The outdated business practice that's sabotaging your IT budget

Stress office

As our world becomes more digital by the day, IT leaders are under ever-increasing pressure to perform in a measurable way. From the demands of cutting costs and modernizing workflows to bolstering security and optimizing cloud migration, their strategic and technical priorities extend into every aspect of the business. On a more comprehensive level, 70 percent of IT leaders regard digital transformation as a top priority within their organization. With so many initiatives demanding their attention, CIOs and IT managers must allocate their time and resources wisely.

Yet there are several challenges that can obstruct the path to modern IT success. In Gartner’s 2016 CIO Agenda Report, the technology research company asked 2,994 CIOs from 84 countries to identify their main barrier as an IT leader. Twenty-two percent of participants responded with skills and resources, while 15 percent pinpointed funding and budgets as their biggest obstacle. The fact of the matter is that IT departments don’t always have the funds and resources they need to truly drive digital transformation and stay on the cutting edge of technology. A company’s available budget reflects an abundance of tireless work and careful strategy, making the question of how to save and maximize hard-earned revenue one of the most pressing issues to affect enterprises across the globe.

Audit your processes

In order to optimize available funds, it’s essential to evaluate your current spending and workflows, eliminating superfluous costs and modernizing outdated business practices. For your enterprise, inefficiencies may lie in collaboration challenges, formatting incompatibilities, or insufficient security. While all of these issues are common obstacles, there’s one workflow challenge that repeatedly emerges: Paper. In fact, a stunning 73 percent of IT leaders consider paper workflows like printing, copying, and scanning to be a continued organizational obstacle. When we take a closer look at this obsolete process, it’s not very hard to understand why.

Beware of the silent threat

In today’s world, paper is one of the most prevalent, inefficient, and needlessly expensive factors to plague enterprises. Yet most companies are unaware of the costs created from printing processes. In a recent survey commissioned by Oki Systems UK, 55 percent of key decision makers in British businesses, including CIOs, IT managers, and finance directors, admitted to not knowing how much their organization spent on printing. For larger small- to medium-sized enterprises, this number increases to 66 percent. Of those who do know the price of printing, 39 percent say that their company is overspending due to printing’s expensive demands.

Put a price on your paper use

When we consider how much paper is used on a daily basis, the extent of this overspending is even more apparent. Every year, the average knowledge worker uses more than 10,000 sheets of paper. With an average price of $40 per case of standard copy paper, that’s an annual cost of $80 per employee. Multiply that by your number of employees, and you have an astonishing sum of wasted funds.

But after it’s printed, where does all that paper go? Either in the trash, which can wreak havoc on your waste expenses and the environment, or in filing cabinets that demand a substantial amount of storage space and structures. Tucked away in a filing cabinet, your organization’s confidential documents are vulnerable to everything from prying eyes to more malicious thieves looking to steal sensitive company and client information. In an age of ironclad firewalls and effective digital security, physical locks and storage are flimsy by comparison.

While the financial costs of paper are colossal, I’d be remiss not to mention the time losses it creates as well. Inc. magazine recently put a price on paper’s crippling inefficiencies. According to the magazine, the time it takes to file a single paper document can cost the company $20, while the time-intensive search to locate a misfiled document translates to a $120 deficit. If the document is permanently lost, the company takes a $250 hit when employees are forced to recreate the document. Given the amount of paper used every year, these costs can quickly and silently accumulate, squandering a considerable amount of valuable time that could be driving business revenue instead.

The time for change is now

While the reality of paperless offices began years ago, enterprises have been relatively slow to replace paper-based processes with more time- and cost-effective digital workflows. Whether it’s a lack of knowledge or poor change management, the hesitation to go paperless is steadily chipping away at precious funds that could be filtered back into your IT budget and addressing forward-thinking priorities like digital transformation.

Perhaps as you assess your current business processes, you’ll find other similar inefficiencies. Don’t be afraid to dig deep and tackle some of these issues, regardless of how big or small they may be. While change may be intimidating, enjoying more funds and transforming your business into a well-oiled machine are certainly worth it for your organization, your employees, and your bottom line.

Photo Credit: baranq/Shutterstock

Gina O'Reilly is COO of Nitro, a document productivity company. A member of the Nitro team since 2008, Gina has global responsibility for sales, marketing, business development, customer service and success, and operations, including employee experience and talent.

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