Declare Your Independence from Paper

Digital-first is a common mantra among government agencies today. While it's been getting more press as agencies move to improve their citizen interactions, this shift to online is nothing new.

In 2003, the Government Paper Elimination Act went into effect. In 2013, the Obama administration set out the ambitious goal of a completely paperless government by 2019. Whether or not that goal is reached, by 2019 we will be living in a society much less reliant on paper. The benefits of a paperless society are numerous and include:

  • Environmental - Less paper equals less deforestation and pollution related to the manufacture of paper.[Tweet "The benefits of a paperless society are numerous. #GovEventsBlog"]
  • Economic - According to the EPA, a paperless office saves roughly $80 per employee annually in paper-related costs, which includes not only the paper itself, but also ink, toner, storage space, postage and more. Individual employee savings are even bigger when you consider the efficiencies gained. "The ROI for Government of Going Digital Made Simple" report from IDC Government Insights found that employee salaries are the "key component for savings." Reducing the amount of time workers spend processing, storing and maintaining paper forms will have the most impact on costs. Efficiency is gained not only for those employees in charge of documents, but also for people across the organization that benefit from having simplified access to data.
  • Data Value - Going paperless also increases the security and value of the data once stashed away in dusty file cabinets. With data stored digitally, organizations can better access it to analyze trends and comply with requests for information and transparency.

Beyond just the simple reduction of paper, the digitization of information also impacts process flow. Take for example the implementation of e-signatures. By moving data and forms online we can eliminate the need to shuttle paper copies between locations to gain official approvals. In one organization signing efficiency improved by 400%, with the average time to complete a claim going from 57 hours to a mere 11. The median time savings for process completion was even greater, going from 32 hours to 2, a 1,500% increase in time savings.[Tweet "Beyond reduction of paper, digitization of information also impacts process flow. #GovEventsBlog"]

If these efficiencies are being gained in the government workplace, we need to also look at them as part of the event workflow. Government attendees are becoming more and more familiar and comfortable with paperless processes in and out of the workplace so the time is right to implement digital technology into the event world.

Perhaps the quickest way to make a break with paper is to eliminate hard copy agendas and programs. Instead, create a mobile app that attendees can easily download and use to plan and navigate your event. Going digital also enables easier on the fly changes. Imagine a keynote speaker runs 15 minutes over. With an app, you can push all of the times back (maybe eliminating or shortening a coffee break later in the day) and alert participants and speakers of the changes. Once the keynote closes, a quick check of the app and everyone is back on a consistent schedule.[Tweet "Declare Your Independence from Paper. #GovEventsBlog"]

What benefits have you seen going paperless? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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