Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Almost Paperless Office: My Desktop 2.0

I know, this subject seems as old as the hills, but look at your desk right now. What do you see? I’ve got a pile of reports in one corner; a bunch of receipts and an invoice opposite those, plus two folders, a magazine and some software boxes. There’s not much room for anything else with my new iPhone charging (again!), laptop, monitor and lamp occupying the remaining real estate.

The problem is that I just described my home office desktop. My other office desktop doesn’t look much different, mostly more of all the same items, just in different location. So, what’s the problem? Paper mostly… and me. Let’s address the easier part first - paper. While I’ve gotten a lot better making sure that the things I interact with in the electronic world are stored online, I’m not so good with physical stuff, particularly documents. I need to do a much better job of remembering which items I need and bring them with me when I switch offices

Wait a minute, you say. You’re in the ECM business. Why aren’t you using some of your industries’ own tools to address this problem? Doctor jokes aside, I confess I seem to treat my desktops just like my garage – almost as if storage (for everything) is limitless. Worse, when it no longer seems like there’s any more space I simply purge, disposing of almost everything with rapid abandon. Talk about an easy way to loose important documents or files.

So, what can I do about this? Get a small desktop scanner? Yes! Use the MFP in the hallway connected to the company network? Yes! Lose the folders on my desktop that give me the false sense of organization and safety? Definitely! If I can store every document I write and photo I take on the web why should I allow myself to be a victim of the antiquated delivery choices of others? Sure, it seems like an extra step to scan, but if I send those files right to my ECM system, then I’ve tackled some immediate and potentially significant issues.

OK, so let’s talk about problem #2 – me. Sure, everything I’ve just prescribed to address my cluttered desktop is technically possible, but that hasn’t stopped it from persisting. I need more motivation. How about a convenient place for my coffee cup? A lighter weight briefcase? Better yet, the absence of fear that I’m here and the documents I need are…. “Oh !&@%&^@! still over there! Yup, I think that alone justifies the cost of my inexpensive desktop scanner.

Is anything missing? I need to make sure it’s easy to scan to the web – like one button easy. Oh, and it would be really cool when I did scan my documents if they could be stored with the same attributes as other files in the folders I send them to so that I can stay better organized. That would certainly help minimize my security fears and maybe even help automate things a bit more.

Does this technology provide enough improvement to really make me change behavior? If its really one button easy, then I get the benefit of being able to access all of those “old” paper documents wherever and whenever I want. Nice. I can also stop worrying about where they are because my web storage is pretty inexpensive and I really don’t have to think about getting rid of them anytime soon. As and added benefit, it’s a whole lot easier to share these documents with my co-workers at a moments notice. I don’t even have to walk over to the fax machine or MFP anymore to do that.

Want to try out my clean and modern desktop for yourself? It’s simple. Find an MFP in your office or buy a desktop scanner for your home office. Many cost less than $100. Then choose a web service to scan your documents to. Of course, make sure the service provider is reputable, can meet your security requirements and offers an easy way for you to get your documents back – just in case.

Ready to start now? Try Xythos on Demand www.xythosondemand.com if you’d like to experience an easy to use Web 2.0 service (SaaS) solution for managing your documents. It's free for the first 30 days and if you like it, you can continue using the service for as little as $29.95/month for up to five users, including all of the document storage you’ll probably ever need. You might even clear enough space for a modern new desk lamp like I did!

No comments: