The new Belgian government’s policy statement for the next five years reads:
The government wants to be a digital government before the end of the legislature. Every department must get rid of the paper-mountain.
The Belgian government’s awareness of the importance of digitization is growing. And not only the Belgian government’s; every company and government in the world recognises the importance of the digital workplace, with everybody agreeing how it is crucial in order to be more efficient, both as a company and as an employee.
Put the content where the users go
Technically, nothing stands in the way of moving to a paperless office. Servers can provision enough space and processing power to handle the massive amounts of data and files. That doesn’t mean you have to replace your shelves with a server room: there are plenty of cloud-providers you can choose from. And (wireless) networks provide a speed which allows a user to work on a tablet, or smartphone as if all the information were stored on his device.
One of the key-benefits of digitization is that it enables you to put the content where the user is - whether he’s at home, on the train, at the office, abroad in a hotel or at a conference; basically anywhere. That gives the employee more freedom to work wherever he wants to and allows the employer to save on office space.
For a lot of projects, companies have to collaborate with external partners. If all project-related documents were digitized and made available on a system which everyone involved has access to, collaboration would be so much easier. Forget emailing around your documents, it’s all on one system that’s accessible anywhere.
Digitization gives companies an enormous efficiency-boost. No more looking around for the dossier you need (whether it is in a cabinet somewhere or on a shared drive). It allows you to search and find the file you are looking for at speed.
Together with your content, your business processes will also be digitized. This will enable companies to generate reports instantly, on live-data and pinpoint possible improvements very quickly.
Two years ago Amplexor developed a solution for the social welfare department of the city of Ghent. Their offices were distributed across the city and dossiers had to be moved around from office to office. There were over 500 metres of shelves stacked with paper documents.
All of this content was scanned, digitized and loaded onto an Alfresco-based document management system. Now every employee of the social welfare department has instant access to all the documents needed. Collaboration is easier. And the city of Ghent has a bunch of empty shelves.
And what’s next?
What if everybody digitized and all that digitized content were to be integrated? What if you could monitor the construction of the car you just bought together with all the information regarding the loan application, the registration of your car, your driver’s licence information and maybe even details concerning that fine you just got in one interface?
I hope you share my imagination and see the possibilities.