My problem with paper

I’m looking at a pile of paperwork on my desk this morning. I know that buried in that stack is a financial document I need to review later. I know who sent it, when it came in, and vaguely what it looks like. I’m still dreading having to physically sort through the mess to find the one piece I want. Sorry Michael Scott, but if I had one wish in life, it might be to eliminate all the paperwork.

While the above example is from my personal life, I know for a fact that most companies still operate with document based workflows. This means: paper files, scanned files, natively digital files (word, excel, DWG, RVT, etc). Their whole data ecosystem is in numerous physical folders! As an organization, one of the reasons we recently rebuilt our data infrastructure is that these workflows are very time consuming and most of that time is spent on non-productive activities (searching for information). According to the International Data Corporation and McKinsey, non productive time is concentrated on these activities:

  • 28% in email
  • 19% in searching and gathering documents
  • 14% in communication and collaboration

The average worker only spends 39% of their day performing their role specific task.

Today, in order to stay competitive you are required to make decisions quickly in a constantly changing and evolving environment. The problem with trying to move fast is that drawings, models, and spreadsheets are a prerequisite for any stakeholder to understand their spaces in a comprehensive way.

Solving the document-based workflow issue presents an opportunity to improve productivity by at least 25%. Some areas that are good places to start are:

  • Procurement optimization
  • Team efficiencies
  • Operational improvement
  • Construction management

Data not only needs to be accessible within short timeframes. Data needs to be organized in a way that can be sorted, analyzed, and presented to stakeholders.

As explained in the book Database Systems by Carlos Coronel and Steve Morris: “Better-managed data and improved access make it possible to generate better quality information, on which better decisions are based. Data quality is a comprehensive approach to promoting the accuracy, validity, and timeliness of the data.”

So, I’ll leave you with that. I have a problem with paper.

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