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10 Benefits of Going Paperless

It’s no secret that paper-based processes power government services. Using emerging technology, agencies are moving traditionally paper-based workflows to digital applications. This means everything from processing benefit claims, to paying a parking ticket, or filing for a building permit can now be conducted online. Shifting workflows to digital provides efficiency gains to field workers, caseworkers and inspectors, as they have constant need to file, organize and manage documents. By moving to digital, paper management tasks can now be reduced – or in some cases, even eliminated.

Going paperless is now more important than ever before. With the ubiquity of mobile devices and cloud computing, agencies have an unprecedented opportunity to provide employees access to documents anywhere, anytime. Below, we provide ten reasons why you should consider moving away from paper, and embracing digital.

 1. Automates tasks

Going paperless can help automate traditionally time sensitive tasks, even something as simple as no longer having to pass a piece of paperwork to another co-worker. If document management tasks are now automated, you can have multiple people work on parts of projects, share status easily, and track project needs along the way. You could even set up reminders within a workflow, so an employee is automatically sent a document once a task is complete.

2. Boosts morale

By automating tasks, a lot of time is saved for employees, and the quality of their work is improved. Instead of having to focus on the filing and management of documents, they can focus on doing more work in the field, meeting more clients and doing more to tangible work to serve the mission of their agency – the reasons why they joined public service in the first place.

3. Saves employee time

If you’re a caseworker tasked with 60 clients, that’s a lot of paper to manage. If all those documents are stored online, and accessible anywhere, anytime, you save a lot of time either looking for misplaced files and collecting data.

4. Integrates related technologies

Going digital with your workflows means that you can start to integrate related technology services. Tools like GIS or CRM can all be integrated to give you better insights on city management. Document management is the core, and by integrating various solutions, you can gain a more holistic view of your community and its needs.

5. Cuts costs

Moving to digital can help you with cost savings. Not having to print, mail or store paper can lead to significant cost savings for organizations. And by not having to constantly be moving paper, employees are able to work on more projects.

6. Empowers field workers

By going digital, employees in the field gain access to their most important documents, which can help them become more efficient and effective. For instance, if a field worker is making site visits, they can access documents to update information. And with the cloud, information can automatically be synched – eliminating the need to input and collect data twice.

7. Extracts important data from documents

Documents hold essential information on services. By moving documents to digital, organizations can collect more data and information about users, with better accuracy. They can use this data to help them improve the quality of services – everything from how the document is designed, to how services are disbursed.

8. Creates more efficiency through self-service

By moving to digital, organizations can facilitate self-service initiatives. This will allow citizens to access information 24/7, rather than being forced to physically go to an office. With processes moving to digital, you can become more efficient in processing claims and requests, as citizens have a clear spot to engage with you. Also, you will be able to track more kinds of data and understand the issues and change workflows based on user experiences. This could be anything from tweaking a submission form or eliminating redundant pieces of a process.

9. Generates more resilient communities

Imagine if there is a fire, a flood, or any incident where key documents are destroyed. By going paperless, critical information is constantly available to community members, and can be accessed anytime, anywhere. By storing data in the cloud, you will be able to access your critical information in the case of an emergency.

 10. Supports green initiatives

By reducing the amount of paper you use, you can reduce your agency’s carbon footprint, and also cut costs.

Going paperless is no longer a matter of if, but rather, when. Government agencies are being asked to do more with less. By reducing the time spent on the management of paper, employees can be empowered to work on more critical tasks to support the needs of their mission.





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Terrence (Terry) Hill

Great article! I saved it to my Instapaper account. I can’t believe that we are still discussing this topic in 2014. Believe it or not, we started talking about this in the 80s when computers were first introduced in the workplace. Yet, we are still killing trees, slowing down processes, and enduring the high costs of retaining paper!

Terrence (Terry) Hill

One initiative that I was involved in was the automation of personnel records. We used to print, mail, and file personnel actions (e.g., pay increases, promotions, etc.) in a bulky folder call the Official Personnel File. This is all automated now, thank goodness!


I think the paperless office is revolutionizing businesses mainly due to the help of document management.

An example of DMS that can help companies in this topic is OpenKM.

OpenKM offers time and cost savings in terms of document management and its commitment to management between users.

More info at: http://www.openkm.com