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We grew up amidst paper-based products but in the back of our heads, we always knew that we were doing wrong. Sadly, it wasn’t until the late 2000s that we actually started doing something drastic as forms automation.

These numbers are astounding and a wee bit disturbing as well.

In 2016, according to a survey conducted by Xerox, more than 80% of respondents revealed that they were planning on cutting out the use of paper in invoicing. But that was just one aspect of paper usage. Every industry and every job function has numerous workflow processes involving paper forms. Examples include insurance claims processing, employee on-boarding, job applications, admissions in educational institutes, hospital admissions, and on-field inspections. The list is endless.

Things were changing quite slowly, to be honest, until the storm hit in 2020. Yes, we are talking about COVID-19. The virus that has crippled the world and brought every organization to its knees is forcing us to think differently and act fast – something we avoided all these years.

It has pushed us right out of our comfort zones and has changed everything in our culture from the way we work to the resources we use. And, this has spelled doom for paper-based forms. Businesses have finally realized the importance of going paperless and are moving towards forms automation.

But is paper really that bad? Let’s analyze deeply and understand what needs to be done.

The hassle of paper in organizations

Even though it has been the norm for decades, working with paper hasn’t been a smooth ride. Paper usage in the workplace has always had a few glaring pitfalls such as the following:

1. Processes are incredibly slow

In your mind, just walk through the process involved in submitting a paper form. It starts with printing the form. Then it extends to filling the form, recording data in the different fields, sending it to the relevant department, or mailing it. After that, waiting for a few days for the recipient to get it. Plus, if you take into account errors and refilling the form, the time required doubles.

In your mind, just walk through the process involved in submitting a paper form. It starts with printing the form. Then it extends to filling the form, recording data in the different fields, sending it to the relevant department, or mailing it. After that, waiting for a few days for the recipient to get it. Plus, if you take into account errors and refilling the form, the time required doubles.

And as aforementioned, around 40% of an employee’s time goes into this when it can be used much more productively through forms automation.

Illustration showing scenario before forms automation

2. Paper is expensive

A single sheet of paper doesn’t seem like a lot but imagine tens of thousands of sheets. That adds up really quickly! Plus, there’s the cost of managing, printing, sending, and receiving documents. All this removes 15% of an organization’s revenue on average. 15% is a sizeable chunk that can be put to much better use in operations and sales.

3. Paper is old school

We live in extremely advanced times when devices dominate. Even if offices want to use paper, customers and consultants will not be on board with it. Everyone expects faster movement of processes. They expect information to reach them immediately on their mobile devices and the ability to access it from anywhere. This is crucial in today’s times because working remotely has become the new normal.

Paper does not come with these bells and whistles. If people have to wait for days to receive one form, you can imagine how badly an organization’s growth will decelerate.

4. There’s always a security risk

In the world of alphanumeric passwords, paper is the weakest form of data storage. From being lost to stolen and everything in between, there’s a giant security risk that always tails paper. Imagine what would happen if an important document got stuck in the printer and you forgot about it? What if you had to shred something and instead, it got left amidst another pile of paper?

These are instances that nightmares are made of.

If not paper, then what?

Going digital!

Digital solutions come with a variety of benefits and they cover the aforementioned pitfalls of paper. Let’s take a glimpse at the benefits of this approach:

  • Productivity increases because a lot of time is saved and business priorities are realigned to operations and growth
  • Security risk is at the bare minimum
  • Costs go down significantly
  • Efficiency increases as the time to complete a process decreases

The need of the hour is forms automation

Thanks to COVID-19 and the change in the way we work, forms automation is here to stay. Below are the main reasons why we say so:

  1. COVID-19 can live on paper surfaces for around 10 days. Handling a piece of paper is, thus, not just expensive but also dangerous.
  2. Face-to-face time and in-person meetings are going to be an anomaly and remote interactions will become the trend. How does paper fit into such a work culture? It does not.

Like we discussed before, we were always going to get there. We were always going to go paperless but the progress was slow. What would have happened say 10 years later has happened now due to the pandemic. Amidst all the chaos, if we see the (may we daresay) silver lining, we will realize that this has been a reality check. It has helped us understand the cost of paper-based forms and associated manual workflow processes and how going paperless with forms automation combined with automation of workflows can help immediately solve the problem.

Also read: 20 reasons why going paperless and shift to digital forms will be a major trend in near future

The role of no-code development in replacing paper forms

Change is always challenging, even if it is for a lower-cost alternative. Getting out of the comfort zone of using paper and being thrusted into a paperless world can be hard and the setup costs can actually be high! Why, you ask?

Because process automation software programs are expensive.

Thus, businesses must come up with innovative solutions to keep the costs low. Not to mention, fast as well. No business can afford to accept solutions that take months to be built.

Enter – no-code development.

No-code development gives businesses exactly what they require – low costs and speed. You can automate paperwork and workflow forms as per your business needs. It is the paperless office technology of the future and we are living in the future at the moment!

The best part? No-code development works for all businesses from micro to large!

Person using computer Illustration

Also read: Everything you should know about no-code development

Conclusion

COVID-19 was really an eye-opener not just health-wise but also business-wise. It brought the inevitable doom for paper.

It is high time that businesses turned to no-code platforms such as Quixy for their forms automation requirements. Quixy is a quick and easy way to go paperless in under a week. To know more and/or to subscribe to our services, please get in touch with us.

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