Despite advancements in mobile technology and an ongoing transition to digital technologies, many businesses today continue to work in traditional paper-based workflows that are extremely inefficient and often counterproductive. In some instances, content is generated, printed and then distributed for additional input or collaboration, which often involves forms processing, hand-written annotation or even the simple procedure of signing a document.

Once documents are printed, information often has to be re-keyed back into the system, while additional copies are made for distribution or storage. In many cases, content moves from digital format to analog and then back to digital again simply to support antiquated paper-based business processes that have been in place for years. Re-keying of information alone is a significant burden on time that often leads to problems with document integrity and lost productivity.

4 Key Areas for Your Paper-to-Digital Strategy

1. Access to content

2. Individual privacy

3. Document integrity

4. Content security

Little wonder many businesses are focused so intently on simply removing paper from their document workflow. Much noise is made in today’s business climate about the need to go paperless, or to significantly reduce dependencies on paper-based processes. Environmental benefits, cost savings, portability and accessibility of content—all of these issues are driving organizations toward the elimination of paper from their document environment.

Unfortunately, some businesses approach paper-to-digital conversion as a top-down reengineering of the document infrastructure, often with little regard as to how changes might impact existing workflow and process efficiency. Businesses that have taken this sort of approach typically hear a common complaint among employees: Why can’t I get my work done the way I did before? Reducing paper consumption can provide a number of benefits for most organizations, but without proper planning, it can disrupt business in unintended and detrimental ways.

Meanwhile, the need to support mobile workflows is critical when deploying changes to existing content infrastructure. Every business function today can now be performed electronically with no need for printed output. From a content perspective, everything from capture to scan, creation, collaboration, archival and distribution can be performed electronically using a mobile device running a cloud-based application. Businesses continue to invest in cloud solutions to drive productivity and take advantage of more efficient usage-based computing models.

MORE: Protecting Valuable Content: How the Mobile Environment Is Pitting Convenience Against Content Security

Today, individuals demand 24/7 access to their business-critical information. Clearly, the transition from paper to digital sits at the heart of all of these issues. Before you can make information accessible in the new business paradigm, you have to digitize content…but there are important considerations. In the old world—the static office environment—it was relatively easy to manage the process from content creation to distribution. Information originated either in hard copy form or it was created digitally before it was distributed for display, collaboration, storage or output.

In today’s environment, all start and stop points have been removed from the process. Information can be accessed and created anywhere and everywhere within the digital ecosystem. Content can originate in the cloud, at the mobile device, on a laptop or in hard copy form. At the same time, information needs to move freely within the entire digital ecosystem, while supporting multiple device formats and content structures.

As a result, there are four key areas that businesses must manage effectively when deploying a paper-to-digital strategy: access to content, individual privacy, document integrity and content security. Doing so will help organizations not only reduce their dependency on paper but also create a document environment that is optimized to take advantage of mobile workflows.

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