are replacing day planners and desk calendars; the Internet is replacing encyclopedias, and phone books; digital signatures are legal; and, a younger workforce much prefers electronic documents than plain old paper. The rising cost of paper and ink; the increased need to distribute documents internationally; and, greater awareness of environmental hazards are also contributing to the rapid adoption of the paperless office. As The Economist (Oct 9, 2008) said: “Make an electronic note to yourself: remember the paperless office and never say never.”
Today a paperless office is not just possible, but the necessary corollary to an efficient operation; and, myDOCbase removes every possible impediment towards adopting one: cost, convenience, security, availability, and feature-list.
A Forrester report found that large companies spend an average of $6 million per year searching for documents. A Coopers & Lybrand report found that handling paper documents consumes 90% of typical office tasks; that offices typically make 19 copies of each document; that 1 out of 20 documents is lost; that it costs $25,000 to fill one filing cabinet, and $2,100 per year to maintain one; that companies spend $20 on labor to file a document, $120 to search for a lost document, and $250 to recreate a lost document; and, that workgroups typically spend 30% of their time searching for documents. Citibank estimates that a paper transaction which costs them $1.00 to process, costs only 7 cents to process electronically. Abigail Sellen and Richard Harper in “The Myth of the Paperless Office” (published by MIT Press in 2002) estimated that the average person -- not just the office worker -- spends over 150 hours a year looking for misplaced information. Banks are going paperless with online delivery of statements and electronic checks.
Whoever you may be, it is COSTING YOU SERIOUS MONEY not to go paperless. That’s a verifiable fact. The research firm WAV Group reported in their Transaction Management Adoption Study 2009 that 67% of corporations they surveyed had switched to online forms.
When will you do so?
Stories from the Modern Office
The older generation still prefers to read something on paper.
Since it is so easy to write emails, today we write more often and more volume of messages than we ever did using traditional letters. And some people, therefore, print more pages of emails than they ever received via traditional paper letters.
The fact is, we have been exchanging contracts via Morse code for more than 100 years. In spite of these contraindications, just as the electric car is surely becoming a street reality, the dream of the paperless office has finally descended upon our world with the finality of history.
myDOC base creates electronic equivalents of the traditional filing cabinet. Each such electronic cabinet can have an unlimited number of “drawers,” each electronic drawer can have an unlimited number of hanging “folders,” and each hanging folder can accommodate an unlimited number of electronic documents, which may be PDF, TIFF, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, image, photo, audio or even video files.
myDOCbase enforces a strict 3-level security scheme.
In this example, only HR personnel would have access to the “Human Resource” cabinet. Within the HR Department, only those involved in Leave Application processing would have access to the “Leave Applications” drawer. If this were a large company involving tens of thousands of employees, and several H.R. personnel were involved in leave processing by department, then access to individual folders would also be determined by what departments were assigned to which person. The system even allows individual documents to be locked for access. So even if someone were to have access to the “Employee: Richards, Cliff” folder, it need not necessarily mean that person would have access to all the documents in that folder.
Level-2: Operation Restriction
Each of these rights is individually assignable to users.
The kinds of operations that one can perform with the documents are as follows.
myDOCbase utilizes open systems, and uses the industry standard “Alfresco” Enterprise Content Management (ECM) tool to maintain its document repository. The latest “community version” of Alfresco is bundled with myDOCbase.
The system requires Microsoft SQL Server to maintain its meta-data and indexes.
myDOCbase is a cloud hosted solution, and can be installed in a Private Cloud owned by your company. We can setup a private cloud for you, if you do not have on. Alternately, the system can be installed on an internal server utilizing the Microsoft Windows platform.
When hosted in a private cloud, myDOCbase can be accessed from a laptop, desktop or tablet computer utilizing Microsoft Windows, MacOS or Linux operating system.
|A workflow is simply a sequence of steps through a document passes from initiation to completion of an office process. Below is a simplified example involving leave application processing in a company.
myWORKflow – a companion module of myDOCbase – implements document workflows, just like the one shown above, in totality, with many more features than pen-and-paper permits. For instance, drawing upon the example above:
Blanchard Giraldi is the director of sales at a medical device company, with 17 salespersons in her team spread nationwide. She has established separate workflows for communicating with each team member that they use for submitting field reports to her, and she uses for responding to them; while, a group workflow allows her to collect feedback from the team on new product ideas.
“Our weekly meeting,” she says, “has been cut down in duration by more than half, because most of what needs to be discussed, has already been deliberated upon via our workflow,” and adds quite ecstatically: “unlike emails, these documents are never lost.”
Jim Hernandez runs a staffing company with 500+ contractors working for clients at any given time. “Timesheet collection used to be a challenge, and I had five of my staff dedicated to collecting and accounting for all timesheets, because that is our lifeline; without timesheets cannot bill our clients.”Now the company has set up a workflow system where each contractor submits his or her timesheet to a watched mailbox with the meta-data in the body of the email in a predefined format. The document management workflow automatically picks up the timesheets, populates a database with the meta data, and starts a Timesheet Processing Workflow. “The same work is now managed by 1.5 staff members,” says Jim, “and we have clearly benefitted from a much more efficient system, while at the same time saving 3.5 salaries.”
Frank Maynard heads the accounts payable department in a medium sized manufacturing company. His department processes over 14,000 vendor invoices per year, and disburses over $350 million. “Sheer document processing and filing was a mammoth chore, and kept 6 people busy,” says Frank. But now they have set up watched mailboxes that separate the invoices from raw material suppliers, spare parts and consumable suppliers, truckers, maintenance service providers, general office supplies, and professional service companies; and the system automatically pushes the incoming invoices into different workflows catering to the specific type of processing depending on different invoice types.
Case Studies from Corporate America
Here are some real-life case studies of large, medium and small organizations, as well as government and higher-education.
myDOCbase Solutions is a division of ADA Software Group, Inc.
www.adasoftusa.com) was established in the United States in 2006. Headquartered in the Greater New York area, our group companies, branch offices and partner-affiliates exist in the United States, Germany, Holland, France, Sweden, Belgium, Switzerland, the U.K., India, Singapore and Indonesia.
Superia Info Solutions (www.superiainc.com) is a group company that runs the backend support for myDOCbase and myWORKflow solutions.
Group Companies in the United States
AltiSAP (www.altisap.com) provides SAP-based solutions, consulting, and L1/L2/L3 support for SAP.
APTHEALTH (www.apthealthusa.com) provides products and solutions for pharmaceutical and medical device companies; and, healthcare providers.
Smartilligence (www.smartilligence.com) provides mobile computing and social media solutions.