The term "going paperless" has become a buzz word in many industries, but there are numerous undertakings that still rely on paper-based processes. ITBusinessEdge recently took a look at a few of these.
Mortgages, jobs and credit, oh my!
The application process for mortgages, jobs and credit is still largely manual. Specifically, mortgage applications "often require an absurd number of signatures, sometimes in the presence of a notary," the source explained, while people looking to secure credit must fill out virtually identical forms multiple times because there is no electronic way to transfer the data between institutions – and this is also true for job-seekers.
"While it's true that some positions do allow you to apply online, often they're simply electronic versions of paper-based applications that require you to duplicate information from one application to another," the media outlet noted.
Meanwhile, contracts and other legal documents – for instance, those used by executors of estates – "are often non-electronic, or non-searchable electronic forms, making it difficult to search for offending clauses," the source pointed out. Leveraging conversion services would facilitate the significant streamlining of information management with regard to these types of documentation, but the widespread adoption of document imaging solutions has yet to become a reality for the vast majority of people using contracts.
Government processes behind the times
Looking to submit tax documents such as W2s, register to vote or apply for a business license? Be prepared for a pen-and-paper approach, because the government hasn't yet come up with a robust nationwide method of making these forms available in electronic formats, which often translates to a lot of legwork for the people filling them out. For instance, as ITBusinessEdge pointed out, someone who lives in a state that does not offer the option of online voter registration is forced to "track down a form, fill it out and, in some cases, manually deliver it someplace for it to be recorded" – all to exercise the constitutional right to vote.
That said, in a bid to encourage the adoption of electronic processes and ensure the security of digitally-managed information, the National Archives and Records Administration plans to "develop updated format guidance for permanent electronic records and the management of email records, explore and stimulate automated approaches for managing digital record content (email, social media), and identify solutions and requirements for cloud-based records management and storage," according to the latest iteration of its Records Management Self-Assessment report.
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