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Digital Transformation: Paper Remains a Major Barrier

By Dick Weisinger

The talk of digital transformation is everywhere, but the reality is that things take time. Despite many efforts, paper is still widely used across many industries.

Mathis Friesdorf and others wrote in a McKinsey article that “although many payers have taken steps to move away from paper, they have found that eliminating it is more difficult than they anticipated. Both internal and external factors have made the transition to fully paperless processes nearly impossible as of yet.”

The McKinsey paper blames the slow transition to digital on “organizational rigidity, risk-averse decision making, and employees’ fear of job losses.” Existing processes are well established and there are cost barriers involved with switching to newer technologies even if newer processes would save more money longer term.

In the short to medium term horizon, digital conversion of paper documents will be needed to automate processes that rely on paper. The use of scanning and OCR is the primary gateway to ingest paper documents into digital processes.

McKinsey concludes that “to successfully implement document ingestion, companies need the right capabilities—they need to be able to redesign existing processes, build required technologies, run the new systems, and manage change. These capabilities can be built in-house or acquired by partnering with vendors or other organizations.”

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