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Paper on Demand: Moving to Paperless Systems

More and more modern leaning governments looking to become more efficient are reviewing how to implement paperless systems but must still allow some paper into the mix. This week what is paper on demand and why convert from paper to electronic are our topics.


Paper on Demand

a. Paper on Demand is a synonymous term for paperless or a green system.

b. The Paper on Demand verbiage is used as processes still require paper at times to be printed especially when we go to meetings and secured WiFi or capability to have your tablet or laptop access a secured cell connection is not available. The connection must also be fast enough to have your meeting participants not get frustrated. A desktop computer can also be used with WiFi capability but is seldom small enough to be carried into remote locations.

c. In courtroom trials many courts are now supplying secured WiFi so you can reach your central servers and storage devices to get your data and make both defense and prosecution deliveries to the judge and the jury. This same process can also be used in giving presentations to organizations using Power Point and other slide programs.

d. It could be 5 to 10 years or more until the Federal Communications Commission finally gets all areas of our country WiFi converted in both urban and rural America. Today, it is rightfully thought of as an economic step as it will allow farms and other rural markets to become more efficient and drive business to their entities.


Why Convert to Paper on Demand (paperless/green) Compared to the Paper Documentation We Presently Use

a. Paper and Power Files – I can remember in the 1980’s when colored labeled paper files and electronic filing shelving devices were the big selling points. I bought around 12 of these filing devices but always said when storage gets cheaper wouldn’t it be great to have all documents and data stored electronically. Today, this is now possible.

b. Efficiency – This is a great benefit if paper on demand systems are implemented properly. The below diagram gives to you a sample of what a basic system may look like. Please remember once again that time is money and when you go to find answers that are not timely or quickly to be found, you can create frustration not only for your client/citizen but also for your staff who bear the brunt of the complaints voiced.

Internal Connections in Organization’s Building made through WiFi, Cable, Fiber, etc.


Outside Requests – Transmit via high speed connection such as cable, phone lines, satellite, etc.




c. Backup – Fast electronic backup either once a day or throughout the day is now allowed via high speed communications and is available in many areas compared to brick and mortar facilities being built where paper must be stored in boxes and then re-indexed into the facility bin areas. Electronic backups allow your cost to be reduced and your accuracy to be substantially improved. When taking into consideration the time and effort to get the paper items back to your office from storage, find items for various reasons including to prepare for a law suit, the savings in cost yield a great positive return on investment.

d. Disaster Recovery – The United States has experienced in the 12 years that I can remember a vast change in climate disasters. We can argue into 2013 what is causing it, but the fact remains that tornadoes, hurricanes, lightning, hot to cold temperatures and vice versa are causing problems for everyone from farmers to office workers.


When you have all your Information Technology backed up on tapes and/or storage at a remote facility the cost is still much lower than bricks and mortar. Data can be manipulated to search for names, addresses or both along with a variation of other data names rather than doing this manually going through thousands of sheets of paper. When done manually it will yield more errors of not finding all the possible entries that are needed and it means using people with great minds for mundane and non-challenging “yawning” duties. Again, a cost reduction with electronic capability can yield a positive return on investment (ROI).

Please ask any questions you may have or provide comments in the below spaces provided.

Please click on the links the view the first and second articles in this limited series.


Robert Morrison has extensive experience both in management and information technology. He feels that government is actually big business and both must conduct itself in similar ways. He is a former CIO, Deputy Business Administrator and Deputy Public Safety Director in the local government sector. He is also a member of the Central Pennsylvania chapter of ASPA (American Society for Public Administration).


Image courtesy of http://www.greenpropertymanagement.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/img_PaperlessGuy_540x360.jpg

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