Many businesses fail to realize the inefficiencies and hidden costs of relying on paper documents and multiple software systems.
On the surface, these options seem cost-effective but examining the total costs tells a different story. In this post, we break down the real costs of paper and software silos to make the case for consolidation.
The Burden of Paper
While paper itself may be cheap, the overhead needed to store, manage, and access paper records adds up tremendously including:
– Storage space – file rooms, cabinets, boxes for archived paper records. This real estate is expensive.
– Labor costs – employees spent countless hours searching for misfiled documents, photocopying, mailing, and filing paper records manually. This directly translates to dollars.
– Compliance risks – paper records can be lost, misfiled, damaged leading to compliance issues and legal liabilities. Fines can be steep.
– Lack of security – confidential papers can be accessed by unauthorized personnel leading to data breaches.
– Lack of backup – unlike digital files, paper records are vulnerable to natural disasters, fires, floods. Recreating lost paper records is costly.
– Difficulty sharing – distributing paper documents requires copying, faxing, mailing adding time and cost.
When you tally up all these indirect costs, the friction of relying on paper processes is clear. But many businesses only look at the upfront price of paper itself which is deceiving.
The Multiplication Effect of Software Silos
On the software side, purchasing multiple standalone systems for each business function can also inflate costs including:
– Integration – connecting siloed systems requires expensive custom development and maintenance.
– Duplicated capabilities – separate systems overlap in features leading to redundancies.
– Multiplied licensing – per user fees get multiplied across each platform.
– Training – each system requires training staff on different platforms and processes.
– IT overhead – supporting many vendors and systems strains IT resources.
– Upgrades – synchronizing upgrades across integrated systems compounds effort and disruption.
– Slowed processes – fragmented systems introduce friction into workflows.
– Data silos – systems that can’t share data directly lead to blindspots.
While best-of-breed standalone software provides depth of functionality, the lack of interoperability leads to major inefficiency when scaled across the enterprise.
|Hidden Costs of Paper||Additional Expenses with Multiple Software Solutions|
|Environmental Impact||Integration Challenges|
|Storage and Retrieval||Training and Support|
|Printing and Maintenance||Licenses and Upgrades|
|Security Risks||Opportunity Costs|
A few statistics from a PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) study:
8 hours – the amount of time an employee spends managing paper documents each week
$122 – the cost of finding a single lost document
750 – the number of lost paper documents per year, per mid-size business
The Case for Consolidation
Transitioning to unified digital platforms for documents and workflows, while requiring some upfront investment, can yield huge long-term cost savings and efficiency gains for organizations.
Going paperless together with software consolidation eliminates the hidden costs and delivers:
– Instant access to information
– Accelerated processes
– Enhanced compliance and security
– Anytime collaboration
– Deep visibility into operations
– Smoother integrations and upgrades
– Lower IT overhead
So while paper and software silos have lower superficial costs, consolidating onto integrated digital systems often pays for itself in the long run by eliminating duplications and delivering exponential productivity gains.
The key is taking a holistic view of the total cost of ownership. By consolidating paper records and software systems onto unified platforms, businesses can tap into synergies and multiply the value of their information.