Only 22% of European businesses have automated document processes, a study by Ricoh has revealed. That the majority of European companies still use hard copy to process critical documentation wastes both a huge amount of time and money. Many business leaders might feel reluctant to move away from a paper based system, but ignoring the changing digital environment around us can have severe consequences in the long term.

Outdated processes can have multiple negative impacts on a business, in our previous blog the financial, staff and administrative implications were examined. One of the main reasons that businesses won’t risk using electronic documentation is a fear of security breaches. However, the evidence also suggests that using an automated process for your key documentation actually increases the security of important papers.

Lack of time

When asked, 45 per cent of respondents cited ‘lack of time’ as the main barrier to improving business processes within their organisations. A further 36 per cent believed it was due to lack of resources. Considering that the key focus of reviewing a process is often to save time and increase productivity, it is ironic that businesses feels unable to support employees in pursuing this. Manual processes are time consuming, and optimising processes frees workers to focus on creativity and client needs. If time is short, why not outsource the review of business processes to a third party? Organisations are then able to continue working effectively, without damaging the amount of time or resource allocated to key business efforts.

Senior Management support

A key barrier to updating business processes is lack of senior management support. One in five businesses felt that this was a significant barrier to them updating their ways of working. A reluctance to effect change from the top can be hard to overcome within any organisation, as automating processes can require a degree of third party involvement, and ultimately involves digitising sensitive material. 61 per cent of respondents said security concerns had prevented them involving third parties to enact change. Although our research shows that security isn’t lost through automation, a key factor in improving the responsiveness of European business must be a willingness to change.

Lack of budget

Ricoh’s research found that unwieldy processes are costing European businesses an average 147 billion per year, yet many businesses will still defer improving their business critical processes for fear of increased cost. 28 per cent of organisations claimed a lack of budget had prevented them from optimising their processes, but with such a staggering cost to business of outdated processes, surely the long-term argument is clear? Almost a third of businesses were reluctant to seek assistance from a third party in improving processes, due to a fear of increased costs.

It is undeniable that efficiency improvements are urgently required in the way businesses manage their critical documentation. While it may be felt that the short term expense and disruption of change may seem off-putting, the long-term implications of not acting are far worse.

Did you find the article interesting? Read the full report and learn more about how your business can streamline its process efficiencies.

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