Is Office 2016 another step towards the paperless goal?
I know what you’re thinking, ‘not another paperless office blog’. Firstly, yes, it is. But secondly and more importantly I believe we are genuinely turning a corner with our mind-set on how we manage documents and information. The advancement in tablet devices and cloud services has meant that virtually most people, whether they work in an office or not, are becoming more and more comfortable with managing information electronically. We have become accepting of important data being stored electronically without the need for antiquated paper records and it has become quite liberating.
Take a step back and look at the basics of what we do with paper documents generally. This paper contains data (either alpha, numeric or picture form) and is used to either store a record of this data or distribute it to others to view this data. It would then either be accepted or amended and then probably stored. With all the technology we have nowadays, is this the best we can do by printing this data on a media that was first developed over 2,000 years ago?
Microsoft Office 2016 has some new applications that encourage users to share and collaborate on documents online. Its Sway app is for light content creation, and Delve is the enterprise information aggregator. I believe both these apps will move us another step towards collaborating and exchanging data virtually rather than physically with paper documents. I’m no expert on how good, bad or indifferent these actual apps are, but it’s the principal and mind-set behind it that will move us towards a paperless age.
This of course is not going to happen overnight, and there will be a gradual transition whilst we incorporate all the old data and records we have on file. In addition, organisations will still have to deal with paper documents coming into their business from less progressive organisations. Many organisations have moved to a managed print service (MPS) whereby paper and printing can be secured, controlled and reduced, but the next goal should be how to transform this hardcopy data we have into intelligent electronic data.
Xerox have been voted the leader in the MPS marketplace for the past 6 years due to not only its competence in managing print environments but its foresight capabilities in helping organisations make this transition. One of their unique features is their ConnectKey software platform on their multifunctional devices. This is an ecosystem that allows organisations to be more productive with their data and offers features to fully integrate mobile, scanning and cloud-based solutions across all their ConnectKey devices.
Of course, Xerox and Microsoft are not alone when it comes to helping organisations with this transition, but they are the leaders in this field and continue to be so for their progressive technology and ideas. I believe that over the next few years our reliance on paper data will dramatically reduce as the majority will become more comfortable and accepting of these new technologies.