National, state and local governments across the globe are increasingly adopting paperless document management strategies. As more governments go digital, they find that they are able to cut costs, reduce waste and improve organizational practices by using these solutions. Perhaps most importantly, digitizing documents helps agencies save time and work more effectively, and this gives them the ability to better serve their constituents.
According to State Tech Magazine, paperless initiatives allow numerous government agencies to automate various business processes, which in turn helps them get more work done in less time. In Wayne County, Mich., officials are managing both structured and unstructured data – from birth certificates to building permits – with document imaging services.
In just a few months, the source reported that the county government was able to provide citizens with better service. The area’s mortgage foreclosure prevention program, which was able to process only 500 applications a year when it relied on paper-based content management, can now handle more than 4,000 applications annually. This increase in productivity is especially impressive given that the county once employed more than 6,000 workers but is now operating with a staff half that size.
Better budget management
Electronic content management systems also help government agencies to cut costs, which allows them to get the most out of taxpayer money. Paper, ink and toner are all pricey, which makes implementing digital solutions an effective budget-slashing measure that assists governments of all sizes in boosting their bottom line.
The Glenns Falls Post-Star reported that in Washington County, the government used 930 cases of paper in 2012 alone, which cost just under $25,000. The community is introducing a plan to re-allocate that money for scanners, tablets and digital screens that would give officials real-time access to data and agenda items.
A focus on security and sustainability
FedTech Magazine noted that opting for paperless document management offers two other equally important benefits: increased security and environmental sustainability.
Government agencies and their employees frequently trade in sensitive or private information that can’t be leaked or shared with the public. However, paper documents don’t provide them with any security or protection from loss, theft or damage from natural disasters. Sensitive data that’s stored in a filing cabinet or box can easily become misplaced, which does more than create challenges for government employees – it can actually lead to data breaches. Paper documents can also fall victim to a flood, fire or other disaster, but information that’s stored digitally is backed up and can be accessed even if a disaster occurs.
In addition, digital content management helps government agencies eliminate waste and reduce their environmental footprint. Opting for electronic document storage slows the creation of waste, and it also helps to reduce the environmental impact of manufacturing and shipping large, heavy boxes of paper. By choosing digital files rather than physical ones, GovTech Magazine reported that local governments alone could save 1.5 billion pieces of paper each year.