V Srinivasan

Mr. Srinivasan is the Founder Chairman of eMudhra Limited. He has also served as Managing Director and global CEO of a MNC IT company with revenues of $500 million.

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Be a Part of the Paperless Revolution!

Paperless systems have existed for a couple of decades, but have we begun eliminating printing, scanning and copying?

With the launch of the Digital India programme in 2015, the government of India set forth its vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society. The government aims to empower every Indian denizen and enable businesses to transact easily and efficiently. Digital applications are replacing paper base processes, freeing up time and resources that otherwise would be spent towards filing and organising. While we’ve been quick to dive into the digital world, the financial and Government institutions have been slightly slower to adopt new technologies.

Paperless systems have existed for a couple of decades, but have we begun eliminating printing, scanning and copying? We waste countless dollars pushing paper around in an outdated and inefficient manner. Organizations are constantly facing pressure to improve efficiencies, optimize business processes, and reduce costs.

The scenario today

Adobe first released its Portable Document Format (pdf) nearly 20 years ago, but many private companies, NPOs, Libraries, Law Firms, Courts and major city governments are yet to embrace a world devoid of paper records. Advances in ERP systems, integration with content management systems, digital signatures, KYC verifications, etc. are all tools that can help us go paperless. But as much as we talk about it, we office-dwellers like our paper. We like to feel the weight of a file in our hands or see the pile of paper on our desk that means we are busy.

But why look towards a paperless economy?

Aside from the obvious environmental benefits, research has shown that productivity within the organization improves by 39% when paper forms are replaced by electronic versions and workflows are digitized. By eliminating paper, businesses can improve staff productivity and customer response time. Despite this knowledge, both companies and governments have been dragging their feet when it comes to digital. Digital workflows are more efficient for government employees. Cloud computing and the cost effectiveness of mobile devices means that documents can be accessed and updated anytime, anywhere.

It’s not just companies and government who benefit here. With digitization and therefore going paperless, more citizens have access to the internet either at home or through their mobile devices, becoming more accustomed to e-commerce in all aspects of their lives. As the constituent’s access to technology grows, paperless on-demand services will not only be expected from their governments, they will be a necessity.

Some realities to take into consideration.

I think that letting go our paper filled ways and taking on the electronic route means that everything is connected, and policies are always followed, government and organizations can save time, money and reduce potential human error. When public data is made available digitally in searchable databases, it saves the government time and money spent on complying with request and making the information available.

By automating the entire documenting process, multiple mundane steps and tasks are eliminated along the way. With digital workflows in place, we can track projects, create automatic notifications and streamline tasks without bottlenecking them within the organization. Going paperless is advantageous from the stance of both service providers and customers. It addresses the complexities involved in documentation. With digital forms being filled out, we can eliminate the need for manual entry.

Central government ministries and departments have now begun rewarding the successful implementation of e-Office or 'paperless offices'. Initiatives like these aimed to aid the change in governance and administrative processes. With the Digital India initiatives in place various bodies like the Employee Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) plan to go completely paperless in the coming years.

As confidence in digital processes improves, companies are slowly beginning to replace legacy systems or overlay them with virtual accounts that expose the data electronically. The system isn't perfect yet, but digital transformation is the mantra of the moment, and it starts with going paperless.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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