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3 steps to digitising your work for maximum productivity

Paul Mah | July 3, 2015
From legacy documents to the lowly receipt, taking a digital-first approach to your work stuff will bolster collaboration and increase productivity.

fujitsu scansnap sv600
The Fujitsu ScanSnap SV600 is a lightning fast scanner designed to scan books and objects that cannot be digitized with a sheet-fed scanner.

From the earliest days as a marketing slogan, the elusive concept of the so-called paperless office may finally be taking shape, if anecdotal evidence is anything to go by. A growing number of small businesses and startups, unencumbered by legacy processes, are quietly ditching printouts for an all-digital ecosystem, buoyed by soaring BYOD ownership and growing familiarity with a plethora of cloud services.

Perhaps not-so-surprisingly, the driving factors are collaboration and productivity, as opposed to any ecological or "green" concerns. With this in mind, we take a look at the advantages of going digital, and outline how workers can embrace this new digital-first paradigm to collaborate more, do things faster and work more efficiently than ever.

Why go digital?

One advantage for businesses to ditch paper and perhaps the single most important factor is convenience. Digital data is both highly searchable, and is also easily transferable. What's more, the mature state of cloud services today means that you can expect the information you store online to be available across whatever devices you may own -- be it a smartphone, tablet, PC laptop, Mac computer or even a Web browser at a cybercafé or hotel lobby when on a vacation.

Digital documents are also clearly suited to data backup. Despite the calibration required to get things set up in a way that works for you, it's infinitely easier to make a copy of digital data versus photocopying stacks of printed invoices or bills. And a growing list of cloud storage services (Dropbox and SugarSync, to name two) have taken document storage a step further by saving multiple versions of a doc so you can revert to earlier versions of a document if necessary.

Finally, digitization opens the door to greater levels of collaboration at work by making it easy to collaborate with coworkers on only the relevant data. On this front, an entire generation of online tools are available for a diverse range of tasks such as time tracking (Toggl), project management (Asana) and collaboration (Yammer) of which all are captured digitally without printing out a single piece of paper.

So how should you go about joining the digital document revolution?

1. Choose a digital notebook system

One of the starting points for digitizing your business docs is to decide on a platform for filing away notes, ideas and documents. Not only does it serve a critical role as a virtually unlimited digital repository for filing important details, charts, audio clips or screen grabs, a good digital system will make it easy to organize and find the information when you need it.

 

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