going paperless

With many offices going paperless, what are the best methods or software being utilized to implement a paperless office.  Any ideas would be appreciated as I am simply looking for brainstorming...
al4629740Asked:
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Joe Winograd, EE Fellow 2017, MVE 2016, MVE 2015Connect With a Mentor DeveloperCommented:
Hi Al,

This is a complex subject, one that I've been involved with for more than 20 years. It's good to hear you say that you are simply looking for brainstorming, as there are no absolute answers to this question.

My involvement with this area that I referred to above was actually with the high-end document management/imaging space for large business, but it trickled down to small business, and even the home front. Although I'm a big fan of document scanning/imaging, my first recommendation is to stop the paper from coming in! Wherever you can get a digital document (PDF, Word, etc.) do it.

There are many places where you can find info on this topic, including here at EE. You may not have noticed, but to the right side of your question is a Related Questions box with some links:

Paperless questions at EE
I find that the Related Questions box is often not on target, but in this case, it appears to be — certainly worth a few clicks.

In my attempts at a paperless office at home (which, by the way, I'm sure will never happen), I use several software products from Nuance, including OmniPage, PaperPort, and Power PDF, as well as Adobe Acrobat, and numerous other PDF-related software packages. Also, at the core of having all these digital documents, it is critical to be able to search them effectively. That is one area where I won't compromise and strongly recommend dtSearch — not cheap at $200 for a single user license, but well worth every penny!

I also have numerous scanners and all-in-one/multi-function devices from Brother, Fujitsu, HP, Kodak, Panasonic, and others — for those times when you can't avoid getting paper.

There are many user groups/forums that you should consider joining to brainstorm ideas. I'm a member of the PaperPort Google Group and its associated wiki, but that is oriented towards Nuance products. I'm also a member of a group called Paperless and Digital Life, which is far more general than the PaperPort group, discussing a wide range of paperless/digital topics. If you're a LinkedIn member, I suggest joining The Paperless Project Imaging Group there.

That's some food for thought to assist in your brainstorming. If you tell me more about your environment where you want to implement a paperless office — home? small business? medium business? large business? government? non-profit? etc.? — I may be able to provide more specific ideas. Regards, Joe
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FarWestConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I think there is paperless and electronic paper/forms  environments
paper less can be achieved by processes re-engineering that makes things simpler and  fit in your organization,
so when your vacation request sent by email and approval processes are made by email replies instead of using paper forms then you are making your working environment paperless, also when making this request and approval using employee self service portal integrated by your ERP, ,meanwhile when transfer your business forms to pdf forms you still working on paper but not physical, paperless is not necessarily replacing paper with electronic form while keeping the processes the same,
an important part of paperless env. is how you deal with papers from external sources, implementing document scanning and document libraries and exchange those documents electronically will help
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al4629740Author Commented:
Does Adobe Pro have a function where you can scan a document and then search content in the document later?  I thought there was something like this.

The environment I am implementing this in is non-profits and small business.
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Joe Winograd, EE Fellow 2017, MVE 2016, MVE 2015Connect With a Mentor DeveloperCommented:
> Does Adobe Pro have a function where you can scan a document and then search content in the document later?

Yes, Acrobat (both Std and Pro) can scan documents and then perform OCR, which Acrobat X calls Recognize Text and Acrobat XI calls Text Recognition. After scanning and performing Text Recognition (Recognize Text/OCR), the PDF file has text that is searchable. But indexing and searching the text of many files in many folders with a robust search tool like dtSearch is light years better than searching with Acrobat. With a limited budget (as you likely have in a small, non-profit), I'd rather save the money that would be spent on the relatively expensive Acrobat and instead spend it on a robust search tool, like dtSearch.

Furthermore, I'd make a strong effort to reduce the inbound paper with its associated need for scanning. Get your bills, invoices, bank statements, brokerage statements, donor reports, etc. in PDFs — almost all organizations can provide PDF (and/or CSV) downloads these days. Why does your non-profit get paper? Find out the sources of paper and see if you can eliminate them, or at the very least, reduce the volume such that a single scanner or all-in-one or multi-function or higher-end copier device can handle the volume.

Another important question: How many users need access to the documents? Regards, Joe
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