We are all aware of the fact that we are living in the digital age. It isn’t surprising that we see more businesses making the move to digital. Company files are moving to the cloud. Phone systems are cloud-based, physical security is integrating AI and digital automation. Often when deciding to go digital processes makes previous procedures obsolete. Does that mean that the need for and use of printed documents is also soon to be a thing of the past? The answer is no.
In 2003, predictions were that offices would be completely paperless by 2020, but that is not the case. We're not even seeing a trend in that direction. Organizations are moving toward less paper consumption as we know. But, businesses need a reliable printer on-site and accessible for remote workers.
Paper is Tangible and Engaging
There's something to be said about the physical presence of information. E-mails can get deleted, or sent to a spam folder without being seen, much less opened and read. A recent study (conducted by Nielson Research) indicated that people are 80% more likely to view a printed advertisement than open unsolicited emails. They prefer to read printed materials more than information on a screen. Physically handling a favorite magazine, flipping through a newspaper, or walking to the mailbox provides a pleasant sensory experience. That experience is not attainable through digital media.
Print is Green, Cost-Effective, and Safe
Print remains cheaper and less destructive to the environment than its digital counterpart. Investing in digital tools and storage solutions can be costly for business owners. And with digital, there is the cost to adapt and upgrade as new technology is developed. The cost to buy an office printer and its supplies are often more affordable. Print is the only medium with a one-time carbon footprint. Digital media consumes energy every time it's viewed. Printed materials are easier to recycle and less toxic than electronic devices. If not recycled, computers, laptops, e-readers, and cell phones pile up in landfills. Paper can be recycled when it has run its course.
Today’s printers have become more user-friendly, efficient, and affordable. Striking quality and advanced capabilities allow businesses to produce their own high-end printed materials, rather than sending them to a print shop. Paper documents are also much easier to read, manipulate, and mark up when editing a new piece of content. Most people would agree it's difficult to review and make notes to papers on a screen. At a minimum, it eliminates eye strain from reading through a 100-page report.
The move to a paperless environment involves some risks. Paper occupies physical space, but it's not at risk of a digital breach or cybersecurity attack. If a network system crashes, having a master copy of your records can be lifesaving for a business. Technology has and will continue to improve the way we do business. But, storing paper documents in a safe place is a foolproof way to preserve information.
The transition to a digital business model makes sense in today’s technology-based environment. The move doesn’t devalue the need for print. A combination of printed materials and digital media will create the best, most effective business practice. Paper is here to stay.
Alex Nicholas is a sales manager a Loffler Companies. In his role, he works with businesses to find the best fit for their office technology needs, and his expertise spans copiers, printers, document workflow software and IT solutions. In his spare time, Alex enjoys spending time with his family, golfing and cheering on any and all Minnesota sports teams.
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