I recently read an article on News-Press.com titled, "Florida Courts to Ditch Paper and Go Electronic," detailing how the Florida Supreme Court is committed to this move and has made it mandatory that all documents filed with the court be done so electronically. They have also moved to require attorneys to serve legal documents to each other using email. As I read this, two things immediately came to mind. First, the Florida Supreme Court has made an important step into the digital generation and is forward-thinking in that sense; second, if they are willing to commit and do this, why are so many businesses and other government organizations still lagging behind? After all, if it is good enough for the Supreme Court, why isn't it good enough for everyone else?
There are probably many reasons and excuses, but the one I hear most often is that "it's not a priority." It's not considered mission critical yet. Yet, as the world moves in a digital direction, companies and organizations of all sizes indicate they know it will be important to their future. Perhaps the term "mission critical" is a cover for the fact that as humans we get comfortable, and a move like this is a major change or shift in the way we do things today. It will definitely take us out of our comfort zone and cause us to rethink how we operate. Is that such a bad thing?
"As the Legislature has indicated, implementation of an electronic filing process should reduce costs, increase timeliness in the processing of cases, and provide the judiciary with case-related information to allow for improved case management."
Another challenge for businesses involves the implementation of such a major shift in operational processes. There are many companies moving in a digital direction and using tools that range from email to shared sites for collaboration and information exchange. Yet, still many more are not ready to commit. While they are willing to make changes, they are unsure of how to actually do it. In this scenario, there is a tendency to reject the need for change due to the lack of understanding of what it would take. The message I have heard in these cases is that the business is functioning well, so why disrupt it needlessly?
In my view, the message sent by the Florida Supreme Court is a clear and loud signal to get on board the digital express. It's time for businesses and government agencies of all sizes to consider the benefits of committing in the way the Supreme Court has done. In the News-Press.com article, the justices are cited as stating, "As the Legislature has indicated, implementation of an electronic filing process should reduce costs, increase timeliness in the processing of cases, and provide the judiciary with case-related information to allow for improved case management." This is a clear indication of their perceived value and benefit resulting from this move to the digital world. I am not sure the mandatory use of email between attorneys is the best approach, but it's a start. I would hope that use of receipts to document delivery, acceptance and access would be the best practice. Perhaps the inclusion of email enhancement tools should be used for added security and access control and tracking should be part of the equation.
The question now becomes one of where you stand. Is your organization ready to follow in the footsteps of the Florida Supreme Court and take that first step into the digital age? The options today are many. You can buy and own your solutions. You can look to the cloud for hosted solutions. You can even turn to the use of social media tools for internal communications. The options are endless. So what is preventing you from making the commitment? If you are unsure of how to proceed, there is training available to help you get started. So what is stopping you? Take the first step. Go digital.
BOB LARRIVEE is an internationally recognized thought leader with over 30 years of experience in document imaging, content management, records management, the application of advanced technologies and process improvement. He is director of the AIIM Learning Center where he works to identify, develop and deliver specialized training in best practices, technology and methodologies. Mr. Larrivee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.