Although most businesses say they’re trying to cut back on paper usage, the reality is that the average office worker still uses 10,000 sheets of paper every year. And the cost of using, storing, and filing all that paper is 13 to 31 times the purchase price of the paper itself. As a result, businesses waste $8 billion annually managing paper.
More than 51 percent of documents are printed just so someone can sign them, according to Paper-Free Progress, but we think it’s time businesses closed the door on the paper era. The key to improving efficiency and cutting unnecessary costs—from sales to customer service—is eSigning. The question is: How do businesses shift business operations to electronic signatures and a paperless office? Read on to find out.
The Reality of a Paper-Based Workplace
It’s not really news that businesses have always run on paper. From faxes to contracts to 50-page quarterly reports, paper documentation has been the lifeblood of the office environment. However, imagine trying to keep up in the modern office using your trusty Rolodex or word processing machine. To stay competitive, it’s critical to change with the times and adopt more productive technologies.
Not only does paper make your office inefficient—workers spend an average of four hours every week on paper-related tasks—but it’s also expensive to maintain. Beyond the money spent on reams of paper, there are the added costs of ink, machine maintenance, filing cabinets, and more. In fact, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s NTIS (National Technical Information Service) reports that it costs $880 a year to maintain just one five-drawer file cabinet, plus another $11 per year per every inch of documents kept in storage.
With the cost of tracking down lost documents and potentially having to replace them, it becomes clear that not only is the paper workplace inefficient, expensive, and environmentally destructive, it just doesn’t make sense in a fast-paced digital world.
Streamline tasks that are traditionally done on paper: Instead of having to track down a file or dig a document out of a stack of papers on your desk, a paperless solution allows you to easily access a document, customize it, and get it eSigned quickly and effortlessly. Moreover, these tasks become easily replicable, repeatable, and practically automated with a paperless solution. And the best part? Sending your customer a digital invoice or file to eSign means sales moves faster, because you aren’t waiting on an in-person meeting to get a signature or counting the days while a document is mailed back to you via snail mail.
Cut costs on ink, paper, toner, and machine maintenance: The costs of maintaining a paper-based office hurt your bottom line and cause countless inefficiencies. Instead of printing tons of documents to be signed, send them digitally and file them in the cloud to save time and money and streamline processes.
Increase the shareability and trackability of documents: Knowledge sharing is a critical component of business success, and using a paperless solution makes it easier for stakeholders to access the right documents 24/7/365. If someone is out of the office, a colleague doesn’t need to go into their office to dig through files to find the right document—all they have to do is pull it up, send it off, and get it signed quickly and easily. It also makes the paper trail easier to audit, which, in a world increasingly prone to data breaches, is a critical component of document security.
Heighten security and accountability: In a survey by the Ponemon Institute, 71 percent of IT professionals reported incidents in which sensitive or confidential paper files were lost or misplaced, and 53 percent of respondents reported that employees leave these documents on communal printers, in meeting rooms, or elsewhere, including locations outside the office. Because of the growing threat of data breaches, it’s important to be able to secure confidential documents by restricting access and being able to quickly audit a document’s history. In fact, businesses without protection against data breaches could face costs upwards of $3.86 million, not to mention fines and litigation costs related to violations of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Boost consumer confidence:According to the Ponemon Institute, organizations that lost less than one percent of customers because of a data breach saw an average total loss of $2.8 million in revenue. Businesses that lost four percent or more saw losses of $6 million. With a paperless eSignature solution, customers have the peace of mind that comes with knowing their data is secure, safe, and easily accessible.
Digital Transformation and the eSignature Solution
Digital technology and electronic signatures are transforming the way businesses operate every single day. Organizations are using eSigning to shift document signature processes to make operations more agile, cost effective, and time efficient, and to create better customer experiences. This shift is evident in countless industries—from education to manufacturing to real estate—that use documents, agreements, and contracts every day by the tens, hundreds, and even thousands.
In real estate, for example, mortgage brokers are using electronic signatures to streamline the process of disclosure signing. Instead of faxing or emailing documents and waiting for signatures to come back via snail mail or an in-office drop, eSigning allows customers to electronically sign documents and thus streamlines the home-buying process. What was once a weeks-long process can happen in days with eSigning.
Within the manufacturing sector, eSignature solutions are bridging the gap between departments by allowing for the quick, easy transfer of projects and procedures; and in the insurance industry, eSigning is making it so paper processes don’t monopolize time and revenue. Better yet, when clients can quickly and digitally sign documents, it decreases cycle time and increases closing rates, making clients and customers happier.
Implementing new tools and solutions can be hard for everyone from the top down, but with the right level of change management in place, digital transformation can be an exciting, seamless process. There’s a reason so many companies have moved beyond pen and paper and embraced paperless processes and eSigning. With effective change management, you can achieve company-wide buy-in, accelerate user adoption, increase productivity, and boost the bottom line.
If you’re ready to say goodbye to a world built on reams of paper, then sign up for our eSigning webinar, where you’ll learn how document productivity technology can improve your business flow, lower your costs, and make your business more efficient.