Thursday, 14 August 2014

Build a Paperless Office:How to Build a Paperless Office?

Creating a paperless environment within your firm is an important step toward staying
current with developing technologies and remaining competitive in your rapidly changing
profession. One of our goals at emSigner is to provide information that your firm can
use to make a smooth transition to a paperless office.

We talk to people every day who have reached the realization that the time has come to
“Go Paperless.” Maybe a document has been lost resulting in a financial loss, or file cabinets
are taking over office space, or customers wait for call backs while customer service
searches for documents, or people in branch offices have to send documents to the head
office every day. Whatever the reason, and there are many more, business owners and
managers are looking to get rid of operational bottlenecks caused by outdated methods
of storing and retrieving documents. What seems on the surface to be a pretty simple
concept – convert paper to images and keep them on the computer – can become a challenge
without taking time to put together a plan.

After considering the experiences of other firms that successfully transitioned to a paperless
office environment, we recommend creating a well-thought-out plan before you
begin your transition. This white paper defines the term “paperless office” and provides
general guidelines for planning the storage of documents, planning the roles of people
within your organization, and implementing the move to a paperless office.

Paper will always play an important role in offices; however the goal is not to become a
slave of paper - searching for it, filing it, storing it and losing it at inconvenient times - but
rather to handle paper electronically to lower its intrinsic administrative cost. The benefits
of being less papered are indeed impressive when evaluated:

Restructuring your company to become electronic and paperless can seem like an overwhelming task.

Because your company structure and workflow touches so many different parts of the
business, planning to improve this company-wide inconvenience of paper-based documents
and manual document processing routines can easily become an unmanageable
nightmare. The purpose of this white paper is to help you prepare for that first kick-off
meeting, organize a paperless process management project, and avoid certain common

Without an electronic handle to assist your company, it’s easy to miss deadlines. Also,
employees will most certainly face inconvenience, and difficulty with time management.
For these reasons, it is vitally important to go paperless. In the process, it is imperative to
develop a plan with clearly defined subjects that describe objectives, resources, responsibilities
and timelines.

Paperless Process Management:
Effectively engaging with the various departments within your office can help you to
gather more information, avoid conflicts, and meet deadlines for implementing paperless
management within your company. Their specialized expertise can inform and direct
your interaction with other departments.

The keys to successfully engaging your company are:
• Gathering internal feedback from all key employees and departments
• Facilitating approval cycles
• Communicating timelines
• Delivering clear, consolidated feedback to your company at each phase of the paperless

Getting Started:
Embracing the big picture of paperless management will help alleviate the anxiety that
comes from seeing the project in terms of countless calculated activities and specific tasks.

So exactly what big picture should you envision?

Assessment— How can a vendor help you to become paperless? Combine ideas from
different departments within your organization to see what areas of your company need

Strategy/Research—Devise a plan to familiarize your company with the paperless
concept, and utilize a vendors’ professionals in the Sales and Professional
Services/Solution Design Departments to become comfortable with going paperless--
watch a demonstration of how the product can help you, set up a meeting with someone
from the Sales department to receive a one-on-one presentation of the product.

Development/Planning—Discuss what areas will bring growth to your company, and
calculate the positive value going paperless can bring to your company.

Launch—Staff from a vendors’ Professional Services Department should help implement
the Paperless Process Management Solution for your company, and you will be on your
way to a more convenient, practical, paperless office.

In the future imagined back in 1975, we would have computer screens that allow us to
read our mail, interact with people and systems, access reports and run processes. The
result, it was thought, was that paper would go away. Although it hasn’t happened yet,
it can and should. Not only would eliminating the reliance on paper have a positive
effect on trees, landfills and identity theft, the cost savings are enormous.

Digital Signatures:
One of the largest impediments to going paperless is the need for ink or ‘wet’ signatures
on paper. A wet signature has been ingrained in our society and culture for hundreds of
years as the way to verify that someone is committed to the transaction written on the
paper. Actually we’ve been performing digital signatures for a long time. Electronic contracts
were being accepted electronically over 100 years ago via morse code and gained
wider adoption in the 80’s when business began being conducted via fax. Although electronic
and digital signatures were approved with the ESIGN Act by US President Bill Clinton
on June 30, 2000 (25 years after “paperless office” was coined), many people continue
to view electronic signatures with reluctance. By law, electronic signatures must be

ESIGN Act Definition
“A contract relating to such transaction may not be denied legal effect, validity, or
enforceability solely because an electronic signature or electronic record was used in its
Electronic signatures are possible to use directly with electronic documents in multiple
forms including signatures that resemble physical signatures, encrypted keys that represent
a specific person and trust authorities who host public key infrastructures (PKI). It’s
not important to understand all the different signature technologies, rather, it is more
important to understand that signatures can be obtained electronically and the paper
form can be eliminated altogether. Digital signatures were the last legal hurdle to going
paperless and that obstacle was overcome in the year 2000. The benefit of electronic and
digital signatures is the speed in which a transaction can now be accomplished. Instead
of waiting days for physical documents to ship, documents can be signed online and
returned immediately.

Cost Savings:
Have you heard that it costs $25,000 to fill a filing cabinet and $2,100 per year to maintain
it? Did you know that rejecting a document based on poor penmanship, missing
information or missing pages costs an average of $75? Or that filling out just 5 pages of
forms per day costs an average of $12,000 per year (at $25 per hour or $40,000 salary)?
Sure automating 80% of a process probably saves a company hundreds of thousands of
rupees per year, but the remaining 20% may be hiding even higher costs depending on
the number of people who are still filling out the forms. Even 10 people filling out forms
could be costing a company $120,000 or more per year in labor costs alone.

