Stacked boxes of paper documents Companies often request YPITData to review the current storage costs incurred and identify where costs savings could be achieved from a revised storage and digitization strategy. Paying for a storage locker is often the only line item in the budget focused on paper documents. Unfortunately, most businesses aren’t tracking the true costs because they are hidden in many other things.

YPITData published a recent report examining the potential return on investment that could be achieve by digitizing paper documents. The analysis focused on digitization across the three stages of a document’s lifecycle. Using a conservative approach to the evaluation, the report best reflects the benefits clients would realize. Equally, our report reviewed published metrics, industry standards and research conducted by groups such as PwC, Delphi Group and Gartner Research. The report shows the potential to achieve long-term savings exists from implementing a revised document storage and digitization strategy.

Where Do The Digitization Benefits Lie?

The cost-benefit analysis demonstrates that the best “bang for the buck” comes from the immediate digitization of paper records. This is what YPITData calls the “Active file” stage. The benefits are achieved by eliminating lost and misfiled documents, as well as enabling the instant search capability from electronic records. In addition, the ability for multiple users to simultaneously access files will help generate a Return on Investment (ROI) between 10:1 and 14:1.

It is important to add that this ROI does not include a number of hard to quantify items such as:

  • Operational efficiencies staff could achieve by having immediate and secure remote access to files. This may be required during severe weather events to continue the conduct of business or while working remotely at a client’s facility.
  • Corporate liability, damages or business recovery from lost, damaged or destroyed files.
  • The potential value from unlocking the dark data stored within the paper records.

For Slightly Older Documents

The analysis also illustrates that the return on investment is attractive for documents that are midway through the three-stage lifecycle process. This is what YPITData calls the “Accessed file” stage. These documents are not used on a daily basis, but may be accessed monthly, quarterly or annually. These files that are often located onsite but in a less accessible location. Alternatively, they are stored at the offsite storage facility and recalled to the office for business purposes. Since these files are handled occasionally, their digitization can still garner an ROI of between 7 and 9 to 1.

Does Keeping Paper Make Sense?

For the records that are currently in long-term storage and are seldomly accessed, the economic benefits to digitization are limited. With the exception of documents that must be kept for 25 years or more, the ROI is, at best, a breakeven return. Not included in any of the ROI calculations are the potential business intelligence gained from data mining the documents. Nor are the cost to recover from lost or destroyed archived records. Each box currently in storage will have a different value to the company or its clients. However, the potential value that could be unlocked by mining available data should equally be considered when evaluating whether digitization of archived files would be valuable to the organization.

Please send us a request by clicking on the button below to obtain a copy of the report.

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