M-Files survey indicates dangers of paper

ECM vendor M-Files Corporation has announced the results from a survey of working professionals pointing to the scope and degree to which companies are still reliant on paper and paper-based processes, and the risks to which this exposes them.

Conducted by M-Files, the survey showed that 81 percent of employees still print at least one document at work every day. In addition, 3 out of 10 people (29 percent) have read something that was confidential and not intended for them because it was printed and left unsecured in their office.

Based on an online survey of hundreds of working professionals in the United States and the United Kingdom, the following findings were also published in the new study:

  • While nearly four out of ten people (38 percent) report that paper documents are lost or misplaced at least a few times each month, this number is likely even higher because 62 percent answered "I don't know."
  • At least 58 percent of all paper documents received are left in paper form on desks or in file cabinets.
  • Most organisations (55 percent) are still using manual paper-based processes for capturing signatures for documents that require approval.

"The results from this survey reinforce what we see at many businesses, which is that many still rely heavily on paper. This creates a ripple effect that negatively impacts enterprise-wide productivity and ultimately leads to a measurable loss of revenue," said Greg Milliken, vice president of marketing at M-Files Corporation.

"Organisations with an electronic document management system such as M-Files operate at a vastly superior level of efficiency compared to those that still rely on paper files and folders."

While the M-Files survey highlights the extent to which many organizations are still clinging to paper for storing and processing business documents, many of them are taking proactive steps to migrate away from this approach. More than half of survey respondents (55 percent) said their organisations have a formal plan or strategy in place for reducing paper consumption and usage.

"Managing paper documents is inconvenient and expensive. Turning paper documents into digital files leads to a substantial increase in efficiency and reduced operational costs. It's really past time for companies to move beyond paper documents and bulky file cabinets as the default approach for managing important business documents, and provide their employees with an easy to use solution for organizing, processing and quickly locating the precise information they need," added Milliken.