"Hang Loose" and Ride the Wave of Change

By Lawrence Wischerth posted 10-04-2010 16:40


My last blog “Digital Natives – Are they the Tipping Point for Paper” seems to have generated some interest and even a few comments.  Thanks to the members of the Capture Community who posted comments to my blog. You see,” it takes a village” to raise a Capture Community, so, “keep those cards and letters coming in”.

So let’s pick up where we left off with the discussion about the tipping point. The idea that I presented was that digital natives will be the catalyst for the reduction of paper use in business. I see digital natives accelerating the adoption of paperless processes from both sides of a business transaction; consumer/customer and business entity. In other words, digital natives will create the tipping point.

It stands to reason that as consumers/customers, digital natives will adapt to electronic only business processes more quickly and with more enthusiasm that their digital immigrant counterparts. In fact, it’s not much of a stretch to expect that digital natives will demand paperless processes not so much because they recognize the cost savings or business benefits but more likely because they are comfortable with technology and want the convenience and speed of electronic  transactions and interactions. We see it happening around us every day.  Do you think most digital immigrants or their predecessors will readily accept the idea of depositing a check to their bank account through a mobile phone application or having their morning newspaper delivered electronically to their eReader or Smart Phone?  Digital transactions and electronic information exchanges continue to grow today because digital natives embrace them and use them. And the momentum seems to be growing every day. Can reaching critical mass be too far away?

On the business side, I see two things happening. The first is that today’s businesses are responding to digital natives by creating new electronic business processes  and re-engineering existing processes that have been traditionally seen as paper only transactions (see my earlier comment about check deposits) .  And the move to electronic transactions is not just limited to business transactions. Just take a look at what the government sector is doing today to serve citizens and taxpayers.  Some of the transition to paperless transactions is driven by potential cost savings but I believe that an increasing portion of this change is a response to the digital natives desire to have:

  • Control over their content with access to it where they want, when they want it  
  • Self Service transactions that can be conducted anytime and that don’t require a personal interaction

The second item to consider on the business side of the equation is the number of digital natives rising to positions of influence inside corporations and businesses. I believe these digital natives are more likely to question the status quo of business transactions and ask questions like:

  • Why do we need a paper document for this transaction?
  • How can we eliminate the need for a signature/written approval?
  • Can’t we make this a self-service transaction?
  • Why can’t we do this electronically?

In addition, Digital natives in leadership positions are also more likely to initiate and champion paperless business processes and be more responsive to the needs and requests of their digital native consumer/customers.

So what are you and your business doing to prepare for the tipping point?  Are you out ahead of the wave, in the curl, or still sitting on your surfboard?  Are you paying attention to your digital native customers?  Do you support and embrace the changes that they are driving through your company? 

Think about which side of the wave you want to be on.

#tippingpoint #paperlessbusiness #ScanningandCapture #digitalnatives