By Ernie Philip, Senior Vice President, Xerox Canada
Like many organizations across Canada, the union representing more than 60,000 registered nurses and allied health professionals already knew its dependency on paper for crucial documents was cumbersome, inefficient and a major stumbling block to productivity.
The ONA had reams of paperwork stored in numerous locations throughout its Toronto head offices, as well as off-site locations. The documents filled more than 1,750 boxes, creating an enormous logistical and administrative headache to navigate. The unwieldy storage system sapped productivity for the ONA’s staff and affiliated employees, who frequently had to wait up to 10 business days to access critical physical documents.
A recent study Xerox conducted on the use of digital tools and practices — Digitization at Work — found many organizations are currently in the same boat that the ONA used to be in.
Our researchers spoke to 600 IT decision-makers and influencers at large U.S., Canadian and Western European organizations. We found that more than half (55 percent) of the respondents admit their organizations’ processes are still largely or entirely paper-based, and about one third (29 percent) are still communicating with end customers via paper, rather than email or social channels. Only a small fraction of companies — 10 percent — are essentially paperless across the board today.
The news is slightly more positive for Canadian firms. The survey showed that Canadian companies are generally ahead of their global counterparts in digitizing processes in the areas of invoicing, contracts, customer engagement, HR on-boarding, new product development, and vertical and operational processes. Approximately 44 percent of Canadian respondents said they will have all seven areas digitized in two years — the highest among all countries surveyed.
After its decision to start cutting its ties to paper and go digital for document storage, the ONA engaged Xerox to help create a document digitize strategy, adhering to the association’s custom imaging requirements. The digitization of the documents was performed at the Xerox Digital Hub, a secure world-class imaging and records management facility located in Toronto that provides enterprise data capture, records management, and transactions processing for clients.
Hard copy documents — including 3.2 million images in 1,750 boxes — were converted to intelligent documents, with added features including automatic indexing, security and accessibility, enabling easy access to the documents by the ONA employees. The intelligent documents were certified as true copies, and the original paper copies were destroyed in a secure manner.
And how has the initiative paid off?
Not only has the ONA significantly reduced paper usage, but it also it cut records management operational expenses by more than 30%.
The digitization and effective electronic indexing of documents has also improved user satisfaction levels. Instead of searching for documents in different locations, employees can now find all documents in one place. The amount of time it takes to retrieve documents is now measured in seconds, as opposed to the former wait of up to 10 days.
A huge opportunity exists for all organizations today to capture similar results by following ONA’s lead to create leaner and more agile digital workplaces, while cutting their ties to paper once and for all.
Ernie Philip is Senior Vice President of Services at Xerox Canada, a leading document technology company, delivering managed print, digitization and transaction processing services that help clients achieve greater efficiency and productivity to realize better business results.
Source:: xerox news