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5 Paper-Based Business Processes Everyone Forgets About

One lesson businesses have learned in the last few years is that not much can come from a “sneaker net.”

Shuffling paperwork and waiting on approvals wastes a lot of time and can cost businesses thousands of dollars each year. When business was predominantly done on paper, mailrooms used to be the communication powerhouse of any business, and executives operated on the reminders of their secretaries. Now, our email inboxes and mobile app pings run our day-to-day.

With the recent transition from paper to paperless, we forget that the following five everyday business processes used to run only on the power of paper.

1.  Data Entry and Tracking/Filing

Before forms were digitized, physical record-keeping was the best way to document information.

Forms were filled out by hand and kept in filing cabinets, where they often went missing or were misfiled. Retrieving information required sifting through dozens of paper forms, and if misfiled even one folder away, finding it could take the entire day. These filing cabinets were also costly and took up large amounts of space.

This practice was inefficient, resulted in many wasted hours, and was fraught with data quality issues.

Today, digital forms replace paper, file sync-and-share systems ensure that data is protected, and users can access documents anywhere with secure mobile apps.

2.  Content Approval Process

The process of paper-based content approvals can be one of the biggest productivity killers in a company.

For example, a loan origination document requires many steps before getting the final approval, and it’s the steps in between that waste time. A manual process can create bottlenecks and extreme lagging, killing flow and preventing work from getting done. Instead of letting documents literally get lost in the shuffle, you can use electronic forms, document generation and automated approvals to save significant amounts of time and money.

3.  Employee Onboarding

The employee onboarding process can often be disorganized and tedious, and that’s not the impression you want to leave with a new hire.

From direct deposit forms and lengthy contracts to assigned computers and facility badges, the process has a lot of room to go wrong. In some cases, getting these items in the hands of a new employee could take days or even weeks. Now, platforms like DocuSign and automated workflows that alert IT, facilities, accounting and HR keep the process running as smoothly as possible, eliminating mounds of paperwork and ensuring a functional transition into the workforce.

4.  Purchase Requisitions

Not long ago, you had to complete a paper form to order stationery, office equipment or anything else to get your job done. This manual, paper-based process resulted in time delays and over- or under-purchasing of materials.

Today, self-service portals allow employees outside of procurement to easily submit purchase requisitions with pre-approved vendor contract pricing. With the appropriate approval workflows and dollar thresholds in place, management of the purchase requisition process has never been easier.

5.  Sharing Documents

Many services like Google Docs, Dropbox and SharePoint have made file sharing as simple as a drag and drop.

Making dozens of copies and printouts has become almost an ancient practice, and trees are not the only grateful ones. Long lines used to form to use printers and copiers, and if someone had to print multiple copies of lengthy legal contracts, the process could take hours. We now have services that make it possible to send documents to hundreds of people with a link or invitation.

 

Today, all of these paper-based business processes can be automated within a company — taking care of these time-killing practices.

Without these processes slowing them down, companies are able to move faster than ever and allocate the time saved towards valuable projects. Saving precious hours while improving the flow of information — two birds with one stone. Switching to paperless is not only optimal for speed and efficiency, but is also better for our environment. As technology continues to makes strides, our processes do as well. There are so many benefits that come with moving processes to the digital realm, and Nintex can help you in your journey to digital transformation.

 

Interested in automating your paper-based business processes and improving the flow of information in your workplace? Click here to get a free, 30-day trial of the Nintex Workplace Platform today!

Kim Albrecht

Nintex Vice President of Corporate Marketing Kim Albrecht is responsible for digital and email marketing, brand management, and event planning at Nintex, including demand generation strategies, Nintex web properties, public relations, analyst relations, brand and corporate events. Kim holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration and an MBA from North Dakota State University.