Revenue Enhancements:
What would you do with 10% to 30% more time? What would your sales team, service
team, operations staff, etc. do with that much more time? Ultimately, your company
could spend more time generating revenue (or lower other costs and improve profit). A
10% to 30% increase in revenue would improve every business while simultaneously lowering
costs and improving moral with those who fill out forms.

Estimating Your Revenue Enhancement
You can quickly estimate what this is worth to your company by dividing your total
revenue by the number of people in your firm to get your average revenue per
employee. Then multiply that number times 10% to get the amount of revenue you’ll
generate for each person who fills out forms in your company.

If Saving Trees Were The Only Benefit
It seems that every company wants to be more eco-friendly and reduce their carbon
footprint. Going paperless can help in many ways:

Hidden costs of paper-based signatures:
Of course beyond the mere tangible costs, there are many other hidden costs of using
paper-based signatures which are more complex to monetize here.
These include:
Lost time costs: signing on paper takes significantly longer than signing electronically.
With emSigner you can sign all the pages of a document in one go, compare that with
signing each page of the document! Also with digital signatures it’s possible to sign multiple
documents in one go. Imagine how much time senior managers will save if they
could sign important documents in seconds.

Fraud & Compliance failure costs: Paper records can often lead to compliance
failure issues, because it’s easy to later edit signed documents without detection also
hand-signatures can be easily forged without detection. Furthermore paper documents
can be easily lost or destroyed. This can lead to significant losses through fraudulent
activity, expensive lawsuits or hefty regulatory fines.

Lost opportunity costs: imagine the time lost chasing paper contracts when your staff
could be working on closing new business opportunities.

Document retrieval costs: finding the required paper document (e.g. in case of
disputes or internal/external audits) is even more time-consuming then the original
filing. Retrieving digitally signeddocuments can be performed in seconds using online
search facilities.

Disaster recovery back-up costs: for important legal documents having a single
paper copy of the original document can lead to issues if your storage site encounters a
disaster (e.g. fire or flooding). This leads to the need for having multiple original copies
being stored at multiple locations all adding to the cost of paper document archiving.


The challenge with eliminating paperwork is two-fold. A) Most companies have found it
difficult to assess the cost savings that can be recouped. B) The technology for automating
paperwork is not obvious to most and often implemented poorly.
The solution to going paperless is three steps:
As you approach implementing a plan to go paperless consider the methodologies and
technologies discussed below.

Would you agree that if going paperless were easy everyone would have already done
it? The tools and methods have been around for years but few people have built the
expertise in using these tools and methods. More importantly, few companies have the
resources to attempt automation with their own resources. There are three main methods
to going paperless.

Systemic Approach
Any system that fully automates a process and displaces the paper originally used will
take you paperless for that specific process. To ensure you remain fully paperless, also
seek to eliminate the need to print documents that are output by the new system.

Forms Platform Approach
If your process requires print-perfect documents (even if you are not going to print them)
then the best method for automating forms is to use a platform technology that integrates
the data to and from your system with the forms in use. This approach is the most
effective and easy to maintain when multiple documents need to be automated.

Forms Programming Approach
If you only have one form to automate, you can implement form-level programs that will
make the form itself intelligent and fully-integrated with your system. This approach is
the most costly to build and maintain if multiple forms must be integrated with your

Recognize your cost savings and revenue gains from eliminating paper. Without the
right incentive, no organization will choose to evolve.
Look for systems that can eliminate the paper or reduce the need for paper in the
first place (e.g. customer relationship management – CRM, human resource systems,
Partner with a company who can provide the infrastructure, technology and service
to deliver on the promise of a paperless office.

The best thing to happen to paper is the Adobe® PDF standard. PDF, which stands for
Portable Document Format, has become the de-facto standard for displaying documents
that display and print the same on virtually every computer. Since the early 1990’s
Adobe has evangelized the Adobe Reader product to ensure that the majority of computers
have a PDF-reader on it. As a standard, PDF enables companies to secure their
documents and enable features such as interactivity, form fields for data capture,
dynamic links to external systems and digital signatures (plus many more features).
Leveraging PDF to display the documents, emSigner has built the industry standard for
how data moves to and from the PDF document, resulting in a platform for automation.
The emSigner allows virtually any system to communicate with a PDF form for the purpose
of sending data to, receiving data from and managing a process that traditionally
relies upon paper forms.

emSigner is a secure cloud (SaaS) based automated signing solution which can be
accessed from anywhere and anytime and it allows you to sign legally binding documents
online, without pen, paper or fax. In a way that is faster and more secure than
executing paper documents.

It’s a digital signature solution for online document signing, document management and
workflow based online portal. Solution is devised to suit the needs of Individual’s, SME’s
and Enterprises for their day to day various kinds of document signing needs. This a
paperless office concept and solution which aims at replacing the herculean manual
efforts, time and cost involved in paper based signing and approval process to an automated,
efficient, time and cost saving workflow based online document signing solution.

emSigner can be used as either as a standalone system which can be accessed through
web browser over any network or only through intranet network or integrate with any
of the existing applications such as CRM system, ERP system or any other process automation
or business workflow management tools to digitally sign & dispatch the documents
without any manual intervention. Solution supports almost all business verticals such as
Financial Services, Government, Healthcare, Insurance, Real Estate, IT/ITES, and Manufacturing
etc. Effective use of emSigner can effortlessly eliminate the necessity of handling
physical papers and human efforts to even 100%.

There are many other features and benefits that emSigner can bring to your document
signing process. Give it a try today by creating a free trial account using our online

Want to learn more about what
emSigner digital signature solution can do for your company?
Email: or Call: 080 4336 0000

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