Using digital records instead of paper-based ones can save government agencies money and help them provide better service to their constituencies, said speakers during Government Technology’s “Going Paperless: How to Do It and What You Will Gain” webinar on July 11.

“There is research out there … that says that there are about 10,000 sheets of paper per worker,” said DeeDee Kato, senior director of marketing for Foxit, a developer of portable document format software.

Based on Foxit’s previous engagements with government organizations, Kato said the cost to manage paper documents for an example organization can reach over $30 million annually. While Kato said those costs include large categories including labor, they also include the costs of mailing, misfiled documents, lost documents, and space taken up by cabinets. “Moving to digital really makes sense,” she added.

While the transition may make sense, it is still far from easy.

“What we see is there’s a lot of noise out there. Everything from the politics of the elected officials who serve in a leadership capacity to the demand of the citizens, to the procurement rules a government must face … there’s a lot coming at us,” said Patrick Moore, former state CIO of Georgia and senior fellow at the Center for Digital Government. “There’s a cacophony, and understanding that it even exists is the first step to adapting new solutions and bringing change to government.”

However, Moore and Kato both emphasized the benefits, beyond cost savings, of bringing in new technologies.

“Agency heads, CIOs, procurement officials, analysts, whomever it may be who’s helping influence change or bring a new solution, must recognize and understand that technology is a credibility builder when applied correctly,” Moore said.

Kato pitched the ability of Foxit’s offerings to automate the digitization of documents, meet regulatory requests, provide accessibility, support real time collaboration through cloud, and provide insight into how users access and use files.

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MeriTalk Staff