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Time to Digitize Your Paper Assets?

Years ago, one always heard that reading digital content strained the eyes and was not sustainable over long periods of time. However, a recent Gartner survey shows that digital text consumption is nearly equal to the time spent reading print.

Today, digital storage is cheaper than paper storage. Paperless alternatives for document management are increasingly appealing for competitive enterprises, but many professionals and business leaders have been hesitant to accept a full-scale adoption of such document control software and technologies.

Vendors would have us believe it is as easy as just scanning thousands of documents and “automatically” indexing and archiving them. There needs to be much in the way of foundational work done before assets are indexed and archived, either in print or digitally. One must create a metadata schema and taxonomy, remove duplicate assets, review and create business processes and workflows, and so much more.

I couldn’t live without the digital assets I use every day to do my work and for play. Digital content also allows it to be served up and sliced and diced in ways one cannot accomplish with print.

My clients struggle to find the best balance of what goes digital and what stays in print. Born-digital documents are now the norm, but some organizations still print out documents, most notably contracts to sign them rather than use secure digital signatures. In many organizations, digital assets are not organized, living on shared and hard-drives, and impossible to find.

It’s a cultural shift that will be a challenge to implement in some organizations. This is especially true where management and data storage professionals find comfort in the presence of physical document management.

However, as technology progresses and further alleviates some of the complications associated with business process management, the transition to paperless content may be an inevitable and superior alternative to print.

What do you think? Is digital replacing print in your organization?

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