Human Reluctance Prevents Paper Reduction

By Bob Larrivee posted 11-10-2014 15:20


There are many technologies available to move organizations from a paper-based operation to digital. Arguments that digital documents and signatures are not valid have been challenged and for the most part, proven wrong. So what is preventing organizations from moving away from the physical document? Perhaps it is the human factor. The fact that humans are tactile by nature and are more comfortable with something they can hold and feel.

AIIM’s recent Industry Watch Report titled: Paper Wars 2014 – Update from the Battlefield, shows that the top three reasons organizations are not moving forward is a lack of movement by management, the perceived need to capture physical signatures, and that people like handling the paper. All of this is human reasoning, not technology deficiency. 

Why do you think there is still paper in so many of your processes?

In my view, there is little reason to maintain inefficient operational processes that are laden with paper, clogging up the processes and slowing the organization. It is human reluctance that is preventing paper reduction. 

The question to ask then, is why? Is it that people are uncertain of the technology? Perhaps they are unaware that eliminating paper is acceptable in your business, industry, and geography. No matter what the reason, it is time to identify areas where paper can easily be removed, educate the workforce, and move into the current century. Will paper be eliminated completely in my lifetime? I cannot answer that. We in the early days of document imaging thought it would be gone by 1990, and that has not happened yet. 

Will there be significant paper reduction in business? Yes, and it can begin today.

What say you?

Do you have a story to tell? What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you have a topic of interest you would like discussed in this forum? Let me know. If you are looking for some great research information from our industry, feel free to visit our research site and download some of our Industry Watch Reports today at

Bob Larrivee, Director of Custom Research – AIIM
Email me:

Follow me on Twitter – BobLarrivee  




11-10-2014 16:09

Yep. Kind of defeats the purpose of paperless/paper reduction when you have to do what you described Chris. Why companies do not use electronic forms for this is beyond me. It would be much simpler and cleaner to go online, check a box, fill in a blank or two perhaps and press submit.

11-10-2014 15:46

And my day today includes signing up for automatic payments from my natural gas provider:
Step 1 - download form
Step 2 (optional) - tweet some snark
Step 3 - fill in and sign form
Step 4 - scan form
Step 5 - email form
I really hate paper and wet signatures.