More focus on paperless efforts leads government budgets

March 7th, 2014 | Posted by Kevin Corley in Document and Information Capture | Document Management

Budgetary focus on paperless initiatives is broadening at the local and federal level. For many political leaders, it's a matter of balancing cost with ROI, and many are finding that the benefits greatly outweigh the initial investments today.

The town of Mahwah, N.J., recently considered its own potential to eliminate paperwork through conversation services and mobile technology. According to the Mahwah Suburban News, the township council is considering a paperless budget of $11,000 that would, potentially, save the town nearly $22,000 in meeting packets and other paper supplies over the next three years.

"We're in the 21st century. It's time for us to think in terms of how technology can help us do our jobs more efficiently and more effectively," Council President John Roth, said in the presentation, according to the source.

The town plans to invest in iPads and relevant document management software to streamline its migration to paperless operations, reducing its spending on copies, printing and paper significantly. Current expenses were estimated at $2,772 a year for copying alone, while paper supplies cost the town about $92 a year. These costs would be halved within the first 12 months.

At the federal level paperless initiatives are no less important, and the Veterans Affairs Department recently requested a budgetary increase for its paperless efforts in 2015, $200 million more over the $3.7 billion it received this year. According to NextGov, the system needs improvements and increased focus on conversion services to bring its archived records online. The VA estimated nearly 60 million pages of documents still needed to be scanned and archived every month for an unspecified length of time to digitize its extensive backlog.

Further budget increases were requested by the department, focused on improving health care records management and the monitoring of chronic health care patients with VA benefits in remote areas.

Increasing a budget to further paperless efforts is an understandable expense and one that is worth the investment for any organization because of the significant benefits that can be achieved by going digital. Reduced operational costs and increased efficiency are just the beginning for groups that want to migrate to digital formats and optimize their workflow around paperless processes.

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