Winning the Paper Wars? New AIIM Research Reveals the Demand for Paperless Processes is on the Rise

Share Article

As the volume of paper through the door decreases, AIIM’s World Paper Free Day 2016 looks to ensure the paper-free momentum continues

Many organizations are still clogged up and slowed down by paper.

Significant progress has been made in the ongoing move towards a paper-free workplace, with around two-thirds of business executives revealing that the demand for paperless processes is on the rise, according to new AIIM research launched today.

Furthermore, the amount of paper arriving at the door is decreasing for half of organizations (somewhat for 41 percent and rapidly for nine percent), while digital inbound documents are increasing for two-thirds of business executives.

The AIIM report – ‘Paper-Free in 2016, Are we there yet?’ – launched today as part of the run up to World Paper Free Day (WPFD) 2016, which takes place this year on Nov. 4. Every year on WPFD, organizations all over the world come together to reduce the amount of paper in their business processes and think about the volume of paper that they use (and waste) every single day.

“The once-elusive concept of paper-free business operations is today a real possibility, and organizations have made real progress over the last 12 months,” said Bob Larrivee, chief analyst, AIIM. “It is unrealistic to think that all business processes and transactions will be paper-free in the near future, but there are definitely certain processes where paper can be removed.”

This year’s WPFD will for the first time include an interactive, virtual event where members of the AIIM community will share tips and tricks learned as part of their own paper-free journey. This will happen on Nov.4, and is meant to set people along the path to becoming paper-free. Attendees can register here.

“World Paper Free Day 2016 is really important. Despite the undoubted progress made over the past year, many organizations are still clogged up and slowed down by paper,” said Peggy Winton, acting president, AIIM. “This year we want to pass on our thoughts and expertise in helping to reduce paper use in the workplace and would like to invite anyone – business, department or individual – to register and join us on World Paper Free Day 2016.”

Paper use in certain business functions has shown strong signs of reduction, according to the AIIM research. Paper use in Human Resources is decreasing in the areas of recruitment (49 percent) and employee lifecycle (48 percent), and paper use is also decreasing for 41 percent of people in Accounts Payables and 39 percent in Accounts Receivables.

The human factor is still the primary reason given for paper use when handling, reading, and note taking (47 percent), along with a lack of management initiatives to move away from paper (47 percent). Thirty-nine percent of research respondents also cite a lack of understanding and awareness when it comes to paper-free options, and 65 percent say they are still signing on paper.

“People instinctively like paper, and for many it still feels natural to print out a document to read, sign, edit or share,” said Larrivee. “But things are gradually changing as people become more comfortable using technology for such tasks and realize that e-signatures are just as valid as physical ones. Enterprises are also seeing the benefit of digitizing content for customer service, collaboration and overall productivity, which will only help the move to paper-free.”

Other key findings in the ‘Paper-Free in 2016, Are we there yet?’ report include:

  •     Payback on paper-free investment is possible within three months according to nine percent of respondents, while 36 percent indicate payback between three and six months.
  •     Twenty-six percent of respondents say responsibility for radical process review falls on the line-of-business or department head.
  •     Respondents identified key benefits from going paper-free, including faster customer response (50 percent), and higher productivity (42 percent).
  •     Twenty-five percent of 2016 respondents indicate they run a clear/paper-free environment, up from 18 percent in last year’s report.

The research for ‘Paper-Free in 2016, Are we there yet?’ was underwritten in part by Canon, EMC, Flowforma, ibml, InfoFort, Konica Minolta, Lexmark, Nitro, Novitex, OpenText, Star Storage and Systemware. The full report can be downloaded here.

The survey was taken using a web-based tool collecting responses from 199 individual members of the AIIM community during the month of August 2016. Invitations to take the survey were sent via e-mail to a selection of the 193,000+ AIIM community members and via social media.
Get involved with World Paper Free Day 2016:

About AIIM
AIIM has been an advocate and supporter of information professionals for 70 years. The association’s mission is to ensure that information professionals understand the current and future challenges of managing information assets in an era of social, mobile, cloud and big data. Founded in 1943, AIIM builds on a strong heritage of research and member service. Today, AIIM is a global, non-profit organization that provides independent research, education and certification programs to information professionals. AIIM represents the entire information management community, with programs and content for practitioners, technology suppliers, integrators and consultants.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Libba Letton
Email >
Visit website