Paperless initiatives and document conversion services are not without their struggles, but pressure from the paper industry has slowed the "rush" to paperless operations at the government level in the United States. According to Government Executive, the paper industry has launched a new lobbying campaign to fight the "inevitably and unavoidable" shift to paperless workflows in federal offices. The advocacy group, Consumers for Paper Options, has begun reaching out to the media, polling and lobbying, while making a simple statement to government officials – "don't move away from paper so quickly."
According to the news source, the group isn't focused on the transition itself, however, but rather how government offices are using paper. The truth of the matter is that paperless government operations are more cost-effective for both the office and those its work affects. However, as the director of the group pointed out, nearly a quarter of Americans still don't have Internet access, making certain initiatives fruitless endeavors that would alienate, rather than empower, citizens. The plea: slow down total paperless conversion services until the support infrastructure is in place to provide equal access to information and processes to all Americans equally.
"The glitzy new thing is to be pro-technology," John Runyan, director of Consumers for Paper Options, said, "but a lot of government agencies are saying, 'We're going electronic and the heck with it.'"
The National Heath Service of Britain has experienced similar struggles in the shift to paperless operations, but from its IT operations, rather than the paper industry. Many IT professionals have voiced concerns over the "reckless" speed at which paperless initiatives are being pushed, advocating a slower, steadier and more planned approach.
According to Information Age, many IT teams are worried about overtaxed budgets causing the paper conversion services and document management systems the NHS is investing in to fall short of demand and create problems, both with security and efficiency, for the system. Recent reports from the Public Accounts Committee also noted that movement toward a digital NHS solution haven't "gone as planned," in relation to costs. For practices within the NHS plan, 58 percent believe it will take an addition two to five years to completely convert to digital formats.
Expediting paperless adoption can be very beneficial financially, but if organizations aren't careful they may run into budget constraints and other problems along the way. Appropriate planning and a focus on optimizing ROI will help ensure successful adoption and a boost to overall ROI in return.
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