This could be the year for the paperless dream

There have been plenty of false dawns but it looks like customers are finally turning to electronic alternatives to reduce their paper output

It might seem like a conversation for anytime in the last decade or perhaps a topic that one of the last broadcasts of Tomorrow’s World might have dealt with in 2003 but this might be the moment when the paperless office finally becomes a reality.

Before everyone phones up their stationary suppliers and cancels the paper orders it is worth remembering that this is a dream that has been going since the term was first coined by Business Week in 1975.

But there might be some momentum gathering with printed paper volumes having fallen over the last few years to a point where some firms are now looking to a world where they no longer need to keep going with the traditional approach.

Research from document management specialist Margolis has found that almost half of business either believe that could go paperless by the end of the year or have already done so.

Those that had made the switch have moved to a more electronic way of running the business and have decided to use processes that store documents without the need for printing off and filing the material.

Those that haven’t yet made that choice have decided not to for various reasons, including finding the move to another technology a challenge or simply because they do not want to go paperless.

Those resellers selling print and document management services will need to take note of both those customers that want to become more electronic and use cloud services as well as those that refuse to and cater solutions accordingly.

Margolis director, Richard Shaw said that it had been surprised with the attitudes that businesses were taking to the prospect of becoming paperless.

“The results show a much greater awareness of the advantages that paperless document management and storage can provide. Typically, there has been a great deal of reluctance towards the paperless office, due to the logistics involved, but that resistance seems to declining,” he said.

“To see businesses actively pursuing and having the ability to meet the goal of being paperless is an exciting time for our industry and reflects an understanding of the benefits of document management as a reliable business option,” he added.

Quite whether or not this year will prove to be the tipping point is debatable because of the false dawns that have plagued the issue over the past few decades. The technology to provide an alternative is emerging but it is doing so at a time when print management is also becoming a strong channel play, helping customers control their costs.

Research last month from print management specialist Danwood found that January was the busiest month in the year for printing and during the average week print volumes rose to a Wednesday peak before tailing off to a Friday low.

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