This post originally appeared on the Limpio blog, January 11, 2016.

The push to paperless in the office is unrelenting. Not purely because companies wish to become more sustainable, but many organizations understand that the increase in productivity by removing paper can have a significant impact on profitability. I believe in 2016 we will take another significant step towards eliminating paper with a vast increase in the use of document authorization via e-signatures.

Currently in many organizations documents are created, distributed and digested electronically, yet when it comes to authorization of a document many organizations still insist on physical paper. This process causes a massive impact on productivity.

Let me give you an example of a typical sales process and the number of stages organizations go through to obtain a physical signature:

  1. Salesman agrees new contract with client following negotiations
  2. Salesman creates contract for signature and prints out in (probably in color) ready for customer signature
  3. Salesman travels to Client location and reviews document before obtaining signature from client
  4. A copy of the document is taken and given to client who passes to support staff for filing
  5. The file copy is then scanned by support staff and located in relevant electronic document storage. The physical copy is probably then destroyed.
  6. The salesman returns from client and copies document for his own records before passing to sales order processing
  7. Sales order processing review the document then scan and file electronically
  8. Finally, sales order processing then take the paper document and store it in the relevant physical file location.

Compare this process with one whereby the salesman emails the client the relevant document which is then securely authorized via e-signature and returned. No travelling to client, no paper produced (in this case saving the document being printed once then copied twice- with both copies probably being destroyed).

When you see it like this you realise how archaic the old process was. This is why e-signature companies such as DocuSign, Adobe & Right Signature have made significant progress over the last 12 months. Last year DocuSign announced significant partnerships with Microsoft , OpenText  & Sage, opening awareness to a vast new audience. With Microsoft Office 365, DocuSign can be integrated with Word, Outlook and SharePoint allowing for easy and instant integration to existing document processes. But perhaps more importantly, this now allows for digital signatures via mobile devices giving far greater flexibility to organizations management of documents while still removing the physical paper.

It will be interesting to see how this develops over the next 12 months, but my prediction is another giant leap towards a less-paper office.

Limpio help organizations reduce cost, sustainability and improve efficiency through managed document services. If you would like further information, please call on 0800 085 or email info@limpio-mps.co.uk

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