Whether your business has “taken the plunge” to going paperless recently, or you’re currently weighing up if you should do so, it pays to fully understand what this means and how you can manage the both the process of change as well as the way you work in future. If you’re in the already paperless camp, there might even be some things you didn’t consider when making the decision to change.
For the purposes of this article we’re looking at going paperless from the perspective of paperless meetings. What are the considerations you need to make, and what are the pros and cons of going paperless for your business?
Advantages of Going Paperless
Social and environmental responsibility are huge in the modern business world. Having strong credentials in these areas can be the difference between businesses working with you or going elsewhere. The biggest initiative in this respect is going green. When you change to paperless meetings, you massively reduce the impact your business has on the environment.
If you have a sizable number of board members, and your board packs are commonly substantial, you’ll make even bigger savings compared to smaller businesses with fewer board members.
As well as the feel good factor of having a positive environmental impact, your business can save huge sums of money by going paperless. You don’t just save on the cost of the paper, either:
- You reduce courier costs by not needing to ensure secure delivery of board packs
- If you use board portals your meetings can take place in the cloud; this saves expenses costs on getting board members to one place – huge savings if you’re an international company with directors around the world
- You can save money on space and security costs; it’s incredible how much space you use storing hard copies of board packs, meeting minutes, and more
Even if your business has robust processes, the chances of misfiling or losing electronic documents without trace is tiny compared to how easy it is to misplace hard copies of things. Any fears you have over data integrity will be reduced immediately. Look at stories of how politicians or business executives have found trouble by leaving confidential information on trains or in other public places have reduced in recent years. Smart organizations are using software and the opportunity to go paperless as a means of improving their governance.
Potential Disadvantages of Going Paperless
The beauty of all these disadvantages is simple: none of them are beyond our control or can’t be solved in time. These disadvantages aren’t always going to be a factor; they’ll only exist if you create the conditions for them to thrive.
Investment in Training
Getting to grips with board portal software, although straightforward, does require some training and naturally a period of adaptation in order to ensure you are getting the most out of it. For businesses dealing with tight budgets for training and development, extending this beyond their regular annual need can meet with strong resistance.
The cost of training executives and other team members in using a board portal to allow you to have paperless meetings will easily be offset by the longer term savings you’re going to enjoy.
Reliance on IT Security Increases
While using the cloud may be more secure than relying on a courier delivering something, you still need to ensure you’re meeting the requisite security standards to protect your data. Although your business may rely on external IT support, an internal expert, or a specific system, the biggest risk to IT security is really your team.
If you ensure you manage access to your board portal effectively, both in terms of who can use it as well as what they can access when they’re doing so, your IT security concerns will massively reduce.
People Resist Change
This is the biggest potential disadvantage to any new initiative you may be looking at for your business. How you manage change could ultimately hold the key to whether your move to paperless meetings – and potentially even a paperless office and business in the long term – proves a success. Manage this change well and your business will easily evolve and quickly start to see the benefits of what you’ve done.
Time to Go Paperless?
While the benefits of going paperless far outweigh the potential disadvantages of doing so, we still recommend you take time to consider the change and appreciate what it means for your business. Look to build a strategy for undergoing internal consultations around any potential move to paperless operations, and be clear to all your stakeholders what the desired outcomes are.
Gemma Walford is head of Sales and Account Management for Convene for the EU region. She has extensive experience of the Public sector and is interested in improving productivity and business change.
Azeus Convene was developed to serve the needs of boards and management teams around the world. Our focus on user experience, combined with our technology expertise, has allowed Convene to become the preferred meeting software for FTSE 100, Fortune 500, governments and organizations in over 20 countries across the globe. As a publicly traded company with over 300 employees and a strong balance sheet, we are confident of our ability to continuously improve our solutions and support our clients.
Our company has been appraised at the highest level (Level 5) of the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) since 2003. As the de facto standard for assessing and improving software processes, CMMI accreditation at this level signifies high quality of products and services as well as successful delivery of our solutions in a methodical manner.
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