I’m going to say what none of us want to admit; I like paper! Yes, I use my iPhone and iPad to manage almost every aspect of my life, and I love the ease of electronic transactions and mobility. I want to take part in the progress and the digital data imaging migration, but there are just some areas in my world where paper still works better than electronic documents. I know how to find it (yes, there is a system to those piles), and I know what to do with it. Most of us have just figured out how to use those darn all-in-one copy machines and the thought of learning yet another way is just too daunting to even think about!
The Frustration We Experience Using Electronic Documents
In the same breath, we say we’re OK with change too, (as long as it’s associated with something like winning the lottery). We use electronic documents but don’t always mange them well. We have folder structures that go ten deep that made a lot of sense when we created them but are now the cause of carpel tunnel for all the clicks required to get to a single document. So, we save a document to our desktop where we know we can find it; except now our monitors have become mirrors of chaos that make us long for those paper file folders. In our infinite wisdom, we print those documents so that we can finally get to work on what started the search in the first place and for a single moment we feel a sense of control and inner peace. It’s no wonder digital data imaging is met with such resistance. Before we can really begin thinking about digital data imaging, electronic documents, and document scanning, we need to accept that there is a place for both paper and electronic documents and that the transition cannot be a quantum leap!
A New Perspective on the Paper vs Electronic Documents Conundrum
This is not a “how to” series, but rather a new perspective on how we handle the paper vs electronic document conundrum. The battle will continue between the paper lovers and the digitally determined until we start to recognize what it is we’re all actually battling about. It’s possible that we can continue with forward progress and still allow for a transitional comfort zone. I think both teams get a bad rap. The IT group is under the gun to find new ways for information to be useful while the departments have a confidence issue and are so busy trying to get their work done that they don’t have time to adapt to new ways.
It’s Time for Paper and Electronic Documents to Work Together
I don’t want to get all “rainbows and puppy dogs” here, but at some point we need to figure out how to understand each other. I sit at the table with department managers, IT directors and C-suite executives and no one speaks the same language. The pressure to stay current and relevant is real, but we can’t ignore the core business functions or the people performing them because we risk that the journey to the clouds is going to be a bumpy ride. The good news is that the sun does shine above those clouds (I promise that’s the last sappy statement I’ll make). Trying to figure how to deal with all the paper of the past, the paper we still use, and the paper we don’t want to create anymore includes technology, outsourcing, financial, and change management considerations. Trying to ice out one of those aspects will either paralyze organizations from doing anything or at the minimum, ruffle enough feathers along the way to warrant resistance.
Join me as we navigate through the world of digital data imaging and document scanning and talk about real world scenarios that include problem identification, understanding ROI, and managing changes along the way.
——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-Anna Stratton is Director of Information Management Solutions at Southwest Solutions Group headquartered in Dallas, Texas. Anna specializes in records management and business process protocols, document scanning, policy design, and information retention policies and process. Anna has over 18 years of professional business management experience and provides advice nationwide through the SYSTEC Group’s “Ask the Expert” column. Ms. Stratton is also a dynamic national speaker and conducts private corporate seminars on a variety of topics in addition to providing keynote and educational speeches for organizations such as ARMA and the Lorman Seminar Group. Ms. Stratton has been recognized by Cambridge Who’s Who for demonstrating dedication, leadership and excellence in information and asset management.